How do I manage a product data feed?

Before you start:

A product data feed enables your publishers to work with your product details independently. To find out why this can be highly beneficial, please read this article in the knowledge base. In this article, we explain how you can create a product data feed on the platform. We start by discussing the requirements for creating a product data feed.

Requirements

Creating a product data feed on the platform basically means that you establish a direct connection between the platform and the server on which your product data are stored. To be able to establish this connection, your product data must contain the following information. Please mark that if the fields / columns are empty for a product we will still process it without any errors. We don’t have any validation on the data that is included in those fields:

  • product number or ID.

  • product name.

  • brief description of the product.

  • price of the product.

  • product image URL, via which an image of your product can be displayed.

  • target URL, i.e. a link to the page in the advertiser’s website where the main information of the product is available, and the product can be ordered.

Apart from the content of the product data, there are also some technical requirements:

  • Make sure that your server accepts our user agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.3; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/37.0.2049.0 Safari/537.36 (i19s.com)

  • The size of your product data should not exceed 350 MB (unzipped). Of course, you can spread data over multiple data sources and then create separated connections for them.

  • Your product data system must be able to send the product data within one minute for download, otherwise the download will fail.

  • In case your product data cannot be reached more than three times in a row, the product data feed will be disabled.

  • If you use an FTP-server, it has to support the FTP SIZE command in order to check if the file changed before we download it

  • The system does not follow redirects, so your link should directly map to the data file

  • E-Tags headers are not supported yet

If you want, you can upload multiple feeds for one advertiser. This allows you to implement a distribution strategy for your partners.

Creating a product data feed

Adjusting the tracking settings

To be able to upload the product data feeds for an advertiser, you need to adjust the tracking settings of this advertiser. Doing this is relatively easy: just click on ‘advertiser’ in the main navigation menu, proceed to click on ‘manage advertiser’ and click on the  icon for the relevant advertiser. On the page appearing now, you will find a small tick box called ‘product data feed’ in the column on the left: tick the box and click on ‘save’ at the bottom of the page.

Getting started

If you go back to the main advertiser page now, you will find the  icon available in the commercial section. If you click on this icon, you will be taken to a page on which an overview of all product data is displayed in your platform. The page will look more or less like this:

This page offers you an overview on all the product data feeds you have created for the advertiser so far. To start creating a new product data feed, click the button ‘create new product feed’ in the top corner of this page.

Main settings

When you’ve clicked on the  icon and proceeded to click on the ‘create new product feed’ button, you will see a page looking more or less like this:

What you define on this page are the main settings of the product data feed. Let’s go through the settings one by one:

  • At the top of the page, you need to give your product feed a name. Make sure it is descriptive in relation to the content and instructive for your partners.

  • Under ‘source data and verification’, you manage the connection between the platform and the source of your product feed, i.e. the server on which your product data are stored. Make sure you fill out the following:

    • The download URL of the source of your data. Please note you also need to select a protocol for the URL: available protocols are http://, https:// and ftp://. Please note that if you select the secured protocol https:// you will be asked whether the SSL certificate for the domain should be validated.

    • If necessary, you can register the username and password needed to access the source data. In case you need additional HTTP headers to access the source data, you can add them by clicking on the link below the password entry.

    • Proceed to select the format of your source data by selecting a content type. The platform is capable of managing CSV and XML format. If you use ftp:// as download protocol you can only use CSV.

    • If your source data has a CSV format, you will need to register the delimiter (semicolon, comma, etc.) used to separate the product data. If quotation marks are used for your data, you need to register the type of the quotation marks used (double or single). If no quotation marks are used, just select ‘none’.

    • If your data has XML format, please mark, that only utf-8 encoding is supported.

    • By choosing an update interval, you decide the frequency by which the platform will update the product feed. You can choose to update the feed on an hourly, daily, weekly or monthly basis. Please choose a high interval only when the product date are frequently changed.

      • When you choose an hourly interval, please the following:

        • a double hourly update takes place at 12 AM and 12 PM

        • a triple hourly update takes place at 12 AM, 8 AM and 4 PM

        • a quadruple hourly update takes place at 12 AM, 6 AM, 12 PM and 6 PM

        • a sextuplet takes place at 12 AM, 4 AM, 8 AM, 4 PM and 8 PM

        • an octuple hourly update takes place at 12 AM, 3 AM, 6 AM, 9 AM; 12 PM, 3 PM, 6 PM and 9 PM.

      • If you choose a daily, weekly or monthly interval, it is recommended not to select business hours as the update time.

  • Under ‘status and availability’, you define whether the product feed is active or disabled. You also define whether your product feed is available for all partners. Please note that if you don’t want the data feed to be available for all partners, you need to select the partners that will have access to the feed.

Verification of the connection

When you have configured the settings, proceed to click on the ‘verify and save’ button in the right lower corner of the page. When you do this, a pop-up window will appear. The platform will try to connect with the download URL and validate the secured protocol, in case you have selected this. If no connection can be established, you will be asked to correct the download URL and check the username and password. If a connection can be established, the platform will provide an overview of the basic characteristics of the source of your product data, and you will be able to proceed.

Mapping the product data

When you proceed after the connection was established successfully, you will need to map the product data. To allow you to do this, another pop-up window will appear, providing you instructions and a preview of the first ten rows of the product data in the original source. This window you see will now look more or less like this:

Please make sure you do the following:

  • Under ‘column data type, you will find the required data elements mentioned above. Start by relating these elements to the data in the preview of the data source. If your data source contains columns with data that is not required, you can choose the option ‘all other columns’. If you don’t want data in a specific column to be shown to your partners, please select the option ‘ignore this column’.

  • If you want, you can define the name of the column via ‘export data name’. The name you enter here will the name of the header in the product data feed. If you don’t change the name, the platform will use the header from the original product data, which is displayed under ‘import data name’.

When you are done mapping your product data, click on the button ‘save’ in the lower right corner of the window. The product data feed will then become available for your partners, and you will be taken back to the product data feed overview.

Editing a product data feed

To edit a product feed, go back to the overview page by clicking on the  icon in the commercial section of the relevant advertiser under ‘manage advertisers’. Find the product feed you want to edit and click on the  icon. If you do so, you will see the same page opening as you were seeing when you created the product data feed. You can adjust the main settings directly. If you proceed to click on ‘verify and save, the verification process will start anew. Please note that if you only want to adjust the product data feed, you need to use a little trick: change something in the main settings, put it back again and proceed to click on ‘verify and save’. If you click on ‘verify and save’ directly, the verification process will not be triggered.

Please note that all adjustments you and other users of the platform make will be recorded in the history of the product feed. You can access the history by clicking on the  icon.

Deleting a product data feed

To click a product feed, go to the overview page by clicking on the  icon in the commercial section of the relevant advertiser. Find the product feed you want to delete, click on the  icon and confirm your action in the window popping up afterwards. Please inform your partners before you remove a product feed, so they have the chance to adjust their ad media.

Troubleshooting with data feeds

Product data feeds contain a lot of data and this data is adjusted frequently. Therefore, you might run into some errors while working with product data feeds. If the data feed is not responding as you expected, please check the following:

  • New columns can be added to the data source. If these new columns are not properly mapped, the platform won’t be able to transmit the data properly.

  • The order of the columns in the data source might be changed. If the new order of the columns does not correspond with the order you have mapped on the platform, the feed won’t work.

  • Obsolete product data is sometimes removed from the data source, without being replaced with new data. If the platform finds the data source is empty, the feed won’t work.

Errors occurring during the updates of your product data feed will be recorded in the history as well.