How to Optimize Your Google Merchant Account Feed
When you are running digital marketing campaigns from your online store, one of the most important factors is ensuring you have a high-quality product feed / data feed.
An optimized Google merchant account product feed helps the platforms where you are selling, such as Google, Amazon, or Facebook, to determine when and where to show your ads.
The more relevant, exciting, and informative you can make your product data, the more likely they will be to reach your intended audience and convince them to make a purchase.Fortunately, there are a few rules and tips which you can follow to optimize your data and increase conversions to improve your ROAS and overall e-commerce revenue.
Table of Contents
Meet the requirements of each sales channelWhen looking to sell on multiple sales channels, it’s essential to ensure that the data you provide meets each channel requirements. This will include basic data categories for your online store’s product listings, such as: The title, description, URL, price, product id, and image links. Each channel you sell on will vary slightly in their demands. Here is an example for just some of the fields a data feed for a Facebook Product Ad campaign should contain – see the full list here. Most channels, like Google (below), will include an easy-to-find list of feed specifications for merchants, as well as useful examples for how specific fields might appear in your feed. As well as this, they should inform you, the seller, whether the field is required or whether it’s optional. Failing to provide a feed which meets all the required fields means you won’t be allowed to get any products listed, whereas optional is, well…optional! That doesn’t mean optional can just be ignored though! More about this later. You can check out Google’s full list of feed requirements here. If you want to sell on Amazon, each category (books, beauty, outdoors) will have different requirements. That’s why it’s vital to ensure you are tailoring your product feed for the specific industry in which you’re selling. Check out Amazon’s advice for building your inventory file here. There are thousands of sales channels, comparison shopping platforms, and marketplaces worldwide where you can get your online store’s products listed – each with their unique requirements and regulations. That’s why it makes sense to use a feed management tool – which provides every seller with pre-built templates for each channel – constructed according to these individual channel requirements.
Beat the requirements of each sales channel!So now that you know the product feed from your online store won’t get rejected by the sales channel, it’s time to go that step further. As mentioned above, the majority of channels will not only list their required fields for a data feed but optional fields which you can include. Don’t think of this as an annoying chore though… Remember, the more information you can provide, the more likely you are to convince your audience to make that crucial purchase decision. If your ad contains a basic title, image, and the stock description for that product, they might be left asking questions:
- What size is the product?
- Is it for men or women?
- Does it come in different colors?
Make sure your data is clean and freshNo matter which platform you’re selling on, it’s essential that your data looks useful to the user. For online consumers, this is the only means of understanding your product and what you’re offering. As well as obvious factors like grammar and spelling, make sure you remove unwanted HTML code. The example below shows a product feed description for a book with unwanted, leftover HTML. This HTML is vital for your online store listings to know when to add paragraphs () and breaks in the text (), but you don’t want that appearing on a Google Product Listing Ad or Facebook Dynamic Ad. It would be incredibly time-consuming to go through all your product listings ad copy, removing and correcting each one individually. That’s why feed marketing tools let you add ‘Expressions’ to your feed, which instantly applies to all the products in your feed. The example below shows the same product description, which has had all the unwanted HTML removed in the blink of an eye, only by using the expression ‘htmlclean(field1)’. Be consistent in your copy, too—for example, are you selling a product from ‘Dolce & Gabbana,’’, ‘D&G’ or ‘D and G’? Decide beforehand and make sure it is the same across all your listings – get an idea of what clean product data should look like. As you know, online stores need always to keep their customers updated with new products, sales items, and stock levels. This goes for the multiple feeds you are sending in different formats to sales channels too. Advertising products which are out of stock or incorrectly priced will not only lead to unhappy customers but can also result in your e-commerce store getting temporarily banned from selling on specific channels like Google or Amazon. Luckily, data feed management tools let you update each of your optimized feeds every few hours (or more often!), so you will never face out-of-date listings.
Optimize your titles and descriptionsIn addition to providing all the required fields for each category template, you will also want to ensure that the feed is fully optimized, where the product titles contain all relevant attributes, adjectives, and nouns, like the brand, color, size, and year variations when applicable. The text of your product listings is crucial to determining the success of your e-commerce sales. While it may seem smart to cram your text full of keywords, this is not always the case – remember the Amazon title earlier in this article?! Selecting a collection of relevant, high-performing keywords will help your customers find what they are searching for. Remember that the best sales copy doesn’t promote your product. Instead, it provides a detailed and engaging description of what it does. Again, different channels will have different rules on the length and layout of your text. Approach your copy from this angle first, and then begin to optimize it. In the following couple of examples, we’ve done some research to show some of the basic formulas that Google Product Listing ads may follow for different industries. Clothing Industry
- Template: Brand + Feature + Product Type + Gender
- Example: Under Armour + HeatGear Core + Long Sleeve Baselayer + Men’s
- Template: Brand + Model + Size + Product Type + Operating system
- Example: Lenovo + 20ks003nus + 15.6″ + Thinkpad E580 Notebook + Intel Core I
- Template: Brand + material + Feature + Product type + ID number
- Example: Pandora + smooth silver + clasp + bracelet + 590728
Optimize your product imagesProduct images have never been more critical to the success of an e-commerce business than they are now. On average, viewers are spending, just 1.6 seconds viewing ads on Facebook, and images dominate 80% of the social media platform’s real estate. These statistics aren’t unique to Facebook. Therefore, it’s essential to make sure your images are telling the story of your product straight away. Check the image rules for your sales channels (or talk to your data feed management tool provider) to take the opportunity to optimize. Here are the links to requirements regarding ad images for Facebook, Google Shopping, and Amazon. Logos and promotional text, such as “best seller”, “limited offer” or “Save $150” draw the viewer’s eye and increase the chance of shoppers clicking through to your online store’s listing. As you can see in the example of the Microsoft Surface above, the addition of a logo, eye-catching promotional text and a color that matches the company’s branding make it a more engaging, exciting experience for the viewer. If you’re running dynamic retargeting campaigns, you’ll remind people who left your store without purchasing or abandoned their cart with products in their social media news feeds and across the Facebook audience network. This is the perfect opportunity to use your brand’s logo and color scheme to increase brand awareness, bringing customers who are already familiar with your brand back to your online store to complete their purchase.
