When creating a high quality product feed many different considerations have to be made depending on the types of products/brands you are advertising. For this article we are going to be focusing solely on a products best unique identifier, the GTIN.

What is a GTIN?

GTINs short for Global Trade Item Numbers are common unique product identifiers (UPIs). They distinguish products you are selling and help match search queries with your products. These identifiers are assigned to each product by the manufacturer, so if you sell the same product as another retailer, the UPIs will be the same.

Several different types of ID numbers are considered a GTIN [gtin]. Use this attribute to submit any of the following types of numbers:

  • UPC (in North America / GTIN-12): 12-digit number (convert 8-digit UPC-E codes to 12-digit codes)
  • EAN (in Europe / GTIN-13): 13-digit number
  • JAN (in Japan / GTIN-13): 8 or 13-digit number
  • ISBN (for books): 13-digit number (convert ISBN-10 to ISBN-13). If you have both, include only the 13-digit number.
  • ITF-14 (for multipacks / GTIN-14): 14-digit number

If you’re reviewing the GTINs on your product’s packaging, you might want to download the Barcode Scanner app from the Google Play Store. Don’t have access to Google Play? Here’s a list of the 7 Best Barcode scanners for Android and iOS. These apps can scan a barcode to give you the GTIN and tell you the type of GTIN you scanned.

Why Should You Care About GTINs?

  • Makes international expansion seamless, as internationally recognised codes GTINs enable you to export an entire product catalogue as identifying the product remains simple, saving you time and energy.
  • While UPIs aren’t always required, items with correct identifiers provided will receive a higher priority than those without.
  • Using GTINs enables you to be able to utilize price comparison tools in addition to Google Shopping. Here’s a list of the top 30 from Shopify.
  • Correct GTINs generate increased impressions and conversions. Since searches are more accurate when you have a GTIN listed.
  • Finally, having updated GTIN numbers improves user experience. It makes your product easier to find and compare to others.

Finding a GTIN

To find the GTIN of your product try and find the barcode first, usually located on the packaging or cover. This type of GTIN is found on US products. See the 12-digit number below the barcode.

Keep in mind not all products have a GTIN, in this case you don’t need to submit one. However, if the product does have a GTIN and it isn’t submitted, the products performance may be limited.

More Ways To Find Your GTIN

Examples of products that may not have an assigned GTIN include:

  • Store brand products
  • Replacement parts
  • Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts or replacements for OEM parts
  • Custom-made products (custom t-shirts, art, and handmade goods)
  • Books released before ISBN was approved as an ISO standard in 1970
  • Vintage or antique products
  • Pre-order products

For additional information here’s Google’s breakdown of how to find a GTIN.

Products Without A GTIN

For products without a GTIN make sure to submit the following attributes:

These attributes will help identify your products. An MPN (Manufacturer Part Number), is a UPI for specific parts assigned by the manufacturer. The brand attribute allows you to use the brand of your product as a UPI.

Including the MPN is optional, but including it may improve your product’s performance. Products may be disapproved or their performance limited if you submit them without a UPI when one is available.

Make Sure Your GTIN is Correct

For more detailed information about GTIN validation, download the GS1 GTIN validation guide.

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