All About Datafeeds

Overview


WHAT IS A DATAFEED? 

A datafeed is an organized list of the products in your online store. A datafeed typically includes product information such as name, sku, category, buy link, image, etc. A number of these fields are required in every AvantLink datafeed, as detailed below.


WHY IS A DATAFEED IMPORTANT? 

Maintaining a high-quality datafeed is a great way to ensure that your product information is being accurately delivered to your affiliates. Affiliates need access to accurate, up-to-date product information in order to effectively advertise your products to their audiences. 


DATAFEED SETUP

There are several acceptable formats for your datafeed. Comma-separated values (.csv) and tab-delimited (.txt) are preferable. Datafeeds can also be set up in XML, and pipe-delimited. 

While the naming of the document does not matter, it is recommended to keep the format as simple as possible. For example: rei_avantlink.csv

The data file must include the minimum fields:

  • SKU
  • Product Name
  • Long Description
  • Department
  • Image URL
  • Buy Link (product detail page URL)
  • Retail Price (numeric only)

ALL_ABOUT_DATAFEEDS_SCREENSHOT_1.png

The above fields are only the bare minimum. Our datafeeds have the ability to map many additional attributes, some examples are listed below.  You can speak with an support agent (support@avantlink.com) if you have questions about additional datafeed attributes :

  • Brand Name
  • Brand Logo Image
  • Brand URL
  • Category
  • Sub-Category
  • Sale Price
  • Product Reviews
  • Short Description
  • Keywords
  • GTIN/UPC


HOW TO UPLOAD YOUR DATAFEED

AvantLink can automatically retrieve and update your datafeed on a daily basis. This can be done in two ways:

  • House the datafeed yourself:
    • Share the HTTP download URL where the file is hosted by your internal server to support@avantlink.com.
  • Send the datafeed to AvantLink via File Transfer Protocol (FTP) software:
    • Contact support@avantlink.com for FTP credentials. 
    • Filezilla is a commonly used FTP software, which you can download and use to send us your datafeed. 
    • Once Filezilla is accessed using the provided credentials, place the datafeed in the root folder located in the Remote Site section of the screen. 

ALL_ABOUT_DATAFEED_SCREENSHOT_2.PNG

Once you have your feed properly formatted and uploaded, simply contact support@avantlink.com and we will take care of the rest! 


BEST PRACTICES FOR CREATING A QUALITY DATAFEED

Below are some tips to make sure your datafeed is as effective and useful to affiliates as possible:

Include a Sale Price

Some affiliates search for and display only products that are discounted from their normal retail price. Including a sale price will ensure that your products are not overlooked by those affiliates, as well as provide them with a competitive price to display to their viewers.

Populate as many columns as possible

Generally, it's a good idea to provide as many of the "optional" columns as you can in your datafeed. The more information is available to affiliates, the easier it is for them to build creative, targeted ads that are more likely to convert. GTIN/UPC are particularly useful additions, as they allow affiliates to compare products across datafeeds.

Keep tabs on affiliate usage

It's a good idea to be aware of how many/which affiliates are actively using your datafeed. If your datafeed is minimally used, you may want to contact your Affiliates to find out how you can improve your feed for optimal usage. You can access this information from your merchant account under Tools > Datafeed Administration > Active Websites.

Create Specialty Feeds

Some merchants, especially those who carry numerous products, create "specialty feeds" that contain only a subset of their products. This can be useful for affiliates who are interested in displaying only certain types of goods. Specialty feeds may also help you organize a very large inventory into smaller, more manageable datasets.  You can create specialty feeds by logging into your merchant account, going to Tools > Datafeed Administration, and then click on [Create a New Specialty Feed]. You will be asked to name the feed and enter the SKUs of the products that you want to include. Then, just click "Submit".


DATAFEED MAINTENANCE

Once you have your datafeed setup, it is a good idea to check in regularly to make sure that your datafeed is updating successfully. 

To access your merchant datafeed interface, navigate to Tools > Datafeed Administration from your AvantLink dashboard. 

  • Check the "Last Updated" column in this interface. Updates should occur daily. When AvantLink’s system was able to pull a file.
  • Check the "Last Actual Change" column in this interface. Updates should occur when changes have been made to the datafeed. This date does not necessarily have to update daily if information in the datafeed has not changed.  When actual information was changed or added to the file.

Our servers automatically process datafeeds every night. If your datafeed fails to process for some reason, one or both of these columns may stop updating. If you notice this, contact support@avantlink.com.


CHANGES TO YOUR DATAFEED

Please work with AvantLink’s support team (support@avantlink.com) if any changes are made including: 

  • Added columns
  • Moved columns
  • Deleted columns
  • Renamed columns
  • Changes to the URL if the file is hosted by your internal server 

Please Note: If you make changes to your datafeed, it's very important to let us know! Once we pull your datafeed, we have to make some transformations to it. If you have made changes that we are not aware of, the datafeed may not update properly. 

If you want to immediately update your datafeed with new products, you can trigger a manual update using the MerchantTriggerDatafeedUpdate module of the AvantLink API. You will need an API Key to make this request, so contact AvantLink Support if you have not yet been assigned one. For more information on using this API module, click here.

If you have any questions please contact support@avantlink.com for help.

Click here for legacy AvantLink datafeed specifications.


ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS

If you have any questions about your datafeed, please contact support@avantlink.com.

Have more questions? Submit a request