Google Shopping Feed Rules: The Definitive Guide

G
Google Shopping Feed Rules

What are Google Feed Rules?

The Feed Rules by Google are the latest kit of self-help that has been made available by the search engine. It focuses on helping the merchants manage their product data, making changes directly in their specific Google Merchant Center.

The are of great aid to the merchants as it helps them with the possibility of performing basic edits over their feed without relying on technical help. Further, it also helps optimize and upload the corrected feed directly into their Google Shopping account. 

In a nutshell, the rules help you transform your feed with a more streamlined approach.

Are you still confused? Relax, let’s understand it on three different levels for a clear approach! 

In the first stage of operations, the feed rules help you modify or replace the field names with supported attributes that match your Google Shopping Products Feed Specification.

Say you want to change the header of your exported feed from your shopping cart system, here the feed setting allows you to set up a rule quickly. The rule allows the renaming of the supported attribute.

It helps you replace your feed’s values with values aligned with the suggested values from Google Shopping Products Feed.

Let’s consider a situation where you are the seller of running shoes and keep your stock for both men and women. Now, you are in a situation where you need to submit products that are specified by gender. 

However, if your feed has described products with “men” and “women,” it won’t work. You need to correct the gender description as “male” and “female.” These changes will be made with the Google Merchant Feed Rules. 

Besides the suggested changes, it also allows you to fill in your feed’s missing attributes, making it one of the essential tools for your Google Shopping Feed. 

Now that you’ve understood how Google Shopping Feed Rules works, we are sure that you would want to make the best out of your feed. After all, that is what smart shoppers do!

However, before leaping to the process, we must check out the essential requirements of creating one. Let’s check them out…    

Requirements to Consider Before Creating Google Shopping Feed Rules

i. Create a Merchant Center Account

The very first step to your success with Google Shopping starts with creating your account. To create an account, you need to use an email id that has not been previously used for any other Merchant Account with Google. 

ii. Register & submit your Feed

Once you are logged into the Google Shopping Merchant account, it’s time to create, upload, and review your product feed.

Here are some basic rules for Google Feed that you should know:

  • You should always submit your full feed at a regular interval of every 30 days. Further, you can also upload your feed up to 4 times per day. 
  • In a situation when you are submitting multiple feeds for your Google Shopping Ads, make sure you retain every individual item in your feed. 
  • The first time you upload your , it takes at least three business days to review and revive. 

How to Create Google Shopping Feed Rules

To be able to use Google Shopping feed rules, you need to follow the suggested steps:

  1. The first step at Google Shopping Feed is to sign in to your Merchant Center account.
  2. Next, you need to navigate to the page menu, followed by a click on ‘Products’ -> ‘Feeds.’
  3. From the feeds that are already present in the list, select the specific feed you would like to create rules.
  4. Click on the ‘Rules’ tab, situated at the top of the page.
  5. In a situation where you do not have created feed rules for the attribute that needs to be edited, click ‘Create Rule’ and choose the desired attribute listed in the drop-down list.
  6. In case you want to edit an existing set of feed rules, you can manually search for the attribute from the search bar and select the desired attribute that needs to be edited.
  7. Manage the “Data Sources” -> include relevant “Modifications” (optional).
  8. Save your settings as a draft to be reviewed later. 

Yes, it’s that easy to create Google Shopping Feed rules for your business. Now, let’s have a look at the different options available for the same:

Adding Different Data Sources

The add data sources help you understand and set your data sources so that it becomes easier to identify the data, the location of the attribute, and determine where it should come from. 

When you add data sources to your feeds, you can easily define a suggested target by extracting data from a given source or by using the existing data source.

In a situation where you are using data source operations

i. Using “Set to”

The ‘Set to’ option comes in handy when you need to populate a given target attribute with different combinations of different incoming columns, using any existing supplementary or static values and primary

This data source allows you to integrate your remaining product feed with additional values. 

Let’s understand the use of the ‘set to’ attribute in a situation where you need to add a brand name to your product:

Step 1: Pair a specific Google attribute to a created inbound column 

Example: Set the Availability factor to: “my_first_feed.stockstatus.”

Step 2: Now that you have created an attribute, populate the suggested target attribute with a single, set static string value

Example: Set Condition to “New”

Step 3: Inhibit your selected target attribute with a suggested combination of processed values, static values, or inbound columns. Now, pair the attributes with the concatenation feature to create a string from multiple values or columns.

Example: Set title to: my_first_feed.brand + ” ” + my_first_feed.title

Tip:

  • You should always align with the concatenation rules only when all the feed references fail. For example:

Your my_first_feed.brand +” “+ my_first_feed.title attribute will not work if both your feed references fail to get resolved. Name your title to: my_first_feed.brand + ” ” + my_first_feed.title will work effectively if my_first_feed.brand fails to resolve. Instead, the title will be converted to my_first_feed.title

ii. Using the “Set to multiple” attribute

Using the ‘Set to multiple’ attribute for your feed helps you assign your feed to a suggested value in a list you have created or processed.

