Breakdown of the Google Shopping Data Feed for Marketers

September 1, 2016 | 4 min read
By Robert Edmonds

Whenever you search on a search engine for a query that is even remotely close to a product name, you will most likely see a set of shopping ads right at the top of your screen. Since Google took away the sidebar ads from search results, shopping ads have increased in relevance and frequency as they are the only paid advertising that still shows on the right-hand side on the search engine results page (SERP).
Shopping ads give you a unique opportunity to display your product by using a photo, price, store name, promotion and title directly on a SERP. For example, if a user searches for a red soccer ball, you will get a set of shopping ads that look something like what you see here.Google-shopping-feed

But have you ever wondered how these ads are structured behind the scenes? I will discuss some of the categories in the feed that help Google identify your product and promote it to searchers, as well as how to troubleshoot errors in your feed. Now that we know what these ads look like on the outside, lets dive into the Google Shopping data feed that truly makes these ads come alive.

Google Shopping Feed Categories

Product ID

The product ID is the unique identifier of the item being sold and cannot be reused for any other product throughout any feeds associated with your account. Google recommends that you use SKU’s, as long as they are unique, as your product id. As a marketer, having this unique identifier makes finding specific product data much easier.

Title

This is as simple as it sounds. The title is the name of your product and can include the brand, color, size, etc., of the item you are selling. For example, a pair of running shoes could be called “Women’s Nike Running Shoes – Blue.” Obviously, you want to be as descriptive as possible, but don’t overload your title with adjectives or superlatives or it could seem spammy to users.

Description

This is your opportunity to tell Google about your product and any relevant information associated with it. Some examples would be the size, features, materials, and anything else that differentiates your product from others like it. Be as descriptive as possible to ensure that Google understands the full scope of your item. When Google fully understands your product offerings, it can then match your ad up with the most relevant user.

Condition

When it comes to used items, Google allows you to classify them into either of these three categories: new, refurbished, or used. This level of granularity will continue to get your ad in front of the right audience that are looking for the condition of product you offer. This is a very regulated area of the Google Merchant Center, so be sure that your products meet the quality guidelines that Google lays out.

Google Product Category

Categorizing your product allows Google to promote your ad to the most relevant users that are searching for your type of product. Some items do not require you to choose a specific category, but it is highly recommended so that you reach your target audience. It is also ideal to be as specific as possible when it comes to choosing your categories, as this can make bidding by category more accurate. An example of a specific category would be: Media>Books>Nonfiction>Sports>Football.

Product Type

This is basically the same as the Google Product Category field, but can be customized to your own classification. You can also add your item to more than one product category, up to 10 total. This field uses the same format as the Google Product Category and will be the exact same the majority of the time, unless other categories are added. Adding different product types can also help you organize your inventory efficiently from an internal perspective.

Troubleshooting Errors & Warnings

This one sounds pretty obvious, but it’s over looked more often than you would think. In Google’s Merchant Center, go to the Diagnostics section and download “Items Errors and Warnings”. This will give you a spreadsheet that shows which products have errors and for what reasons. It is essential to keep a clean feed so that all your products are being shown on shopping ads. Whenever changes are made to your data, be sure to upload a new version of the feed immediately.

Google-shopping-feed

A common error for a Google Shopping data feed is an incorrect price. The Google Merchant Center looks at the landing page of your product to make sure that price matches up with the price you have provided in the feed. If the prices do not match, the error will cause the ad to not be shown. Staying on top of price changes is key in providing a quality data feed.

Now more than ever, shopping campaigns can make or break your eCommerce advertising success. Even though it can be a very intricate process to create a good product feed, you will see the advantages immediately. From bid management to ad placement, being on top of your shopping feed will help you better manage your products and serve more relevant ads to your audience.


Why You Should Diversify Your Budget with Multi-Channel Marketing
Utilizing One of the Greatest Ad Changes: Extended Text Ads
Subscribe to the Digital Marketing Tip!
Get the latest insights and time-tested wisdom from veterans of the digital marketing industry.

