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As any seasoned Merchant Center seller knows, Google’s product feed specifications are annually updated in September. However, this doesn’t mean they don’t provide updates in the meantime. Changes are continuously rolled out to improve the experience for shoppers, which naturally means some changes are made prior to this date.
Google has announced that moving forward into 2016, it will require all products to have GTINs (Global Trade Item Numbers).
What does this mean?
In September 2015, Google announced that if your product was sold as Condition “new” and belonged to one of 50 designated brands, it would be mandatory to submit the product’s brand and GTIN in your feed.
Going forward, Google is expanding this requirement beyond the 50 designated brands to all* new, in-stock, brand-name products that have GTINs assigned by the manufacturer.
*Applicable for: AU, BR, CZ, FR, DE, IT, JP, NL, ES, CH, UK, US.
This does not, however, apply to products where Availability is “preorder”, Condition is “used”, or the product is custom, handmade or vintage.
How does this benefit me?
Including GTINs in your feed makes it easier for Google to classify and display your products to the relevant people, boosting ad performance as a result. It also gives you the opportunity to serve your ads on YouTube and across partner sites.
According to Google, “Merchants who’ve added correct GTINs to their product data have seen conversion rates increase up to 20%.”
When will the changes be enforced?
The updates will be enforced on May 16, 2016. However, you will see warning messages such as “Missing GTIN” and “Invalid GTIN” for products that don’t meet the new requirements, beginning this month.
You may also see warning messages such as “Coupon code GTIN”, “Restricted usage GTIN” and “Ambiguous GTIN code”, where Google has identified further room for improvement in your feed. However, these warnings will not be enforced.
We recommend you review your product feed sooner rather than later, to give yourself enough time to get everything Google-approved before May. When these changes are enforced, any products containing missing or invalid GTINs will be disapproved and their corresponding ads will no longer be served.
What is a GTIN and where can I find it?
You can find the GTIN (also referred to as a UPN, EAN, JAN or ISBN) printed on the product’s package with the barcode.
If you are having trouble locating the GTINs for your products, you may be able to get them from your inventory, fulfillment or accounting system, as many of these use GTINs to identify brand-name products.
How can I start updating my feed?
Productsup has already integrated many of the new specifications into the platform to help you comply with the necessary adjustments. In accordance with Google, however, we only make certain changes mandatory on May 16, so the analysis and reporting may not yet “force” you to perform an edit.
Get your product feeds Google-approved with Productsup
If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you quickly and easily create the perfect product data feed, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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