Posted on 2/18/2015 in Digital Marketing

By Ryan MacQuarrie

Setting up the product feed in your Google Merchant Center account is no small feat and is necessary for running successful Google Shopping Campaigns. When setting up a product feed, some things that you need to pay special attention to are product variants. Google defines product variants as “a group of identical products that only differ by the attribute’s color, material, pattern, or size.” You need to submit a line item in your product feed for each variant. You cannot include 15 different colors next to one product and expect your ad to appear when color number 6 in the cell is searched for. Each color needs to be treated as a separate product. For example, if you own a retail site that sells a particular sweatshirt in 3 colors and 2 sizes and a particular t-shirt in 1 size and 4 colors then you need a total of 10 variants or line entries.

Google Shopping Campaign Bags
IDItem Group IDTitleColorSizeAge GroupGenderMaterialPatternBrand
300300Pats SweatshirtBlueSAdultMaleCottonSolidSB
300-01300Pats SweatshirtBlueLAdultMaleCottonSolidSB
300-02300Pats SweatshirtRedSAdultMaleCottonSolidSB
300-03300Pats SweatshirtRedLAdultMaleCottonSolidSB
300-04300Pats SweatshirtWhiteSAdultMaleCottonSolidSB
300-05300Pats SweatshirtWhiteLAdultMaleCottonSolidSB
400400Pats T-ShirtBlueLAdultMaleCottonSolidSB
400-01400Pats T-ShirtGreyLAdultMaleCottonSolidSB
400-02400Pats T-ShirtRedLAdultMaleCottonSolidSB
400-03400Pats T-ShirtWhiteLAdultMaleCottonSolidSB

The critical column for keeping your variant items together is the “Item Group ID” column. Use the same group ID for all the variants of the same item. Remember that in order for the Google Shopping Campaign to work, you need to provide a unique image for each of the variants, unless the variant is size. For example, the same image can be used for the small and large blue Pats Sweatshirts, but not for the red and blue Pats Sweatshirts. This is just one key aspect of the product feed. If you want more info on product variants or setting up your Merchant Center data feed in general, check out Google’s comprehensive guide or contact us.

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