This episode of the Ecommerce Coffee Break Podcast features a conversation with Jacques van der Wilt, founder and CEO of DataFeedWatch. We discuss how Feed Optimization will increase your PPC conversion.
On the Show Today You’ll Learn:
- What is a Data Feed, and how does it work
- Why does Google disapprove of some products
- Why the title of the product matters
- The pain points faced by merchants when setting up their online store
- How to optimize data in a way that will improve the campaign performance
- Why creating a custom label is important
Links & Resources
About Our Podcast Guest: Jacques van der Wilt
Jacques van der Wilt is a shopping feeds industry leader, start-up mentor, and entrepreneur. He's the founder and CEO of DataFeedWatch: a leading global feed management and optimization company that helps online merchants optimize their product listings on more than 2000 shopping channels in over 60 countries. Prior to founding DataFeedWatch, Jacques held leadership positions in both the US and Europe. He is also a seasoned guest speaker at industry events and mentors at Startup Bootcamp.
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Claus Lauter: Hello and welcome to another episode of the E-Commerce Coffee Break podcast. Today we wanna dive into a topic that should be very high on the list of every merchants. We wanna talk about data feed optimization. Now a lot of merchants do not even know what that is, but I'll just give you an example how important it's there is more than 2000 search engines, social platforms, social channels, marketplaces, custom channels in more than 60 countries around the world.
And most versions are only on Google and. Facebook and that's basically it. And I do it manually. There's a better way to do that and that's what we want to talk about today. With me on the show, I have Jacques van der Wilt, he's the founder and CEO of Data Feed Watch and he is a shopping feed industry leader, a startup mentor and entrepreneur, Jacques held leadership position in both the United States and Europe.
And he's also a seasoned guest speaker at industry and mentors at start of bootcamp. So Jacques, definitely the right person to talk to when it comes to data feed, and I would like to welcome him to the show. Hi Jacques, are you
Jacques van der Wilt: today? Thanks for having me. Claus, I'm good. How are you?
Claus Lauter: well, Jacques. Data feet. not everyone knows what that is, what that means, what it does. Maybe give a bit of an overview and let's get started there.
Jacques van der Wilt: Let me start very basic. Virtually every retailer wants to advertise his products on advertising channels like Google, Facebook comparison, shopping sites, affiliate networks, and what have you.
Let's continue to take Google as an example. You need to. Tell the channel what the products are that you're selling, and in order to do so, Google basically says, yo, send me, an Excel file with all the product data in it.
So the first column is the unique id, and then the title and the description and the price and the image link, then I understand what you sell. And then I will enable you to create an advertising campaign in Google Ads.
You just need to make sure that you're meeting the requirements that Google puts up. So the unique ID goes in the column called. Id whereas your next day you want to also send a data feed with your product data to, let's say price runner and then to say, the unique ID needs to go in the field called sku.
Right? And then the third channels going to want article number. And so they'll all have different requirements, not just for the field names, but also for the formats of the feed, the content of the feed and if there isn't enough trouble to begin with, they want you, rightfully so, to update your product data every day.
And that makes total sense, not just because you are , discontinuing products and adding nuance, but also you're changing prices or let's say 2010, 20% of your products, overnight. And most importantly, you run outta stock for some products, whereas you add new stock. To other products that you used to be outta stock for.
So, so much changes that. You wanna update that at least once a day? Okay. So far so good. But, you wanna do that manually? That's a disaster. So you need to take action at least once a day to get feeds up and running with three different formats and what have you. So anyway, life is too short and especially, merchants, they're juggling like 10, 20 balls from buying stuff to selling stuff to operations, warehousing and what have you.
So they shouldn't be spending time on this. Hence enter Data, feed Watch. So Data Feed Watch is a web-based application that, connects directly to your online store, whether that's a bespoke one or one on Shopify. Woo BigCommerce with Have you, we integrated with everything and then we're downloading all of your product data automatically every night, or, 24 times a day if that's what you want.
Subsequently. We enable and help you to create those data feeds to Google, to Facebook, to price runner, to anywhere you would like to go, including custom channels. And then when that's in place, you can still, optimize and change everything but at least you know that every day. My data is taken from the store and updated on those channels.
