2016 Google Shopping Changes (What You Need To Know)

Chad Faith
Chad Faith

Director of Content

2016 Google Shopping Changes (What You Need To Know)

Have you just entered the world of Google Shopping or have you been around long enough to be considered a veteran user? Are you aware that Google Shopping has received major changes in 2016? If you have been running PPC campaigns for some time, it’s not surprising to know that such changes occur because this is one of the landscapes that are susceptible to changes every now and then. Let’s take a look at the major updates that were announced by Google in 2016.

Changes in Feed Rules

Feed Rules is a beta-version feature in Google Merchant Center. It allows online merchants or sellers to improve their data feed without relying on costly third-party tools. Small to medium size businesses will benefit greatly from this feature if they have feeds for under 500 products. It allows them to submit files with any header and map it to Google’s feed specifications. Without using expensive third-party tools, users can manipulate a larger amount of data at a go, to fill necessary fields for greater convenience.

Changes in Feed Requirements

Feed requirements are now expanded, and this changes was announced on May 25 2016. Below is a quick look at the changes to data requirements:

Feed Requirement Changes by September 1, 2016

For starters, all non-apparel products must have images that are at least 100 x 100 pixels in size by the stipulated deadline. Next, you may be able to add the size onto the end of the image link. However, that depends on how you host your images. You can consider sending a different image that is already live in the feed if the aforementioned is not possible. If you are selling apparel products in countries such as the UK, Japan, France and Germany, attributes like ‘size’ and ‘color’ are required as well.

Feed Requirement Changes by February 14, 2017

Next, GTIN (the biggest change which will elaborated on) is now required for merchants who need to target any country in this list:

  • Turkey
  • Sweden
  • Russia
  • Poland
  • Norway
  • Mexico
  • India
  • Canada
  • Belgium
  • Austria

Active Immediately

The maximum file size for your feeds has now been increased to 4GB. The previous limit was 1GB. While none of these feed specification changes are considered to be ground-breaking changes, they have to be in place to improve the experiences of your customers and hopefully increase conversions for online merchants.

Changes in Mobile Ad Format

Showcase Shopping Ads is a new mobile ad format that offers a new look and feel of Product Listing Ads on Google. Let’s find out how this works. Showcase Shopping Ads now show multiple brands and allow users to click into each brand to see a variety of products related to the specific search. It’s designed to offer users a more immersive experience. That is why merchants, who run shopping campaigns, are automatically entered into the basic version of this beta.

There is a premium version to this and it allows sellers to upload their own images, select the exact products they want to display on searches as well as create more targeted campaigns in AdWords with ease. If you prefer to use the premium version, do note that you will be charged on a cost-per-experience basis by Google.

The Biggest Change: The Need for GTIN

GTIN stands for Global Trade Item Number, and it was one of the biggest changes announced on February 2. GTIN includes an item’s JAN, EAN, ISBN, and UPC. As an advertiser in the United States, you may risk getting your products disapproved if you fail to pass these codes. To help you avoid experiencing the wrath of GTIN-aggedon, you can refer to online resources as they are in abundance.