Also in this series:
- Google Shopping Strategy
- Google Merchant Centre Fixes
- Setting Up Shipping in Google Merchant Centre
- Ads/Free Ratio in Google Merchant Centre (Free Listings)
- Availability [availability] in Google Merchant Centre
- European Article Numbers: A Complete Guide
- GTINs and Why You Need Them in Google Shopping
- Excluded Destination [excluded_destination] in Google Merchant Centre
- Google Shopping Free Advertising
- How to Use Google Product Category in Google Shopping
- How to Use Product Type in Google Shopping
- How to Fix Mismatched Value (Page Crawl) [Price]
- Invalid UTF-8 encoding: Merchant Centre Disapproved Products
What is a Google Product Category?
A Google Product Category is a classification system used by Google to organise products for sale on its shopping platform. It is used by retailers to classify their products according to Google’s standards, making it easier for shoppers to find the products they are looking for.
For example, a product might be classified as “Home & Garden > Kitchen & Dining > Cookware” if it is a piece of cookware that is used in the kitchen. This classification system helps shoppers find products more easily and helps retailers reach their target audience.
Why Google Product Categories are important
Google Product Categories help retailers reach their target audience more effectively in Google Shopping Campaigns.
By classifying your products according to Google’s standard taxonomy, you can ensure that your products are shown to the right shoppers who are interested in those types of products.
Google Product Categories form part of your Shopping Feed, which is added to Google Merchant Centre and in turn, synchronised with Google Ads, ready for advertising using a Google Shopping Campaign. Within campaigns and ad groups, you’ll be able to segment, include or exclude using your Google Product Category Data.
Example Google Product Categories:
Apparel & Accessories > Clothing > Shirts & Tops
Apparel & Accessories > Clothing > Shorts
Apparel & Accessories > Clothing > Skirts
To help optimise campaign performance, or to ring-fence a budget for each Google Product Category, you may choose to create one Google Shopping Campaign for each Category. You’ll also then be able to set different ROAS targets, different budgets and different targeting settings for each Campaign Category as you wish.
Which Google Product Category you should use
When choosing a Google Product Category for your product, you should choose the category that best describes your product and that will help shoppers find it easily. It is important to choose a category that is specific enough to accurately describe your product.
Can I create my own Google Product Category?
No. You must select one of the defined Google Product Categories in Google’s published taxonomy. The Google Product Category Taxonomy is updated from time to time, so you should check back for more specific categories of your products. Find out the specifics in Google’s product taxonomy.
However, you can create your own taxonomy (classification of products) using the [[Product Type]] attribute and use that attribute in addition to the Google Product Category.
What to do if there is no Google Product Category for your product
This happens often. The best you can do is use the most relevant Google Product Category.
For example, if your site sells Maxi Dresses, there is no Google Product Category defined. You should use “Apparel & Accessories > Clothing > Dresses” for maxi dresses.
There is no defined category for HDMI Cables. In this case, the nearest most relevant Google Product Category is “Electronics > Electronics Accessories > Cables”.
In all cases, you can create your own Taxonomy using the Product Type attribute which works in a similar way, but is not defined by Google.
What happens when you don’t set a Google Product Category?
In Google Merchant Centre, you’ll most likely see that Google automatically classified your products. Generally, that works pretty well, but it doesn’t always get it right, so you’re best advised to provide the most accurate Google Product Category data in your data feed.
Want to know more about this? We recommend checking out Google’s product category help.