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All-in-one Feed Setup Overview Guide

GoDataFeed Technical Team
GoDataFeed Technical Team
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Feed templates allow you to structure your product data to fit a shopping or advertising channel's recommended format. GoDataFeed contains and optimizes 200+ feed templates for all of the leading selling channels. If you cannot find your desired channel in GoDataFeed, then you can either build a custom feed template to submit a channel of your choice, or contact us for further assistance.

In the article, we will explain the basics of adding and setting up a feed, as well as review to how to submit feeds. 

Getting Started

First, you will need to download your Imported product catalog from GoDataFeed, then you will need to add the feed template for the channel you would like to submit your product feed to. Expand and follow the steps outlined below:

  • You need to download and refer to your imported product data while completing your feed setup, because this shows you what data fields you have available, what they are labeled, and which data fields have acceptable values to map into your feeds.

    To download your imported data:

    1. Navigate to the 'Import' tab > select 'Catalog' > click the 'Download' button in the left side menu

      import download.png

    2. Open the zipped .csv file in your favorite spreadsheet application

    3. The top row of your downloaded Import file displays your product data fields (i.e. - the data points available to map into your feeds) and you can browse through the available data for these fields

      data field.png
  • 1. Navigate to the 'Feeds' tab > select 'Add Feed' > click 'Browse' to view all available channel feed templates, or search for the channel you would like to submit products to > click 'Select' > click to Approve any subscription changes (if necessary for your Subscription)

    add feed.png

    2. Click 'Compile Feed'

    compile feed.png

    Compiling a feed applies all of the mappings, filters, and rules created to a feed -- and-- our system runs a data validation check on your feed data and produces a Validation Summary of errors, warnings, or optimizations available for your products that we will review in detail below.


Setting up your feed

Once you have completed the steps above, you will need to map in your product data into your feed, choose which products to send to the channel, categorize your products according to the channel's taxonomy, and then configure the submission settings to automate the feed's submission to the channel. Follow the steps below to set up your feed:

  • Feed mapping is the process of inputting your imported product catalog data points (found in the top row of your downloaded import file referenced in Step 1 of the Getting Started section above) into the feed template's data points so that you are submitting the correct product data -- in the correct format -- to the receiving channel.

    To start mapping a feed, click 'Mapping' in the left-side menu.

    Mapping page 1.png

    The 'Feed fields' column on the left-side of the page displays all of the feed fields included in this template. Note: you can use the dropdown in the top right hand corner of the page to drill down into 'Required' fields, 'Optional' fields, 'Mapped' fields, or 'Unmapped' fields. Required fields are marked with a red asterisk* next to the feed field name. All required fields must be mapped in order to submit your feed.

    The 'Mappings' column on the right-side of the page is where you will map your imported product catalog data points to submit in your feed.

    mapping page.png

    To map your feed, place your cursor into a Mappings field and:

    1. Enter a static value that will apply to ALL products in your feed, or

    2. Select the product ([P]) value from the dropdown menu of your available product data fields that contain this information. Remember, you will check your downloaded import product catalog file.csv to determine your Mappings.

    You will see that your imported product data points are pre-pended with a [P] within feed templates. The [P] stands for product field, and indicates that these fields are populated from your Imported Product catalog and any merge files you have (remember these are located in the top row of your downloaded catalog.csv shown in Step 1 above).

    For example, you would map your [P].[Brand] data point to the 'brand' feed field if you see that column in your downloaded Import file includes the brands of your products.

    Remember: The system will automatically map system fields to required fields upon the first feed compilation you completed in Step 2. So by default, fields like Sku, Price, URL, ImageURL, Brand, Description and Title feed fields, may already be populated in the Mappings column. You can add, adjust, or remove these default field mappings at any time.


    If you are not sure the acceptable values are for a feed field, or would like to more information about a field, click the caret to expand the explainer for that feed field like this:
    accepted values.png

    : any time you add, adjust or remove mappings, you need to click the blue 'Save' button in the top right corner of the page navigating away or mappings will not be saved.

    save button.png

  • There are three ways products can be excluded from a feed:

    • Filter rules at the Import or Feed level
    • Manual exclusions
    • Validation errors

    Using Filters to exclude groups of products

    Filter rules allow you to exclude products based on data values or empty fields. In this example, a filter rule is created to exclude gift cards. Filters are inclusion rules which means you will need to write the conditions in a manner which correctly includes only products you want to include in the feed.

    In the example below, the conditions are created to only include products which page_title does not contain "gift card" and Category does not equal to "Gift Card". If you want to create the same rule, then your conditions will be different depending on your product data.


    Notes about feed filters

    • An unfiltered feed includes all products from your product catalog unless you manually exclude them on the product validation page

    • When we compile your feed, each rule is executed and products that do not meet the rule conditions are removed from the feed

    • You can manually exclude or include individual SKUs using the buttons in the table on the Products page  

      manual exclud.png

    • Products that return errors in the Validation Summary will automatically be excluded from the feed so you don't submit products to the channel with data errors and risk noncompliance with channel requirements

      validation erros.png

    • You may also filter products at the import level using Import Filters (requires an add-on fee to the monthly subscription fee, not available on the Lite plan) 

  • Each channel categorizes products differently. Most channels require you to send your products pre-categorized to their taxonomy, like Google Shopping. However, there are a few channels that do not require categories in the feed like Walmart.

