What is feed management, and why do I need it?

May 25, 2020

The management of selling and advertising on multiple online platforms can easily become too complicated and time-consuming to handle manually. Is that a struggle that sounds familiar to you? Add feed management into your marketing repertoire and make it your superpower! A feed management tool will help you to keep your data feeds strong and healthy, and to ensure that the requirements of your targeted sales and advertising channels are always met.

What is feed management, and why do I need it?

The goals in eCommerce sound so simple, but are quite hard to tackle in such a highly competitive field: reach your target audience, drive traffic to your online shop or -site, and make your products or services visible. Feed management supports you in facing these challenges and equips you for the future to effectively advertise and sell online. Get a comprehensive overview of feed management and its advantages in the following article.

Kick off with your own product data

A product feed or data feed is the digital file that contains an overview of the products or items that you want to advertise online, including a variety of product characteristics, such as title, color, size, EAN/GTIN number, and much more. It is important to note that data feeds are diverse and used in all kinds of industries. Information on physical products can be collected in a data feed just as easily as information on items like travel offers or job vacancies. A data feed usually comes in formats such as XML, CSV, or text file. If you manage an online shop built on an eCommerce platform like WooCommerce, Shopify, or Magento, extracting this data file from your shop system will be fairly easy. In other cases, a custom data file is your source for feed management.

Why do I need to manage my product feed?

When you start advertising through third parties, such as price comparison sites, marketplaces, or affiliate networks, you will notice that they require product information in a specific format, which is likely to not match the format of your original data file. Exporting your product catalog to various channels and for diverse purposes means that you will need your product feed in various formats. Different channel requirements can become overwhelming and hard to manage. This is where a feed management tool comes into play.

As a SaaS solution, a feed management tool enables you to upload your original data file and reproduce it multiple times in different ways. Modifying the product information each time with regards to the requirements of your desired export channel.

The underlying process here is feed optimization. With a feed management tool, you can add additional data to your feed, enrich the product information, and easily filter content based on a rule system. To prevent some confusion: synonyms describing the same functionalities are product feed management, shopping feed management, or data feed management.

Feed management in a nutshell

Feed management done right will improve the quality of your data feed and help you to ensure that it meets the exact needs of your export platforms. Moreover, a feed management tool will automatically update your product information, which facilitates accurate advertising and optimizes customer experience. In a feed management tool like Channable, these time savers for online marketing are reached with 4 key functionalities:

  • Easy product categorization

A feed management tool allows you to organize your products in order to match the categories of the export channel. With Channable, you can instantly generate categories by utilizing smart categorization for some of the most popular advertising platforms. This process can significantly speed up the set up of a new feed, maximize your visibility on a channel, and increase your reach.

  • Powerful if-then-rules

Usually, you would need a developer to update your product feed. With the support of a feed management tool, easy if-then-rules allow you to ‘code’ yourself. These rules will also be applied to new products that are added to your online shop. You can precisely control the flow of products to each export channel and modify information at the same time. A good feed management tool will provide you with instant feedback after each rule is applied to your product catalog.

  • High quality data feeds

Exporting a high quality, perfectly healthy data feed will then increase your online visibility. In general, you need to match the ‘fields’ containing product information in your import feed to the required ‘fields’ of the desired export feed. A feed management tool knows all the feed specifications for its integrated channels and stays up-to-date with changes and updates.

  • Feeds & APIs

Manually ensuring that the exported product information, such as the stock, stays accurate can take a lot of your time. Some marketplaces offer API connections to your online shop that enable an automatic, continuous exchange of information between the two platforms. Feed management tools can import your feed data at regular intervals to ensure that your product listings and your backend information are synchronized with your export channels.

An essential asset in the future of eCommerce

Automation and eCommerce go hand in hand., and the automation of online marketing activities is commonly regarded as the key to productivity. But, large inventories and increasing amounts of data are no reason to be afraid. Feed management tools can help you to get ahead of ever changing product catalogs and sales channels.

When you ask feed management experts and online marketers about the advantages of feed management and why feed management can help you to save both time and money, the most common answers will include the following:

  • Everything is in one place. You have a single platform to optimize, enrich, and maintain your product data, even for a large variety of export channels.
  • Feed management is compatible with the needs of your online strategy. You can create the perfect export feed for various price comparison sites, affiliates, or marketplaces and define your own channel portfolio.
  • You stay in control. Feed management is a form of marketing automation that enables you to monitor your data and adjust the screws yourself. You minimize the risk of error messages and low-quality exports, and there is no need to rely on data specialists or an IT department.
  • Feed management is extendable. Data optimization is only one puzzle piece of the perfect online marketing experience. All-in-one feed management tools, like Channable, offer additional features such as PPC automation, order syncs with marketplaces, or an integration with Google Analytics to manage and evaluate your total online performance.

Tip: For more information read our guide on ‘How to find the perfect feed management tool’.

Do you want to get started with feed management or need more information about the benefits of feed management for your eCommerce business? No problem! Just reach out to us or schedule a demo of our tool. You can even test Channable’s functionalities in a free trial account until you activate your first export feed.

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Senni Whitaker
Marketing UK

Senni is responsible for the UK marketing at Channable. In her role she
writes a lot of content in the field of e-commerce and online marketing.