A data feed is a file that contains relevant information about all a merchant's products and services such as:
* Page URL
* Image URL
* And more
A publisher can put the data feed on their website using specialized code to “feed” the products onto the website for their audience to purchase. Inside the code, each category is generally separated by a | (pipe). Each line of code (if you used Notepad) would look like this:
Name|Price Page|URL Image|URL Description|Category|More ||
Use two pipes to indicate an empty field and the end of the line. You don't have to create the file if you first load the products in your shopping cart – the shopping cart system will do it for you – but if you are taking advantage of the idea of a fast product upload that some shopping carts allow for, creating the code text file first might be a good option for you.
A data feed can include any information that you want it to include so that affiliate marketers can promote your products and services on their websites easily. Affiliates can use the information in your data feed file, usually in .csv or XML format. They can put that information into Excel and alter it for their own needs, taking out some products if they wish. Offering data feeds is a very lucrative way to help affiliates easily promote your products and services.
Conversely, if you are an affiliate marketer you can use data feeds to promote other people's products and services on your website in the same way. This is a fast way to offer many or all of a publisher's products or just some in a particular category and get credit for them. The URL for the product will be generated to include your affiliate ID, or you may have to go into the file using Excel or Notepad and alter the links to include your affiliate ID.
Many shopping carts and affiliate management programs offer the ability to create or grab data feeds depending on which side of the equation you're on. Another way to use data feeds is to create the document and upload the information to your chosen shopping cart. This is a much faster way to upload many products if you have more than a few. You'd simply create the file in a text spreadsheet or XML.
Data feeds are an important part of online marketing, especially when you have or want to promote multiple products and services. It's really easy to add products, for instance from Amazon, by using their data feed creation system. You simply find the products you want, then you can narrow it down even more. You then take the code given to you and paste it into the code of your website or shopping cart that allows data feeds and integration with stores that offer data feeds.