Merchants! Please Try and Use The Offer Feeds at Your Networks!
One of the most useful tools that affiliate networks have are feeds! Not product feeds in this case, but code/offer feeds. Each and every day merchants add their generic codes into boxes, that information goes into the feed, affiliates pick it up and we all get on with being up to date and promoting.
Except we don’t!
For such a basic feed that requires not much more than merchant name, description, discount, link, start date and end date you’d be amazed just how difficult it is to use properly.
First off let’s start with the merchants who don’t use the feed! It’s all well and good emailing affiliates with your new generic code, but it would be great if it was added to the central system designed by your network. If you don’t know how to do it – ask the network/agency to sort it out for you.
Secondly free delivery offers would be just as welcome as code offers in the offer feeds. Generic ones are fine! So if you’re offering free P&P, code needed or not, get it in the feed. Alternatively is there any network who can create a “free delivery feed”?
Thirdly let’s have some uniformity to proceedings. If the box for entry is “discount” please don’t write a novel in it. Leave it nice and short (e.g 10% Discount”). Save the lengthy Barbara Cartland’s for the description boxes, but don’t put links in or unnecessary nonsense.
Fortunately we can use some coding to sort out some of the mess, but it would help a great deal if there was a bit uniformity (feeds? uniformity? where have we heard that before?).
Dates are needed and they need to be correct! It’s no point complaining our codes are out of date when the date you’ve entered into the feed is wrong. It’s also useful to have expiry dates so as to avoid long term issues with the “click to reveal” sites who will show your code indefinitely as being valid.
In fairness I’m not sure if the above is a merchant issue or a network one.
Are networks encouraging merchants to use these systems? If an email is sent out from a network by a merchant do they get a little flag saying “don’t forget to update your offers in our feed”? Likewise when they go to the feed updating place are they told what to add and where? At a guess probably not given the mishmash of content that comes out.
From an affiliate point of view it’s frustrating. The tools are there – we’re here ready to utilise them – but they’re not much use of they’re not being used or not being used to a good standard.