Reach more customers online: Add GTINs to your Google Shopping data feed

With Google Shopping, finding the right customers starts with creating a good product data feed: the better your feed, the more easily we can connect you with online shoppers, searching for what you sell. Key to creating a complete feed is clearly and accurately specifying which products you have for sale.

For most products, the manufacturer will provide a Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) to uniquely and completely identify a product in the global marketplace. We’ve found that providing GTINs in your product data feed increases the likelihood that your offers are matched to the Google Shopping product catalog. This helps us surface relevant, accurate results on Google Shopping; in fact, early experiments indicate that offers matched to the catalog receive up to 40% more user clicks than those that do not1.

That’s why, as part of the 2015 update to the Google Shopping Products Feed Specification shared in June, we refined our guiding principles and requirements around GTINs. Starting September 15, we’ll require Google Shopping feeds targeting Australia, Brazil, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom or the United States to submit valid ‘gtin’ and ‘brand’ for all products when the ‘brand’ is a designated brand and the ‘condition’ is ‘new’. At that time, we’ll disapprove offers that do not meet this requirement or are submitted with invalid GTINs.

If you don’t already have correct, complete GTINs in your data feed, here’s how you can easily find them:
  • Find GTINs individually. Look for the 12 or 13 digit number printed below the barcode on your product’s packaging. For example, the ASUS Flip C100PA DB01 10.1″ Touchscreen Chromebook should be submitted with a ‘gtin’ as 00889349062166 and ‘brand’ as ASUS. 
  • Find GTINs in bulk. GTINs are used in many warehouse management systems to identify and manage inventory and can often be exported from this in bulk. Check with your IT colleagues to see if they can help you get GTIN data in your feeds. 
  • Make sure you’re using the correct brand. Merchants may mistakenly give us the incorrect brand for a product by using ‘brand’ to indicate that a product is compatible with, or an accessory or replacement part for a product from that brand. For example, a mobile phone case that is compatible with an Apple iPhone 6 listing “Apple” as the brand is misleading to shoppers and can result in your ads being disapproved. Instead, it should provide the brand for the product, and use the ‘title’ and ‘description’ fields to explain compatibility information instead.
Note: It’s important to not try to make up a placeholder GTIN or use the same one for multiple, different products, as our systems will detect this and disapprove your offers. Once you’ve updated your data feed with valid, accurate GTINs, you can resubmit your feed for processing and get more of your products on Google Shopping.

In some rare cases, you’ll find products from a designated brand where no valid GTIN exists (these are often products where you are the sole merchant selling this product or for replacement parts). If you encounter this situation, we’re rolling out a new feature in Merchant Center that allows you to request a review of disapproved offers. Starting September 15, if you believe your item was incorrectly disapproved and would like to request a manual review, follow these steps to get your products approved and showing on Google Shopping:
  1. In the Products tab, click on the title of the item to view the page for that individual item. 
  2. Click the link for "Why is this item disapproved?" 
  3. Review the policies related to your item disapproval, and then check the box that acknowledges that you reviewed the information. 
  4. Select "Request manual review."
This gives our team a chance to review your products; if we determine that there is not a valid GTIN available, your offer will be reinstated.

We’re really excited to be working through this new requirement with you. Not only will it help improve the richness and relevancy of ads we show to potential customers, it has the chance to improve your performance on Google Shopping.

Posted by Rob Rekrutiak, Product Manager, Google Shopping

1.Google internal data, 2015

Source: Google Commerce