From Monday 16th May 2016, Google is implementing a requirement for all its eCommerce advertisers to include manufacturer-assigned Global Trade Item Numbers (GTIN) in the data for any product that has one.


Don’t panic, just Get Those Item Numbers!

See what I did there? 😉

Google will no longer accept products with missing or invalid GTINs. These products will stop showing on the Google results page which, for a lot of retailers, is their main source of traffic & sales.

GTINs will be required for:

  • Brand-name products
  • New products sold by multiple merchants in 11 countries
    • US, UK, DE, FR, BR, JP, AU, IT, NL, CH, ES and CZ.

GTINs will not be required for:

  • Used products
  • Custom products
  • In-house brands
  • Products only you sell

You’ll be able to find out which of your products have been flagged by Google in your Merchant Centre account. Under the Diagnostics tab look out for yellow warning icons, these are the products that need your attention.

When you know exactly how many items need GTINs, you can build a plan of attack. For example, if you have a considerable amount of products that need GTINs, begin with your best performing items.

What even is a GTIN?

The GTIN is a globally unique 8 -14 digit number used to identify trade items, products, or services and is used within barcodes.

Where can you find the GTINs?

You will need to go through your supply chain. Contact your supplier, drop shipper or even look on the product’s packaging to find the proper GTINs.

Here’s how you can easily find them:


Google Is No Foolgle

Do NOT try to outsmart and fool Google by creating a fake number. I guarantee you, it will not work.

Never try to create your own version of GTINs or buy your own GTINs to fulfil this requirement – this will quickly result in Google disapproving these offers.

It’s ok, although this will mean some extra work for you, the effort is worth it.

20% increase in conversion rates

According to Google, merchants with valid GTINs see a 20% increase in conversion rates & 40% more user clicks.

“GTINs help us understand exactly what you’re selling. When we understand what you’re selling, we can help boost your ad performance by adding valuable details about the product and serving the ad in a more relevant way to users. This also means that your ads can serve in more places on Google, YouTube, and our partner sites. Merchants who’ve added correct GTINs to their product data have seen conversion rates increase up to 20%.”
– Google Merchant Center Announcements

“This helps us surface relevant, accurate results on Google Shopping; in fact, early experiments indicate that offers matched to the catalog receive up to 40% more user clicks than those that do not.”
– Rob Rekrutiak, Product Manager, Google Shopping

UK, you are not alone

These updates aren’t just limited to retailers. They will also apply to you if you currently target Australia, Brazil, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland or the US.

Get to it!

If you haven’t already, you are cutting it close! The countdown is on, make sure you meet that deadline!