Oct 08

Google Shopping "Unique Product Identifiers" Tips

Google Shopping (and other CSEs) require identification information for products so they can group similar products together. There are typically 3 distinct fields: GTIN (Global Trade Item Number), MPN (manufacturer part number), and the brand. We'll detail all 3 of these below and also discuss how you can utilize Google to find this information for some products.

  • GTIN (Global Trade Item Number): Most commonly either a UPC or EAN number although these can also be ISBN codes if preceded with "978". These codes are the holy grail of product identification and are assigned by the product manufacturer to uniquely identify the product. They are always numeric and most commonly 13 digits, however, many 11 and 12 digit codes are also valid. Unfortunately, there are many products without GTIN codes.
  • MPN (manufacturer part number): These are the SKUs that large brands/manufacturers will use to identify their product. They often have a few upper case letters as well as numeric digits (e.g., BFSR1001, 299-EOSM1).
  • Brand: This is the most straightforward. The only time this can be confusing is if you retail products that are not branded (e.g., many overseas bulk items will not have a brand). In this case, you can use your own company name as the brand.
Google publicly displays these 3 product attributes for some items, and it can be extremely helpful to match what other retailers are utilizing for similar products. Do this by following the steps below:

Visit google.com/shopping/ and search for your product.
You will need to find a "grouped" product listing to see product identification information (look for "Compare prices" or "from XXX stores").
If you see "Compare prices" or "from XXX stores" for your item, click it and scroll down to the "Details" section near the bottom.
Once you find the "Details" section, you should be able to find the "Brand", "Part Number", and "GTIN" or "UPC". You may need to click "View all details" to see this information.
Some products will have multiple part numbers and/or GTINs. For these products, you will need to choose only one brand, part number, and GTIN. Do not specify multiple identification information for your products.
If you do not see grouped listings, you can try making your search more general. If you still don't see a grouped listing for your product, you will not be able to use Google Shopping to find identifier information.
Always strive for data accuracy, if you see products that are "close" to what you sell, but not the same — use your own identification information.

Best Practices Google Shopping