Each year, Google makes changes to its Merchant Center Data Specification to create a better experience for shoppers and advertisers. For 2021, they are changing some requirements to improve the quality of information across Shopping ads.
For anyone advertising on Google Shopping or using the Free Listings, the following changes are:
- Allow changes to region-specific shipping speeds with handling and transit time sub-attributes at the item-level. For handling times, you can submit minimum and maximum times between when an order is placed and when it is shipped for different regions.
- Added availability attribute value: ‘backorder’. Previously, the only allowed attribute values were ‘in stock’, ‘out of stock’, and ‘preorder.’ This attribute is used to accurately submit the product’s availability and it must match the product available on the landing page.
- Additional values to size_type attribute. Currently supported values include regular, petite, oversize, and maternity. If you don’t submit this attribute, the default is regular.
- Disallow cross-border sales for payment plan products. Payment plan options are becoming increasingly popular for retailers and if you currently have payment plan options available for shoppers you will no longer be able to sell cross-border through Google Shopping.
- New enforcement to ensure product prices are consistent throughout the checkout process. No additional information has been provided about the specifics of the new enforcement measures, but it is important to make sure product prices are consistent on your site or else you risk having your ads disapproved.
- Ability to add a timezone to your datetime attributes. If this attribute is missing, the default value will be UTC.
- Warnings to provide unique brand-MPN combinations to avoid disapproval.
- Warnings to provide shipping country sub-attribute if missing.
Google updates their data spec requirements in order to improve the overall Shopping experience and stay up to date with the needs of the changing market.
If you are currently advertising via Google Shopping, it’s important to be aware of these changes as they may impact how you structure and submit your feed data.