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A data feed is the fundamental start to creating a Google Shopping campaign. Normally this will take the form of an XML feed, a CSV file which sits on the websites server and feeds into Google on a daily basis, depending on your settings. As the feed tends to sit on the server it can be quite tricky to edit, optimise and test without having to re-upload the file, which may cause downtime to your campaigns. There are multiple tools which can ease this pain point but these come at an extra cost and depending on feed types, product numbers and so on it can get costly. For example, if you want to run shopping campaigns in the UK and US across Bing and Google, this already incurs 4 feed inputs normally taking you to the tier two pricing of any platform!
These feeds are known in the Google Merchant Center as the Primary Feed, where you can remove/add inventory and set your language and country targeting too. You must have a Primary Feed to run campaigns on Google Shopping.
In recent months Google has introduced Supplemental Feeds, where you can provide additional data which connects to your existing Primary Feed. These have replaced online inventory update feeds and test feeds. Supplemental Feeds can only work and update your product data when they contain IDs that are already in the Primary Feed.
Some of the elements you can edit using the Supplemental Feed:
- Custom Labels
- Promotion ID’s
- Exclude Specific Products
- GTIN Data
- And more
The main thing to remember is the Supplemental Feed must have an ID attribute column along with a second column for the data you want to connect with the Primary Feed.
A huge benefit with a Supplemental Feed is you can use a Google Sheet to connect the data, giving you as a marketer to make changes and test things without the need of the tech department!