Merchant Center announcements change log

  1. Get discovered by deal seekers with new features for listing your promotions (U.S. only)
    October 22, 2020
    While deal seeking behavior is not new, shoppers are more price-conscious this year. In fact, 58% of U.S. holiday shoppers will hold off on buying gift items until they’re on-sale.1 When looking for these competitively-priced products, 40% of global shoppers say they turn to Google to find the best deal.2 Since many of these shoppers have already started their gift search, adding promotions to products that you sell on Google now can help drive more sales to your business.  This holiday season, we’re doing more to help you get discovered by these deal seekers. We’re making it easier to upload and edit promotions in the Google Merchant Center as well as building more  experiences across Google to increase the visibility of products that have a promotion or are on-sale.  Upload promotions faster and easily react to changing market dynamics With 65% of U.S. holiday shoppers starting to shop earlier to avoid out-of-stock items, getting your promotions in front of them as soon as possible is more important than ever.3 To help retailers quickly react to these changing shopper behaviors, it’s now faster to apply promotions to inventory, easier to edit existing promotions, and you’ll also have access to additional reporting features for these products. In the U.S., all eligible retailers will now be automatically enabled to use promotions in Merchant Center - no interest form required. Retailers can also now easily edit promotions directly in Merchant Center and the average approval time on promotions has also been reduced from days to hours. This means that you are now able to better react to shopper demand, like participating in a flash sale or extending existing promotional periods. In November, you can also expect to have better reporting for your on-sale products or promotions. By tagging your on-sale or promotional inventory with custom labels, you will now be able to see impressions and clicks for these products across ads and free product listings. This will help you better evaluate performance and adjust promotions accordingly.  Reach shoppers across more Google surfaces  To help shoppers find these deals more easily, we’ve implemented the ‘On sale’ filter across mobile and desktop experiences for users browsing the Shopping tab. This filter includes product inventory across ads and free listings that have a promotion or are on-sale, improving the discoverability of competitively-priced products. Example of On sale filter on the Shopping tab in U.S. Recently, we announced that free listings will now populate the product knowledge panel on Google Search. Soon, shoppers who search for a specific product will also see which retailer is offering that item on-sale within this panel. We’re also expanding promotions to more surfaces across Google, helping retailers increase the reach of their promotions and encouraging shoppers to buy. Products on promotion will now have an annotation when they appear on Google Images (mobile-only) and local inventory ads. For local inventory ads, retailers will also have the option to highlight their contactless fulfilment options, like curbside pickup, alongside their product promotions.  Promotions and curbside pickup annotations on local inventory ads are currently in Beta. Reach out to your account team to learn more.  Example of promotions on 1) Shopping ads on Google Images, and 2) local inventory ads (U.S. only) Retailers who have added promotions to their Shopping ads have seen great results. Designer Shoe Warehouse, a fashion and footwear brand, found that promotions helped them highlight time-sensitive product deals and stand out from competitors. By adding promotions to their Shopping ads, they saw a 12% increase in their conversion rate.  For more details on how to ensure your promotions show up across all available Google surfaces, please review our holiday promotions best practice guide.  Be prepared for the holidays by uploading your promotions today.  Posted by Charlie Speight, Senior Product Manager     1. Source: Google commissioned Ipsos COVID-19 tracker, U.S. n=1000 online consumers 18+ per market. June 25-28 vs March 26-29 2. Google commissioned Ipsos COVID-19 tracker, U.S., CA, UK, FR, DE, IT, AU, JP, RU, IN, CN, BR, MX, ES, ZA, KR  ~n=400-800 online consumers 18+  per market who will shop for the holiday season. Aug 27-30 3. Google commissioned Ipsos COVID-19 tracker, U.S., CA, UK, FR, DE, IT, AU, JP, RU, IN, CN, BR, MX, ES, ZA, KR  ~n=300-800 online consumers 18+  per market who will shop for the holiday season. July 30 - Aug 2
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  2. Easily respond to real-time holiday demand with Smart Shopping campaigns
    October 22, 2020
