What is a Shareasale Datafeed and How Does it Work?

As an IT and marketing guy I’m often asked to setup new software or help integrate one system with another. This post is about Shareasale datafeeds: what they are and how they are used – from an IT point of view. If you still need professional help, there is a link at the bottom.

Summary:

  • a datafeed is just a file that affiliates can download that contains links and info on our products
  • once the datafeed is downloaded, affiliates can use it with special widgets on their site
  • some affiliates specifically look for merchants who have a datafeed they can download
  • if the datafeed is visible in our Creatives under Datafeed, then affiliates can download it
  • it is not an integration, it’s only a file that can be updated at any time, overwriting the old file

What is a Shareasale datafeed?

The Datafeed functionality allows merchants like us to upload lists of products to their ShareASale account and provides us with the ability to manage multiple stores and product level commissions as additional options. The Datafeed upload completely replaces the existing product listings in our merchant’s account with every upload. Any items not included in the uploaded file will be removed from the product listings. The full overview of the Datafeed specifications can be found at this Shareasale datafeed setup link.

Why use a datafeed?

It allows any affiliate that wants to feature a product on their page or through one of Shareasale’s content tools to display our products on their page. Some affiliates specifically look for merchants with datafeeds.


How long have they been around?

At least since 2013.

How do I check to make sure a datafeed is working?

It appears to be something only an affiliate can see, but the documentation makes it seem like it’s not an integration, it’s just a file that affiliates download and then use as a source file on their sites. So as long as it’s in your creatives and approved, then it’s “working”.

Why would it not be working or how to update the file?

We could find that either Shareasale has an issue with the file or the affiliates themselves have an issue with the file once they go to use it. Once we have feedback, we can upload it again at any time and it will overwrite the file that is currently in Shareasale. Here are some common datafeed problems to watch out for and here are some examples of how to create a product datafeed.

Conclusion

I didn’t know anything about Shareasale and I didn’t take the time to learn it before, but when I did take the time to learn it and build context I was finally able to know what a datafeed was used for and to tell whether or not the datafeed was setup correctly. This blog post is meant to help others like me who are tasked with setting up a Shareasale datafeed know what a datafeed is and how to check it so I have more context about what they are for and how they are used.

Professional Affiliate Setup Help

If you’re reading this you may be a merchant on Shareasale that is looking for an affiliate management company to help you get setup and build a network of affiliates to help market your products. This is not a sponsored post, but I have worked with Priest Willis and his team at Affiliate Mission and have been pleased with their work, their communication, and their integrity. I highly recommend Affiliate Mission for affiliate management and marketing services.

How to Write Blog Posts Like General Motors Makes Cars

General Motors pushes a new car off of their assembly line once every minute, but it takes 2 months in total to make a car. How is that possible and how does that apply to writing blog posts?

To use another example, the online retailer, The Grommet, launches a new product every day, but it takes them two months to prepare for a single launch. How can both timelines be true?
A New Way of Thinking about Blogging
What if I told you that you could publish a new blog post every day by only working one day a week? Would that interest you? What if you didn’t have to do it in one day, but could stretch it out?
The reason why General Motors and The Grommet and you can do all of these things is because of the power of batching work. Instead of building one thing at a time, each sub-task is batched.
The idea is that each sub-task can be optimized by not having to get your workspace and mindset setup for working a particular task before putting it away and switching to the next part of the process.
Playing Devil’s Advocate
However, there are also studies that have showed that when a human is tasked with making something with multiple steps that in the short run it’s actually faster to finish each item instead of batching.
There are also advantages to building something to completion if time is a critical element. If you only have a short time to do something, it’s better to get 1 thing done than 1000 unfinished things done.
However, I have found that there is a difference between physically building something to completion and doing the mental work of creating a blog post due to the cost of task switching between the different steps.
How to Batch Creating Blog Posts
Writing a blog post is actually a series of several different, distinct steps:
  1. Determining what to write about – this could include browsing BuzzSumo, news sites, or Google Trends to see what people are interested in; it could also include asking customer support or the social media marketing team for what questions they’ve been getting or seeing online lately
  2. Researching a topic – once you’ve determined what to write about, it’s time to research the topic to see what sort of angle you can bring to the story. You want to add value to the conversation. One way to do that is to find an answer to a problem someone has (where our product is the answer).
  3. Writing the first draft – this process could involve two steps of writing an outline and then going back and filling it in or you could write it all down as fast as possible. The goal of this step is not to write a finished draft, but only to write as much as possible and as quickly as possible.
  4. Editing the first draft – after you’ve given yourself some time, come back and (or have someone else) review your work. Don’t be afraid to delete things you’ve written. Your words are not your babies. Some writers even go so far as to delete their entire first paragraph. Edit for grammar.
  5. Editing the second draft – after some time has passed, go back through and edit for readability and SEO. Make sure it flows in the right order, has the right sub-headers, and has the right amount of keywords and internal and external links, and also make sure it has a call to action.
  6. Finding images to use – I add this as a distinct step because it’s a different mindset and skill to find an image for use with a blog. There are different ways to do this from searching Dropbox, to asking the Marketing department, to taking a photo yourself, to making an image, to stock photos.
  7. Publish the blog post – when a blog post is published, there are several things to consider such as what the title of the blog post is, what URL is used, what the description of the blog post is, what thumbnail is used, what tags are applied, and when the blog post will be published.
  8. Promoting the blog post – this step could be as little as handing off the URL of the new blog post to the social media marketing department or it could be doing the posting yourself to Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. You could also make a custom graphic of the post for Instagram.
  9. Repurposing the blog post – [optional] once you have the blog post created, then you can record yourself with some b-roll cut in reading the blog post in your webcam. The resulting video could then be uploaded to YouTube. In this way each blog post could also become a video.
  10. Aggregating the blog post – [optional] once you have a series of blog posts, they can be combined into an ebook and sold on Amazon or used as a giveaway to attract new email subscribers or as a free gift in an email newsletter.
If you did all of these steps in one day, you would likely be worn out from all of the task switching. But if you could spend one day doing step 1 and found 20 things to write about, that would be one month’s worth of blog posts. On day 2 you would spend all day doing step 2 for all 20 blog posts. By the end of the second week you’d have 20 blog posts published one month in advance and scheduled on social media.

