BlogGoogleGoogle Shopping2018 Google Shopping Feed Specification Updates

2018 Google Shopping Feed Specification Updates

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Each year Google makes changes to their Google Shopping feed specification, often in ways that most advertisers struggle to adhere to effectively. To make it easier, Google is now relaxing the way that they enforce certain rules for it’s product data feed. Changes started to begin from this week (25th June 2018) which might result in some previously disapproved products in your feed to be approved.

What’s changing?

Nothing too groundbreaking in the latest updates so it shouldn’t require too much work on your part. If anything the changes this year have been designed to make product feed management easier as Google loosen their rules around certain attributes.

Long titles and descriptions truncation

With this change, the title and description attributes that exceed character limits will no longer result in disapprovals. Wahoo! Instead what this means is that Google will truncate what is inputted to the correct length.

Helpfully, Google will flag to you if any attribute values are truncated through a warning in your account.


You no longer need to have the condition attribute for new products.

Google say that if you don’t submit a value for the condition attribute, or if the system doesn’t recognize the value that you’ve entered, Google will assume the product’s condition to be new.

However, if Google finds that the product is listed as used or refurbished on the product’s landing page, your offer may be disapproved or you may receive a warning.

You are probably best here to continue regularly checking this condition attribute.

Cost of Goods Sold (COGS)

A long awaited metric is being added into reporting which will see Google introduce the cost_of_goods_sold attribute. This can be used to calculate an approximate gross profit per item.

Advertisers who are client side will be particularly happy with this addition to reporting as it will help you better focus your efforts to maximize profitability.

Size, color, and link attributes

Products with more than one sizecolor, or link attribute input will now receive warnings. Google say that if your product is multicolored, you will still be able to specify more than one color value using slashes and hyphens, but you may not separate values with commas.

If your product falls into a range of sizes, Google recommend that you use a range value rather than repeating.

AdWords redirect

Finally, starting on February 1, 2019, the redirect link for AdWords tracking will need to direct to the same domain as the values in the link and mobile_link attributes.

What does this mean for you?

Easier to manage the Product Feed

These changes should make it much easier for advertisers to manage their product feeds moving forwards. Limiting the number of disapproved products in your product feed ensures you have maximum coverage to surface via Google Shopping. Of course this means more revenue for Google too.

Understand your bottom line through better reporting

It’s great that Google are adding in reporting features to help advertisers get more actionable insight. The new Cost of Goods Sold metric will help advertisers to truly understand how profitable products are, as a result they’ll be able to make smarter decisions for their businesses.

Google feel comfortable that they have created a solid standard in product feed quality. It’s time they loosen the rules to make is easier for us

Google are obviously comfortable enough with the quality of product feeds now. After years of strict specifications and guidelines, loosening these rules way ahead of the Christmas period will give advertisers a better understanding of performance for Google Shopping. This means that more advertisers could invest more budget into Google Shopping; winner for Google too.

Need more? Find some top tips for your Google Shopping campaigns here.

Dan Roberts
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