Google’s Product Type for your shopping feed doesn’t get a lot of attention. It’s often overlooked and under invested in by people managing the shopping feed. A lot of people mix up Product Type and Google’s Product Category… they are similar but not the same attribute.
Our agency often thinks of Product Type as the unofficial 6th Custom Label for your shopping feed. Now it doesn’t act like a Custom Label but you do get a blank slate to work with and can do pretty much anything you want, which is why we think of it as the 6th Custom Label.
What Is Product Type Attribute:
- Lets you build a custom product categorization system for your shopping data as you choose which value to include in the attribute
- Helps with campaign creation and data analysis when used correctly
- This is not automatically classified or predefined. If you don’t add this attribute to your shopping feed, this field remains blank
- This is an optional attribute but we highly recommend setting it up
Why Use Product Type?
The biggest reason to set this attribute up is your ranking factor. Google looks at the Product Type to understand what you sell. Over the last 6 years Google has shifted from just read our Product Title and Product Description, to looking at the whole shopping feed to help with ranking. Even though this is an optional attribute, we highly recommend it being added to your shopping feed. That way Google can connect your products with the right users.
The other reason we touched on above. You can organize your shopping campaigns via product/listing groups. Product Type is one of the 8 ways you can filter and build out your campaigns the way you want. A lot of people focus on attributes like brand, Custom Labels and Google Product Category, which are all fantastic. There is no reason to not have another option in your tool belt.
Formatting Product Type
|Type||String (Unicode characters. Recommended: ASCII only)|
|Limits||0 – 750 characters|
|Repeated field||Submit up to 5 times, but keep in mind that only the first value will be used to organize bidding and reporting in Google Ads Shopping campaigns. |
Separate multiple different product types with a comma (,). Do not use a comma (,) within an individual product type value, since Google will interpret this as a separation of different product types.
(For example, if you submit “House, Garden & Kitchen,” the value “House” is interpreted as a separate product type from “Garden & Kitchen.”)
|E.G||Home > Women > Dresses > Maxi Dresses|
Always make sure you use > (face bracket) to separate multiple levels in a category. Also, include a space before and after the > symbol. When you look at the example above, you see that there are 4 levels within the Product Type. This allows you to segment and help organize your SKUs within shopping campaigns or build out more granular Google ads reports.
Two Popular Product Type Frameworks
There are lots of different ways you categorize your shopping feed data but I’m going to cover the two most common frameworks:
Site Breadcrumbs: the easiest way is to follow the breadcrumbs on your site and use that to build out your product type. This lets you build a framework that is scalable and easier to follow. Nothing worse than building a random framework as you go.
Google Product Category (GPC): Building off a modified version of your Google Product Category. Not as sexy of an option but something that is manageable and repeatable. Let’s say I had the following GPC: Apparel & Accessories > Clothing > Dresses. I might remove “Apparel & Accessories” and then use the rest of the taxonomy for Product Type: Clothing > Dresses.
You can of course build something more custom but you do need to make sure it makes sense. Plus is something that can scale up and down as your site changes over time.
When we audit accounts, we often find people built a random system that lacked intention and wasn’t scalable as a site grew. Random can be ok at 100 SKUs but you need a Product Type framework when you work with 100,000 or 1 million SKUs. Otherwise you get buried in SKUs.
Build an amazing shopping feed is still a skill. Automation hasn’t changed that just yet. If you are not using Product Type right now for your shopping feed. I would look at setting it up before Q4.