In early November, SingleFeed, a data feed submission and data feed management service which we use, released a new reporting interface. It is still in beta, but has proven to be quite an upgrade from their previous system.
For those readers who don't know what SingleFeed is, they help online retailers submit, manage, and optimize product listings on top shopping sites through a single data feed. They essentially help you create just one feed that they then optimize and pass onto the comparison shopping engines. The company still seems small, but is growing rapidly. They are one of the few service providers that only charge a flat rate for their services, while others might also charge a percentage of revenue earned. The flat rate is perfect for submitting tens of thousands of products to CPA based or free shopping engines.
The new reporting interface displays more data and graphs a customizable timeline for the data you want to see. In the past, SingleFeed simply had totals and the occasional excel download. That's a little boring and not very useful in the grand scheme of things. Now marketers can see trends and make comparisons between different shopping engines or from product to product(s). It’s incredibly more efficient and user friendly.
Here is an example of their new interface using sample data:
However, some of the negative points I see in using it are that reports can't be exported to excel, although we have been told that is coming. I know they are working hard on this and other features. We’ve seen evidence of this in other areas they just recently gave us the ability to export our performance based on engine totals for selected time periods. Needless to say, I can't wait to finally download full spreadsheets of product performance data.
Another negative is the accuracy of data. I know what they have now is much better in terms of what they had before, but accuracy is still just a little off compared to other tracking tools we use, namely Google Analytics. SingleFeed is incredibly useful in keeping our products up to date. But when it comes to using it for its reporting tools, I still trust Google Analytics a little more...for now.
Since this post, SingleFeed has improved upon itself and started to develop new exporting functions.
Right now the exporting function is still in beta and is still limited to only top level data for each engine. It’s a start and I am told that more report types are being developed in time. Maybe, some product level and category level exportation? We can hope!
Another little improvement is the ability to perform SKU suppression for each engine through the new reporting tool. The older method was to mark a field in the feed that told SingeFeed whether or not you wished a product to go to a specific engine. The newer method uses the new reporting tool. You have to first activate this function, but once done, you are able to include or not include products for certain engines within the product level report page.
I currently haven’t had to use this function as we only use SingleFeed for the free and CPA based engines. But I can see some great usability for comparison shopping engines such as Nextag or Pricegrabber, etc. If a product is eating up your budget or is simply not performing, you can easily not include that product for that engine and still keep it in others with just a few clicks. Definitely more useful than taking the back channels and altering your feed to not include the product, especially if you have a feed of thousands of products.
I have no doubt that more improvements are on the way for quarters one and two of 2010. SingleFeed has thus far appreciated our feedback and has been quick to let us know if any improvements were made in regards to our feedback.
It was a good experience in 2009 using SingleFeed's services. With new improvements and as far as I have used it...an excellent response time for support issues.
As always, comments or thoughts are welcomed!