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Google Shopping GTIN Enforcement

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Top Contributor

I have an important reminder for those of you who are responsible for the management of Google Shopping campaigns. February 14th will see the second enforcement of a GTIN (Global Trade Item Numbers) policy. This is a followup to the initial implementation back in May 2016, which included markets such as the United States and United Kingdom. The following countries will be affected in the next enforcement:


Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, India, Mexico, Norway, Poland, Russia, Sweden, and Turkey.


I have created a quick FAQ to help you understand what’s happening and how you can check that your accounts are in order -


What does the GTIN enforcement involve?


Product feeds in the Google Merchant Center will require the inclusion of GTIN values. The only times they aren’t required are when the products being sold are part of your own branded line, where you’re the only business selling them exclusively. GTIN information is also not required if a product does not already have a GTIN.


How can I see if I’ll be affected?


In the Google Merchant Center, you should be able to see a Diagnostics tab after clicking into Products, from here you can click into a section called Items. If you are affected, you’ll see a warning message listed like the one below:

Google Partners GTIN.png


How can I obtain the correct GTIN values for my products?


There are various methods to do this, including the following:


  • Check if the GTIN value is already listed in your Supply Chain system - most Merchants will have them in their warehousing, inventory or fulfilment systems. Adding this data element to your product feed will address the requirement and can improve the performance of your ads.
  • Require the GTIN information from your provider - some merchants may not hold inventory and instead order and ship (also known as "drop shipping") directly from a manufacturer or distributor. In this case they should ask their drop ship vendor to add GTINs to the data elements they provide you with.
  • Retrieve the GTIN directly from your inventory using a barcode scanner if you sell a manageable number of products.
  • Request GTINs from the manufacturer of the product.
  • Get a one-time match of your missing GTINs by a third party.


What will happen if I don’t comply with this GTIN requirement?


The products that don’t comply with the requirement will be suspended until they are fixed. All elements of the feed that do comply however will continue to run.


My product definitely doesn’t have a GTIN, what should I do?


If your product has neither a GTIN or a MPN (for example, made-to-order, handmade products), set ‘identifier exists’ to ‘FALSE’ to indicate that you have no identifier for the product. It is important to only use this approach if your products truly do not have identifiers like GTIN or MPN as the misuse of the 'identifier exists' attribute may result in disapproval or lower ads performance.


I hope that the above information will help you be prepared for the GTIN enforcement that is scheduled to take place on February 14th. If you would like to learn more, I highly recommend watching this recorded Hangout on Air as it addresses much of the topic.

ScottyD, AdWords Top Contributor
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