When you use the ‘set to multiple’ attribute, you create a field that repeats itself and allows you to include different values to the given attribute. Further, by using the attribute, users can also implement a wide number of destinations to excluded_destination or included_destination attributes or assign several regions for the shopping_ads_excluded_country attribute. 

However, when dealing with excluded_destination and included_destination attributes, it implies easy implication and assigning the likes of Buy on Google, Display ads, and Shopping ads to your feed.

Note: You can only include the “Set to multiple” attribute for excluded_destination,included_destination, and shopping_ads_excluded_country attributes.

iii. Use “Extract”

The “extract” is an option that can only be paired with Advanced options and applied with the following:

  • ‘Case’ use: Match the phrases and words in a similar case as mentioned in a similar case as used in the suggested attribute.
  • Retain the first matching value: If the selected attribute you have selected returns in two or more possible matches, you can only extract the value from the first match in the list. 

Example: In a situation where you want to extract “red,” “yellow,” and “green” from a suggested title that says “Red-striped shirt in green,” only “green” will be extracted.

  • Search as a regular expression: Match your values to a specific search pattern (or “regex”). To extract information from a given regular expression into a given text field. For example: If you want to exclude everything other than the first four digits in an attribute, use: find: ‘^(.{4}).*$’ replace: ‘\1’.
  • Whole words only: Enter the complete words and match them accordingly. 

For example: prevent detecting the word “female” inside the word “male.”

iv. Use “Take latest.”

You can only use the “Take Latest” attribute to find terms related to availability and price of the most recently updated value from either two or multiple feeds and the use results to populate your attribute.

Example:

  • Use the most recent results of my_supplemental_feed.availability and my_first_feed.availability 
  • Use the most recent results of my_supplemental_feed.price and my_first_feed.price 
  • Use the most recent results of: my_supplemental_feed.sale_price and my_first_feed.sale_price 
  • Use the most recent results of: my_supplemental_feed.sale_price_effective_date and my_first_feed.sale_price_effective_date 

Using the Inventory update feeds for Legacy online 

In a situation where you want to choose a different feed for updating your products’ availability and pricing, you can execute the same by creating a supplemental feed and integrating the “Take latest” attribute to help update your primary feed. 

Including Modifications

As the name suggests, modifications are different sets of attributes that allow you to include additional steps to change the data for a suggested attribute. These modifications include different sets of conditions operations that help in the optimization of a given product data. 

Let’s check out some of the modification operations that you can use for your product feed:

i. Using “Prepend”

Prepend is a functionality that allows you to include specific phrases, words, or similar feed attributes, at the start of a suggested attribute value. You can use the “Prepend” attribute to improve the search terms or streamline your products’ feed data.

Example: In a situation where you want to include a brand value to a title that lacks one, you need to remember that the “Prepend” attribute of modification will not work if all the feed references fail. 

For instance:

Prepend: “weight: ” + d2.weight, fails if d2.weight fails to get resolved.

Prepend: “weight: ” + d2.weight + ” ” +”quality: ” + f1.weight will run perfectly, even if the d2.weight cannot be resolved. The attribute only fails to work in a situation where d2.weight and d2.quality can’t be resolved.

ii. Use “Append”

Append attribute is a function that allows you to include certain phrases, words, or similar feed attributes, at the end of a suggested attribute value. You can use the “Append” attribute to improve the search terms or streamline your products’ feed data.

Let’s understand the same with a situation where you might want to include a weight value to a suggested title that doesn’t have one. However, you need to remember that the modification will not execute the operation, in a situation where all reference in the feed fails. 

Example:

Append: “weight: ” + d2.weight, fails if d2.weight fails to get resolved.

Append: “weight: ” + d2.weight + ” ” +”quality: ” + f1.weight will run perfectly, even if the d2.weight cannot be resolved. The attribute only fails to work in a situation where d2.weight and d2.quality can’t be resolved.

iii. Using “Standardize”

The “Standardize” attribute is an option that helps optimize your feed in a manner that it accepts all the finite numbers by replacing all the unsupported values with the ones supported.

When you want to use the condition attribute, you can only use different values such as “new,” “refurbished,” and “used.” Therefore, you can’t use any other words apart from the suggested instances. 

iv. Using the “Add repeated field”

You can use the suggested customization in your feed to include all the relevant pieces of additional data to the suggested attributes that help calculate multiple values. 

