With Google Shopping continuously becoming more competitive, it’s more important than ever to find ways to gain an edge over your competitors. This year at Epiphany, we have seen a dramatic increase in spend through Shopping campaigns, as the changes to the results page layout and user familiarity have improved.

Additionally, Shopping ads now trigger much more frequently when a user searches for upper funnel terms, for example, ‘sony tv’ or ‘white shirt’; meaning there are more keywords that Shopping ads can appear for.

Supplemental feeds provide brands with an opportunity to get the best out of their shopping campaigns and gain an advantage over competitors in the SERPs. So, what’s the difference between ‘primary’ and ‘supplemental’ feeds?

  • Primary feeds are used to submit core product detail
  • Supplemental feeds are used to submit additional product detail, the additional detail is provided along with the product IDs so that Google can include new details with those provided in the primary feed

The majority of the time at Epiphany, we see clients’ primary feeds not meeting the high standards required to run an effective shopping campaign. Therefore, supplemental feeds are a great tool that can be utilised to make the required changes, without the need for client-side dev work.

Here are some of the most beneficial uses of supplemental feeds:

1.Custom labels

To group certain products into separate campaigns, e.g. for ‘best sellers’, to prioritise these in the auction, a supplemental feed is an easy way of setting this up. The supplemental feed will contain the IDs of the intended products, along with a custom label field, populated with ‘best sellers’.

2. Fixing product issues

If you’re ever faced with a sea of red in the ‘diagnostics’ tab of your GMC, then fear not. Often, these disapproved items can be fixed with the use of, yes, you guessed it, a supplemental feed.

Examples of some common item disapprovals are; ‘Missing Value [gtin]’ and ‘Missing Recommended Attribute’ (e.g. Google Product Category’). For both of these warnings, it may take time for a developer to fix the issues.

If you can get hold of the necessary information, then you can add it in through a supplemental feed. The benefit of this, is that you will have more products available to be served and you’ll eradicate the risk of account suspensions.

3. Altered titles/descriptions

There may be occasions whereby you want to tweak your usual product titles or descriptions for a temporary period.

Here’s an example of when this might be useful:

You have certain products that are going to be on offer during a promotional period (e.g. Black Friday). In order to give these products the best chance of maximising exposure (without simply increasing bids), you could add ‘Black Friday’ copy into either the product titles or descriptions.

This will give these products a greater chance of being served when people include ‘Black Friday’ in their searches. Once the promotion ends, you can delete the supplemental feed, and those products will revert back to their original titles/descriptions.

4. Merchant promotions

A merchant promotion allows you to add some promotional messaging to your shopping ads. Often, a promotion will only be applicable to certain products e.g. ‘£50 off TVs this weekend’.

To set up the promotion, you’ll need to upload a specific ‘promotions feed’, which will provide Google with the details of the promotion, as well as a ‘promotion ID’. Then you can use a supplemental feed to apply the promotion ID to the appropriate product IDs.

To conclude, supplemental feeds are a fantastic way to improve the quality of your feed in order to maximise shopping campaign performance, without the need for client dev work.