Categorize your products

Google Shopping uses product categories to help users find products most related to their interests. You can increase the chances that your products will be included in relevant categories by using the 'google product category' and 'product type' attributes. This article provides best practices for submitting these attributes in your product data.

If you're not familiar with these terms, refer to the 'google product category' attribute and 'product type' attribute in the Products Feed Specification to get started.

The 'google product category' attribute

The ‘google product category’ attribute indicates the category of the product being submitted, according to the Google product taxonomy. This attribute accepts only predefined values, taken from the Google product taxonomy. If your items fall into multiple categories, include only one category.

When to include

For all target countries except Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, India, Mexico, Norway, Poland, Russia, Sweden, and Turkey, ‘google product category’ is required for all items that fall within the 'Apparel & Accessories', 'Media', and 'Software' categories. If your products don't fall into one of those categories - or if your feed targets Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, India, Mexico, Norway, Poland, Russia, Sweden, or Turkey, - this attribute is recommended but not required.

For items that fall into the categories listed below, you'll need to choose the most specific category available in the Google product taxonomy. It's not enough to provide the highest-level categories, such as 'Apparel & Accessories' or ‘Media’, for these items.

  • 1604 or 'Apparel & Accessories > Clothing'
  • 187 or 'Apparel & Accessories > Shoes'
  • 178 or 'Apparel & Accessories > Clothing Accessories > Sunglasses'
  • 3032 or 'Apparel & Accessories > Handbags, Wallets & Cases > Handbags'
  • 201 or 'Apparel & Accessories > Jewelry > Watches'
  • 784 or 'Media > Books'
  • 839 or 'Media > DVDs & Videos'
  • 855 or 'Media > Music'
  • 1279 or 'Software > Video Game Software' (Note: this category includes all computer games)

Category for bundles: Provide the most appropriate categorization for bundled products of differing product types. If the bundle contains a main product, the category of the main product is most appropriate. For example, if you're submitting a digital SLR camera bundled with a bag, ‘Cameras & Optics > Cameras > Digital Cameras’ (152) is an appropriate category to submit for the bundled item.

Examples

Coats and jackets fall under the 'Apparel & Accessories > Clothing' category specified above. When submitting a coat or jacket:

  • Acceptable categories:
    • 1604 or 'Apparel & Accessories > Clothing'
    • 203 or 'Apparel & Accessories > Clothing' > Outerwear'
    • 5598 or 'Apparel & Accessories > Clothing' > Outerwear > Coats & Jackets'
  • Invalid categories
    • 166 or 'Apparel & Accessories'
    • Failing to provide any 'google product category'

Rings do not fall under the specific categories listed above. When submitting rings:

  • Acceptable categories:
    • 166 or 'Apparel & Accessories'
    • 188 or 'Apparel & Accessories > Jewelry
    • 200 or 'Apparel & Accessories'> Jewelry > Rings'
  • Invalid categories:
    • Failing to provide any 'google product category'

However, we recommend you include this attribute for all products, and for all target-countries. Including this attribute will result in better categorization for your products, and will allow us to apply the correct set of checks and rules for your products.

Instructions

If the values for your 'google product category' attribute aren't formatted according to the following instructions, your items will fail to process. Go to the Diagnostics tab of your account and check if you receive warnings or errors about incorrect values for this attribute. If you do, review the instructions below and update your values accordingly.

  • Use the category that best describes your item. To do this, first determine the primary function of the products you're submitting. For specific items like MP3 Players, select the MP3 Players category. While some MP3 players can also serve different functions, like those that contain a clock, they're primarily MP3 Players.
  • Use only one category. For some products, more than one category might be relevant. For example, an adapter to allow an MP3 player to be used in a car could be in both categories Motor Vehicles > Audio & Video and Electronics > Audio > Audio Accessories > MP3 Player Accessories. In such cases, choose the category that seems the most appropriate to you, but don't include more than one.
  • Use the most specific category possible. Being specific will help improve your data quality and in turn ensures that offers are presented in the right category. When viewing the taxonomy, try to navigate to the most specific category that still covers all the products being submitted. For instance, if you're submitting MP3 player chargers use the category MP3 Player Chargers. Conversely, if you're submitting multiple types of chargers use the category Chargers.
  • Use the product category for the main item in a bundle. If the bundle contains a main product, the category of the main product is most appropriate. For example, if you are submitting a digital SLR camera bundled with a bag, ‘Cameras & Optics > Cameras > Digital Cameras’ is an appropriate category to submit for the bundled item.

Keep in mind

The taxonomy is updated once a year. However, you can submit taxonomy values in the 'google product category' attribute from previously published taxonomy versions, back to August 2011. If you use taxonomy values from a version older than August 2011, you need to update them.

Formatting (Text)

You can submit the category ID or the full path of the category. For example, all three of these values represent the same category:

  • 431
  • Food, Beverages & Tobacco > Food Items > Grains, Rice & Cereals
  • "Food, Beverages & Tobacco > Food Items > Grains, Rice & Cereals"
Formatting (XML)

You can submit the category ID or the full path of the category.

If you submit the full path of the category, the category names will need to contain the > and & characters. Since these have special meaning in XML, they must be escaped as > and &. You may also use CDATA to escape the entire string.

For example, both of the values below represent the same category:

  • <g:google_product_category>54</g:google_product_category>
  • <g:google_product_category>Arts & Entertainment > Hobbies & Creative Arts > Musical Instruments > Electronic Musical Instruments > Musical Keyboards</g:google_product_category>

Tip

The values (category names) can be either in the same language as your attributes, or in English (US). If you submit several feeds in different languages, you can use the same values in English (US) across all your feeds.

The 'product type' attribute

The ‘product type’ attribute also indicates the category of the product being sold. However, unlike the ‘google product category’ attribute, this refers to your own classification of the item. Plus, you can include more than one ‘product type’ attribute in your feed, if products apply to more than one category. To determine the correct ‘product type’ attribute, use a value from the Google product taxonomy or use your own categories.

When to include

We recommend you include the ‘product type’ attribute for all countries and product categories.

Instructions
  • Use the full “breadcrumb” information. Wherever possible, we recommend you include more granular categories as it provides us with more precise classification signals. For example, Books > Non-Fiction > Sports > Baseball is better than Baseball. You must use " > " as a separator, including a space before and after the symbol. If you submit multiple values separated by a comma, only the first value will be used as the ‘product type’ for your Shopping campaigns. Learn more about using product type to organize your Shopping campaigns.
  • Use multiple categories, if applicable. The maximum number of values that can be included is ten.
  • It's OK to give us the same values for 'google product category' and 'product type' attributes but the 'google product category' values has to be from the Google product taxonomy.

 

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