Set up custom labelsThe problem with placing all your products together in one campaign is that your sales channel (e.g., Google Shopping, Facebook) will treat every product as equal. It does not distinguish between products in terms of price, popularity, margins, profit, and seasonality. But for you as a business owner, you know that not all products are born equal! Some are popular at certain times of the year, while others don’t have enough margin to be profitable. Custom labels are handy tools for e-commerce merchants selling their products on Facebook, Google Shopping, or other affiliate networks. You can set up five additional columns, that can be added to your product catalog. The value you assign to each label can be anything of your choosing: numerical or text. Each of the five custom labels can only have one value per product. The values for custom fields are totally up to you. They will vary depending on your product range and the unique needs of your business. Let’s take a look at five common Use Cases for Custom Labels, and the value each brings: 1.Seasonal – i.e., Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn 2.Price Point – i.e.,Under10, Under50, Under100, Over100 3. Profit Based – i.e., LowMargin, HighMargin 4.Performance – i.e., BestSeller, LowSeller 5.Promotional – i.e., Clearance, OnSale
1. SeasonalityDo you sell season-specific items? Sunglasses and sun hats maybe? Or perhaps snow and ski gear? A custom label based on seasonality means you can modify your bidding strategy throughout the year to reflect when season-specific items are selling, without going through the trouble of manually adding and removing them. In your Conversific account, you can check these types of products under the Inactive products. By segmenting your products into season-specific groups, you can raise bids when items are in season and decrease them at those times when they are less likely to be selling. The benefit? You can still get the off-season sales while focusing your ROI where you want it.
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Many stores will have an extensive pricing range in the products they offer – from €5 to €5000.
To get the optimal return on your investment, your maximum cost per click for the lower-priced products needs to be a lot less than the max for higher items – common sense, right?
Also makes sense to find which products from this list ordered together, and try out the package deals.
The benefit? Custom labels let you segment your products by price so that you can control your CPC. E.g., One ad group from €10-60 might have a CPC of €1, and another group of €4000-€5000 might have a CPC of €10.
3. Profit Based
Similar to Price Point, but based on profit margins for specific products.
Instead of grouping your products by their sale price, you segment them by the profit. Some items selling for the same amount might have very different profit margins,
e.g., A €40 jacket sells for €100, compared to a €90 shirt that retails for €100. Both sell for the same, but the profit on the coat is a lot more.
You can also try to segment these products based on their conversion.
The benefit? Segmenting products into groups labeled by their profit margins means you can put more of your ad spend toward products netting you a better ROI.
It makes sense to focus on top-performing items while simultaneously decreasing the budget for low-performing products.
The benefit? Dividing up your products into groups based on how well they’re selling means you can control the increase or decrease on bids to get the best possible ROI.
Segment your products to include “clearance” or “On sale” promotions.
Maybe you want to get rid of low-selling items asap (by raising your max CPC) or keep a healthy ROI (by lowering bids on low-profit clearance items).
The benefit? Either way, custom labels based on promotions give you control over how you want to manage your products and bid management.
How to set up Custom Labels?
There are three options here:
- Add the custom labels to your product feed. Use a data feed management tool that lets you easily assign custom labels to products using automated rules (see screenshot below from WakeupData).
- Add the extra fields on your e-commerce platform manually. A lot of e-commerce platforms like Shopify allow you to create additional fields for your products, but the process can be extremely time-consuming.
- The other option is to use Facebook’s Data Feed Rules in their Business Manager. However, this is intended more for setting up solutions to fix small issues during import of your data and not for largescale changes.
Monitoring your store’s performance is crucial to online success. That’s why Conversific offers easy e-commerce analytics, so you can make profitable decisions based on intelligent insights when it matters most.
Alongside managing every aspect of your online store, it may seem that your product data feeds are less critical. However, site traffic, conversion rates, and overall revenue won’t increase if stores are not focusing on effectively managing and upgrading their product feeds too.
Select a feed management tool which lets you easily connect your online store with easy-to-use plugins for platforms like Shopify, Woocommerce, or Magento. With the right choice of tool, you can optimize and tailor every aspect of your product data feed, get dedicated customer support and access to pre-built templates to export to any channel you want to sell on.
The below video is about what Google recommends for optimizing product feeds.
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