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What is product feed optimization?

This blog post will go through the basics of product feed optimization — its value, best practices, challenges, and more.
Pierce Porterfield

Product feeds are an essential building block of ecommerce marketing today, populating retail websites and ads with the latest product offerings. They’re simple, but they work. In fact, they make up for more than 60% of paid clicks for retailers on Google.

The even more exciting news is that how you organize and display your product feed can boost its performance even further. In this blog post, we’ll walk through what product feed optimization is, why it’s important, and what you can optimize.

What is product feed optimization?

Product feed optimization is the process of applying the right information and creative for each product in your feed to increase the overall conversion rate. This is best done with a well-built product feed stack, which includes:

  • An ecommerce platform
  • A feed management tool
  • Enriched catalog creative
  • A dynamic product advertising publisher

Why optimize your product feeds?

There are many reasons to continuously optimize your product feeds.

For one, they pull in more relevant traffic. By providing as much information as possible about each product in your catalog, you’re upping the odds of high-intent buyers finding your product — through organic search or paid retargeting.

Optimized product feeds can also have a significant impact on your ecommerce business. If your product ads are pulling in more relevant traffic, you’re more likely to get buyers to convert through those ads. Just a few of the benefits include increased conversion rates (CVR), reduced cost per acquisition (CPA), and increased overall return on ad spend (ROAS).

Brands that optimize their product feeds can see significant improvements in performance. Men’s clothing brand Twillory increased their ROAS by 127% by following product feed best practices and applying standout creative to their catalog ads.

Things to optimize in a product feed

There are many other elements you can optimize in your product feed, but these are some of the most common and important. By optimizing these elements, you’ll be well on your way to increasing your product feed’s performance.

The best way to organize your product feed is to partner with a product feed management tool, like Productsup or Pimberly, that takes care of the heavy lifting for you. That way, you can focus on your business, not your product feed. 

Titles

The title is one of the first places you can optimize your product feed for better performance. Keep your titles short, descriptive, and to the point. Include key details like product type, brand, color, size, and materials. And avoid any duplicate content.

Descriptions

Just like your titles, your product descriptions should be short, sweet, and descriptive. You should highlight any unique selling points (USPs) or features that make your product stand out. Finally, avoid any duplicate content.

Product details

Defining product details like product type, brand, color, size, and materials, are best treated as separate fields or columns in your feed management tool. Again, this gives you the greatest flexibility when optimizing which products to show which buyers and what creative to apply.

Images

Images are essential for product ads, as they can make or break a sale. Make sure your images all have the same composition, meaning products are roughly the same size and the entire product is visible.

Price

Price is one of the most important elements in a product feed, as it can impact whether or not a shopper clicks on your ad. Always keep your prices up to date, and consider using pricing strategies like dynamic pricing to stay competitive.

Categories

Categories help shoppers narrow down their options and find the products they’re looking for. They also help you apply logic to correct products strategically. (Showing that only mattresses are on sale, and not sofas, for example.) Be as specific as possible when it comes to product categories, and use standardized terms whenever possible.

Creative

Applying dynamic creative to your product feed — price, sale price, unique selling points, product reviews, seasonal designs, etc. — helps your ads stand out from a sea of traditional catalog ads.

If you have a feed management system and you’re already doing the back-end work to properly tag and organize your inventory, adding this plug-and-play layer helps your product feed ads work even harder.

The challenges in optimizing product feeds

Some common challenges in optimizing general product feeds include:

Creating unique product descriptions and titles. You don’t want your product to get lost in a sea of similar products. Help your product stand out and be easily found by shoppers who are looking for what you have to offer with keyword-rich descriptions and titles that feel like they could only come from your brand.

Maintaining consistent product information across all channels. Different channels have different requirements. Your shoppers move between channels and expect to see the same product information and you don’t want to confuse them or send them conflicting messages.

Updating product information continuously. This is especially important for things like price and availability. You don’t want to run the risk of showing a shopper a product that’s no longer available or that has an inaccurate price.

Optimizing your product feed should be an ongoing effort. Throughout the life of a product feed, continuously consider opportunities for improvement as new products are added and details are updated.

Having consistent product-only images. The entire product should be visible, no matter the angle. And make sure there is not a large difference in how much space each product takes up in each image. This consistency makes for a much more enjoyable customer experience as buyers browse your products.

Adding unique images for each product. Shoppers are visual creatures and each product is unique and deserves its own image or images. Consider adding lifestyle images in addition to traditional product shots to really help shoppers see your products in action and get a feel for how they might work in their own lives. Best practice is to organize those images in separate columns so that you have more creative freedom. 

The Marpipe approach to product feed optimization

With Marpipe, you can customize every aspect of your feed creative overlay — by uploading your brand colors, images, graphics, and fonts — and have full access to a wide range of free assets and graphics, too. Marpipe customers using Enriched Catalogs regularly see more than a 60% increase in ROAS and 3x revenue with the same spend.

Marpipe does this by using the data within your feed management system to identify which images to redesign and how. If you have a feed management system and you’re already doing the back-end work to properly tag and organize your inventory, adding this layer helps your product feed ads work even harder.

This does a handful of really important things:

  • Allows you to break out of the sea of all-white carousels
  • Adds a layer of branding and positioning
  • Provides potential buyers with more information before their initial click

All of this adds up to increased purchase intent when customers land on your product page, leading to even greater success. 

Before and after Marpipe Enriched Catalogs

Here are two features that set Marpipe Enriched Catalogs apart:

Templated text lets you insert the right text into the right ads by dynamically linking placeholder text assets to your feed management columns. 

Templated text 

And our feed status indicator shows you, at a glance, if your feed is syncing properly with color-coded status updates — Live, Inactive, Ready, and Draft.

Feed status

Want more inspiration? Here are 8 ideas for redesigning for product feed catalog creative.

Ready to optimize your product feed? Book a demo to see Enriched Catalogs in action.

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