Google Shopping / Google Shopping - Online Products

1. Prerequisite

1.1 Log in to Google Merchant Center

You then need to log in to your Google Merchant Center account by visiting the following address: https://www.google.com/retail/merchant-center/ and create a shop.

1.2 Install the tos.js tracker

Google Shopping - Online Products does not allow to use product URL which have a domain different from the merchant website. It is therefore not possible to apply the Lengow tracking on URL (as it is common to do so on most of channels, except for marketplaces). In that case clicks and sales cannot be tracked into the solution.

To allow you to collect clicks from your Google Shopping - Online Products feed in Lengow, it is required that you apply the Lengow - tos.js tracker on your website.

1.3 Open your Google Shopping - Online Products data feed in Lengow

"Google Shopping - Online Products" replaces the so called "Google Shopping" previous version.
If you already use a Google Shopping feed within Lengow, this one remains functional, you do not have to change. It functions the same way as described in this guide.
If you start working on Google with Lengow, request the creation of a "Google Shopping - Online Products" feed. 

Each Google Shopping - Online Products country requires the creation of a new feed in Lengow.

Search for “Google Shopping - Online Products” to see all of the available countries.

Or search in the “Shopbots” section, select the flag corresponding to the country where you want to display your ads, and then choose the Google Shopping - Online Products feed.  

If the country you are looking for is not available in Lengow, choose the Google feed type you want and write in the "Your message" box, the country you are looking for.

You will have as many Google Shopping - Online Products feeds in Lengow as necessary to publish your products on this publisher. Each Google Shopping - Online Products feed is independent of the others, and although there are similarities, requires a specific setting.

See how to set one of them.

2. Set up your Google Shopping - Online Products feed

Google Shopping - Online Products asks merchants to use specific attributes in order to reference the products in their platform. You therefore need to adapt these attributes from your source feed on Lengow. 

2.1 Creating a feed segmentation

Before starting to change your attributes, first you need to filter your products so that you don’t send to Google Shopping - Online Products

  • The products that you do not wish to sell in this platform. 
  • The products in your feed that don’t match the type of products normally found on Google Shopping - Online Products.
  • "Parent products", if your source feed contains any.

2.2 Match the fields

Google Shopping - Online Products requires a particular feed structure. In order to proceed with the field matching, you need to go to the page “Feed Management” > “Field matching”:

Check the "Field matching" and complete any missing information. Read the field definitions carefully and there you will find: 

  • The field name.
  • The field definition.
  • Whether the field is required or optional.  A “required” field needs an attribute to be input so that the product can be created or updated. 
  • Whether it is a free text field or whether specific attributes are required. If you are using a field that requires valid attributes, or if it is a mandatory field, it is compulsory to adapt with Lengow the attributes that are in your source feed. If these attributes are not in your source feed, you must change them using search/replace or automatic rules.

For more details regarding values that are expected and examples, please refer to Google Shopping - Online Products's help center.

Here is some further information:

  • Title

Follow the advices that are given in the description of the field and make sure to include important terms up front in case of truncation in PLA.

  • Color

Follow the advices that are given in the description of the field, In addition, if you have a proprietary color palette, Google recommends you to include those colors in your description and to complete the color field with color values shoppers search for. Be sure to follow Google's guidelines for the color field.

  • Unique product codes

All feeds submitted to Google must contain the Unique product codes for each products in the field:

  • gtin [gtin]: the item’s international GTIN code (Global Trade Identification Number); this value can be UPC, EAN, JAN or ISBN

Information on Unique product codes

In the rare situation where your product has no GTIN (for example, made-to-order or handmade products), set 'identifier exists' field to 'FALSE' with an automatic rule to indicate that you have no identifier for the product. Before fill in this field, contact Google to know if you can use this option.

  • custom label

Custom labels allow to add custom attributes for each product.

In a style reminiscent of Russian dolls, the attributes of each product (category, brand, condition, custom label) tie into each other in parent categories. This layout is displayed as a tree in AdWords. In the illustration below, we end up creating a Clearance of “Web” books from the IT department and “Dunod” brand segment on which a bid will be chosen.

How can you set this up?

  1. Create custom category => Web
  2. Locate this subcategory in the standard category Google => Media> Books> Non-Fiction> IT Books
  3. Select the attribute “Brand” => Dunod
  4. With the custom label attribute => Clearance

PS: The tree-view layout of your product catalog can expand up to 7 levels.

Find more information about Custom Labels in this article : Optimise your Google Shopping feed with Custom Labels.

2.3 The availability of your products

You have to fill in the field "availability" (mandatory). Here are the valid values:

  • in stock
  • available for order
  • out of stock
  • preorder

If you only send to Google Shopping - Online Products products that are in stock, use the "Personalized Field" to send the value "in stock":

If you don't only send to Google Shopping - Online Products products that are in stock, here is an example for how to proceed:

  1. Create a virtual field and call it “GS_avaibility” (Feed Management" > "Source feed" tab).
  2. In field matching, match the virtual field with the “availability” field. Remember to save by clicking on “Modify feed fields” at the bottom of the page.

  1. Create one (or more) automatic rule(s) to populate the virtual field with the desired value (refer to the list of values on the rates table sheet).

Here is an example:

Rules 1: in stock products

Rules 2: out of stock products

2.4 Set up your shipping costs

You have to fill in the field "shipping" (mandatory).

