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2015 Google Shopping Feed Specification and Google Product Taxonomy Update

We've made updates to the Google Shopping Feed Specification and Google product taxonomy with the goal of creating a richer experience for customers searching for your products online and to simplify the process of providing information in your feed. Some of the updates require changes to your current product data that need to be implemented by September 15, 2015. 

Google Shopping Products Feed Specification

  • For the US, Units & Quantity Attributes can now also be submitted to support products sold in bulk or by volume like tiles or floorboards. Learn more
  • We refined our guiding principles and requirements around GTINs, because GTINs uniquely and completely identify a product in the global marketplace. When you submit these identifiers, you help us make your ads richer, and you also make it easier for users to find the product you’re selling. Learn more
  • We tightened our submission rules around the ID Attribute to prevent submissions of invalid characters or sequences because they are difficult to process. For example, we’ll no longer allow trailing whitespaces or control characters. Learn more
  • Apparel and Variant attributes have been simplified into one section, called Detailed Product Attributes and Item Groupings. Requirements for these attributes have been expanded to Brazil. With this change, you'll be able to submit all available product details to describe your products as accurately as possible. When you provide accurate details, you help users locate your products. Learn more
  • Due to popular request, we are introducing stable numeric Google Product Category IDs as an alternative to the Google Product Category path. Now you can submit the ID for the Category instead of the full path. Learn more
  • We are expanding our Shipping requirement to Switzerland, Czechia, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, and Japan to be able to display the total price to users. This update benefits both you and the users, since users get access to complete cost information, which drives conversions for your business. Learn more 

Google Product Taxonomy

  • We simplified many Google product taxonomy paths by rolling up a number of categories to their parent nodes. You no longer need to provide subcategories of:
    • Coats & Jackets
    • Shirts & Tops
    • Pants
    • Shorts
    • Swimwear
    • Handbags
    • Shoes
    • Medicine & Drugs
    • Books
    • Video Game Console Accessories
  • Most of the categories under Activewear are now included with their non-active counterparts, for example, 'Active Skirts' will now be found under 'Skirts'. These categories include:
    • Active Dresses
    • Active Jackets
    • Active Leotards
    • Active Pants
    • Active Shirts
    • Active Shorts
    • Active Skirts
    • Active Tanks
    • Active Undergarments
    • Activewear Sets
  • We added more subcategories to the verticals:
    • Food, Beverages & Tobacco
    • Mature
  • Some verticals have undergone significant rework, and you may wish to revisit your provided Google product categories for items that are part of these categories:
    • Arts & Crafts
    • Decor
    • Hardware
    • Sporting Goods
    • Motor Vehicle Parts & Accessories

Like last year, some of these changes won't be visible to Google Shopping users immediately, because we want to give you enough time to make changes to your product data. To update your data, make sure to review the Products Feed Specification, the Summary of Attribute Requirements, and the Google product taxonomy. We encourage you to use the test feeds feature, feed debugger, and the Diagnostics tab to ensure that your updated product data can be processed correctly. You can also review the documentation for the Content API for Google Shopping.

Enforcement

You can begin submitting updated product data immediately. If your data is formatted incorrectly, your item will be rejected during feed processing. We will start enforcing the new and updated attributes on September 15, 2015 with the exception of the expanded shipping requirement. Given that specifying accurate shipping rates can be more complex, we're providing more implementation time for this change -- shipping enforcement will begin February 1, 2016.

Values you submit for the 'google product category' attribute can be any taxonomy value we've published since August 2011. While it's not required, we recommend that you update your values for the 'google product category' attribute to use the latest taxonomy values. If you are using the 'google product category' attribute in your Shopping campaigns, some of your products might get assigned a different bid because they are categorized differently.

After the deadline, non-compliant items in your product data might be disapproved and removed from Google Shopping. 

Enforcement begins June 1, 2015

  • Numeric Google Product Category IDs: If you submit numeric Google Product Category IDs they must be valid IDs. Invalid submissions will be disapproved.

Enforcement begins September 15, 2015

  • GTINs: For Australia, Brazil, Czechia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, the UK, and the US, you need to submit 'gtin' and 'brand' attributes for all products sold in ‘new’ condition from a designated brand. The list of designated brands will grow over time. The requirements remain the same for products that don't meet these criteria.
  • ID Attribute: You need to submit valid and unique strings. Invalid submissions will be disapproved.
  • Detailed Product Attributes and Item Groupings: These attributes can now be submitted for all products if they exist, are relevant to identify the product, and if the information fits into the accepted values for the detailed product attributes. For Brazil, the attributes ‘color’, ‘age group’ and ‘gender’ are now required for the 'Apparel & Accessories' category and the ‘size’ attribute is now required for the categories 'Apparel & Accessories > Clothing' and 'Apparel & Accessories > Shoes'. These requirements are already in place in France, Germany, Japan, the UK, and the US.

Enforcement begins February 1, 2016

  • Shipping costs: You need to submit accurate shipping costs for the US, UK, Germany, Australia, France, Switzerland, Czechia, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, and Japan. If accurate shipping price configuration is not possible, you'll need to overestimate the shipping cost when you enter it.

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Policy changes

For past and upcoming policy changes, visit Merchant Center Announcements.