In addition to banners and text links, using a data-feed is a great way to promote an affiliate program. Data-feeds are very intimidating for most affiliates, but learning how to use them is worth, considering the increase in revenue and time saved they can provide.
A data-feed is a list of products with all the needed details. It contains information like a name, short and long description, brand, retail price, price, category, cross-sell, SKU and any other information that the merchant wants to give for the product.
There are also links, the most important being the link with your affiliate ID to the product’s landing page, links for the product’s picture, one for the thumbnail image and another one for a real size image. All these info are saved in a CSV tab, pipe or comma delimited text file. CSV files can be opened in Excel, Calc or Numbers to show a spreadsheet with one product on each row.
A data feed can contain anywhere from a few products to 40,000 products to replicate the merchant’s inventory in an affiliate website. All the records may be used, just a category or a selection of products. The affiliate would have to modify to his needs the feed that is provided directly by the merchant, but most of the time by the Network.
The Networks usually have tools to use the raw data-feed. In ShareAsale there is a category for product links, where the list of products can be seen and the content of the feed for each product viewed. An HTML code can be copied and pasted in your website, which is easy when you only want to promote a few products.
Another way in ShareAsale is to use the “Make a page” tool. There are different options that can be selected, only products in one category can be selected, or only products with a keyword like “silver ring”, with the result being displayed in a preview. An Html code can be used then to add ten or a hundred products.
In order to use thousands of products from the feed, you will need special software and this may be the subject of a new post.