Google Merchant Centre is an integral part of any shopping campaign, but a lot can happen that can negatively affect your ads or even stop them from running altogether.
Here we will be running through the issue of images too small in your Google Shopping and Merchant Centre Campaigns. So what does it mean? What Causes it, How can I fix this? All of these questions will be answered below.
Image Rules in Google Merchant Centre
The Merchant centre has specific rules that need to be followed in order to accept product images, with two directly referring to the Image t0o small issue you may be facing. Here are the Merchant Centre’s specific image rules:
- Clothing Products:
- Minimum size: 250 x 250 pixels
- Maximum size: 64 megapixels
- All Other Products:
- Minimum size: 100 x 100 pixels
- Maximum size: 64 megapixels
- All Images::
- Images must be smaller than 16 MB
- Please refrain from scaling up images or submitting thumbnails. It is recommended that the product occupies 75% to 90% of the full image.
But why is this an issue? Well, an image being too small can either simply not fill the ad space, or as would happen in this case have to be stretched to fit, lowering the picture quality, in this case, Google would simply not run the ad, as opposed to running it at low quality.
How to “Image Too Small” in Merchant Centre
So how can we fix this? The answer is quite simple, but beforehand we need to understand how google merchant centre works. The merchant centre will pull a whole host of information from your website or eCommerce store. Within this is a whole host of data regarding our products. The Product URL, image URL, price, product category, title, descriptions and much more data. This is all exported from your site, via a product feed every night which the merchant centre will pick up and import unto itself.
If this system isn’t already in place, it is highly recommended that you put this in place as soon as possible, and also make sure your merchant centre is scheduled to pick up the exported data every 24-hour period, this is to keep the data up to date and relevant to any up to date changes made to products on your site, therefore keeping the data in Google Merchant Centre as relevant as possible.
Linking back to the original problem at hand of the image too small, there is a good chance that if you are getting this then the problem lies within the feed itself, or more so the image in the feed. However, the way to fix this is pretty simple, as all you would need to do is update the original feed with an image that needs Google’s guidelines, whether that be a 100×100 or 250×250 sized image.
But this is not the only way to approach this issue, another issue which Google recommends is simply manually uploading a new image to the merchant centre.
Another option is to provide a new image link, where the feed will pull the image via a specific image link, you can manually enter a new link to a larger-sized image for Google to use instead.
A third option would be to use a supplemental feed, to do this you would have to create either a text file or a Google sheet, which within you would list all the Item IDs, next to that you can then enter the attribute you would like to change for each item, so in this case, it would be the image to one of the correct sizes. So when the merchant centre will pull the original feed taken from the website, the supplemental feed would overwrite it and then the correct image would be shown.
However while all three of these options would work in the short term, they may lead to problems in the line long term. To understand why it is important to understand the essence of the problem itself and its origins, which can only be either on the source website, the feed or the merchant centre.
So, augmenting data via manual uploads or with a supplemental feed could create more opportunities for error and confusion. In future, when you have updated the image on the website which in turn would update the feed, this change in the source data would be overwritten by Merchant Centre rules or Supplemental feeds.
In turn, that could create extra work and maintenance to remove these changes. For example, if a large quantity of amends and appends were made, you could face wide-scale manual checks to work out why images aren’t displaying as you expected. That could also exacerbated over time if a number of different users or agencies were working on an account, and made a number of different rules without documentation.
Whilst quick fixes are available to resolve the “image too small” error, if not properly maintained and regulated will create a large convoluted web of changes which would need to be unpicked over time. Whilst quicker in the short term, amends and appends can cause more pain in the long term. The way to avoid all these issues is simple though, if you do get an Image Size Too small error, or any issue for that matter, fix it those issues in your source data and allow the Merchant Centre to pull the correct feed data rather than supplementing faulty data.