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Getting Ready For Google’s GTIN Requirement

Come May 16th, Google will require merchants  to provide a Global Trade Identification Number, unique manufacturer-supplied identifiers, for all items.


After this, items that do not have a GTIN will be disapproved. You'll start to see item-level disapprovals in the Diagnostics tab for products that don't meet the requirements.


Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 8.47.03 AM.png


If you see the error message, chances are that the GTIN exists somewhere and it is wise to begin contacting the manufacturer or other suppliers for the GTIN. Keep in mind that merely inputting in GTINs that do not exist or buying a new GTIN will not work. It is best to check to see if particular GTIN is valid. A great website to check is the GS1’s Check Digit Calculator. GS1 is the global standards body that handles GTINs.  


Here are the top three common errors error messages or warnings that you may see in your account:


  1. Invalid GTIN Value: This error appears when you have entered in a GTIN but it does not appear to be valid. Chances are that the GTIN entered is for a different product.

  2. Insufficient Product Identifiers Missing GTIN attributeThis error  appears only when the system is sure that a GTIN exists for the item. Therefore, it is very important to contact suppliers and other stakeholders to find these values. The only exception here is for custom items. In this scenario, you would leave the GTIN area blank and put ‘FALSE’ under the identifier exists column. If the item still comes back disapproved, you can request a manual review/exception directly in the UI (this will be an option on May 16th).

  3. Ambiguous GTIN Code: This is extremely common and it appears if the GTIN provided is not in the correct   format or does not have the right amount of digits. Valid GTINs are either 8,10,12,13, or 14 digits long. If your GTIN has fewer digits, double check to see if it is the correct GTIN. If you are sure that the digits are correct, you can add extra 0’s in front of the GTIN to get it to the next highest GTIN threshold. For instance, if your GTIN is  123456, you would need to add a couple zeros to change it to the 8 digit threshold:  00123456. As always, you can always check gs1.org to see if it is a legitimate GTIN.

Kim S
May 2016

With the change effective May 16th, how does Google cross check that the GTIN number submitted by seller (that is not the manufacture) is the correct number assigned by the manufacturer to that product?




Shawn S Google Employee
May 2016

Hi Kim, 


Google has a database that we use to cross check which is similar to "GS1’s Check Digit Calculator". 

The manufacturer will typically register a GTIN globally when they create the product and are supposed to pass on the GTIN to the seller. This is the GTIN number that you put in your feed. Google also cross checks with other sellers who are selling similar products to see if the GTINs are correct.