Automatic item updates in Google Merchant Center

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Product feed, website microdata, and automatic item updates

Automatic updation of feed
Google Merchant store

What bad could happen if your feed in merchant center and microdata on your website aren’t synchronized? Firstly, Google will disapprove your product listing ads (PLAs), but this isn’t all. You will be losing out on some potential impressions which could have lead to a conversion. And yes, this is bad. Even if your ad goes through Google’s approval, shoppers will have their doubts when prices on the ads and your website aren’t the same. You have lost money for the click and failed to retain that customer. While you are busy preparing the best deals for the coming shopping season, your data, if not up-to-date, can render your efforts worthless. And, this is the worst of all. But there is a way around this. Google has launched automatic item updates to help store owners and marketers keep their ads alive without any interruption.

When you enable automatic item updates, Google will update product price and availability shown on your ads when they notice any difference between your product data and your website’s microdata instead of disapproving your ads. These item updates will remain true until you make an update to your product data.

Benefits of automatic item updates

By permitting automatic item updates in your account, you allow Google to update your items on Google Shopping. Google relies on the data markup on your website to continue with these updates. When there is a delay between data changes on your site and merchant center, it results in incorrect product data. You can avoid this delay and inaccurate product data by enabling automatic item updates.

Automatic item update leads to an enhanced user experience. It also increases traffic to your product listing ads as a majority of your products are approved and compete in the auctions. You can expect better conversion rates because users already see the correct price on your ads. Furthermore, the users won’t be directed to items that are out-of-stock. Since Google updates product feed based on website data, the risk of account suspension due to price/availability mismatch is reduced.

Note:  If there are too many mismatches, automatic item updates will stop working. This might also lead to account suspension.

Implementing automatic item updates

  • Structure the data on your website and landing pages – The most important requirement is to make sure that you have structured your data for Google to quickly crawl through. In case your web pages don’t follow a valid data markup, Google can’t update your data automatically. This might lead to a temporary disapproval of your items. If you aren’t sure about proper data structure markup, you can use annotation from schema.org to read data.
  • Allow automatic item update in Merchant Center – You can allow Google to automatically update items by navigating to the automatic item updates section in the drop-down of the 3-dot icon in your Merchant Center account. You will see the following options:
      1. Price only
      2. Availability only
      3. Price and availability
  • Review items that are automatically updated – Google also provides you reports of items that were updated. You can find this information in the automatic item updates section or in the diagnostics page under products.
  • Revert an automatic update in Merchant Center – To revert any specific automatic update, you need to upload your product data once again. And to revert all the past updates and stop future updates, disable automatic items update by selecting “don’t update price and availability” under automatic item updates section.

Limitations of automatic item update

Google might not be able to update items efficiently in all instances. It depends on the frequency of price and availability updates on your website. All you need to remember is that automatic updates won’t be beneficial if you refresh the price or availability of items multiple times per day. Another limitation to which you need to take caution is that this process is just item updation. You will still have to create new product groups with updated items to run ads. The way around here is to add these new products in an “everything else” product group. However, at AdNabu, we recommend using single-product product groups.

With the shopping season fast-approaching, it is better to automate all that you can. At AdNabu, we create separate product groups for newly added items. This helps our customers in implementing single-product product groups practice we actively practice. We call it the AdNabu Automatic Item Update tool. You also can avail a free 14-day trial here!

About the author

Mantha Sai Praveen

Content marketer by day, a poet by night.

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