GTIN For All Products is Mandatory
As of February 8, 2016, Google started sending out item-level warnings concerning products that don’t meet their new requirements. If you’ve seen these warnings under the Diagnostics tab, it is time to update your product data feed. Just around the corner, May 16th, 2016, Google is gearing up to expand their GTIN (Global Trade Item Number) requirements; the new update will require a mandatory GTIN for all new and existing products with a GTIN assigned by the manufacturer.
Why is the GTIN mandatory?
For Google, the GTIN is the most accurate way to identify a product you’re selling. Once provided the GTIN, Google is better equipped to improve the boost of ad performance by attaching relevant details about the product, marketing the ad in a more relevant way to users. With more valuable data, your ads will populate in more places on Google, YouTube, and other partner sites.
Merchants who have made the changes to their product GTINs have experienced a rise in conversion rates by up to 20%. In our research during the development of our tool Feed Doctor, we noted that approximately 12% of all product feeds have errors, the most common being missing or wrong GTINs.
A valid feed is essential for an effective PLA campaign,so you may need to review your items. Example: If you sell a t-shirt in 3 different colors and in the sizes S, M and L you will need to have 9 different GTINs.
Who will the changes impact the most?
So far only some countries are affected by this change. If you’re targeting Australia, Brazil, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, the UK, or the US, submit correct GTINs and the corresponding brand for all new, in-stock products that have GTINs assigned by the manufacturer.
If you sell new, brand-name products that are sold by multiple merchants, you should double check that your product feed data is correct and reflects the new requirements.
If you sell products that are only sold by you or with the ability status “preorder”, this change probably won’t affect you. Additionally, merchants won’t be affected if selling used, custom, handmade, or vintage products. You can still improve your ad performance by adding unique product identifiers to your product data when available.
Check your Merchant Center diagnostics tab for item warnings
If you don’t have any item warnings such as “Item requires a GTIN” or a similar warning , you won’t be affected by the new GTIN requirements.
What will happen if I don’t resolve these issues?
Don’t panic, your Merchant account will not get blocked. However, your items will get disapproved on a product level. Your items will be disapproved if any of the following apply:
- Your item is a brand
- The condition of the item is “new”
- The item is sold by multiple re-sellers
How to fix it
The only way to correct or add missing GTINs is to edit your product data feed. Google advises:
- Each product has an individual GTIN which is a 12 or 13 digit number (printed below the barcode on your product)
- You can find GTINs in bulk if you’re using a warehouse management system
- Make sure you’re using the correct brand. For example, many accessories are including the brand they are made for, so be sure to use the correct brand name. Otherwise, your ads could be disapproved.
- Do not use placeholders or use one GTIN for multiple or different products GTINs
To sum it up
- Use the Merchant Center diagnostics tab to identify items that have incorrect GTINs
- The deadline of 16th of May 2016 is closely approaching
- Avoid GTIN errors to keep your feed healthy
- To fix and avoid errors, correct your product data feed.
- Visit our website to learn more about optimizing your Google Merchant Center shopping feed and try Feed Doctor for free.