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Are Product ID’s Important?

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The easy way to answer this rather simple but important question is yes, a very, very big yes! Product ID’s are vitally important and not just to the structure of your Campaigns or Ad Groups but also to your history and ongoing performance.

So, I guess the more prudent question is, why are Product ID’s important?

All your click and performance history are tied to the Product ID in both AdWords and the Merchant Center. AdWords will always try to serve and prioritise your best performing products and products that get the most clicks.

Now I must admit, Product ID’s do rarely change and should rarely change. But, there are times when they are changed for stupid reasons and times when they are changed for valid reasons. Whatever the reason, be prepared for your Shopping performance to be adversely impacted when they do change!

Stupid Reasons

Product Changes

People have some crazy ideas and one of those crazy ideas that will impact your Shopping performance is to rename, re-brand or reinvent a product that already sells well. Rather than simply rename the existing product or update it, they remove it and create a new product. It’s essentially the same, but called something different and it has a new Product ID. So, it has no history and gives Google has no incentive to serve it as often as it did for its predecessor.

You can mitigate this in AdWords to a degree through Campaign Structure, but the Cost per Click will be immediately higher, and the impressions and clicks will be lower.

Product Variations

Sometimes products change, ever so slightly or completely. But, this does not mean you should create a new product and delete the existing. Even if the change is a vast improvement, sales via Shopping will slow down. Work with the Product you have and maintain your Product ID.

Valid Reasons

Website Migration

Whether you’re going from Shopify to WooCommerce or Magento to Custom. Your platform most likely generates your Shopping Feed and sets the Product ID’s. Migrating platforms will most likely result in the complete overwriting of all your Product ID’s. Which is why performance immediately after the migration is never as good, despite how much of an improvement your website may have been. You can circumvent this with some work and probably help from a feed provider. But this is a big consideration and one that is rarely factored into a migration plan for any eCommerce website.

Retired Stock

From time to time, websites will stop selling or retire certain products. This is life and happens probably more than it should. It may or may not be the seller’s decision, but when it happens it’s does impact performance.

My advice…

  • Wherever you can, avoid changing your Product ID’s.
  • If you’re migrating web platforms, make sure you consider your Product ID’s within your migration plan and work toward migrating the Product ID’s as opposed to losing your entire Product Feed history.
  • If you’re retiring stock, be bold enough to use the same Product ID for whatever you’re replacing it with.
  • Finally, don’t make unnecessary changes to a product that may change their Product ID.
John Cave

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