At the end of May, Google announced its latest updates to the Google Shopping Product Feed Specification.
Whilst some updates don’t require change, there are a few deadlines to set in your calendar for September 2016 and February 2017.
Changes effective immediately
These updates don’t require any changes on behalf of the advertiser:
1. Support for products that are sold with unit pricing
If you have products which are commonly sold with unit pricing (such as food), you’re able to now use two new attributes, “unit pricing measure” and “unit pricing base measure”.
The support for these fields suggests that Google will be displaying information similar to “£0.67 per 100g” on relevant products.
As the feed specifications state, if you’re submitting imperial units, ensure that you’re either submitting them as US imperial units, or use the metric system.
2. Increased maximum feed size
Previously the GMC had a size limit of 1GB which meant that if you had a large feed, you had to split it up and submit multiple feeds. Effective immediately, the maximum file size is now 4GB, which means you’ll be able to submit fewer feeds to the GMC.
If your product feed is large, we’d recommend compressing it using the gz, .zip or .bz2 file formats which will save bandwidth and decrease upload time.
Changes effective 1st September 2016
These changes are effective from 1st September 2016, so if you fail to update the data in your feed to meet these updated policy changes, you’ll start to see item disapprovals.
1. Increased minimum image dimensions for non-clothing products
Google is increasing the required minimum image dimensions for non-clothing products from 32x32px to 100x100px. Google is still recommending submitting images that are at least 800x800px to ensure the best quality.
This will result in a much better user experience with these non-clothing products, as image quality improves.
2. Colour and size attributes enforced for clothing in Germany, France, Japan and the UK
The colour attribute is required for all clothing products in the above areas, and the size attribute is required in the “Clothing & Accessories > Clothing” and “Clothing & Accessories > Shoes” Google Product Categories.
Google will likely use the improved adoption of these attributes to enable users to better filter the products that they’re interested in.
With this change, we’d recommend ensuring that product variants are in the feed using the item group ID attribute.
3. Product categories must be supplied for all products in “Clothing & Accessories”, “Media” and “Software”
The Google Product Category, which uses values from their taxonomy, will now be required across all countries for products that should be in the above categories.
By submitting an appropriate value in the attribute, you’ll expect to see an uplift in the visibility of the product, as Google can use parts of this value in its shopping section.
Changes effective 14th February 2017
1. Added requirement to submit a GTIN for all products that have one
Back in February 2016, Google enforced stricter GTIN requirements across a number of countries, If a product was new and had a GTIN assigned by a manufacturer, you were required to submit a GTIN.
But in February 2017, Google is expanding the applicable countries to all countries that are eligible for Google shopping.
Ensuring that you have GTIN’s for all products which have one, will help improve the comparison tables in Google shopping, which help to improve the user experience.
Ensuring that your product feeds are up to date with these specification changes will help your products perform online, and be eligible for the new features in Google shopping that it rolls out.
The GTIN, size, colour and image dimension changes will likely be used to improve user experience when navigating through filtered products.
Google discusses the change here, and the changes are also detailed in the Merchant Center Announcements page. If you’d like some support with setting up your brand’s shopping feed, please get in touch.