Common data feed mistakes and how to prevent them

SEOEcommerceTagging
By Yuval Ginor, Jul 22,2021

We gathered seven common data feed mistakes we encountered and offer a way to prevent them. When you finish reading this list, you will be ready to detect and fix all of these, make your feed much better, drive your conversions and ultimately drive better sales.


We have already discussed how critical product data is to your online store’s success - the more information you as a seller provide about your products, the larger the exposure. However, there are several mistakes that we encounter quite often. The problem with these mistakes is that although they are sometimes hard to find, your entire product feed’s success might depend on them.   


To help sellers avoid such results, we gathered seven of the most common data feed mistakes we encountered, and we offer a way to prevent them. When you finish reading this list, you will be ready to detect and fix all of these mistakes in your own feed, and laugh at yourself for making them at all.  
 

  1. Product titles that are too long


While the product title’s main goal is to attract customers to the product page, they are still subject to rules and conditions of the different marketing channels. So while the title should provide customers with important information about the product, it is also restricted to a certain number of characters. And this is where the problem begins.


The problem only becomes more complicated when we realize that each channel has a different limit on characters, which forces sellers to keep up with the rules of each one. For instance, Ebay set the limit of characters in the title to 80 characters, while Amazon allows up to 200 characters, but this number changes between different categories. 



A common mistake is creating product titles that are too long, even though they abide by the channel’s rules. Long titles tend to look disorganized, are sometimes cut off mid-word, and have overall lower clickthrough ratio. 



Solution:


Examine and learn the rules of each marketing channel you use before creating the product feed. Once you familiarize yourself with the different rules, begin creating your feeds in accordance to the requirements.


In addition, if you find that your titles are too long, begin shortening them by removing any information that is not essential. Also, make sure you put the most relevant and attractive information at the beginning of the title, so it will still appear, even if the rest is cut off.  

 

  1. Improper product titles 


As mentioned above, the title’s main goal is to attract customers to the page, and there are ways to do it. Using ALL CAPS is not one of these ways. It might make you stand out, but not in a positive way. Customers who encounter a title containing all caps words tend to view it in suspicion and stay away from the product.  
 


Already we can see that some of the biggest names in ecommerce, such as Amazon, began to restrict the number of capitalized letters in their titles.


If overcapitalization is a mistake, then using sign and emojis in the title is even a bigger mistake. Sellers who think they will attract attention, using things like “L@@K” in the title, are actually doing themselves more harm than good. Not only do these sorts of things deter customers, painting the store as unprofessional, but you also run the risk that your feed will be rejected due to use of improper charchertes in the title.  



Solution:


If you want to stand out from the rest, and attract customers to your product pages, rather than attracting them with SHOUTS, it is much better to create a good product title, one which provides sufficient relevant information that will entice the customer to look into the product.  

  1. Improper or Insufficient Categorization


Dividing the products into relevant categories is a highly essential part of ecommerce for everybody involved: it helps the seller to better organize and control the store, and provide a better feed for the marketing channels, which then enables the customers to easily and quickly find the products they are looking for. If the products are not organized by categories, mayhem will ensue, and there are good chances the feed will be rejected from every channel.  


One common mistake is to do the bare minimum and organize products into overgeneral “bucket” categories. For example, putting every items into “DIY/Other” category. While this is better than nothing, it is not much better. While the search will normally cover the products in these categories, the browsing in these categories is non existant. Have you ever clicked the “Other” category when you were shopping online? Exactly. If you categorize your products as “Others”, you might as well not categorize them at all. 


Keeping in line with each channel’s taxonomy and category requirements, you should organize your products into more specific categories and subcategories. The more specific the category is - the more relevant the products will be to the customers who choose them, which drives conversion rates up.


For instance, if you are selling women’s jeans, instead of just putting the product under the “Clothing, Shoes & Accessories” category, it is better to get more granular and put it under the more specific subcategory Clothing, Shoes & Accessories > Women's Clothing > Women's Jeans.


Solution:


You can gain a lot by categorizing products into specific subcategories, rather than overgeneral bucket categories. It is worth investing the time and effort to study each channel’s taxonomy requirements and the names of the different categories and subcategories they offer, and then divide the products into relevant and specific subcategories. Just make sure you don’t leave any product uncategorized.  

  1. Broken URLs


The links you provide in your product feeds obviously should lead to the corresponding product pages. However, sometimes errors occur, human or technical, and links could be broken. In such an event, the link will lead the shopper to an error screen, which is never good. You not only lose a sale opportunity, but the reputation of the store is damaged as well. Today's ecommerce shoppers put user experience above all else, and getting an error screen is the opposite of a good experience.


In addition, once detected, some channels automatically remove broken links from the feed, and this might lead to the rejection of the whole feed.


But it is not only product page URLs that you need to pay attention to. Another common mistake is providing broken image URLs. With the emphasis on user experience, images are a big and significant part of the product page. No matter how well the title and product description are written, if the image URL is broken, the performance of the product will suffer.



Solution:


Before uploading your product feed to the channel, run a test on all the links and images and make sure they are not broken and updated. 

  1. Blank required data fields


By now, we all know that each channel has its own requirements and rules regarding the product feed they accept. Accordingly, each channel also has its own set of data fields, some are required and some are optional. Once again, this requires you to familiarize yourself with the data field requirements of each channel, which sometimes become quite complex, in order to avoid the risk of having your feed rejected for missing a required field.


It is important to note that oftentimes the data field requirements vary from category to category within the channels themselves. For instance, Ebay will not allow you to upload a clothing item without providing a size, as the size attribute is required. But of course it will not be required when uploading a laptop, for example.

  1. Missing Tags


The vast majority of online shoppers follow up their initial search query with site navigation. By selecting the attributes and values that correspond to the products they are looking for, they can zero in on the products they are looking for easily and quickly, ensuring a great shopping experience. For site navigation to function properly, however, all the products in the store must be tagged in accordance to their attributes and values, so when shoppers look for these values, the relevant product will come up.


A very common mistake is not tagging the products with the correct tags, or not tagging them at all. Incorrectly tagging a product , or not tagging at all, will prevent it from appearing in relevant searches, leading to lost sales opportunities. For instance, if you sell a JBL portable speaker, but fail to tag it with the “Brand” and “Type” attributes, then it will simply not appear in the results when shoppers browse for a JBL portable speaker.


Solution:


Although tagging each and every product in your online store with all the relevant attributes may be a demanding task, it is definitely worth the effort. Studies have shown that tagged products perform significantly better than untagged products, and increase products’ sales and conversion rates.   

  1. Not providing product data or product images


A big part of marketing is presenting your product in a manner that will keep the customers interested. Well written product descriptions and inviting images are great tools for attracting customers. Keep in mind that unlike section 5, which deals with required data, here we discuss optional data. Just because it is optional does not mean you should let this marketing opportunity go to waste.



Solution


Don’t just check off the required data fields. Put an effort in your product descriptions, attach enticing product images, create intriguing content, use popular keywords and invest in SEO optimization, as these will significantly improve your store’s shopping experience which, in turn, will lead to more sales. 


These mistakes may seem small and unimportant, but in fact, each may have tremendous effects on the performances of your product feed, and whether or not it is accepted or rejected. In contrast, fixing and avoiding them takes time, a lot of effort, high attention to details, and continuously updating and adjusting according to the channels’ changing rules. However, daunting as it might be, it is worth the investment, as fixing some of these mistakes will immediately improve the performance of your online store. 

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