Our third webinar in Incubeta’s Virtual Learning Series saw Fred Maude, Head of Product Development, provide insights into Feed Management best practices and the Feed Maturity Pyramid. Offering actionable guidance and an overview of each maturity stage, Fred’s session is a fantastic introduction into the world of feed maturity.
If you want to supercharge your marketing efforts, there’s one key element that you should be focusing on getting right: your feeds. Feeds contain all of the memories of past campaigns, products and customers. So, when set up correctly these memories or your past data can not only be the backbone of your marketing efforts but also have a profound impact on your business as a whole.
To make feeds the centre of your business, you can work through the Feed Maturity Pyramid, which not only highlights where you currently sit in your feeds journey, but also how to layer each subsequent stage. If you try and jump in at the top of the pyramid without laying the foundations, you’re likely to come crashing back down.
Laying the Foundations
There are two key parts to laying your feeds foundations. The first is to ensure that your data is reliable and accurate. Specifically, this relates to both your pricing and your stock; which can be broken down into 6 subcategories.
Standard and Sales Pricing should be updated in line with sector standards and must match the data on-site. This can be as regular as minute by minute for gambling and ideally hourly for most retail. Getting it right unlocks the ability to have dynamic messaging in your ads.
Including Shipping Labels becomes important when you’re sending your feeds to third parties as it allows you to control this information so it doesn’t become out of date.
Monitoring both stock and pricing, and overlaying this with your own data governance alerts, gives you the peace of mind that you’re catching and fixing any mistakes or issues as soon as they happen.
With pricing taken care of, you can then look at both Availability and Stock Levels. Most people do have availability in their feeds but stock levels don’t tend to feature. With this information you can look at sell-through rates, predicting stock outages and adding some urgency to your messaging.
Once you’re happy that the data is accurate, you’ll need to ensure that it’s put through continuous and rigorous testing. Times change, and you’ll need to make sure that you’re reinventing your best practices to fall in line with these changes.
Leveraging Your Data
With the foundations laid, you are then able to move on to leveraging your own data. First of all, you can loop your performance data back into your standardised feed, and labelling up products based on how they’re performing both as a whole, and across different channels. Crucially, by pulling your performance data into the feed, you are creating a feedback loop into all channels tearing down those silos.
Stock and returns is another useful dataset to be incorporating into your feed, especially for businesses in the travel sector. For example, it allows you to keep track of when you might want to pause ads for a product because seats or supplies are selling quickly, so why spend money advertising them!? On top of this, you can also track return rates, and hence give yourself a true picture of profitability. In other words, you have your product demand and product quality directly pushed into your feed and optimise to a true ROAS.
Taking this even further, and perhaps most importantly in the current climate, is to incorporate your margin into the feed. This way, you are able to optimise to a margin of ad spend – thus allowing you to ensure profitability at all times. Guaranteeing this kind of efficiency, especially in our uncertain economy, can only benefit your businesses stability and longevity.
Share Your Insights
With an increasing demand for centralisation, there’s a lot that can be done within your feeds to help you along the way. Most accounts will have their central feed which is pushed out to their various channels, and the different teams that look after them. Each individual team will then set up their own automation, processes and testing – often leading to huge amounts of repetition as well as some insights being overlooked by the various agencies and channel leads. In the long run, this will cost you a huge amount of both money and time and you’re not being efficient with the data you’ve got.
Instead, automation and testing should be sitting with your central feed wherever possible. This way, you’re sending the results of this to all your teams, creating a huge amount of efficiencies; saving you time and money in the long run. As you build out these testing frameworks, remember to keep all of your agencies in the loop as this allows everyone to learn together.
Utilise External Data
Having reached the top of the Feed Maturity Pyramid, you can now start to undertake some of the really exciting projects that can be done using external data. Before you get swept up in this stage, go back and doublecheck all of your foundations to this point are set up correctly and accurately. Once you have that peace of mind, you can jump into utilising external data to supercharge your feeds.
Our internal teams have seen some huge successes in integrating sports fixtures and team performance into feeds for our sports clients. Clothing retailers can bolster their feeds by incorporating weather data, as it can help to serve the perfect product to a user based on their current weather and pollen conditions. There’s a lot of different examples here that can allow you to optimise your campaigns based on external factors that are outside of your control but can have huge impacts on consumer buying habits.
As has been reiterated throughout this session, we cannot overstate the importance of layering up your feed activity. Each step of this pyramid requires a solid foundation, else you risk becoming unstuck. Getting this right unlocks a whole host of exciting projects that you can undertake using both your own and external data, however, and the impact on your campaigns as a whole is sure to blow you away.