So I have fresh data. I will not be selling outta stock products. My prices will be updated, so will my sale price, et cetera. So first thing we help you with is meet those feed requirements. Subsequently, you find out if you send out those sheets, to, for example, Google. Google will disapprove a number of products because you forgot to add kohl as a shepherd field.
Some of the products do not have a description or a price. So next thing you wanna do is fix those problems so that Google will approve all of your products, which means that you will get to advertise these products. thirdly, now that we're at it, we might as well optimize the data.
And you thinking, my data's pretty good. Well, sure, it may be optimized for your online store, which does not necessarily mean it is optimized for your advertising campaign. So let me give you a few examples. Let's say you sell jeans, you have jeans.com you'll go to the, pants section and then you will find the 0 1, right?
So the page will just show the image of the pair of jeans and 5 0 1. So 5 0 1 on the shops page is an excellent title. But if you want to advertise this very same pair of pants, you want the title to be remember what a product listing ad on the Google shirt looks like. You know it's that big image.
And subsequently the title. And the title should be Levi's 5 0 1 Mans Blue Jeans Size 32. Why is that so much better? Because this is how people search. Now your consumer. We'll either search for exactly that, or at least what the brand is, what the size is, what color he's after, and obviously they want spare jeans.
If there's a big match between the search query of the consumer and the title. In the product ad, Google's gonna say, this guy is looking very specifically for a pair of jeans. And I've got an ad here that has a title that's exactly that, so that must be a good match.
So therefore I should show this ad and instead of other ads. So there you have it and enriched title get you more impressions, especially on the long tail searches. , if your ads out there, the customer is more likely to click it cuz hey, this is exactly what he was searching for, right? And after he clicks, he's just more likely to buy because after all, he's getting exactly what he was looking for.
Titan Enrichment is my favorite example. For how to optimize data for campaign performance because it gets you more impressions, higher c t r and higher conversion rate and all of that by combining six fields for all of your products. So brand, product, type color, size, and what have you, in an intuitive tool like ours To achieve that will take you 30 seconds and that's it.
It can be this simple and it can be that powerful.
Claus Lauter: using a data feed should be done by every merchant out there. And then some of them might use it already. You mentioned Google, obviously Google Merchant Center and I think a lot of them, the first problem they have, they do not check on disapproved products.
So they just connected to the merchant center and then I think it's fire and forget, and then they wonder, nothing is coming in One question I have a lot of stores go to the direction of multi-location, multi-language. So basically they want to have products in different countries announced.
Does data feed watch support that as well? How does that work?
Jacques van der Wilt: Yeah, absolutely. We have a lot of merchants that, for instance have built locations on Shopify or Magento, which means that they're selling, let's say the same. 25,000 products in five different countries, and therefore in five different languages.
So basically,, they've already created five different stores in their shopping cart, where there's like really physically five or in a more harmonized way. Like on Shopify, Magento, they have five stores. That means that they will create five stores in their feed. Watch. And we'll download the appropriate data, language data for each of the stores
in your UK store, you will create a data feed for Google uk. Facebook, UK price run the uk. Whereas for the German store, you may do the same thing for the local Google and Facebook, but maybe also Zalando or I Diallo or some other local language, sites that require you to provide your data in the local language.
Claus Lauter: Question is when you set up your product in Shopify, for instance, or on WooCommerce, Magento, whatever it is, I think a lot of merchants do not really fill in the most crucial information. What are the most important fields that they definitely need to have on their product detail page when they feed in the data to make it really work?
Jacques van der Wilt: The stuff you probably won't be able to forget anyway when you start entering data in your store is stuff like a title and the price. Those are really indispensable. What people tend to forget is , what Google would call optional fields. So solve. For example, apparel. Every apparel product requires you to enter color and size material and some other stuff as separate fields, right?
The retailer just enters the title, the price, the description, everything in there. So he's happy. And then he goes to David watch, and then David says, Hey, you need to fill out the color field cause it's apparel, right? we will not let you save this feed. Until you've met the Kohler field.
Cause you know, if you don't, we know it's gonna be disapproved. We want to prevent that from happening and what have you. The way to solve that outside, I go back to your store and you fill out the Kohler field for all of your 25,000 products. It's gonna take you a couple of days, right?
