Google Merchants: What are GTINs?

Google Merchants: What are GTINs?

George Stevens

A GTIN (Global Trade Item Number) is a 14-digit global data structure that can be encoded into various types of data carriers. It is used exclusively in the barcode system for giving products unique identifiers.

As Google Shopping becomes more widespread, Google is working increasingly hard to spot when products are searched for on their website. This is so that they can show the user products on Google Merchant accounts to enable instant purchase direct from the search page.

Google Merchants have been encouraged for a long while to include GTINs in their product listings. It helps Google to match their products to relevant searches and shows the Merchant’s details to potential purchasers.

Previously, Google had a list of around 50 brands that they required Merchants to include the GTINs for. However, this has now been changed so that all barcoded product listings must include the GTIN.

Part of the reason for the new rollout is due to research by Google that found that Merchants who added correct GTINs to their products saw conversion rates increase by around 20%.

What does this mean for sellers?

If you sell branded products through your Google Merchant account, you will need to go through each product and add the GTIN if it’s not there already. If you sell handmade or vintage products, these won’t have a GTIN (barcode) so you probably won’t need to change anything.

As of 16th May 2016, full GTIN inclusion was rolled out. If your products don’t include the required information, you may find that they get flagged by Google and marked as inactive. Advertisements for products without their corresponding GTIN are no longer allowed.

5 reasons why you should include GTINs in your product data

  1. It makes your products globally accessible

The ‘G’ in GTIN stands for ‘global’ – each product code stays exactly the same across the entire world. Including the GTIN in product data allows buyers from any country to understand the exact product you are selling, which can lead to more sales.

  1. It can lead to better ad targeting

GTINs identify exact products. If you’re using systems such as Google Ads to advertise your products, GTINs mean that your products are more likely to be shown to the correct target audience. The more targeted your audience, the more likely you are to make the sale.

  1. They get you more ad impressions

Including GTINs helps Google to match your product to Google Shopping results. Better matching of products-to-searches increases the chance of your product being found. In fact, Google claims that GTINs can enhance ad impressions by around 40%.

  1. You already have the product data

Barcodes and GTINs are included by law on every single branded product. You already have the data – so why not use it? Sure, it might take you a bit of time to look up each number and insert it into your product listing, but once they’re in, you’ll be able to take advantage of all of the benefits.

  1. It puts you ahead of your competitors

Although Google’s rollout of GTIN inclusion was announced back in February, you can bet your bottom dollar that there are hundreds, if not thousands of businesses who have not yet updated their listings. This means that your competitors may face certain products being unavailable for purchase on Google Shopping. Take advantage of this whilst it lasts by updating your own store. Less competition for a few months could do wonders for your sales!