GTIN ready for a big Google Shopping change
Dream Agility chief executive Elizabeth Clark has warned retailers to be prepared for a major change to Google Shopping that could lead to up to 40% of some companies’ stock being blocked on Product Listing Ads (PLAs).
From May 2016, Google will require that all PLAs include a Global Trade Item Number (GTIN).
It means an administrative mountain for some retailers, but Clark believes those who can get organised could reap serious benefits.
Clark said: “There is no data available from Google as to what percentage of stock is currently without GTINs, but our own research – from looking at in-house accounts – suggests 15%-40% of most advertisers’ stock does not have GTINs.
“Generally, GTINs are missing for one of two reasons: either they are not available from the manufacturers, or the manufacturer chooses not to supply them as they would prefer their goods not to be sold online. This is a way of brands being able to curtail the activities of individuals, but we have a workaround for that should your brand not give you the GTINs.”
She added: “This change creates an opportunity for savvy retailers who can get their stock ready with GTINs by May, because other less pro-active retailers may end up being blocked.”
What is a Global Trade Item Number (GTIN)?
GTINs are identifiers that enable product information to be stored, and looked up in, a database – most often through a bar code scanner.
GTINs are eight, 12, 13 or 14 digits long.
Clark said: “Up until now, you’ve been able to use ‘Brand’ and ‘MPN’ values instead of using a GTIN, but that’s going to change in May. You’ll have to use GTINs on everything.
“It’s expensive to buy them, and if you do that you’ve then got an administration nightmare of attaching GTINs to all your products. But if you rent GTINs you’ve got to update the giant database in the cloud. So there are pros and cons to either renting or buying.”
What’s happening with GTINs on Google Shopping?
Google are changing their requirements for Product Listing Ads (PLAs), with GTINs becoming compulsory parts of all PLAs from May 2016.
These regulations apply to you if you target any of America, Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, or the UK.
Ignoring this requirement could lead to your products being disapproved and prevented from appearing on Google Shopping.
Clark said: “The mandatory introduction of GTINs will limit most advertisers’ ability to do split-testing, but we also have a work-around in place for that.
“Another downside of using GTINs is that your product titles are going to be a more important factor than ever in order to get you to show. If people search at a GTIN level and you’ve not got the best price then you’re going to be hidden, and you’re going to have to catch the customer further down the chain.
“Your product titles will have to be as relevant as you can possibly make them. That goes beyond just mapping your titles; they need to be dynamically created so you don’t get things like the colour or brand being repeated twice in the title.”
For more information and advice about how the introduction of GTINs could affect your Google Shopping campaign, contact Dream Agility on 0161 641 8585.