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About unique product identifiers

Unique product identifiers go beyond the id attribute to define the product you're selling in the global marketplace. Common unique product identifiers include Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs), Manufacturer Part Numbers (MPNs), and brand names. Providing unique product identifiers, especially GTINs, can make your ads richer and easier for users to find.

This article explains the unique product identifiers you may have to provide, how to troubleshoot issues with your identifiers, and what to do if you don't have them.

Types of unique product identifiers

Name Description Attribute
UPC
  • Used in primarily North America
  • Universal Product Code (UPC), also called GTIN-12 and UPC-A
  • 12 numeric digits
  • A unique numerical identifier for commercial products that's usually associated with a barcode printed on retail merchandise.
gtin
EAN
  • Used primarily outside of North America
  • European Article Number (EAN), also called GTIN-13
  • Typically 13 numeric digits (can occasionally be either eight or 14 numeric digits)
  • A unique numerical identifier for commercial products that's usually associated with a barcode printed on retail merchandise.
gtin
JAN
  • Used only in Japan
  • Japanese Article Number (JAN), also called GTIN-13
  • 8 or 13 numeric digits
  • A unique numerical identifier for commercial products that's usually associated with a barcode printed on retail merchandise.
gtin
ISBN
  • Used globally
  • International Standard Book Number (ISBN)
  • ISBN-10: 10 numeric digits (last digit may be "X" which represents the number "10").
  • Note that this format was deprecated in 2007, and not all books can be represented using ISBN-10.
  • ISBN-13 (recommended): 13 numeric digits and typically starts with either 978 or 979
  • A unique numerical identifier for commercial books published since 1970 that can be found on the back of the book along with the barcode.
gtin
Brand
  • Used globally
  • The brand of the product
brand
MPN
  • Used globally
  • Manufacturer Part Number (MPN)
  • Alphanumeric digits (various lengths)
  • The number which uniquely identifies the product to its manufacturer
mpn

Include unique product identifiers in your product data

Depending on the type of product you submit, you'll submit different identifiers. For all your items, we recommend submitting all three attributes (gtinbrand, and mpn) to help boost ad performance and help users find your products.

Use the following set of rules to provide the correct identifiers for each of your products.

New products with GTINs

For all new products (which is submitted with the condition attribute) that have a GTIN assigned, submit the following attributes:

  • gtin
  • brand
  • mpn (recommended)

Products without a GTIN

Some products don’t have a GTIN assigned, and so you don’t need to submit one. However, if the product does have a GTIN assigned and you don’t submit it, then the product could be disapproved.

For these products, submit the following attributes:

  • brand
  • mpn

Examples of products that may not have an assigned GTIN include:

  • Store brand products
  • Replacement parts
  • Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts or replacements for OEM parts
  • Custom-made products (e.g., custom t-shirts, art, and handmade goods)
  • Books released before ISBN was approved as an ISO standard in 1970
  • Vintage or antique products
  • Preorder products (using the condition attribute) 

For products without a GTIN and brand nor mpn and brand, submit identifier_exists.

Products without a brand

If the product has a clearly associated brand or manufacturer, submit the brand attribute. 

However, you don’t need to submit the brand attribute if the product doesn’t have a clearly associated brand (e.g., movies, books, and music) or is a custom-made product (e.g., custom t-shirts, art, and handmade goods).

Tips for specific products

Products with several UPCs

Make sure to the submit the correct UPC for each product:

  • For variants (comes in multiple colors, sizes, etc.), submit 1 UPC for each product.
  • For products with more than 1 valid UPC (e.g., products with a global UPC and a UPC specific to the distributor), submit additional gtin attributes with each value.
Multipacks

A multipack is a group several identical products for sale as one product. This group can be created by you or by the manufacturer, and you’ll need to submit the brand differently depending on who created the group.

  • The manufacturer created the multipack: use the GTIN, MPN, and brand of the multipack, not the individual products.
  • You created the multipack: use the GTIN, MPN, and brand of the individual products. Learn more about the multipack attribute
Bundles

A bundle is a main product that you’ve grouped with other accessory products, sold together as one package for a single price.

  • The manufacturer created the bundle: use the GTIN, MPN, and brand of the bundle, not the individual products.
  • You created the bundle: use the GTIN, MPN, and brand of the main product. For example, if you bundle a camera with a lens and carrying bag, submit the brand of the camera, which is the main product. Learn more about the is_bundle attribute
Products that you customize

If you offer customization, engraving, or other personalization of a product:

  • Submit the gtin attribute with the value assigned by the manufacturer
  • Submit the is_bundle attribute to let us know that you’ll customize the product
  • Explain that the product is customized in the title and description attributes

Learn more about best practices for customized products

Books and media

Use the ISBN-13 of a book as the value for the gtin attribute.

For a product that has a UPC and an ISBN-13, then submit the gtin attribute twice, once for each value.

For a product with only an SBN (9 digits, used in Great Britain until 1974), convert it to an ISBN-10 by adding a 0 in front. For example, to convert 123456789, submit 0123456789.

Printed music

An International Standard Music Number (ISMN) can be converted into a GTIN. Learn more about ISMN from Wikipedia

Printer cartridges

Submit the correct value for condition along with the correct unique product identifiers for the brand, mpn, and gtin attributes for your printer cartridge:

  • Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) cartridges
    • Submit new for condition
    • Submit the unique product identifiers assigned by the OEM manufacturer
  • Compatible cartridges
    • Submit new for condition
    • Submit the unique product identifiers assigned by the manufacturer of cartridge. Don’t submit the unique product identifiers of the OEM cartridge that it’s compatible with.
  • Refurbished cartridges
    • Submit refurbished for condition
    • Submit the unique product identifiers assigned by the OEM manufacturer
  • Refilled cartridges
    • Submit used for condition
    • Submit the unique product identifiers assigned by the OEM manufacturer
Magazine subscriptions

An International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) can be converted into a GTIN. Learn more about converting values from the ISSN Centre's website

Medication

Troubleshoot GTIN issues

Find unique product identifiers for your products

When you're working with unique product identifiers, don't invent or approximate the values. Each product has a prescribed value assigned by the manufacturer, and any other value will cause your product to be disapproved. The most accurate source of GTINs is always from the product packaging or the product’s manufacturer.

Ways to find unique product identifiers:

  • Check the packaging. Refer to the GTIN on your product's packaging. Learn how to find the GTIN
  • Ask the manufacturer. Contact your product's manufacturer or distributor to ask for it.
  • Search for the product on Google Shopping. For some countries, if you search for the product, the Shopping ad will have a link to compare prices. Click this link, and then look for the GTIN under the Details section.
  • Check ISBNdb.com or Google Books. You can find ISBN information on either of these sites.
Make sure your GTIN is correct

Quickly check if your GTIN is correct using the following tips:

  • Use the right number of digits. Each GTIN should have a specific number of digits, so count the number of digits for each GTIN (e.g., ISBN-13 should have 13 digits).
  • Use numbers only. If your GTIN has letters or symbols, then it’s not correct.
  • Look for the check digit (or letter for ISBN-10). The check digit is a digit within the GTIN that can be used as a mathematical check to make sure the product identifier is accurate. Use the GS1 check digit calculator
  • Look for numbers in the restricted range. Don’t include GTINs in the restricted ranges (prefixes 2, 02, 04) or the coupon range (05, 981, 982, 983).
  • Use the right levels. For GTIN-14 codes, only use packaging levels (1–8) if you are selling packages containing multiple items, do not use the bulk level indicator (9).

For more detailed information about GTIN validation, download the GS1 GTIN validation guide.

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