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Building your e-commerce client portfolio? Why automation is the key to success

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Channable on the importance of automation and e-commerce for digital agencies and digital marketers

As digital marketing agencies and marketers build their e-commerce client portfolios, they are seeing the need for automation solutions to manage and advertise their clients’ ever-changing list of product ads.

And with this constant, ever-changing inventory, tasks such as sales promotions and product catalogs cannot be handled manually – making management automation the key ingredient for success in growing your e-commerce client’s portfolio. So what type of automation technology is needed?

First, let’s define the topic of data feed management. This is the process of optimizing and organizing a client’s product data, enabling you to take control and prepare it for advertisements on online marketplaces, affiliate networks and price comparison sites (I will later refer to these as ‘channels’). In most cases, there is one data feed connected to a client’s online shop that can be generated by their e-commerce platform or even a spreadsheet. Believe it or not, product data feeds can even be at the heart of your paid ad strategy (PPC, banner and text) but we will get into that topic later on.

Now, what are product data feeds?

These are XML, CSV or data files that provide an overview of products or items that you want to advertise online. Product feed management is the management of this data. Product data feeds can include product characteristics such as title, color, size and EAN/GTIN number. With online shops built on e-commerce platforms such as Shopify, Magento or WooCommerce, you can easily extract this data.

Why is product data feed management necessary?

When you start advertising through third parties, such as online marketplaces, price comparison sites or affiliate networks, they require product information to be in their specific format. Exporting product catalogs to different channels means that you will need to provide information in a specific format from your product data feed in multiple different configurations. Product feed management solutions enable you to upload the original data file and optimize it to the format required for each marketplace. Modifying the product information is also easier because there is no need to go back to the original data source.

Additionally, it simplifies adding new data to the feed, supplementing current product information, and enables you to filter content based on the product data feed via a solutions ‘rules’ feature.

What to look for in an ideal product feed management tool:

  • Ability to categorize for any channel’s requirement

  • Daily scheduling to update feeds for product accuracy

  • Feed quality checks indicating where improvements can be made to increase sales

  • Rules that enable you to filter and optimize data, meeting the requirements of any channel

  • API connection to marketplaces for easy listing

  • Order synchronization to ensure real-time order data is sent directly to shops

Advertising with product data feeds: text and shopping ad tools

As I briefly mentioned in the intro, did you know that a product data feed can also be used to automatically generate thousands of campaigns, ad groups, ads (e.g. search, display, and shopping) and keywords? Utilizing a data feed management solution, your team can generate search, display and shopping campaign templates/structures.

These ads will then be updated based on your ever-changing product data feed automatically. You can even create hyper-relevant ads with dynamic fields that are directly connected to your data feed. So when a title, price or stock update occurs, your ads are instantly updated – no manual work is necessary. Text and shopping ad tools can combine static and dynamic data from the product data feed, increasing an ad’s relevance while reducing ad spend. Additionally, the product data feed can quickly generate long-tail keywords for all of your ads based on your data feed.

An ideal text and shopping ad solution should enable you to:

  • Dynamically build ads, campaigns, keywords and ad groups

  • Feature analytics that connected to your data source show the performance of online marketplaces, affiliate networks and price comparison sites to optimize for the best performance

  • Combine static text with dynamic fields from your product data feed

  • Avoid exceeding character limits and other restrictions with backup templates

  • Create several ads for each ad group

  • Automate text ads, sitelinks and price extensions

  • Generate a campaign structure based on your data source

  • Create a framework of ad groups, product groups and keywords based on your product data feed

Automation and e-commerce go hand-in-hand for digital agencies and digital marketers. Automation eliminates hours of manual work each week, enabling teams to handle larger inventories and the increasing amounts of data to create noise-busting ads that increase your CTR and return on adspend while decreasing your cost per action. If you have not heard of product feed automation it is time to explore, saving you both time and money while creating happier clients.

Rob Van Nuenen, chief executive officer at Channable.

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