GTINs: The Most Powerful Product Attribute You May Not Be Using

If you use Google Shopping Feeds, you’ve heard of GTINs. Missing or unknown GTINs is a common error in Google Merchant Center, but what does it mean and why is it important? Read below to learn more about how GTINs work and the impact they have on product performance.

GTIN stands for Global Trade Item Number. The purpose of GTINs is to provide a universal way to identify products and variants, which helps with inventory management, tracking, and pricing. It is provided by the manufacturer as a unique identifier for products. Another way to find a GTIN is the MPN or barcode number. 

Within Google Merchant Center, there are a few types of errors relating to GTINs. The impact of the GTIN attribute is dependent on the error. Some errors will cause the products to be disapproved while others simply result in being limited in performance. 

A product with a missing GTIN will have limited performance, while a product using the wrong GTIN will be completely disapproved.

Deeper Insights into Google Merchant Center (GMC):

There are many advantages to including GTINs in Google Merchant Center product feed. They provide essential data for Google Merchant Center (GMC) which is a platform that allows retailers to upload and manage their product data for Google Shopping. Including accurate GTINs in product listings enhances the quality and accuracy of information and, most notably, allows the product to be available to show in auction 100% of the time.  If two merchants are both eligible for auction, with all other variables constant, the performance will likely lean in favor to the merchant with the included GTIN, as it shows the “authenticity” of a product. 

The use of GTINs helps Google to authenticate a product and track it through all stages of the manufacturing and sales process. GTINs enable Google’s algorithms to match products with relevant search queries and display them to potential customers effectively. Furthermore, GTINs aid in optimizing product listings for Google Ads, making advertisements more relevant and targeted, ultimately driving better performance for retailers in terms of visibility and conversions.

Allows for Pricing Comparisons to Other Merchants:

GTINs facilitate seamless pricing comparisons across different merchants and platforms. Each product variant or version associated with a unique GTIN has consistent identification, making it easier for price comparison engines to match the same product across various retailers. Consumers can search for a specific GTIN to locate identical products and their corresponding prices from different sellers. This streamlined process empowers consumers to identify the most competitive prices and the best deals available, promoting healthy competition among retailers. Additionally, price comparison tools benefit retailers by highlighting how their pricing strategy compares to competitors in the market, prompting them to adjust their prices strategically.

Allows for global aggregate of product reviews

The connection between GTINs and GMC also supports the display of rich product information such as images, prices, and reviews, enhancing the shopping experience for users. By including the unique identifier in the shopping feed, merchants can opt-in to product reviews. This connection allows review platforms and e-commerce websites to gather reviews from different sources and regions and present them collectively on Product Listing Ads.

It’s important to note that while GTINs are crucial for many products, there are exceptions. For example, custom-made products, antiques, one-of-a-kind items, and some other product types might not have GTINs. In such cases, you’ll need to use other unique identifiers or follow Google’s guidelines for providing accurate product information.

In summary, GTINs are a fundamental part of Google Merchant Center, enabling accurate identification, better search results, and compliance with policies. Including correct and valid GTINs in your product data feed can enhance your products’ visibility and credibility on Google Shopping.