It is that time of year again when the changes to the Google Shopping Product Data Specification are announced. And for 2017, Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) wants to improve the user experience by providing more information on minimum order value, shipping-related attributes and handling time.
If you don’t know what the Google Shopping Feed is, read on. For now, it is the way Google analyzes a variety of data to decide when to display the Google ads for your products.
The incremental changes Google implements every year aim to make the platform better for merchants and shoppers alike. But it’s important for merchants to understand those specifications or risk having their product listing not show up.
If you happen to have an eCommerce site, Google will be enforcing the new specification requirements starting on June 26, 2017. By enforcement, Google means it will disapprove any product data that doesn’t meet the requirements in the new specifications. So what are the new changes?
2017 Google Shopping Feed Specification Update
Minimum Order Value
If you don’t offer shipping on your eCommerce site below a certain minimum order, Google Shopping now allows you to enter the minimum requirement prior to listing products on the shopping feed. This way, you will be warned if you try to enter any products into the Google Shopping Feed that are priced below the minimum required order. The safeguard prevents you from being charged for a click on an ad for a product which cannot be ordered alone from your site because it doesn’t meet your minimum order for shipping. This is good news for you since Google’s data suggests a customer is likely to abandon the purchase upon discovering he or she can’t get delivery without spending more than they had intended.
Shipping can make or break your eCommerce platform. According to Google, shipping cost is one of the biggest reasons for abandoning shopping choices. Accurate shipping information lets your customers make quick decisions. The new specification has introduced upper bound price and weight value limits for the shipping and shipping weight attributes so outliers Google believes are input errors can be identified.
If an item has a shipping cost or weight above the new limits, it will not be approved
This option now lets you display the estimated delivery date of your product in your shopping ad if you’re targeting the United States. Two new attributes called, min-handling-time and max-handling-time will indicate the time it typically takes to process an order.
The shipping settings in the Merchant Center will be used by Google to compute an estimated delivery date.
What is Google Shopping?
Powered by AdWords and Google Merchant Center, Google Shopping lets customers search for products and compare prices through Google Search. This is a simplified description, but for the end user, this is what it does.
However, a deeper look reveals it does for online sellers. With Google Shopping, Google analyzes your feed, website, bids and search queries that trigger your ads to decide when the ads for your product listings show up.
Some of the data Google goes through include product data, product images, price, bidding strategies, and granular performance. These data points are used to make granular optimizations and improve the performance of campaigns to deliver higher ROI.
Google Shopping uses a CPC (Cost per click) model, so it is imperative to fully understand how this system works before you launch a campaign. It requires real expertise in order to get the right balance, because cost overruns can happen quickly.