The Impact of GTINs on Google Shopping

In February, Google announced its latest PLA requirement would become mandatory on Google Shopping: the implementation of GTINs across products sold by multiple sellers. As of May 16, they formally enforced the rule across the board. Google first broke the news last August when it initially issued the requirement to only fifty brands. Now Google is expanding this to include all brand name products or services.

What are GTINs?
GTINs are the barcode of google shopping. Every product has one, but not every customer looks at them. However, they are a unique code that identifies and provides important details about every product in the Google Shopping catalogue; and now they play a vital role in Google Shopping.

Why Implement GTINs?
Google implemented this regulation to keep tabs on what retailers and service providers are selling on its platform, saying that by knowing what’s being sold, they can help merchants boost their ad performance. The addition of the GTIN has allowed Google Shopping merchants to serve their ads in more places, and with Google’s partners, thereby bringing conversation rates up by 20%. A successful test conducted in September 2015 determined that GTINs improved CTR by up to 40%. As a result, Google has required all brand name products within Google Shopping feeds to have a GTIN.

Who is Affected?
Merchants targeting Australia, Brazil, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, the UK or the US, must affix a corresponding GTIN on all new, in-stock, and branded products in order to comply with Google’s requirement for Google Shopping. Merchants advertising pre-order, used, handmade, custom made, or vintage items will not be impacted because these products are unique, and only being sold in one place.

What has been the impact?
This has been time consuming for advertisers who don’t already have this data within their feed. It required sourcing potentially 100s of GTINs. Regarding overall performance, GTINs have only been a requirement from May so there hasn’t been enough time to see any significant change.

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