What is a Product Feed?

Product Feed

Product feeds exist to share information about what products that exist within an online store and their attributes. The attributes can vary a lot, but some of the most common are:

  • Title

  • Description

  • Price

  • Category

  • Availability

  • Image(s)

It works by collecting all these products and attributes in a file. The most common formats are XML and CSV, but also TXT and TSV files exists. An example XML product feed for Facebook could like this:

<rss xmlns:g="http://base.google.com/ns/1.0" version="2.0">
  <title>Facebook product feed</title>

    <g:title>A Hoodie With Logo</g:title>

    This is a simple product with a simple description. 

    <g:availability>in stock</g:availability>


    <g:price>50.00 USD</g:price>
        <g:price>5.00 USD</g:price>
    <g:product_type>Clothing > Hoodies</g:product_type>

A product feed can also go by other names such as data feed, product data feed, catalog, product catalog or dynamic product feed. If you encounter those it usually refer to the same thing.

What is a Product Feed Used For?

The product feed is be used for sales and marketing channels. If you want additional sales you need to be present where you customers are. On platforms such as Google and Facebook, among many other, you can show your products in advertisements like Google Shopping or the Facebook feed.

The only way this is possible, is that the sale channel knows about what kind of inventory you has. By utilizing product feeds they get insight in your products allowing them to know what to show an in an advertisement to a user. Such advertisements is called Dynamic Product Ads (DPA) since they are showing dynamic product information. This product information comes from the feed you have uploaded to the sales channel.

How do I Create a Product Feed?

It is possible to create your own product feed by manually entering the values into a file or a spreadsheet. However this is not recommended because of many disadvantages. It would be extremely time consuming to manually enter these values, even if you can export such a file from your shop system you will need to keep it updated. Imagine that one of products gets sold out. The file you created would still show the item as being available. This is bad since the DPA would then be shown to a customer without them having the ability to buy the product. This has two issues: firstly it gives the customer a bad experience, since they entered your site and then could not buy the product they came for. The other is the issue of you paying to promote an out of stock (usually unsellable) item, instead of using your ad spend on products you actually can sell.

Product Feed Management Platforms

To avoid issues with outdated data most people choose a platform to manage their product feeds. A platform automatically connects to your e-commerce system and extracts the product information. The product feed management platform should make sure that your product data is up-to-date. This is to avoid showing wrong information in your DPAs.

Update Time

As mentioned above it is very important to have a low update time. Many product feed platforms are usually not updating your products by default. Modern shop systems such as Shopify and WooCommerce allows direct integration. This means that every time a product is created, updated or deleted the product feed platform knows immediately. For simpler integrations such as XML or CSV it is important to fetch the feed often to avoid stale data. Many product feed platforms only fetch once a day or it is a paid upgrade to get more frequent updates.

Product Filtering

It should also give you options to control which products you want in your feed. Sometimes you want to remove certain items from shop. This could for instance be that you do not want to make advertisements for products that you know have a low profit margin or certain items are not meant to be advertised on a sales channel such as a gift card.

Product Enrichment

Another feature that the platform might offer is to enrich the product information from your shop. It is important to give the sales channels as much correct information as possible so their algorithms can work with maximum efficiency.

Product Categories

Sales channels use a category system to know what product you are selling. Both Facebook and Google have their own system of product categorization also called product taxonomy. This is a field that is included in the product feed. It helps the sales channels correctly identify which products you have, which they use for knowing when to display your advertisements and extracting category specific attributes.

Shipping Options

Other than categories you can also enrich your feed by providing shipping options. This is especially helpful for Google Shopping ads or price comparison platforms, since they can display this information in the advertisement itself. Your feed management platform should give you the opportunity to set your shipping rates and carriers dynamically. This means that you should be able to say

How to Increase the ROAS of Dynamic Product Ads?

On marketing channels such as Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest the competition for the users attention span is fierce. It is important to utilize your ads to their fullest potential. To help with that you should make your creatives more enticing to look at.

You can display information about your product such as price or title. You give the customers reason to buy your product by focusing on your unique selling propositions. This could be your return policy, shipping options, payment options or whatever you think your customers would appreciate.

If your running a special campaign you also have the opportunity to theme your products to fit into the campaign. Possible campaigns could be:

  • Black Friday

  • Christmas

  • Valentines Day

  • Birthday

  • Cyber Monday

Or whatever you could think of.

Example template using icons to showcase USPs
Example of product image that has been improved

At Feedr we aim to solve all the problems mentioned above in a full-suite platform allowing both for real time product updates and image transformations. All while doing that at an competitive price. If you think it sounds interesting, you can start a 14 days free trial. The only thing required is a valid email. If you have any questions don't hesitate to reach out to use in the live chat in the bottom right corner.