In simple terms, including the repeated field allows you to add a secondary value to a field that is repeated and has already been populated with a given primary value. This field might also be used for different customized attributes.

v. Using the “Optimize URL” attribute

You can choose URL optimization as an option when you want to amend changes or remove the URL components from a feed. Developed for focus on modification of a given URL, this modification tool helps in safeguarding different parameters in situations where:

  • You are adding a field parameter that already exists; this customization attribute will replace it automatically.
  • In a situation when you include a secondary parameter, the attribute replaces ‘&’ with ‘?’ in the feed.

Example: Include a custom tracking parameter using ads_redirect.

  • Fix the ‘utm_source’ instead of using ‘google-products’
  • Fit the parameter as ‘utm_medium’ when you are dealing with the ‘shopping’ value. 

vi. Using the “Find & replace” attribute

As the name suggests, this modification helps you find and replace certain words or phrases with some new values. You can consider modifying your feed with this option to optimize the product data and improve the terms used for search. 

vii. Using “Calculate”

This modification allows you to multiply, add, divide or subtract the numeric values incorporated in your feed. 

Example:

  • You can use this modification in your feed for a situation where you want to include the sale_price that is suggested for a given product.
  • You want to include different attributes related to cost in your price list to include the cost_of_goods_sold.

viii. Using “Split & choose”

Using the split & choose modification allows the users to include one or multiple elements separated by a comma, arrow, or other such elements in your product feed. 

Let’s understand the same with an example:

Suppose you have several sets of segregated products using the product_type value Mobiles & Gadgets> Gadgets > Earphones > Wired Earphones. In this example of order, you can use the product_type customization and use the ‘Split & choose’ attribute to retain the “Wired Earphones.” In this case, you can also use the product’s value and pair it with the prepend or append attribute.

Here are the three factors that you can use:

  • Split: This function is used to showcase the situation where you would like to choose an individual node or symbol to exclude it from the list.
  • Select: This function allows you to select the different nodes or elements you would like to implement in your product feed. Further, it also enables you to choose from a number of values, ranging from “Last,” “First,” or “2-5”, “1-second last”.
  • Combine: In a situation where you have selected different nodes, you can use this customization option to bind them together in one individual value, including a separator of your choice. 

Example:

Make a customized attribute using the splitting option and selecting the last node in the suggested product_type string Mobiles & Gadgets> Gadgets > Earphones > Wired Earphones to use the feature as a title attribute.

  • Name a customized attribute as “last node product type”
  • Once done, you need to fix your custom attribute as “my_first_feed.product_type”
  • Use the split “>” option to divide the previously written string into four individual nodes: Mobiles & Gadgets, Gadgets, Earphones, Wired Earphones.
  • Once you have successfully segregated the given custom string, select “last,” implementing the last node, “Wired Earphones.”
  • Save your new node as a draft.

ix. Using the “Clear” attribute

Using the ‘Clear’ attribute allows the users to remove a specified value of a given attribute from the suggested Google feed. It executes operation seamlessly throughout the feed file.

Previewing all the Rules That Have Changed

Now that you have amended the changes in your product feed using the Modifications operations and Data sources, you will now have a preview of the changes in a draft format, located on the top right corner of the screen.

Now, to see the changes more minutely, we suggest you click on the magnifying options to get a detailed view of the catalog and item ID of your feed.

Listed below are some modification rules that we think you should know:

When you are creating multiple attributes over a similar attribute, you will get an idea of how the rules will affect your feed’s final value. Further, after you are done with your feed’s editing, the real-time value of the modifications will appear close to the created feed.

Remember, when you make several changes using one rule, the highlighted value will be a result of all the combined changes in effect. Further, if a specific rule doesn’t apply to an item you are viewing, there will be no value highlighted. Lastly, check out the Active value and Draft value of your recently corrected feed and check the preview box.

Save Feed Rules

The last step in your Google Shopping feed requires you to save all the rules that have been applied. Once you have reviewed and finalized all the changes you have made, it’s time to finalize them by clicking on the ‘Apply changes’ option. 

Once you have finalized your settings, you will have to reprocess your feed. The new set of modifications and rules that you have set will now appear on the recently updated product data and remain intact until the next time you make changes.

However, in a situation where you want to make changes to an existing rule, you need to check on the grey box that reads “Rule.” Here, you need to make changes that you wish for and click on ‘Apply’ to finalize and upload them to your product data.

Conclusion

To sum it up, Google Merchant Feed Rules is a viable solution for businesses that have less time to rely on technical support to amend their product feed changes. Further, it is a reliable fix for every basic and quick fix that you need to make to your product feed. 

Make sure that you check out the latest way to quickly fix your feed today!

About the author

Karthik Ramachandiran

Google Ads Expert From Bengaluru. Share his Expertise Here