In the latest instalment of our T-Time web series, Tillison Consulting MD Mark Tillison answers your FAQs on GTINs – what they are, how they work and why you need them for your Google Shopping feed.
(00:47) GTIN stands for Global Trade Identification Number – in other words, it’s a reference number that identifies an item as unique. Think of the ISBN (International Standard Book Number) which you can find in the barcode of each edition and variation of a book – this is simply a type of GTIN.
In different parts of the world, there are standard identification numbers which have been developed over several years. For example, in Europe we use an EAN (European Article Number) to uniquely identify a product, whereas in America they typically use a UPC (Unique Product Code).
(01:43) Not every product which is submitted to Google Shopping includes a GTIN – whether that’s an EAN, a UPC or otherwise – but where Google knows that the identifying numbers for these items exist, it requires you to use them.
(02:12) If you don’t use GTINs for your products in Google Shopping, there is a high possibility that these products will not be approved by Google Merchant Center. They are likely to remain unapproved unless you add GTINs in some capacity.
Let’s say that a user searches on Google for a specific type of branded product – in the video, Mark uses the Netgear R7000 Wireless Router as an example.
Google will create a rich snippet of Netgear R7000 Wireless Routers which are available via Google Shopping, allowing the user to compare prices from various eCommerce stores. Where Google has identified that the Netgear R7000 has a GTIN, it only displays data for eCommerce stores who have used the correct GTIN in their Google Shopping feed.
If the user’s search is broader – in the video, Mark searches for ‘Netgear router’ – then the Google Shopping results are going to be very different because the search term does not specify a particular model or version of the product. Google will display a small selection of the many routers which are available via Google Shopping, meaning that the user is unable to compare prices.
(03:53) The short answer to this question is: nothing! A UPC (Unique Product Code) is simply a type of GTIN. If you’re in North America, you need to enter the UPC assigned to your product into the GTIN field in your Google Shopping feed.
(04:15) Again, there is no difference – the EAN (European Article Number) is a type of GTIN for eCommerce stores based in Europe, and similarly you need to just enter your product’s EAN into the GTIN field of your product’s data.
(04:35) There are plenty of tools and GTIN databases available online to find your product’s GTIN, but we would recommend EAN-Search for finding the EAN or UPCZilla for finding the UPC.
In summary, GTINs are vital not only to ensure that your Product Listing Ads in Google Shopping are approved by Google Merchant Center, but also for improving the visibility and reach of your products.
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