Find out how to make changes and additions to your Shopping feed on the fly using supplemental feeds. Plus you can even run a/b tests with your feed too.

If you are not using a shopping feed provider, then odds are you need another way to manage your shopping feed and make changes to it. Enter Google Shopping’s supplemental feeds!

Supplemental feeds provide additional, or supplemental, data that can be connected to existing product data in the primary feed. Supplemental feeds cannot add or remove products, or be used as a standalone feed; instead, they’re used to update existing product data. Supplemental feeds can provide additional information to multiple primary feeds.

To use a supplemental feed, you are going to need to connect it to existing primary feed through the id attribute. Supplemental feeds will only update your product data when the supplemental feed contains IDs that already exist in a primary feed. The id attribute is your connection and key between  your two feeds. Your primary feed is the shopping feed that has all your shopping products.

How Supplemental Feeds Work

When creating a supplemental feed, you’ll change your selection to indicate you’d like to join your feeds with the id attribute. Each supplemental feed must have an id attribute column, along with at least one additional column with the data you would like to connect to a primary feed.

For example:

Primary feed:

idtitlepricebrand
1jumper80Brand A
2boots90Brand B
3slippers50Brand C
4pants125Brand D

Supplemental feed that uses the id attribute to match to the primary feed:

idcustom_label
1SALE
4SALE

Resulting feed:

id title price brand custom_label 
1jumper80Brand ASALE
2boots90Brand B
3slippers550Brand C
4pants125Brand DSALE

Now that you know how to update data in your primary feed. You may be wondering what are some common use cases for supplemental feeds? They include but are not certainly limited to the following:

  • Add or override custom labels for campaign management
  • Add or override promotion IDs for retail promotions
  • Override product titles
  • Exclude specific products (via the excluded_destination attribute)
  • Add missing GTINs to your feed on the fly

Creating Supplemental Feeds

To create a supplemental feed, go to the Products > Feeds section in your Merchant Center. At the top of the supplemental feeds table, click Add a supplemental feed to create a new supplemental feed. Follow the instructions on the screen and provide the following pieces of information about your data:

  • Supplemental feed name: Enter a descriptive name that helps you identify the supplemental feed. The supplemental feed name doesn’t need to match the name of the file you’re submitting.
  • Input method: Select the one that fits your needs best:
    • Google Sheets: You can upload your data using a generated Google Sheets template, or with an existing Google Sheet with your product data.
    • Scheduled fetch: Google can fetch your feed directly from your server.
    • Upload: Upload files directly to Merchant Center via SFTP, FTP, Google Cloud Storage, or manually.
  • File name: Depending on what input method you select, you may be prompted to enter the name of the file you’ll be submitting. This name should exactly match the name of the file you created and include a valid extension.

  • Linking to primary feed: Select any primary feed and country / language combination to which the supplemental feed belongs

  • Fetch schedule: set a scheduled fetch for your product data. This lets Merchant Center get fresh feeds without you needing to manually upload your data.

To manually upload or fetch a feed, click on the 3-dot icon in the processing tab of your feed and select your upload preference from the dropdown.

Once your supplemental feed is created and linked to a primary feed, Merchant Center will automatically create a rule, which you can find in the “feed rules” section of Merchant Center. The rule will connect the product data from the two feeds based on the id value provided and will connect attribute data from the supplemental feed.

Running Tests With Supplemental Feeds

One of the coolest uses cases for a supplemental feed is a/b testing your product titles to try and get more sales from your shopping campaigns. What two product title tests are you going to run you may ask. Here are two easy one’s to implement.

Add Your Brand Name At The Back Of Product Titles

When you search for your products on shopping….. who doesn’t do that? You notice that your company name is so long that you can barely see the name of your SKU in SERP. You think that this could be why some people don’t click on your products (over other competitors). Why not take a set of SKUs that don’t convert as well and put your brand name at the back of your product title. Run your shopping ads for 30 or 60 days and see what the results are.

Update Your Product Titles With New Keywords

You notice some of your products are not getting as much traffic as you would like. After doing some research you notice 2 or 5 competitors have longer product titles than you do. You decide to update your product titles with new keywords to see if that helps you capture more traffic that can turn into sales.

Both of the above situations are really easy to take care of with access to a shopping feed management tool. It’s not so easy if you are connecting your Shopify store with Google Merchant Center through the API connection. Now you can create a Supplemental Feed and update your shopping feed with more and better data to turn around your shopping campaigns. That is it for this week. See you next time.