From May 16th, Google requires Global Trade Item Numbers (GTIN) to be included in the PLA feed for all brands that sell products sold by multiple merchants.

While some retail brands almost exclusively sell their own products, many have resellers, or have a select range of accessories from other brands available in their online stores. This means the change in requirements will still apply, so all brands should check their merchandising and stock ranges to ensure that their PLA feeds are up to date.

This development for product listing ads is not an entirely new development. Since 2015, Google has begun requiring GTIN information from a list of up to fifty brands. The change now means that Google is extending this policy beyond those initial fifty to all brands being sold on a website.

The new requirements apply to the following countries: Australia, Brazil, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, the UK and the US.

Do The GTIN Requirements Apply To Me?

If you sell brand-name products that are sold by multiple merchants, this applies to you. Please ensure that your PLA product feed is up to date by May 16th 2016.

What Are GTIN Values?

GTINs – also referred to as UPCs, EANs, JANs and ISBNs – are used by the brand-name manufacturers of a product to uniquely identify it. They are the number printed on the product’s package in various bar code formats.

Make sure your PLA feed’s GTINs are complete with the correct number of digits and check digit (or letter if using ISBN-10). The check digit is used as a mathematical check to make sure the product identifier is accurate so your feed will not meet the new requirements if check digits are not included, and products with incorrectly formatted GTIN values will not appear on Google Shopping.

There are already item-level warnings being issued via the Diagnostics tab in Merchant Center for products that are missing or have the wrong GTIN, so check your feeds now and update them as soon as possible to ensure no disruption to your advertising when the May 16th deadline arrives.

More information about unique product identifiers is available on the Google Merchant Center help page.

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