    Last holiday season, U.S. shoppers used Google for shopping more than any other source.1 As more people are already shopping for the holidays, we’re offering ways to help you capture real-time holiday demand with Smart Shopping campaigns.2 These new features will help boost your visibility to new customers, showcase your brand and products in rich creatives, and uncover meaningful insights from your performance. Get in front of new shoppers this holiday season 58% of U.S. holiday shoppers bought at least one brand last holiday season that they hadn't bought before3. In July, we introduced improvements to Smart Shopping campaigns to boost your visibility to new customers. Now, you’ll be able to optimize for new customers by setting a new customer acquisition goal. Let us know how much a new customer is worth to your business by adding a conversion value target in your campaign for new customer acquisition. Your Smart Shopping campaign will then optimize for new customers as an additional goal to maximizing your conversion value from your online sales. Customers continue to see success when using Smart Shopping campaigns for reaching new customers. Merkle, a performance marketing agency, was able to drive new traffic to more than 36% of in-stock inventory and increase revenue by 13 times in the dresses category for a large multi-category retailer by switching to Smart Shopping campaigns. Highlight your brand and products in rich creatives Of people who shop online, 85% say product information and pictures are important to them when deciding which brand or retailer to buy from. You can engage holiday shoppers by creating more compelling creatives for your Smart Shopping campaigns. Recently, we rolled out a new modernized look and feel in dynamic display ads to showcase your top products. These polished formats now display your company name alongside your logo to help clearly differentiate your brand. A short headline is more visible in most ad sizes, which can be used to highlight a holiday promotion message. If your ads must strictly align with brand guidelines, you can also use HTML5 to fully customize how your ads look and feel from Smart Shopping campaigns. Example of dynamic display ads from COSMEDIX This month, we’re adding a layout that dynamically curates a carousel of your most relevant products in a new immersive, browsable shopping experience. There’s no action required to take advantage of these updated ad layouts, and you can preview them when creating or editing your Smart Shopping campaigns.        1) U.S. example and 2) U.K. example of new layout with product carousel in new immersive, browsable shopping experience Starting today, you can also add videos to your Smart Shopping campaigns or, if you don't have any, use videos that are auto-generated from your product data to help bring your display ads to life. With more rich creatives, you’ll be able to improve your performance and capture the attention of holiday shoppers as they browse across the millions of sites and apps across the web. Get the full picture of your performance with more insights Last month, Performance Planner expanded to Shopping campaigns to help you plan your budgets more effectively throughout the peak season. Within the next month, we’re introducing more reporting features to help you evaluate your overall performance. Target and budget simulators will become available for Smart Shopping campaigns so you can estimate how changes to your return on ad spend (ROAS) or budget will impact your metrics based on your historical data from the last 7 days. In addition, we’re bringing auction insights to retail category reporting for your Search and Shopping campaigns in the Google Ads Report Editor. You can assess your impression share, overlap rate and outranking share for specific product categories compared to others in the same auction. For example, if your impression share is higher than your competitor's for the “Seasonal & Holiday Decorations” retail category, it means that you're winning more auctions than that advertiser, as a proportion of the auctions in which you were both eligible to show. This information can help you make strategic decisions about bidding and budgeting by showing you where you're succeeding and where you may be missing opportunities for improved performance. New auction insights within Google Ads Report Editor, available for retail categories In Merchant Center, you’ll also be able to use the new Report Editor and see additional metrics, like impressions and click-through rate, across your free listings and ads.  Soon, using these tools, you’ll be able to get the full picture for how you’re performing so you can adapt and adjust to holiday traffic changes. Finally, to make it easier for new retailers to get started, we’re reducing the eligibility requirements for Smart Shopping campaigns. Though a remarketing and conversion tag are still needed for optimal performance, you’ll be able to create your first Smart Shopping campaign now and take care of these tags later. Get started with Smart Shopping campaigns today. Posted by Tom Beyer, Product Manager, Shopping     1. Google/Ipsos, “Holiday Shopping Study”, November 2019 – January 2020, Online survey, United States, n=6122 online Americans 18+ who shopped for the Holidays in the past two days. 2. In Europe, Smart Shopping campaigns can be used with any Comparison Shopping Service (CSS) you work with. The ads will show on general search results pages and on any other surfaces the CSS has opted in to. 3. Google/Ipsos, “Holiday Shopping Study”, November 2019 – January 2020, Online survey, United States, n=6122 online Americans 18+ who shopped for the Holidays in the past two days.
