Google has made several releases and updates to Google Shopping over the last few weeks. In February, Shopping campaigns were made available to all Product Listing Ads and this last week, AdWords API was opened up for Shopping campaigns as well.  With all this new availability for Shopping campaigns, we should also begin to see an increase in quality enforcement from Google, particularly in the sense of product identifier requirements.

A Brief History

In 2013, unique product identifier requirements became an important part of Google Shopping.  New rules were set forth to increase the quality of products that were shown.  If you had chosen not to follow the guidelines, your products began to be disapproved or were demoted for not providing the data needed or accurate data for the products that you advertise.  The reasons behind this quality enforcement was to make it easier for the searcher.  It would show them the one product that they searched for with a list of the multiple sellers that can provide it. It essentially made it easier for the shopper to find the product that they were looking for.  Providing accurate and complete information also helped the seller.  It created more concrete data and better quality data to analyze and optimize for better performance in our product listing ads.

The Enforcer of Quality

By now, if you used Google Shopping in the past, you have already made the necessary changes to the original unique product identifier requirements.  Now, there are going to be some more.  As more availability comes out of Google Shopping, we will have to better the quality of data that we provide Google for our products.

Google is going to begin the search again and find any products that have incorrect GTIN, MPN and brands for their products.  Any of these that they find will become disapproved.  GTIN are the global trade item numbers that are required for products.  Any of your products that have an incorrect GTIN will show as warning in the Google Merchant Center.  Manufacturer Part Numbers (MPN) and brands are also important, if you want to match any search queries to the products that you advertise.   For anyone that incorrectly uses “identifier exists” as their attribution, those products will begin to be demoted.  The only time that “identifier exists” is allowed to be used is for custom goods that truly do not have a category of their own.

Essentially, if you choose not heed the literal warnings that Google is placing on your Data Quality and Data Feed tabs in the Merchant Center, Google is going to escalate the warning to a disapproval.  Before they start strictly enforcing the requirements for unique product identifiers, you should probably take the time and listen to the advance warning that Google is giving.