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What is the deal with inventory feeds?!?

Jan 4, 2018
3
3
First Name
James
Let me start by saying that I'm posting here actually trying to learn and get perspective...not toss chum to the sharks :)

After launching our latest Inventory Studio product (helps dealers design, launch & maintain Facebook Automotive Inventory Ads) - we're realizing that getting inventory feeds from website providers or other vendors is a total mess. It's making us nuts and is making us seriously consider whether we need to start charging an onboarding fee for the product to cover the amount of energy we have to put into just getting the inventory data flowing.

I've learned (the hard way) that most of the time when I think something is just completely messed up for no good reason, it's usually because I just don't understand the reasons.

So...what's the deal? Why isn't this easier? Some specifics :

- When we say "Can you please set us up with the standard Facebook inventory feed?" we are usually met with "Please send us a sample CSV file with the fields you want." Isn't this a pretty standard request?
- We spent about 2 weeks recently getting an inventory feed from a vendor only to be told that it doesn't include VDP links. I assume an inventory feed with no VDP links is useful for something...what is it?
- Even after providing what we think is pretty clear instruction (name it like this, send it to this FTP, here's the credentials) - it normally takes way longer than it should (like, weeks). What gives?
- We got a feed where the default value for mileage on the vehicles was in kilometers. We had to ask them to change it to miles after the dealer called to ask why we were advertising his cars with way more miles on them than they actually had. Please tell me this makes sense for some reason.

Thanks in advance for the help.
 
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Learn more about DrivenData
Mar 21, 2012
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503
Awards
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Ryan
Let me start by saying that I'm posting here actually trying to learn and get perspective...not toss chum to the sharks :)

After launching our latest Inventory Studio product (helps dealers design, launch & maintain Facebook Automotive Inventory Ads) - we're realizing that getting inventory feeds from website providers or other vendors is a total mess. It's making us nuts and is making us seriously consider whether we need to start charging an onboarding fee for the product to cover the amount of energy we have to put into just getting the inventory data flowing.

I've learned (the hard way) that most of the time when I think something is just completely messed up for no good reason, it's usually because I just don't understand the reasons.

So...what's the deal? Why isn't this easier? Some specifics :

- When we say "Can you please set us up with the standard Facebook inventory feed?" we are usually met with "Please send us a sample CSV file with the fields you want." Isn't this a pretty standard request?
- We spent about 2 weeks recently getting an inventory feed from a vendor only to be told that it doesn't include VDP links. I assume an inventory feed with no VDP links is useful for something...what is it?
- Even after providing what we think is pretty clear instruction (name it like this, send it to this FTP, here's the credentials) - it normally takes way longer than it should (like, weeks). What gives?
- We got a feed where the default value for mileage on the vehicles was in kilometers. We had to ask them to change it to miles after the dealer called to ask why we were advertising his cars with way more miles on them than they actually had. Please tell me this makes sense for some reason.

Thanks in advance for the help.
100% agree James!

Homenet is by far the easiest to work with. We've also found once you've gotten 1 dealership's feed setup with a particular vendor, getting subsequent dealer feeds setup are much smoother. It's the first that's always a challenge.

We ultimately just ask for the inventory feed in whatever format is easiest for the feed provider and then we manipulate the data ourselves using DataFeedWatch before sending it to Facebook, etc. We've found it's a super powerful tool that gives us a lot of control over the data and allows us to merge multiple feeds together, which is helpful when a dealer has pricing in one feed and photos in another for example. We can also bring in external data from Google Sheets, use regex, and insert additional data in the custom_label catalog fields.
 

Alex Snyder

President Skroob
May 1, 2006
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1,838
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First Name
Alex
Homenet is by far the easiest to work with. We've also found once you've gotten 1 dealership's feed setup with a particular vendor, getting subsequent dealer feeds setup are much smoother. It's the first that's always a challenge.

:iagree:

Increased costs are the downside along with the initial pains of figuring out how to work with them, but the long-term approach is better. Your question on why so many companies ask how you want the CSV file… well… have you seen the HomeNet office:

iu-3.jpeg
 
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