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Conquer Google's Ultimatum: Update Your PLA Feeds!

Published: August 19, 2013

Author: Molly Shotwell

Today’s post is by Client Services Manager Jason Bruggemann: Google Search, Bing and Kenshoo advertising dynamo. 
For those of you utilizing product feeds for product listing ads (PLAs), do you remember or did you hear about the announcement Google made back in May? Basically, the post outlined six updates to the feeds, and one of them wasn’t going to be enforced until mid-July. That update was a new required attribute for a unique product identifier.
Mid-July came and went, and Google now requires unique product identifiers for all of your products. And if your current feeds are still running without the unique product identifier column, then expect the feeds to be in violation and paused by September. Google mentioned that all violating offers will be rejected and will not be served through Product Listing Ads by September.
What exactly is being required?
Good question – I’ll help you with that. Google has done a wonderful job in notifying the details of what is required. And because they’ve done a great job, I am not going to try to summarize it for you. Instead, here is a link to the merchant center support section where it tells you what qualifies as a unique product identifier. product feed requirements table It has a great chart, which I included, and the page has FAQs at the bottom.
You will see that the chart has a column labeled “Feed Attribute.” This is what your column will be labeled as in the feed if you are using the corresponding identifier. For example, if you are using a UPC, your column with be labeled “GTIN” and you will put your 12 numeric digits in that column for that product.
Google recommends all three (GTIN, MPN, Brand) where applicable.
If you have custom goods where no such identifier exists, then you will still have to add an attribute called “identifier_exists” and label the product as “FALSE.” Since it is Boolean logic, the only other alternative is “TRUE” – which all products will be defaulted to if not labeled. In that case, you will need one to three of those identifiers – depending on the product type. Apparel is the only product type where only the brand attribute is sufficient to show ads. That is, variant and non-variant apparel that does not include the following accessories: shoes, sunglasses, handbags , and watches.
With all of these updates to product feeds, how do we know what is required now?
That’s another good question. This is going to depend on two factors. One is your country and the other is the type of product.
I can provide more details or just direct you to another great page that has a summary of the requirements.
Update your product feed to include GTIN, MPN, Brand, and/or Identifier_Exists attribute(s) before Google gets upset.
-Jason Bruggemann, Client Services Manager

25 E Washington Street
Suite 420

Chicago, IL 60602

(650) 539-4124

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