Google Shopping’s GTIN Deadline is only 3 days away!

Yoav Maor / May 12, 2016

Google Shopping’s new rules require you to have GTIN codes (UPC/EAN) for every product in your catalog before May 15! We summarize everything you need to know before the deadline. 


Google is running the numbers, and depending on which products you sell, the odds might not be in your favor. Back in 2015, Google updated the Shopping Products Feed Specification (which lists attributes that are required in order to be visible in Google Shopping) and required merchants to list GTINs for all products that fell under any of 50 designated brands. Google has significantly broadened this requirement, and over the next few months, will require a GTIN for ANY new, in stock products that have a GTIN assigned by a manufacturer.

Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs) are a unique identifier that allows Google to “know” the exact item being sold. This allows for easy identification in a global marketplace and provides valuable data about your products, enabling them to be used in more Google Shopping ad formats and displayed in places your potential clients might want to see them, such as YouTube and third party sites.

There are far more to GTINs than simply better ad listings and placements on YouTube and third party sites. According to Google data, merchants that add accurate GTIN data to their product listings experience 40% more clicks overall and a 20% increase in conversions, making this far more than just a cosmetic update for better ad placement.

This GTIN update will apply to retailers targeting consumers in the United States,United Kingdom, Australia, Brazil, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain or Switzerland. Product manufacturers should provide retailers with a GTIN, but if they don’t or you do not manage your own inventory, make sure to request GTINs from your distributor. Back on February 8, 2016, products that were missing GTIN data started to receive warnings in the form of  messages in merchants Google Shopping accounts titled “Missing GTIN” or “Invalid GTIN” for specific products that did not meet the new requirements. Starting on May 15, 2016, retailers will start seeing disapprovals in their accounts for all products that have not been updated as requested. “Disapproval” will likely take the form of the products not showing in Google Shopping at all until updated.

This update also seems to correspond to Google’s recently confirmed decision to stop displaying AdWords ads on the right side of search engine results. This change substantially reduces the ad space available to advertisers, going from up to 10 text advertisements across the whole page to only three above the Google search results.  This may be an attempt to drive more advertising to Google Shopping. On Google Shopping, which uses image supported ads called Product Listing Ads (PLAs), this AdWords change will have no effect on displayed results. PLAs will remain on the right column and will likely become more prominent (and valuable). Google Shopping has seen strong growth, with a report by Marin (an advertising technology company), showing that more than 30% of ads in the retail sector were placed on Google Shopping and more than 45% of Google Shopping clicks came from mobile devices.

With a strong track record and a change that might “force” retailers to increase focus on Google Shopping as an ad platform, Google Shopping might be poised for even stronger growth.

What can you do to ensure that your Google Shopping campaigns are getting you the results you want to see? Follow these suggestions to help maximize your PLA campaigns:


  • Include GTINs for every product in your catalog- As mentioned above, you must include GTINs for your products’ PLAs to show up after May 15, 2016. You can use Sigmento’s GTIN Finder to get these product identifiers for your entire product portfolio on-demand.
  • Use negative keywords to prevent clicks that won’t– Google Shopping campaigns do not use keywords, but adding negative keywords will ensure that you do not get clicks from consumers who are looking for a different product that you do not sell. Adding these negative keywords will save you from racking up charges for clicks that will not be converted.
  • Keep your feed updated with relevant data – Google receives all of your ad information from the data feed. Depending on your industry or product, this data might need to be updated on often and must constantly  be monitored.  If this data, which includes pricing changes, product availability, product description, product category, etc. is out of date, your ad will not get you the results you expect.
  • Include Product Reviews – 64% of E-commerce users report that product reviews are among the top two factors in their decision to make a purchase. In your Google Shopping campaign, you should set up the integration of graphic product reviews into your campaign. If you are not familiar with how to get this done, please visit the Google Merchant Center here ( to determine your eligibility and learn how to participate.


The GTIN update will surely have a large effect on the amount of traffic your products are seeing, just make sure to update your product portfolio with the GTIN codes, or use Sigmento’s GTIN Finder service to make sure you remain in compliance with the new requirements and your products continue showing up on Google Shopping’s PLAs.