Breakdown of the Google Shopping Data Feed for Marketers

September 1, 2016 | 4 min read
By Robert Edmonds

Whenever you search on a search engine for a query that is even remotely close to a product name, you will most likely see a set of shopping ads right at the top of your screen. Since Google took away the sidebar ads from search results, shopping ads have increased in relevance and frequency as they are the only paid advertising that still shows on the right-hand side on the search engine results page (SERP).
Shopping ads give you a unique opportunity to display your product by using a photo, price, store name, promotion and title directly on a SERP. For example, if a user searches for a red soccer ball, you will get a set of shopping ads that look something like what you see here.Google-shopping-feed

But have you ever wondered how these ads are structured behind the scenes? I will discuss some of the categories in the feed that help Google identify your product and promote it to searchers, as well as how to troubleshoot errors in your feed. Now that we know what these ads look like on the outside, lets dive into the Google Shopping data feed that truly makes these ads come alive.

Google Shopping Feed Categories

Product ID

The product ID is the unique identifier of the item being sold and cannot be reused for any other product throughout any feeds associated with your account. Google recommends that you use SKU’s, as long as they are unique, as your product id. As a marketer, having this unique identifier makes finding specific product data much easier.

Title

This is as simple as it sounds. The title is the name of your product and can include the brand, color, size, etc., of the item you are selling. For example, a pair of running shoes could be called “Women’s Nike Running Shoes – Blue.” Obviously, you want to be as descriptive as possible, but don’t overload your title with adjectives or superlatives or it could seem spammy to users.

Description

This is your opportunity to tell Google about your product and any relevant information associated with it. Some examples would be the size, features, materials, and anything else that differentiates your product from others like it. Be as descriptive as possible to ensure that Google understands the full scope of your item. When Google fully understands your product offerings, it can then match your ad up with the most relevant user.

Condition

When it comes to used items, Google allows you to classify them into either of these three categories: new, refurbished, or used. This level of granularity will continue to get your ad in front of the right audience that are looking for the condition of product you offer. This is a very regulated area of the Google Merchant Center, so be sure that your products meet the quality guidelines that Google lays out.

Google Product Category

Categorizing your product allows Google to promote your ad to the most relevant users that are searching for your type of product. Some items do not require you to choose a specific category, but it is highly recommended so that you reach your target audience. It is also ideal to be as specific as possible when it comes to choosing your categories, as this can make bidding by category more accurate. An example of a specific category would be: Media>Books>Nonfiction>Sports>Football.

Product Type

This is basically the same as the Google Product Category field, but can be customized to your own classification. You can also add your item to more than one product category, up to 10 total. This field uses the same format as the Google Product Category and will be the exact same the majority of the time, unless other categories are added. Adding different product types can also help you organize your inventory efficiently from an internal perspective.

Troubleshooting Errors & Warnings

This one sounds pretty obvious, but it’s over looked more often than you would think. In Google’s Merchant Center, go to the Diagnostics section and download “Items Errors and Warnings”. This will give you a spreadsheet that shows which products have errors and for what reasons. It is essential to keep a clean feed so that all your products are being shown on shopping ads. Whenever changes are made to your data, be sure to upload a new version of the feed immediately.

Google-shopping-feed

A common error for a Google Shopping data feed is an incorrect price. The Google Merchant Center looks at the landing page of your product to make sure that price matches up with the price you have provided in the feed. If the prices do not match, the error will cause the ad to not be shown. Staying on top of price changes is key in providing a quality data feed.

Now more than ever, shopping campaigns can make or break your eCommerce advertising success. Even though it can be a very intricate process to create a good product feed, you will see the advantages immediately. From bid management to ad placement, being on top of your shopping feed will help you better manage your products and serve more relevant ads to your audience.

Share This Post
PREVIOUS POST

Why You Should Diversify Your Budget with Multi-Channel Marketing
NEXT POST

Utilizing One of the Greatest Ad Changes: Extended Text Ads
Subscribe to the Digital Marketing Tip!
Get the latest insights and time-tested wisdom from veterans of the digital marketing industry.