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  3. Buy on Google: How to prepare for the holiday season
    October 21, 2020
    The holiday season is coming quickly and, as you know, this year will be different than any other. Here are some ways to get your Merchant Center account and Buy on Google information in shape, so you can be ready.  Review your Merchant Center settings and product feed information. Check that your feeds are up-to-date with the product data specification. Use the sell_on_google_quantity attribute to show the number of items available to sell on Google of a particular product.  The availability attribute indicates the status of the product, such as in stock or out of stock. Update this attribute as frequently as possible by making calls to the Inventory set API or through a supplemental feed.  Use the sale_price and sale_price_effective_date attributes to run deals for your products. If an adult will have to be present for delivery completion of a product, for example, for high value products, use the feed attribute signature_required to share this information.  Use the purchase_quantity_limit attribute to limit the number of items your customers can buy in a single order. Configure your returns settings. Configure seasonal override on your return policy to accommodate for the high volume of orders and returns during the holiday period. Consider using a special processing return rule if you’d like to interact with shoppers when they initiate a return. Consider using returnless refunds for low price products to save return costs. Take steps to increase customer engagement. Merchant Promotions is a feature that allows you to distribute online promotions with Buy on Google. When you add promotions to your Buy on Google inventory, shoppers see a promotional banner on the product details page for applicable products. This can increase the appeal of your products on Buy on Google. Faster estimated delivery times help delight customers, so it’s important for your settings to be accurate to avoid customer surprises and negatively impact your Retailer Standards rating. Get ready to fulfill orders and provide a delightful shopping experience.  Make sure to process orders on time so customers can receive orders within the expected delivery date.  Orders will be cancelled automatically if items are not marked as shipped within 3 days of merchant committed handling time.  If you know the items in an order will be delayed in shipment, update your order with the most accurate ship by date for each item using the updatelineitemshippingdetails AP Review your Customer Service emails: This contact information may be used to escalate difficult scenarios. Make sure your customer service team is properly trained to identify Buy on Google orders. Additionally, we require that merchants respond to customer escalations within 8 business hours.
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  4. Important update: changes to availability enforcement on free standard listings
    October 2020
    Free standard listings allow merchants to show out of stock products to users. To ensure good user experience, Google will now preemptively disapprove free standard listings for products that are marked as out of stock in the product data in Merchant Center, but are in stock on their landing pages. Take action to prevent disapprovals To avoid having your products be preemptively disapproved, make sure that your Merchant Center product data’s availability values accurately reflect each product’s availability on its corresponding landing page. It is recommended that you enable automatic item updates in your Merchant Center account to help reduce the likelihood of inconsistencies. Learn more about automatic item updates If you’d like to exclude products from your listings, use the excluded_destination attribute. Learn how to use the availability and excluded_destination attributes
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  5. Shopping Actions update: changes to Retailer Standards
    October 1, 2020
    Effective November 1, 2020, we’re updating our Retailer Standards program to better manage key performance areas that customers value most. What’s changing We’re launching two new performance metrics: “Return defects” and “Delivery defects”  Return defects: These error types apply anytime an item’s return is not processed within 2 business days of delivery at your return facility. You’ll be able to monitor performance of this defect starting on November 1st. The first score impacted will be March 1, 2021 and will lookback to defects as early as November 24, 2020. Delivery defects: We’ve created a new category for “shipped on-time, delivered late” defects called “Delivery defects.” These will no longer be counted under the overarching category of “shipping defects.” (This means we’ve adjusted the threshold for shipping defects, since delivery defects will no longer be considered part of this category.) This change is intended to allow for greater flexibility and better monitoring of carrier performance.    Changes for France only    We’re launching enforcement for performance scores of “Below Standards.” This score will now result in progressive order capping. After four months of continuous poor performance, your account will be suspended.  We’re also launching program incentives. Commission discounts will be given as follows: Merchants who achieve Top Retailer: 20%: Items promised and delivered within 2 days 15% Items promised and delivered within 3 days Merchants who achieve Meeting Standards: 15%: Items promised and delivered within 2 days 10% Items promised and delivered within 3 days What this means for you   The Retailer Standards program will now be made of up of the following metrics:   And Retailer Scores will now be based on the following thresholds: United States France   Defect rates are expressed as the percentage of items that were not processed according to expectation.  What you need to do   Make sure you’re receiving both order and return notifications.  Consider setting up returnless refunds for some or all of your inventory.  Make sure your configured handling time accurately reflects your current time to ship.   
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  6. Free listings will soon be available across the world
    Today we announced that we’re bringing free listings to the Shopping tab in countries across Europe, Asia, and Latin America. Just as we don't charge sites to be part of the Google Search index, listings for participating retailers are eligible to appear in these results at no cost to them. Paid listings will continue to appear in ad slots and will operate in the same way as Shopping ads do today.   This change will take effect by mid-October 2020. How to participate To show your products in free product listings on the Shopping tab, opt in when you sign up for Merchant Center. If you already have an account, navigate to Growth in the left navigation menu, click Manage programs, and then select Surfaces across Google to learn more.
