Google is Changing the Rules for Unique Product Identifiers

Yet another announcement from Google, and this time it is all about product feeds and unique product identifiers. Specifically though, Google will be enforcing new rules for retailers as of September 30th!

The official notice has starting coming in for merchants submitting feeds to Google Merchant Center. Google will be changing the rules when it comes to submitting unique product identifiers in feeds. UPI’s include the attributes GTIN (UPC, EAN, etc.), MPN (Manufacturer Part Numbers), and Brand.

Per Google:

Starting September 30, 2019

  • Items missing required UPIs will no longer be disapproved. These items will now be eligible to serve in Shopping ads. However, similar items with correct UPIs will receive higher priority to items that do not have correct UPIs. All items will continue to serve, but the performance of items without correct UPIs may be limited. Make sure to provide the correct UPIs to maximize the performance of your items.
  • Items for which the identifier_exists attribute is incorrectly set to “false” and there is evidence that a UPI exists, will be disapproved.
  • Items using the same GTIN across multiple different products will be considered ambiguous and will be disapproved.

This will affect merchants in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Czechia, India, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the United States.

In other words…..

Google will no longer require GTINs for products, however submitting products without GTINs when they are actually applicable could impact the visibility of your Shopping ads.

This could potentially lead to lower impressions and less shelf space against your competitors who do submit GTINs.

There will also be “no more fooling” Google with the identifier_exists FALSE attribute in feeds.

If your products DO IN FACT have GTINs and you try to game the system by submitting identifier_exists FALSE – Google will disapprove your products.

The ambiguous GTIN error is a bit more rare but its important to take note that you should not be submitting the same GTIN for all products.

This may be seen more in the Apparel & Accessories sector for retailers who submit variants such as different colors and/or sizes. Each product likely has its own GTIN and therefore you must submit the accurate value for all products.