Structured and Unstructured Data: The Differences

Although product data comes in many forms, the two main formats are text and digital. Text, such as product descriptions, keywords, and specs, is structured data. Digital assets, like images and videos, are unstructured data. The combination of the two provides reliable information that aids your customers on their buyer’s journey. Here we look at the differences between the two, their advantages, and how they work together to create the ultimate technical product data.


1. What is structured data?

Structured data is product information relayed with text, numbers, and special characters. It easily fits into the columns and rows of a spreadsheet. Additionally, structured data comes in a templated format, which means it has a well defined structure, hence its name.

Structured data complies with a specific data model so that both programs and humans can access it. Stored in a database, structured data includes your complex product data information for technical products.

2. What is unstructured data?

Unstructured data is any product information that can’t fit into a data model or traditional databases. Your digital assets, including images, videos, 3D images, email messages, and audio files, are all unstructured data. Unstructured data is typically found with content searches when needed by an organization.

Also, it is often managed through a data asset management system, or DAM. Many DAMs in the current landscape have begun introducing PIM capabilities. Unlike Pimberly, they were not a hybrid from the start. Pimberly houses structured data and unstructured together under one roof with ease.

3. Using both together with the right PIM

You need both structured and unstructured data to create engaging product descriptions. The more complex your data, and the more SKUs and digital assets you have, the more critical it becomes to find a way to manage your data efficiently. A product information management system or PIM provides a hub containing all the data you need regarding the products you sell and/or manufacture.

Your product descriptions and keywords (structured data), and  images and videos (unstructured data) are all stored in one centralized location. Consequently, you’re no longer dealing with tedious spreadsheets. There’s no need for collecting digital assets from various storage sources. As a result, not only is all your data for each product usable from the same platform, but you can also leverage the power of automation to pull that information into your workflow streams.

4. The benefits of using both in unison

Whether you sell from your eCommerce site or depend on various marketplaces and selling channels, consumers find your products by searching and evaluating them online. When you use a PIM, you can create enriched product descriptions ready to edit and combine with your digital assets so customers can find your products easily. You automate the process to create enriched, high quality product data to set yourself apart. Your product descriptions use keywords to raise your position in SEO rankings. As a result, your brand becomes more recognizable, and your product information lets customers make quick buying decisions confidently.

However, it takes exceptional product content management to succeed. With the right PIM, you can use automation to:

Expand into new marketplaces

The right PIM makes it easy to expand your reach and meet the specific product description requirements across all selling platforms, from Amazon to Spotify. Automated attribution and quick uploads make it easy to remain compliant while streamlining the process, so you are up and running on new channels in no time.


PIM automates the upload process so you can streamline product information management and improve workflows to improve internal communication. No more struggling with spreadsheets and DAMS because both structured and unstructured data are stored and managed with your PIM.



It doesn’t matter where you choose to sell, whether in a brick and mortar shop, online or through social apps. All of your selling channels can be handled with a PIM to create an omnichannel shopping experience across all touchpoints. As a result, you can develop your brand and improve your customer experience, using consistent product data for both selling and marketing campaigns.

Easy product expansion

You can expand your product range more efficiently even when technical products include many specific components and multiple SKUs. With both your structured data and unstructured data managed by your PIM, you avoid time consuming manual processes. You can get your new products to market fast by automating the new product onboarding process. Your optimized product information enables you to eliminate common bottlenecks experienced when launching new product lines so you can increase visibility for customer searches. You can rise in the rankings thanks to enriched product descriptions leveraging keywords and high quality digital assets such as video and 3D vector images.

Despite their differences, a PIM enables you to manage both structured data and unstructured data. Automate workflows, expand product lines, and increase your presence on popular marketplaces.