A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of hosting a webinar for a number of ShareASale Merchants entitled “Datafeed Tune Up”. We discussed the best practices for creating a product datafeed on ShareASale, including:
- Explanation of a product datafeed
- Detail of use and importance
- Create and upload a simple feed
- Address common pitfalls
- Review advanced options
There were a number of great questions at the end, so I wanted to share both the slides from the presentation and the Q&A portion.
1. What will happen if we did not update the file regularly?
Affiliates rely on merchants to update their feed regularly, so their sites have accurate information about products. Traffic is less likely to convert into a sale if the information changes between viewing an affiliate’s site and visiting the actual retailer. This frustrates everyone involved.
2. At my company we have an 8% discount when you buy two or more copies of an item. How would you write that?
Check out the QuantityDiscount column! Here’s what it says in our specs:
“Comma separated list in the format of minQuantity~maxQuantity~itemCost. Leave Max Quantity blank for top tier. You should include a tier with a minQuantity of 1 in this list, and the itemCost for this tier should match the value specified in the price column.”
So if you offer 8% off a $100 product, your value would be:
Note the bottom tier is 1-1-100 and the top tier has no middle value. Its itemCost is 8% off the price ($92) for the top tier.
3. For a product that comes in various colors, is it better or worse to use “options” vs. individual lines per sku/color? Each color has its own SKU and UPC. And each color has its own unique image and thumbnail. So I have one line per color. Is this a best practice?
Whether to use the option 1-5 columns for a SKU’s possible options is up to the merchant.
However, if you have unique SKU’s, separate images, URL’s, and other values for an option, it’s smart to include a new row for the product so affiliates will have access to even more information.
In general, if an option has enough distinguishing data to complete a new product row, insert it as a separate product. Otherwise, use the option columns (i.e. shoe sizes aren’t unique enough to warrant a new product row, but separate colors/styles may be).
4. Is there a character limit for search terms?
The SearchTerms column has a 255 character limit. You can see the character limit and expected datatype for any row under My Creatives >> Datafeed.
5. Is it preferable to indicate “soldout” or to remove from feed?
Each datafeed file uploaded should contain any products you want affiliates to have access. Every file overwrites the last, so products you leave out will be removed from ShareASale. Leave out products that are no longer offered on the site.
By leaving a product in the feed, but setting its “Status” column value to “soldout” (one word) you’re indicating to affiliates it’s still a product you offer but just sold out for now. You can also include one of the following statuses:
6. What if your product fits in two categories?
Pick the ShareASale category and subcategory that best fits, but consider using the other merchant-defined columns like MerchantCategory, MerchantSubcategory, MerchantGroup, and MerchantSubgroup in that order of broader to more detailed categorization.
7. Regarding clever commission rules, do these override special commissions for affiliates? Say if our datafeed commission rule says pay 5% for car stereo but affiliate’s special VIP is set at 10% – which one get the priority?
Product commissions override any individual affiliates’ custom rates you set. They’re higher in the commission calculation hierarchy.
If you want to ensure one or more affiliate(s) always receives a set commission rate regardless of product commission percentages, you can create a commission rule. Commission rules are the highest on the commission calculation hierarchy. Submit a ticket from within your account’s Help Center for more information.
View the Slide Deck Below: