A Day at Affiliate Huddle

Last week the Incubeta UK team attended and took to the stage at Affiliate Huddle, a one-day conference dedicated to affiliate marketing at the Brighton Centre. Affiliate Huddle celebrates best practice, encourages knowledge sharing, and creates healthy debate in a relaxed and stimulating environment.

Maria Georgieva

Callum Kennelly, our Incubeta Partnerships Manager spoke about how to Make Your Product Feed Work Harder discussing current issues that we find with product feeds, real life examples of optimized product feeds and our CPA based feed management model.


As a CSS and  feed management provider we process thousands of feeds per day which generates over 6 billion bytes of data daily. This allows us to have a deep understanding of what makes a good product feed and what makes a bad one.

Problem 1: Lack of fully optimized attributes

One of the first issues that we see is the lack of fully optimized attributes; such as the product title itself. 

The product title is one of the main things within a feed for a product to be searched on, and even if other attributes (such as material, size or colour) are on point, if the title is not optimal, then the product will  not appear in relevant searches.

An example of this would be Google Product Categories not being specific enough (e.g. having it set as just ‘Clothing & Accessories’ rather than  ‘Clothing & Accessories > Clothing > Outerwear > Coats & Jackets’ for a jacket product).

Problem 2: Disapprovals Across a Product Feed

Another popular issue is disapprovals across product feeds. If you have disapprovals it means that your CSS provider is not able to use your feed or run campaigns; this includes CSS and any other feed based service that you might want to use. Such issues would cause delays for any other publisher or advertiser going live.

Common Disapprovals:

  • Wrong availability in stock/out of stock status
  • Image issues (e.g text overlays on images)
  • Missing GTINs
  • Generally incorrect/invalid info or formatting coming in through any attribute

Problem 3: Infrequent Processes

The lack of processes consistency and structure could unquestionably be a threat and reduce efficiency, with examples including:

  • Irregular auditing
  • No alerting systems
  • Lack of testing

Problem 4: Lack of centralisation

The most common issue we seem to hear about when it comes to product feeds is that there’s lack of centralisation. What that means is that if there is a problem, like a stock availability issue, you’d then have to populate that manually across all of your feeds.

If each channel has its own processes, and is being run by several agencies with different levels of automation and optimizations, then the cross-channel implementation will likely be unnecessarily time-consuming and performance channels would be siloed from one another. These issues can also extend to reporting and data analysis capabilities.


Utilizing External Data

One of the overarching benefits of having an optimized feed is the ability to use external data to push performance and drive results. For example, a sports retailer could use the Fantasy Football API, game fixtures and sport schedules to push relevant and time-specific products, or a garden centre advertiser can use weather and seasonality data to inform their product strategy.

Here’s an example of how we used the official Premier League Fantasy Football API to drive performance and optimize paid search activity for Fanatics.

Search Automation – Optimizing Paid Search Activity for Fanatics

Custom Label Segmentation

Another benefit of feed optimization is the ability is to customize your label segmentation, such as:

  • Price Competitiveness
  • Stock, Margin, Weather
  • Social Triggers
  • Product Reviews

Being able to base decisions on attributes like seasonality, price competitiveness data with information from Google Shopping campaigns will allow you  to use that combined intelligence and optimise your performance. 

Performance Segmentation

Optimizing your feeds also makes it possible for you to segment your performance. For example, understanding sitewide bestsellers, Google Shopping bestsellers and the margin tiers – the comparison and correlation – could significantly improve bidding. Once you have your third party data, it’s worth looking at it from a first party data perspective as well.

  • Popularity of product tiers based on last 30 days
  • Seasonal performance of product
  • The use of 1st party data

The Performance Based Feed Management Model.

The Performance Based Feed Model allows you to begin with a Feed Management service without the managed spend. It allows aligned objectives, growth, coverage, efficiency and it’s risk-free.

For more information get in touch today! 

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