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Best practices for advertising customized products

Customized products are unique and built-to-order. Typically these products have a large number of variants, such as furniture with different materials and colors, and jewelry with different settings and stones. Or they may be personalized, like t-shirts with printed logos and picture frames with a name engraving.

This article explains how to structure your product data when submitting custom products.

Why you should follow these best practices

  • Reach the right customers. Details in your product data allow us to understand what you're selling, and to help show your ads to people based on the custom products they're looking for.
  • Keep products approved. Submitting incorrect or inconsistent product data may cause item or account disapprovals.

Submit your best selling variants

People shopping online for custom products are often looking for certain variant characteristics such as red promotional pens, or personalized photo canvas 8x10. To appeal to these potential customers, submit details like size, color, and other relevant attributes.

Depending on your product, you might have too many possible customizations to submit all of them. If so, consider which variants are readily available and best sellers.

Tips for submitting your variants:

  • Submit details in your product data to show the difference between each variant. You can submit variants that have different values for any of the following attributes: color, size, pattern, material, age_group, gender, size_type, and size_system. Providing these details helps us show your ads when people search for these type of characteristics. In your product data, you can use the parent SKU as the item_group_id for all variants of the same product. Learn more about item group ids.
  • Add customizations that don't fit within attributes into the title. For example, monogrammed bath towel or engraved dog food bowl. Learn more about practices for unsupported variants.
  • Submit variants that are typically in stock. When submitting your best selling variants, make sure that you submit the correct value for the availability attribute. If certain customizations have a limited quantity and sell out often, you may want to avoid promoting those variants.
  • Submit the correct image and price for the variant you're advertising. For example, imagine you're promoting a personalized phone case with a blue polka dot pattern. Patterned cases cost more than plain cases. Submit an image which shows the blue polka dots, and a price that covers the full cost of this specific product variation.

Tip: common problems when submitting custom product variants

Submitting too many variants may cause issues with your product data. For example:

  • Performance history for your products might not be as strong if it's spread across too many products
  • Data processing can be slower with a high number of products
  • Product limits restrict the total number of products you can submit

Here are some tips to reduce these types of problems:

  • Submit variants that people buy regularly. From your reporting, identify the variants that you sell at least one item of per month, and submit those in your product data. You can also download a report with impression and click information in your AdWords account. Learn more about monitoring Shopping performance in AdWords.
  • Submit different types of variants, so people can discover each customization option. This way, even if you don't submit all configurations, you'll show different possibilities that might appeal to different people searching online. For example, imagine you sell custom-built shades that come in 8 sizes, 10 materials, 10 patterns, and 15 colors. Submit variants so that each size, material, pattern, and color are mentioned at some point, but do not submit all 12,000 combinations.

Include customizations in titles, descriptions, and images

  • Include custom or personalized near the beginning of the title. This extra text can help match your ads to more relevant searches. Otherwise, you might see wasted clicks from people expecting to find simple, standard products. Add this text toward the beginning of your title so that it doesn't get cut off.
  • Reflect what you're selling with the image, title, and description. If you're selling a part of a built-to-order product instead of the complete item, explain this clearly in the title and description. Also, submit an image of the part, or highlight areas of the image to make it clear that you're selling only one part

Example

Imagine you sell custom engagement rings. You allow people to purchase either the full ring or just the stone without the setting. If you want to advertise the stone only, you need to specify this in the title, image, and description attributes. That way, people understand what you're selling before they click your ad. Submit an image of the stone alone, the price of the stone itself, and a title beginning with stone only or something similar.

Show the completely customized product on your landing page

  • Link to a landing page that features a specific product, instead of a generic gateway page where users can begin the customization process. Learn more requirements for Google Shopping landing pages
  • Match customization options in your product data. Potential customers could be discouraged from buying your product, if the product on the landing page doesn't match the details in the ad, or if configuring the variant shown in the ad is difficult.

Example

Imagine you sell custom blinds made in wood or vinyl. If you submitted wood in the title and material attributes, people who click on your ads should be able to easily see and select wood on your landing page.

  • Pre-select the right combination of customization options. People expect to easily find the product on your website that they saw in your ad. Submit a link with URL parameters, so the correct option is already selected by default. If you don't already have URLs with product configurations that you can link to, you may be able to configure a product link according to the preset parameters. For example: http://example.com/landing_page.php?parameterA=123&meterB=456 Learn more about submitting links

Provide accurate pricing

People shopping online expect to purchase your product for the same amount they see in your ad. Inaccurate prices lead to a poor experience, and could cause potential customers to leave your website. Also, mismatching prices can cause your items or account to be disapproved. Learn more about item and account disapprovals.

  • Submit the price a user will pay for a full product. If your product is made up of multiple components that aren't sold separately, don't submit the cost for one component. For example, if you're promoting a custom built couch, don't submit the price of the couch frame without the legs. If you're promoting a customized mug with logo, don't submit the price of a blank mug without the logo.
  • Submit the total price for all products sold together in bulk, bundles, or multipacks. For example, if you sell promotional pens and you require people to buy at least 20, submit the cost for 20 pens instead of 1 pen (using the price attribute). Optionally, you can use the unit_pricing_measure attribute to submit individual unit prices for bulk orders. Learn more about unit pricing.
  • Make the total price clear on the landing page. Customized products may require people to pay a setup fee, or to order a certain minimum quantity of items. To provide a transparent experience for users, show the total price, including setup and quantity requirements, on the landing page.

Tip

Sometimes the price of a single product can change based on the customization options that people choose. If certain options are more expensive than others, use the title and other attributes to specify which option you're promoting. Also, submit a link that shows that option pre-selected.

For example, imagine you sell custom phone cases. A white phone case costs 15.00 USD and all colored phone cases cost 18.00 USD. If you submit 15.00 USD for the price attribute, then include white in the color and title, and link to the white option on your landing page.

  • Ensure your product data is up-to-date as your customizable inventory changes. If you have frequent price changes (e.g., because the cost of certain components changes often), we recommend that you use the Shopping Content API. Learn more about the Content API for Shopping

Follow the requirements for product identifiers

Brand names together with the global product codes Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) and Manufacturer Part Number (MPN) allow us to correctly identify an individual product or product variant. You can submit these through the brand, gtin, and mpn attributes. Although these codes are required for most products, custom goods or one-of-a-kind items usually won't have unique product identifiers. Learn more about product identifier attributes

  • If you offer customization, engraving, or other personalization of a product:
    • Submit the is_bundle attribute to let us know that you'll customize the product
    • Submit the gtin attribute with the value assigned by the manufacturer
    • Submit brand and mpn of the product before customization
    • Explain that the product is customized in the title and description
    • Submit the price and image of the final customized product
  • If your product doesn't have a gtin and brand, or mpn and brand, then submit identifier_exists with a value of no.

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