A data feed is a structured file used to transfer product data from a server to a client. In this way, you can process large amounts of data more easily because they are transmitted automatically.
The advantages of a data feed are therefore obvious: it facilitates the transmission of large amounts of data and thus significantly reduces manual effort. In addition, the databases are always up-to-date due to regular updates, as they are usually updated once a day. Depending on the type of data, however, more frequent updating is recommended.
Where and in what form are data feeds used?
Basically, product feeds are used wherever large amounts of data need to be fed into a system. Typical areas of application are online shops or shop systems, price comparison portals, affiliate programs, social media, Google Ads, Google Shopping and online marketplaces such as Amazon.
The common formats for data and product feeds include CSV, XML, TXT and APIs. For example, Google supports TXT and XML file formats. The feed specifications also give you a precise overview of the form and attributes you need to use to create the data so that the system can process it.
What should you consider when creating a data feed?
Product feeds are not structured in the same way for all platforms. Because in some cases the item number in a data feed is referred to as an ID, sometimes as an SKU, or it has a completely different name. However, with the help of tools like Channable or ChannelEngine, you can easily rename the fields and also enrich or edit the data so that other platforms can process your product data.
Be sure to review the data feed after creation to spot and fix problems early. Even a small mistake can mean that the product may not be displayed or even the entire product feed cannot be read.
Here is an example of what a Google Shopping & Google Merchant Center XML product feed might look like:
<description>Here you’ll find the description of the product.</description>
<g:brand>Brand name of your product</g:brand>
<g:custom_label_0>value you can enter to label a product</g:custom_label_0>