That's gonna be a lot of fun. So just as an example, Most retailers also mention the color of a product in their description, right? So that in David was you use extract room that will extract the colors from description or your title or from somewhere else, and bang, within a minute you've created a core field or a size field that you didn't have in the first place.
So whatever you forget, no 99% the case, you can make up for it, with an intelligent tool like, daily watch.
Claus Lauter: Okay. That's quite helpful. Now when it comes to these different channels that you can use, and we said there's more than 2000 in a ton of countries, so it's a lot. People mainly think about , Google shopping.
What would be the main ones that you would recommend to be also on beside of Google?
Jacques van der Wilt: We published a feed marketing report in the course of last year. As Day Fit Port is a top five global player, we felt that whatever's happening at Day Feet Port is representative.
Of what's happening in the, let's say, in the world of data feeds globally. So one of the things that, came out that I thought was very interesting is like you say, the number of people that is using Google is 92%. And people on social, it's like 54%. And then the combination is 44%.
So four 44% of all retailers already do, let's say, Google and Facebook search and social. The next category, is only 11%, and that is affiliate networks. And I think that is the runner up. And I think that is really the one that's. Easy to forget. People they're also not doing, price comparison sites on a large scale, but because they think, Hey, I'm on Google, so I'm good.
, comparison happens there as well. But the affiliate networks basically is like a different type of advertising. It is CPA based. So cost per acquisition or cost per sale it's therefore, pretty Risk free. Cause I'm billing you five bucks for every time you sell something, for me.
and it is not that hard to do. And again, you just need to create a data feed to get there. I would recommend every retailer to look into affiliate networks. It depends on your product. Maybe some products are less suited for it than others, but in many cases it is, a great type of advertising to add, I only spoke about advertising channels right now, but the third biggest elephant in the room after Google and Facebook, or, even before Google and Facebook is Amazon. Whether you want to be on the marketplace or not is a very fundamental choice. On the one hand you should be, cause at least half of the population in the western world, especially in the us.
Amazon is the starting point for a product search for consumers, even more so than Google. On the other hand, retailers are sometimes afraid that if I start selling on Amazon, I will not be longer in control of the customer relationship. If I'm going to be very successful at Amazon, maybe they're going to sell my stuff by themselves and then they're running me outta business.
But in terms of where is your consumer? He's on Amazon. The Holy Trinity of search, social and marketplace is Google, Facebook, Amazon is the first thing to consider for every retailer.
Claus Lauter: Okay. Yeah, I'm a hundred percent with you on the same page.
When it comes to Amazon, it's a two-sided words there. Obviously people go to Amazon with a buyer's intention, so out of the bats, they're already better customers if they buy it from you. But you're a hundred percent right. Amazon keeps your data. Amazon can be a risk, and at the end, Amazon is also a very expensive channel if you sell over Amazon because they take a ton of money from you, from the merchant, to make it work.
But nevertheless, you should be on Amazon. A hundred percent agree on that one. When a version wants start optimizing the data feeds, what kind of homework do they need to do before they can really get started?
Jacques van der Wilt: Before we get started, if you sign up today, feed, watch there's not much homework to do.
Cause we have a template based system, so we are forcing you into the right direction. If you feel like doing something stupid, we won't let you, We won't let you save a bad feed. We'll show you a fit review if you do save it so you can see where you go wrong.
What can you do with data optimization that will actually improve the results of your campaign? It's fixing problems. It's not sexy. It has to be done. It's against disapprovals.
Then again, mind you. If 20% of your products is being disapproved, for example, because you didn't add a color field, that also has a big impact on your sales. Cuz now you're selling only 80% of your products on Google instead of a hundred. So fixing problems, fixing this is really super important. And then if you look into optimization, I already gave you the title example, that's number one.
But let's not forget the images Images are not necessarily something that you can optimize within a data feed tool. However, since the image comprises what would be cloud 60, 66% of the total space of a product ad, and since humans have become way more visual, of time, the image. Is your, killer app.
You do not have good images, forget it. You will lose the battle from your competitors who did invest in good images. And good doesn't only mean that they are without text and they're on the white background and stuff like that. it means they need to be high quality with a lot of pixels and
don't put the article on your kitchen table and use your iPhone to take a picture, go to the studio and make real beautiful pictures. They are compelling spend time on that. And in terms of optimizing your images, , for your feet, you probably have an average of five images , in your feed Anyway.
