Move over, text ads: How data feeds are driving new search experiences
Contributor Christi Olson, Search Evangelist at Bing, takes a deeper look at data feeds and their role in search (past, present and future).
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.
Data feed = information bus
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.
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