    We've loaded channel categories into each feed template. There are two ways to categorize products in your feed: mapping and rules.

    1. Category Mapping


    Category mapping
     makes categorizing products fast and easy. Type to find channel categories for each of your unique categories.

    You can also use the 'Suggest' feature to find suggested matches. We look at your imported categories from your store and suggest matching categories from the channel. Most categories will yield suggested matches, but some categories will return 'No Matches Found.' For these unmatched categories, you will need to create category rules.

    2. Category Rules

    The Category Rules section allows you to override category mapping using rule conditions.

    If you map your category "Diamond Rings > Wedding Gifts > Gifts Above $500" to Google's category "Apparel & Accessories > Jewelry > Rings", maybe there are some products that are not correctly categorized on your store.

    You can create a rule that says, categorize products into "Apparel & Accessories > Jewelry > Rings" if the product title or product type from your store data contains "rings".

  • Rules allow you to apply logic to your product data to update or modify field attributes, add third-party tracking, replace text in your data, calculate number values and generally improve product listing quality.

    Creating a feed rule

    • In the desired feed, go to the 'Rules' page 
    • Click the plus button
    • Name your rule, and optionally set a Rule Description
    • Under SET, select the feed field you want to change
    • Under TO, enter the desired value for your selected field by either typing it or choosing from either your imported Product [P] data or Feed [F] data from the drop-down menu
    • Choose whether to apply the rule to "All products" or "Some products"
    • If you want to apply a rule to only some products, then write the conditions for the rule
    • Save


    Common feed rule functions

    1. Concatenation

    Concatenation allows you to join fields or values together, like you would using an Excel function. 


    Append fields and static values to optimize titles or other feed fields

    For example, you could join your brands and titles or you could append colors to the end of your titles or units of measure to shipping dimensions.

    1. Brand + Title = "TREK Basketball Shoes"
    2. Title + " - " Color = "Boys shirt - Blue"
    3. Shipping length + " in" = "3.5 in"


    See also, Concatenate values.


    2. Text replacement

    Text Replacement rules allow you to replace or remove text in your feed data with a custom rule. Here are some examples of how you can use replace text functions.

    Standardize capitalization


    Remove "Free Shipping" language

    Fix duplicate values


    Remove values completely

    To remove a value completely, you can leave the Replace value field empty and the system will remove any references to your Replace value from that custom rule's feed field data.

    See more at our article: Text replacement


    3. Calculator

    Number Function rules allow you to modify numeric fields in your feed data with a custom rule.

    For example, follow the formula below to add 50% to your prices:


    [[ [P].[price] + ( [P].[price] * .5 ) ]]


    This is how your custom rule would look in our app.


    See more at our article: Calculator function


    4. Append UTM parameters to URLs

    Use concatenation to append UTM tracking parameters to product URLS. 

    Use Google's Campaign builder tool to brainstorm your parameters. Then, use dynamic product data or static values to build your rule.


    Example custom rule using concatenation to append UTM parameters to dynamic urls.


    Learn more by reading our article: Concatenate UTM parameters to product URLs


    5. Duplicate Conditions

    Make similar rule conditions faster by duplicating the condition and changing the one or two values that are different rather than writing the entire condition repeatedly each time. For example, we want to write the rule condition "where title contains 'red' or title contains 'blue' or title contains 'green'". Now, we can duplicate the first condition row and only change the value from red to blue and green instead of writing the entire condition row.


  • Now that you have mapped your feed, and optionally set up filters, assigned categories and created rules, you will need to compile your feed to apply all of this logic and create a feed file and have our system run a data validation and return a Validation Summary.

    The 'Compile' button is located under the feed template name, here:

    Compile button.png

    Any time you make changes to your feed in the future, and wish to run a data validation and produce a Validation Summary of feed error, warning and optimization messages, you will click 'Compile'.

    If you would like to view the feed without having to compile the feed and run the validation summary, you can click the 'Preview' button here:

    feed preview button.png

    The feed preview displays your feed data with mappings, filters, categories, and rules applied so you can confirm that the data is transforming as intended, and make additional changes if needed. Learn more about the feed Preview feature


    If you are using the Preview feature and approve of the feed data, you will still need to compile the feed to run the Validation Summary to check the feed for errors to get the feed ready to submit to the channel.

  • The Validation Summary card is located at the top of 'Catalog' page:

    validation summary 1.png 
    We recommend reviewing any errors in your feed first, because products affected by errors will be excluded from the feed. 

    Expand any card to view the messages for that category. Then, click into any message from the 'Message' list to view recommendations and the list of affected products:

    validation summary 2.png

    The detailed message page will describe the context of the error, warning, or optimization, as well as suggest ways to improve the feed data for the affected field:

    validation summary 3.png


Submitting your feed

We have step-by-step articles outlining how to submit a feed for every channel here in our Help Center.