Then just make sure that you map your best image. As domain image and the rest as additional images. Basically, optimizing field title is number one.
Image is number two also, cuz it gets you a lot of errors. But creating custom labels is a third one. A custom label is something that is in Google and Facebook and some other, , channels like that. It enables you to put out a bit on something that's not like the ID or the brand or the product type or something like, so you wanna bid on something else.
You create a custom label for it. So we see that our customers are creating custom labels for products that are on sale or in certain category or. They're making a custom label for the best sellers. Makes sense, right? You got your best sellers, you wanna sell more, so you want a bid, 10% more, on that.
, custom labels will help you to maybe enhance your bidding, right? So you may be selling, shoes you're selling that at a CPA of let's say 15 bucks. Are you making profit? you're a happy camper, but that at some point, you drill down in the data and then you actually see that among your shoes, 20% is like cheap shoes, The gross margin after subtracting the 15 bucks cpa, is zero or even negative. So you are losing money on the cheap shoes. You're making lots of money on the medium price shoes, and then the high end shoes. You're making a boatload of profit.
However, you're not selling that many. So now you can introduce custom labels for, let's say three price categories of all of your shoes. And then you're gonna bid less on the cheap shoes. So CPA goes down to 10 bucks. You're still making money. Medium price shoes, you're good. High price shoes, you're going to increase your bid.
Your profit is gonna go down, but your sales is going to skyrocket and altogether you're making even more money than you did. So drilling the down, drilling down in the data and using custom labels to optimize your bids there's also a way to get really profitable.
Claus Lauter: Okay. I think there's a ton of golden nuggets that you just mentioned there to really make it work.
Tell me a little bit , about the pricing on the setup and the onboarding. How does that work?
Jacques van der Wilt: Pricing starts at , 69 years, dollars per month, and it goes up via 89 to 2 39 to, whatever you need. We have a modular pricing, so that means that. we're already quite affordable for s and b retailers.
But we also have a lot of very large and enterprise level customers. Like, for example, Adidas, who get tailored pricing because they have tens of thousands of products in dozens and dozens of countries. Anything goes, but you only pay for what you need and you're not paying anything.
Extra. the average customer signs up the daily feed watch and then, connects the store. And then the first thing we ask, like, not even in person, but on the screen, you wanna set up your own feed or you want us to do it, the majority of the customer says, no, I wanna do it myself, but still there's a fed chunk.
Customer says, yeah, you guys do it to me. Needing to understand how to do it. We'll just do it for you and it will run, and you just need to copy the link of the feed into your Google Merchant Center or Facebook Business Center and you're good to go.
But for the ones that want to do it themselves they can get an onboarding call. So it usually takes half an hour, more or less. Then if it was very intuitive. So it's easy to explain what to do in order to optimize your feet. By the end. Recall, we probably mapped your first feet.
You can probably instantly copy it to the next channel and you're good to go as well. Lastly, since I used Word tool a lot, David, which is a tool you need to do it yourself, but like I said, we do onboarding. We'll do it for you, anything you want. Most importantly, I will say, 50% of what we do is the tool.
The other 50% is support. So we provide support almost around the clock. First response time is often like less than , 30 seconds. So with a single click, you're talking to somebody, who will instantly solve your problem, advise you how to create a custom label discuss with you what to exclude.
In order to be more profitable and what have you. So even customers that have been with us for like years know the two better than I do, they'll still hit the chat balloon every once in a while to get some help, to get some advice and what have you. Cuz after all, we have people that have been doing this for years on a daily basis.
So daily port is a service. It is not a tool.
Claus Lauter: Okay. No, that sounds great. Where can people find more about you
Jacques van der Wilt: guys? Data Fit works.com. You'll find everything there about the service. We have an incredibly a large block where you'll find basically articles on any possible way to optimize your product data, and your campaign
Claus Lauter: performance.
Okay, I will put a link in the show notes and you just one click away. Chuck, thanks so much for giving a very in-depth overview of what Data Feed Watch can do for merchants. I think having a good data feed is crucial for every business that wants to grow. For the ones that are listening and don't have a data feed activated right now, definitely look into Data Feed Watch.
Thanks so much for the call today. Alrighty. Thanks a
Jacques van der Wilt: lot cla. Have a good one. You too.
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