- What is a Datafeed?
- Why is a Datafeed Important?
- Datafeed Setup
- Uploading the Datafeed
- Best Practices
- Datafeed Maintenance
- Changing/Updating the Datafeed
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. Updates to merchant feed data and records are the responsibility of the merchant and must be updated by said merchant in order for up-to-date information to be present. Affiliates need access to accurate, up-to-date product information in order to effectively advertise your products to their audiences.
There are several acceptable formats for your datafeed:
- Comma-separated values (.csv) - preferable
- XML (here is a template to use) - preferable
- Tab-delimited (.txt)
The datafeed must include all the required fields for every product (row):
|SKU||string||required||The unique product ID or SKU from your internal e-commerce system.|
|Product Name||string||required||The product name.|
|Long Description||string||required||The product long description.|
|Department||string||required||The department name this product is associated with on your website.|
|Image URL||string||required||The URL for the large / full-size product image.|
|Buy Link||string||required||The product detail page URL.|
|Retail Price||decimal||required||The product price. By default, all currency values should be supplied as US dollars (USD).|
Example of completed datafeed with required fields:
AvantLink datafeeds have the ability to map many additional attributes, some examples are listed below:
|Manufacturer ID||string||optional||The manufacturer assigned product ID, i.e. manufacturer part number.|
|Brand Name||string||recommended||The product brand name.|
|Short Description||string||optional||The product short description.|
|Standardized Categorization||string||recommended||The product categorization according to a global / industry-standard specification. Values must be specified according to the Google categorization taxonomy.|
|Subcategory||string||optional||The subcategory name this product is associated with on your website.|
|Thumb URL||string||optional||The URL for the product thumbnail (a.k.a. small) image. If possible the thumbnail image width should not be greater than 150 pixels.|
|Keywords||string||optional||A comma delimited list of product keywords.|
|Sale Price||decimal||required||The product sale price. $0.00 can be used for products that are not on sale.|
|Brand Page Link||string||optional||The product brand page URL.|
|Brand Logo Image||string||optional||The product brand logo image URL.|
|Item Based Commission||decimal||optional||The item based commission to be paid for this product. Only required if you are doing item based commissions and if the item commission is different then the default program commission amount.|
UPC: The 9-13 digit Universal Product Code (UPC) for this product. Often however, UPCs are unique to product color, size, or style variations and may better be specified using a “variants” Extended Attribute rather than one single value per product.
GTIN: Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) can be used by a company to uniquely identify all of its trade items.
HOW TO UPLOAD YOUR DATAFEED
AvantLink will retrieve and update the datafeed on a daily basis. There are two ways AvantLink can retrieve the file:
- Host the datafeed
- Host the file on your internal server.
- Provide AvantLink the HTTPS download URL and from there AvantLink will import the map the datafeed as long as datafeed is configured properly.
- Use File Transfer Protocol (FTP):
- If you have your own FTP server, provide the credentials to your integration rep after the file has been added.
- If you do not have your own FTP server, contact your integration rep for FTP credentials.
- If you need a FTP software, we recommend Filezilla.
- After downloading Filezilla, connect to the FTP location using the AvantLink FTP credentials
- Place the datafeed in the root folder and let your integration rep know after the file has been added. See screenshot:
- If you need a FTP software, we recommend Filezilla.
The name of the datafeed document should remain static, changing the file name will break the integration. is recommended to keep the format as simple as possible.
For example: merchantname_avantlink.csv
Once you have your feed properly formatted and uploaded, contact your integration rep 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".
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 AvantLink.
CHANGES TO YOUR DATAFEED
Please contact AvantLink if any changes are made as it may break your datafeed configuration. Example of changes include:
- Renaming the datafeed
- Changes to the URL if the file is hosted by your internal server
- Adding columns
- Moving columns
- Deleting columns
- Renaming columns
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 if you have not yet been assigned one. For more information on using this API module, click here.
If you have any questions about your datafeed, please contact AvantLink.