Shipping fees must have the country prefix (GB for Great Britain, DE for Germany) before the shipping costs value. In the field matching, you can specify the value GB:::4 or GB:::{ShippingFee}

2.5 Set up product variations

Google Shopping - Online Products offers you the possibility to display product with variations its platform

2.5.1 Create a segmentation

Google Shopping - Online Products does not want to receive parent products. You therefore need to filter your "parent products" if your source feed contains any

2.5.2 Fill in the values of your variations

To manage your variations, three fields need to be filled in in "Source feed" > "Field matching" :

  • "item_group_id": This field must contain your parent identifier (a common identifier for all the variations of a product). This data is obligatory if the product has variations.
  • "color", "sizes", "material", "pattern": According to the name of the attribute, these fields must contain either the color of your products, the size of your products, the material of your products or th pattern of your products. This data is mandatory if the product is varied by color. It is not possible to provide multiple values in group fields, whether or not they refer to parent products or variants within the group.  For instance, the value “36/38/40/42” would generate an error: only one product size should be specified, e.g., “36.”

More information on product groups is available here.

Example of simple clothing products:

Example of grouped clothing products:

2.6 Set up your price / special offers / sales

2.6.1 Products without discount

For products without discount, you must fill in these fields:

  • price": this field should contain the price of the product.

2.6.2 Products with special offers / sales

Parameters are the same for special offers and sales on Google Shopping - Online Products, follow our dedicate guide.

2.7 Category mapping

In order to correctly categorise your products on Google Shopping - Online Products, use the Google Shopping - Online Products taxonomy so that your categories match those of the channel. To carry out this mapping, go to the tab “Product Management”. Values that you are mapping here, will appear within the "google_product_category" field in your optimised feed.

  • Open the Google Shopping - Online Products taxonomy 
  • Search for your category in the taxonomy (press “ Ctrl+F “ to search for your desired key word)
  • Click on the corresponding line
  • Click on “SAVE”

 Don’t forget to click on “SAVE” once you have carried out this operation.

2.8 The options tab

In the “Options” tab of your Google Shopping - Online Products feed, check the various points and modify them if needed. For more details about this tab, consult our tutorial "Options tab".

2.9 Check the attributes in your updated feed 

To check the data sent to the channel, consult the optimised feed. All the updating that you have done in Lengow will be visible IMMEDIATELY (automatic rules, search/replace, matching etc.).

Comment: Check your updated feed as often as possible to reassure yourself that your parameters have been correctly applied to your new products. 

3. Integration of your catalogue on Google Shopping - Online Products

You then need to log in to your Google Merchant Center account by visiting the following address: https://merchants.google.com

Once you have logged in, visit the Products > Feeds page and then click on the "+" button.

"Mode" On the "Primary feed name and input method" page, select the option "Scheduled fetch" and complete with the feed name.

Then, fill in the fields and select options on the "Setup" page:

Few specifications regarding options at your disposal, on this page:

"Fetch frequency" : If your catalog is daily updated, then select the "Daily" value, so that Google will update it one a day.

"File URL" : fill in here the url that Lengow support transmitted you once the feed was created. This url ends with export.txt

You may recreate this url by adding export.txt at the end of the Google Product optimised feed url.

Once all this steps are complete, the feed you registered appears blow within the "Feeds" page:

Click on the feed name to change parameters.

Within the "Feed settings" page, please keep the "Autodetect" mode to make sure the feed operates well.

Within the "Fetch schedule" page, amend and choose the frequency to fetch your feed.

Finally, within the "Default currency" page, select a default currency if needed.

4. Error report

Here are the most common you may encounter, while submitting your feed to Google Shopping - Online Products.

Read this report carefully and correct the possible errors.

To help you correct these errors:

In addition, here are other main errors from Google Shopping - Online Products when submitting a new catalog:

4.1 An unclaimed website URL

Before you can import product files into Google Merchant Center, you must ‘claim’ your website URL.  On the basic settings page (http://www.google.com/merchants/basicsettings), underneath your domain name URL, you will find     a button to “Verify this website.”  Click on this button, after which you must log into the Google page again (using the same username and password) and then follow the procedure to claim your URL.

4.2 Description and/or title are too long

If this happens, you need to apply a {crop} function that will shorten the values in your title or description fields.  This function is used as follows: {crop}##255##{YOUR_FIELD} as a rule that is applied automatically e.g., if the {YOUR_FIELD} field is not blank.

4.3 Excessive capitalisation

Google restricts the use of capital letters in fields.  We apply automatic rules when creating fields to allow us to delete capital letters in the Title, Description and Brand fields by using the {CAP} function.

4.4 Unique Product Code issues

Google warns you when the unique product code is missing for certain products.  When this happens, you need to specify a value in the EAN or MPN fields.

4.5 Postage and packaging errors

Your postage and packaging fees must be submitted in the following format GB::5.90 (GB for Great Britain, DE for Germany, FR for France...)

4.6 Required attributes are missing

Some categories are requiring attributes. Make sure to complete those attributes within the feed sent to Google.

4.7 Click through count variation between Lengow and Google Analytics

There is a difference in counting clicks, which is caused by the items that are incorporated into the calculation:

  • Lengow counts clicks originating in Google Shopping and PLAs (Product Listing Ads) that relate to the products displayed above Google’s search engine results.
  • Google Analytics only counts clicks from Google Shopping.

5. Daily optimisation

To optimise the broadcast of your products, read points 5 to 8 of our guide "How to adapt your comparison feed?". We will find:

6. Useful links

  • Google Shopping - Online Products feed structure and fields definition (You can select the feed specs of a country by selecting the country in the menu):

7. Webinar video