First Off – What is a Datafeed, and Why Do I Need It?
1. A Datafeed is just a line by line listing of your products. That’s it. Think of it like an Excel spreadsheet of your inventory, with columns for things like price, an image, where to find it on your site, etc…
This is a Gallery Creative made by an Affiliate, using the Datafeed from BuyCostumes.com
In a nutshell, any website that wants to feature product on their pages will be looking for programs with a datafeed
How do I Build One and Get it On ShareASale?
So, let's get started! Below I will walk you through the building blocks for creating your own product datafeed.
First step, log into your Merchant account and go to: My Creatives > Datafeed
Next, when on the Product Management Center page, click the option to "View Datafeed Requirements".
This will bring you to the Mass Product Upload page which contains the specifications for building your Comma Delimited File (CSV). You can also download an example CSV file from this page as well.
You will notice there are 6 mandatory fields that are required in every datafeed file. These mandatory fields can be identified by those marked as “No” under the Null Value Allowed column in the datafeed specifications table.
The six mandatory fields are:
- SKU - must be unique, duplicate SKU's will be removed
- Category - must correspond to the ShareASale numeric options listed below the datafeed specifications table
- Subcateogry - must correspond to the ShareASale numeric options listed below the datafeed specifications table
Please note that although there are only 6 mandatory columns where data must be populated, all columns must be represented in the file and in the specified order. So, even if a column allows a Null value, the column must be included in your CSV file and can be treated as blank space if you choose to not enter any data in the field.Are we feeling good so far? Excellent! Let's look at a real life example now, shall we?
Yesterday, Lindsey provided an example of how an Affiliate would grab product information from the Affiliate interface. The product information for the Stainless Steel Bron Coucke Mandoline Slicer/Cutter/Shredder was available in the Affiliate interface thanks to a product datafeed provided by ShareASale Merchant, ABestKitchen.com.Take a look at the product page for the mandoline slicer and let's walk through what the data row would look like in a datafeed for this particular product.
Three of the six mandatory fields for datafeed can be found on the product page: SKU, URL, and price.
For the other three fields, the Merchant would look at the datafeed specifications page to determine which ShareASale category and subcategory numbers best fit the product. In this case, the category 11 (Home/Family) and subcategory 100 (Kitchen) work well for the slicer. The Merchant ID number can be found at the upper left side of the account.
Once the product information is entered into the six mandatory fields, the product row for this specific slicer would look something like the example below.
Even though there are only six required fields, there are certainly an abundance of optional fields that I would strongly encourage utilizing. The more information you can provide to the Affiliates about the product, the more flexibility they have for marketing and promoting. Some of my personal preferences/favorites include:
- URL to Image
- URL to Thumbnail Image
- Search Terms
- Merchant Category
Once your CSV is complete, you will compress the file to .zip or .gz archive and send it to us from the "Upload A New Datafeed" option. You also have the option to automatically upload the datafeed via FTP access. If you would like to set up FTP access, submit at “Ticket” from inside your account that includes the static IP address from where you will be uploading the feed.
There we have it! You now know the basic building blocks for building a product datafeed. It's important to note that many times, the data for the feed can be exported depending on the product database you, the Merchant, may be using. So that is something to look into in order to save the time and resources of building the file manually from scratch.
If you have any questions about the datafeed tool, please don't hesitate to contact us.