Have you ever tried to upload inventory to Google Shopping, but the process took twice as long as you thought because the categories within the company’s inventory management system did NOT align with Google Shopping’s categories? Most PPC-ers have dealt with this hassle, and it is often stressful. But stress no more!  Google has finally released a fix! The new tool, called Feed Rules, is going to make the feed-upload process much simpler and thus less frustrating.

Feed Rules will streamline the transfer of inventory data from a company’s inventory management system to the Merchant Center, in a format accepted by Google Shopping. How? Feed Rules allows advertisers to create rules that alter existing values or attributes to make them acceptable by Google Shopping.

A few examples, per Google, include:

  • Set up a Feed Rule to recognize headers from the inventory management system that were previously “unsupported column headers”.
  • For products that are specific to one gender, use a Feed Rule to change “for women” to “female”, since Google Shopping only accepts the word “female”.
  • Set up a rule to fill in missing attributes. For a company that only sells new products, the attribute “condition” is probably blank in an inventory management system. Fill that attribute in with “new”, to fit the Google Shopping requirements.

After an advertiser sets all of their rules, new uploads of that same feed will continue to use the rules. That should save advertisers significant amounts of time.

Google also suggests to not only use Feed Rules for efficiency, but to also look for ways to use conditional rules to optimize Shopping campaigns. Some examples of rules that could help optimization include:

  • Create custom labels based on varying prices or margins, or create labels that divide top sellers from the average products and use those labels to bid differently on each group.
  • Tag products with shipping labels like “light” or “heavy”. Use those labels to assign shipping costs based on weight.

These optimizations will probably only scratch the surface of possibilities for effective conditional rules. We look forward to testing out the Feed Rules, and we want to know what your experiences are too. Do the rules save you time? Do you find them easy to create? Tweet us @ppchero.