 

2016 Year in Review

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.” -Proverbs 23:7 KJV

Grandmommy Funeral

Grandmommy’s Funeral in Tipton

In January, my wife’s grandmother, Helen, died and my Grandpa Stauffer started to get sick. My oldest daughter turned 12 and my wife took her to Universal Studios. My mom ended chemo therapy and started radiation treatment. I flew to Orlando for work at GoServicePro.

Erich at Goservicepro

Erich at the WWETT16 Show in Indianapolis

In February, my best friend, Jason Cobb, told me he was moving to Wisconsin. My brother, Mitch, moved into a new house. Skinny and Company offered me full-time employment. On the last day of the month, GoServicePro moved offices and I let them know I was moving on.

Erich and Jason at the Hi-Fi

Erich and Jason at the Wakey Wakey Concert in Fountain Square

In March, my Grandpa Stauffer died. Our family decided to wait to get together. I began working nights at Skinny and Company and went full time March 28th. I started to notice that our kids were starting to grow up.

daddy-and-amalia-2016

On the weekends I would take the kids down to the park by the church. The Catholic church had decided to tear down the old church in the background as maintenance costs were too much to repair it.

samuel-and-kevin-swinging-2016

Working at Skinny was fun and exciting, but also challenging. We were setting up new systems and so I had to do a lot of learning really quickly. This also uncovered other areas, which needed improvement so there was a lot to do.

erich-at-skinny-coconut-oil

My mom’s cancer went into remission and her hair started to grow back. I admired her pursuit of health and her consistently positive attitude through the whole ordeal. Here she is at a band concert:

moms-hair-2016

In April I went and visited Jason in Wisconsin. It was a long drive up there and back, but I’m glad I did it. We walked along the Mississippi river and up on top of the bluffs. While I was there my wife told me she was pregnant.

erich-jason-lacrosse-2016

Later on that month I went to my first Pacer’s game with Skinny. That’s Mike, Luke, me, and Matt in the picture. Jordan, Landree, and Mike’s wife were also there (she was pregnant, too).

erichs-first-pacer-game

Samuel keeps growing up. He really likes going to the park. He’s my little buddy.

samuel-in-tree-2016

At the end of April we drove out to Missouri to see Peggy before going on to Dixon for the funeral for Grandpa Stauffer.

kids-with-peggy-2016

It was a good way to remember Grandpa.

grandpa-stauffer-funeral-2016

Here we are all together in front of the church where my parents got married.

dad-mom-family-church-2016

In May I finally setup my own office at Skinny. My brother-in-law, John, got married, and Suzanne and I went to a “Rev Indy” event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with Skinny.

erichs-skinny-office-2016

By the end of the month, I stopped to smell the roses. I bought a season pass to Eagle Creek Park and would go walking there during lunch kind of like I used to when I worked at Worksmart Systems.

smell-the-roses

I took the boys out there, too.

boys-at-eagle-lake

We went to the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500. It was my first time going. It was hot.

race-day-2016

And we started going to the Silver Beach off Lake Michigan.

kids-silver-beach-michigan-2016-may

In June, Jason and I went to Chicago. I’ve been to Chicago with Jason more than any other person (so far). We watched a Cubs game.

We road bikes to China town to see the famous “Post No Signs” sign. It wasn’t there anymore, but we remembered it.

In July I thought I was going to Atlanta, but I didn’t get to go so I went to the 100 Acres Woods instead.

I went and saw my mom playing in the Greenwood band at a Greenwood park. She did good!

Worlds collided when Hans from GoServicePro went out with me and Mike from Skinny and Company to Amber Indian.

Kids got some ice cream and started growing up.

In August I went on a walk around Tipton with Samuel.

Magdalena left me a note.

We went and visited Jason and his family in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

And here’s us at the top of a bluff.

Here’s the office I had setup for a while at Skinny.

In September I bought a new bike (the first bike I’ve ever bought myself as an adult). My goal is to ride the Hilly Hundred in 2017.

Me and Magdalena went for a walk in Carmel on the Monon.

I took Samuel for ice cream.

Kevin learned how to ride a bike.

And I started going to the gym (or at least took at least one picture of myself at a gym).

In October I told Skinny I was moving on and I had Mike and Matt take this picture with me (thanks to Allison for taking it).

Carmina had fun seeing Skinny Coconut Oil at grocery stores around Indianapolis. She’s a good spokesperson.

I went and visited Jason in La Crosse, Wisconsin and made a movie of the trip.

The Cubs ended up winning the World Series. I had nothing to do with it, but I did visit them (twice).

Jason and I went for a bike ride on the trails at the top of the bluffs.

In November I accepted the job at Marine Credit Union in La Crosse, Wisconsin and moved into a hotel.

I came home for a bit and ate some tacos with Hans.

It was hard to say goodbye to my family after the weekend.

Samuel learned how to ride a bike and we went for a ride to the park.

In December I had a baby. We named her after Helen.

And my parents flew to Hawaii.

I bought the kids a PS4.

My brothers came up for Christmas.

I took Amalia to the park.

Here’s to 2016.