Here are articles for some of the most common channels that walk you through the steps to publish your feed:

Feed 'Settings' page

The first step in submitting a feed to any channel from GoDataFeed requires you to navigate to the 'Settings' page from the left-side menu in your feed: 


Click through the tabs below for a breakdown of the cards found on the 'Settings' page and to help you walk through the process of setting your feed submission as you follow along with the Help article for submitting a feed to the channel:

  • Here you can re-name your file, or change the file format if needed (optional).

    Add your email address and check off email notifications to be informed when the feed succeeds and/or fails to submit (recommended). Make sure to click 'Save' after making changes.

    email notifications settings.png

  • If you are submitting the feed via Feed Pull URL/Fetch method described below, click 'Create Feed URL' to generate the URL and click to copy it to provide to the channel (i.e. Facebook).

    feed url settings.png

  • Following the steps in the Help article for the channel, locate your FTP or SFTP credentials in your channel Account, and paste them here in the FTP host address, FTP User name, and FTP Password fields (steps 1-3 highlighted in the screen below).


    You must toggle the 'OFF' button to 'ON' and set a submission time and days of the week to tell GoDataFeed when to submit the feed to the channel (step 4 in the screen below) and click 'Save' (step 5).

    feed submission parameters settings.png

    Completed FTP/SFTP feed submission settings of a feed that is scheduled to submit to the channel should look like this:

    completed submission parameters.png

Terms to know

Process term Definition
Product Import Product data is first downloaded in the cloud from your source(s), then parsed and imported into our internal database for use in one or more of your feed templates. Product imports can be manually triggered, but are most often ran nightly or on a daily schedule of your choosing.
Product Download When you download the imported product data from our system to your own computer, we will provide a zipped file containing all of the desired products and columns so you can review the data in a program like Microsoft Excel or Notepad++.
Feed Compilation Compiling a feed runs all steps from mapping, filters, categories, custom rules, validation, and so on to produce the feed files which are kept in a feed folder along with a CSV formatted preview and validation list file. Feed compilations can be manually triggered, but are most often ran after an import completes before being submitted or pulled. To compile a feed at any time, simply click the 'Compile' button highlighted in Step 5 above.
Feed Download Similar to the import product download, when you download the feed folder from our system to your own computer, we will provide a zipped folder containing a feed preview.csv and validation list as well as the output file(s) for the channel so you can review the data in a program like Microsoft Excel or Notepad++.
Feed Submission Submitting the feed send the output file(s) to the channel using the feed settings. Feeds which are scheduled to submit on a particular hour are first queued as "submission pending import". Once the import completes, the feed compiles and then submits to the channel. API feeds will then attempt to retrieve a processing report from the channel to get the results of the feed submission. After you have configured your submission settings in the feed 'Settings' page, you can submit your feed to the channel manually at any time by clicking the 'Submit' button.
Feed Pull/Fetch method After every import, our system will check for feeds that have been pulled in the last 30 days and will compile those feeds so they are ready to be pulled. Feeds can be pulled by a channel via a Feed Pull URL generated and stored in the feed 'Settings' page. You will want to coordinate your import schedule to allow enough time to import and compile your feeds before the channel pulls or fetches the feed. If you would like the ability to submit your feed manually at any time, we recommend you also configure FTP submission settings for the feed.

Feed process steps

Whether you manually trigger a feed to compile or submit, or it is triggered to compile and submit via the automated feed pull or submission schedule, the feed process will go through the steps to map, filter, categorize, customize, and validate your data from your sources to feed files. Then, the Validation Summary is available, the files are ready to be fetched by the channel, or submitted to a channel via SFTP, FTP, or API, if configured.

feed process.svg

  1. A feed process is triggered by manually clicking the "compile" or "submit" buttons, or by a scheduled import, feed pull, or submission
  2. (Required) Data is mapped into the template from imported product fields or static values you set up
  3. (Optional) Filters & manual exclusion/inclusions remove/include SKU rows from the feed if you have them set up in the feed
  4. (Optional) Category mappings and rules apply channel taxonomy values if you have them set up in the feed
  5. (Optional) Custom rules modify and update data according to their execution sequence if you have them set up in the feed
  6. Then our proprietary data validation engine analyzes product data for missing required fields, invalid format, recommended fields and any optimization and generates the Validation Summary
  7. Feed preview and validation files are written as CSV files, as well as any channel specific files like XML, and can be downloaded
  8. At this point, the feed file is ready to be fetched/pulled via URL
  9. Finally, when submitting the feed manually or on schedule, the system sends the feed files to the destination channel using the submission parameters


Template settings

These are settings to modify the feed template, feed file and processing reports. These settings are locked for common feed templates which are used by all stores in the app. If you want to customize any of the template settings or add/remove any feed fields or validation rules, then you must first clone the common feed. Custom feed templates allow you to modify these settings because the custom feed is only available to your store or account.


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