If you haven’t done it already, now would be a great time to take a fresh look — or even a first look — at how data feeds can reinvigorate your online marketing strategy and prepare your business for an undeniable shift in the search space. Structured data feeds are the silent drivers behind a new search experience centered around more conversational, localized and personalized search engagements.
Engines are moving away from the “traditional” customer journey, where users search for a keyword, sort through text PPC search results and click onto a new website. Instead, structured data feeds front-load the search engine results pages (SERPs) with user-rich information, creating a new search experience for more personalized, localized and actionable results.
Feeds, simply put, are mechanisms of structured data that enable either a platform or a person to take action. Some of the original uses of feeds were as mechanisms to automate the pulling of information to a centralized location. They helped streamline access to data and information.
We’ve been using structured data and data feeds without even realizing it. Think RSS and news feeds, weather and traffic reports or TIBCO (The Information Bus Company) of the early internet, which helped digitalize the stock market. Even your weekend “honey-do” list is a type of structured data.
Today, data feeds in search focus primarily on shopping, enabling merchants to structure their product catalogs into standardized file formats. Search engines are then able to access them, correctly understand their context and display them in visually appealing ad formats for consumers. Bing Product Ads, Google Product Listing Ads and Amazon Marketplace have all streamlined this process to make it easy for merchants to market their products online through data feeds. But this is just the beginning.
The better we can communicate and share information through data feeds and structured data, the better receiving platforms, such as search engines, can perform for us.
Advances in data feeds are being made each day to further performance, and also to automate previously manual/daunting tasks. Automation in search is everywhere:
As data feeds become more structured and standardized, search engines can better understand, compare and contextualize data, which is resulting in exciting new ad formats within the SERPs.
Movie times, tourist activities and breaking news are all displayed directly in the search engine results. Today’s searchers can comparison shop on Bing with Shopping Ads or book travel directly through Google Hotel Product Ads or through TripAdvisor.
The future of search will include new ad formats that move outside of the e-commerce realm to help simplify the process of consumers taking actions. Think of new ad formats that can streamline processes and tasks like making restaurant reservations, renting a car, getting insurance quotes or requesting information about B2B pricing and services.
Structured data feeds are helping to power this shift, as search becomes about more than just finding information. It’s about gaining knowledge, taking action and relying on the search engines as intercommunicative partners.
The sooner you get on the data feed information bus, the better! Businesses across a variety of industries will benefit as search engines better understand, compare and display information for searchers.
At the forefront are retailers, trip planners, hotels and airlines, but it is easy to see how the benefits of structured data feeds will rapidly impact other areas like insurance, real estate, education and beyond. Way beyond.
Bing Shopping Campaigns make it easier than ever to connect with your customers and promote your products online through visually appealing Product Ads. In order to make the most of your Bing Product Ads, we recommend the following:
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