Google Shopping 101: Why Data Feed Quality Matters

Kaitlin Pursley / 4th August 2014 / Comment / PPC

google shopping 101

Launching a Google Shopping campaign is a much greater undertaking than launching any other paid search campaign.

The most time consuming and complex aspect of Google Shopping campaigns is the build and quality check of the product data feed. The foundation of your Google Shopping success lies in the development of your data feed.

Creating your product data feed

When creating your product data feed for Google Shopping, it’s best to build a complete, high quality and compliant data feed from the beginning.

When a data feed is initially loaded into the Google Merchant Center, Google’s system crawls the data feed and your website and immediately disapproves incorrect or incomplete fields. These disapprovals, shown in the Google Merchant Center under “data quality” in the left sidebar, can alert you to problems on your own site where you are missing product descriptions or have incorrectly formatted titles, for example.

Google Merchant Center Disapproval

When products are disapproved, they don’t show on Google Shopping, which means you’re missing out on potential customers and sales. Use this handy checklist of Google Shopping’s Products Feed Specification to make sure your data feed meets the minimum requirements.

Make sure your data feed contains correct and up-to-date information. The more complete and correct your data feed is, the more products will be eligible to show in Google Shopping.

The Importance of Not Using Merchant-Assigned Identifiers

A client recently asked if it was really important to use the Universal Product Code (UPC) in the Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) attribute of the data feed or if they could just use their own internal identification numbers for this Google Shopping required attribute. The answer is no, you cannot use your own product identification for this field or for the Manufacturer Part Number (MPN) field.

Google Shopping MPN Example

In the image above, the “SKU” is a merchant-assigned identifier, whereas the “Part No.” is the MPN.


Google Shopping UPC Example

In the image above, the “Item #” is a merchant-assigned identifier, whereas the “UPC #.” is the Universal Product Code.

It’s crucial to fill out each field as specified in Google Shopping’s summary of attribute requirements in order to have your products be approved and eligible to show.

Additionally, using the correct MPN or UPC, as opposed to your own internal identification system, is important from a relevancy perspective, as people often search for products by specific identifiers, such as MPNs or UPCs.

When you don’t fill out this information in your data feed, you are losing business to your competitors who took the time to fill out this data accurately.

Custom Labels Attribute

In addition to filling out the bare minimum of the data feed fields, it is best to complete as many attributes as possible, including the custom labels attribute.

Custom labels are your business’ own internal groupings of products, such as best sellers, high margin, season, etc.

Google Shopping Custom Labels Attribute

It is recommended to complete these additional attributes so you can break out your Shopping campaigns in a way that makes the most sense for your business. You will likely be more willing to pay a higher price (i.e., bid more) for high margin items, than low margin items.

You should continue to revisit these custom labels throughout the year as business changes and seasonality comes in to play.

Data feeds are complex and require a lot of time and resources. If you take the time to invest in the development of your data feed, increased revenue and sales will quickly ensue, and the time and effort you put into its development will all be worth it.

By Kaitlin Pursley