Google Shopping feed specification updates for 2018 are here

[WP Import] Google Shopping feed specification updates for 2018 are here

Google has released their 2018 update of specifications for the Google Shopping feed. For the most part, these changes should be entirely painless for advertisers. Rather than adding new requirements or getting stricter, Google is actually relaxing some of their existing policies. They’re also adding a very cool new attribute for better ROI tracking.

Cost of Goods Sold (NEW)

Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) will help calculate the gross profit per item. COGS itself refers to the actual cost it took to create the good and make the sale. You may know this measurement as Cost of Sale or Cost of Revenue.

ROI = Revenue - COGS

By introducing the attribute, Google will help advertisers maximize their profitability with better planning, bidding, and optimizing. Especially for advertisers who need to show and drive ROI, this will help make it crystal clear how products are performing in the real world.

This attribute may not be required, but it’s definitely recommended wherever possible.

Item COGS Revenue ROI
Archaic muffin tin 5.55 USD 15 USD 👍


  • __Conditions attribute:__ Now, this is only required for used or refurbished items. If no conditions attribute is submitted, Google will assume the product is new. However, should a product be labelled as New and the related landing page says otherwise, the offer may be disapproved.
  • __Titles attribute:__ Titles will now be automatically truncated if they’re too long rather than leading to disapprovals.
  • __Descriptions attribute__: As above, copy in this field will now be automatically truncated if it’s too long rather than leading to disapprovals.

Plus, if over-long text causes truncations to occur in your titles or descriptions, Google will flag this in your account.


From 1 February, 2019 onward, redirect links for AdWords tracking will need to refer to the same domain that has been provided as the URL for “link” and “mobile_link” attributes.

This comes as part of Google’s push to make mobile experiences more streamlined and enjoyable for users. It also follows up on the announcement that, from October 30, 2018, parallel tracking will be mandatory. The goal is to send the user directly to your websiterather than diverting first to the tracking URLand help your landing page load quicker. It may seem like a small change, but this should reduce the number of users who click through an ad only to exit before the page loads.

Of course, the Adwords_redirect attribute is optional, so this only affects advertisers who are using it.

Attribute tips

Google has also madenot a changebut, rather, a request to users. It seems many advertisers have been making the same mistake when it comes to their color, size, and link attributes, sending separated iterations of the same attribute with different information.

For example, submitting [size: 35], [size: 36], [size: 37], and so on, as separate pieces of information.

Google explains, advertisers in this scenario should still submit only one of each attribute. One color attribute. One size. One link.

If you’re listing a single product that has multiple colors, simply list these colors as one attribute, separated by slashes and hyphens (not commas!).

[Color: Red/Green/Black] NOT [color: Red] [Color: Green ] [Color: Black]

Products with multiple sizes should be listed as a complete range rather than one attribute for each size option. Again, no commas. Use a slash.

[Size: small/medium/large] NOT [Size: small] [Size: medium] [Size: Large]

Lastly, only one link should ever be submitted for this attribute, so pick your most important URL and remove the rest.

What do these Google Shopping feed updates mean for brands and retailers?

These changes have two key meanings for brands, retailers, and other advertisers.

First of all, when Google introduces updates, they’re usually adding more rules. Google very much wants to be there for the consumer, and that means they need to get thorough, perfect data from their advertisers. Interestingly, this season, Google is actually removing and relaxing rules. It’s impossible to say what they’ll relax next, but it does show a certain shift. Google is (relatively) happy with the quality of the Google Shopping feeds they receive and want to make the process easier.

For example, by automatically truncating overlong titles instead of disapproving products, they're taking a huge burden off of advertisers.

Second of all, it could mean there are even easier times to come. There are so many tiny details to manage in your Google Shopping feed. Should this trend continue, more of these tiny complications could disappear.

Advertisers should still strive to optimize their product data. Truncation is not good for getting clicks on ads or listing. It only means those products can still get listed.

Why add COGS?

Google already uses Custom Labels to help its users better manage and understand their products. The addition of the Cost of Goods Sold continues to tell us a little about Google and just how much they understand their users.

Custom Labels are one of the most incrasingly popular Google Shopping feed attributes. Even though it’s just a few numbers, users can assign any kind of label to their products. High margin, most popular, holiday, anything. Just by adding a few numbers to your feed, you can start to quantify returns by products and drive more sales.

COGS is a bit of a reassurance. Brands and retailers aren’t just content to sell products on Google. They want to know exactly how Google is affected their bottom line, so they can make better business decisions.

By adding COGS, the Google Shopping feed just got one more way to help advertisers know exactly how well they are performing…and where they can do better.

What’s up next for your Google Shopping feed?

We know Google is regularly updating their Shopping feed specs, so stay tuned. With any luck, the next round will bring more useful attributes and advertiser-oriented changes.

Mini update for those promoting pharmaceuticals

This year, Google has changed their policy on promoting medical devices. It is now no longer required to request certification in order to advertise medical devices, as long as they follow the local regulations. This should simplify the process of getting these products online. Still, for absolute clarity, Google also compiled a list of their regulations on this topic.

Not surprisingly, this is yet another example of relaxing the less necessary steps to list on Google.

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