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  7. Use additional countries to determine your reach
    October 2020
    Over the years Google has introduced functionalities that allow you to automatically use your product data across multiple countries, provided you also set up shipping and target your campaigns to these countries for Shopping ads. Recently, we expanded this functionality with additional insights on your product data eligibility and performance across countries. This month, we’re making some additional changes, which will give you more precise control and clearer diagnostics of the countries where your products are eligible to show. Use "Additional countries" instead of Merchant Center "shipping settings" In the past, there were two ways for products to become available in multiple countries. You could specify countries through shipping settings (either by creating an account-level shipping service or by applying the shipping attribute to individual products), or you could specify countries in your product feed (either as the country of sale, or by using the "additional countries" feature). With our new changes, you control global product availability in a single place: the feed. Apply the shipping attribute to products directly in the feed or specify countries by using the "additional countries" feature. This applies to both Shopping ads and free listings. In order to make this change, we are pre-selecting countries in your feed to configure as "additional countries" of sale starting the week of September 28, 2020. For most merchants, this doesn’t change the availability of your products across countries. It simply gives you an alternative way to choose where your products are available. Up until October 8, 2020, we will use Merchant Center shipping settings to determine additional countries for your product data. After this time, further country selection changes can and will be configured on the feed or product level. Your product-level shipping attributes will continue to apply. Note: If there are certain products within a feed that are available in specific countries due to the use of shipping labels, weight-based shipping settings, or other similar features, we will only pre-select countries that apply to all products in a feed. Please review your "additional countries" or product-level shipping to ensure products remain available in your desired countries. Show status of exported products in Diagnostics Since we’re expanding "additional countries" to also apply to free listings, you may see changes on your Diagnostics page starting in mid-September. In the past, Diagnostics only displayed the status of your products in the primary country of sale. To help you diagnose issues with products across countries, Diagnostics now shows the status of your products once for each country you target for both Shopping ads and for free listings. Your products continue to show in countries where you ship and have active Shopping ads campaigns. Example: Let's say you have a product that ships to both the UK and Ireland and the UK is set as the country of sale. In the past you would have seen the status for this product only once in Diagnostics: for the UK. Now in Diagnostics, you will see the status of this product twice: once for the UK and once for Ireland. If you have 1,000 such active products that ship to two countries, this means that you will see the number of items in Diagnostics increase from 1,000 to 2,000.
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  8. Important update: changes to image policy enforcement
    September 2020
    We're changing the way we enforce image policies for advertising, selling, and listing your products on Google. We’ll be sunsetting account-level image enforcement in favor of item-level disapprovals. Over the next few weeks, as a part of a gradual rollout, any accounts that are currently warned or under preemptive item disapproval due to image promotional text will be automatically overturned, and item-level disapprovals will be applied to affected products instead. We recommend opting in to automatic image improvements in Merchant Center, which will try to automatically fix non-compliant images by removing promotional overlays. If the removal is successful, the image will be replaced and the offer will be reapproved. Learn more about automatic image improvements
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  9. Shopping Actions: update to gift card policy
    September 16, 2020
    Beginning September 30, Google will be changing the gift card category policy to prohibit the sale of gift cards on Buy on Google.  What this means for you Merchant Center products in the gift card category on Buy on Google will be disapproved and will no longer be available to your customers once the policy has been updated. No action is required from you.  
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  10. Globally show your products in any Shopping language
    In September 2020, we’re expanding our feed options and capabilities, enabling you to show products to people who understand a particular language, regardless of the country in which they are located. This helps expand your reach and also simplifies the process of using one feed to show products in multiple countries of sale. For example, let’s say you have a Spanish feed that you were previously using to show products to people in Mexico. You could use that same feed to target Spanish-speakers in Colombia and Ecuador, where Spanish is a local language. You can now also use that feed to target Spanish-speakers in Canada, Japan, or any other country in which Shopping ads and listings are available. To get started, ensure your existing feeds have the required shipping information and currency conversion configurations so that they can be used for all of the countries to which you’d like to show products. Keep in mind that non-local languages may only reach a limited number of users in certain countries. Learn more about showing products in multiple countries Note: If you’ve selected multiple countries of sale for your feeds and your Shopping campaigns target these countries, your products may become available in additional countries. To avoid showing your products in additional countries, edit the list of countries for your feed through the “Add multiple countries” selector, use the shopping_ads_excluded_country attribute, or adjust your Shopping campaign settings.
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  11. Simplify how you use product data across countries
    August 2020
    Over the past few years, Google has introduced functionalities that have allowed you to automatically use your product data across multiple countries, provided you also set up shipping and target your campaigns to these countries for Shopping ads.  We’re now introducing more ways to determine where your product data can be used, and providing additional insights on your product data eligibility and performance across countries. For certain Shopping programs, you’ll be able to specify in which additional countries you’d like to make your product data available on the feed level. To give you additional choices, we’re introducing the shopping_ads_excluded_country attribute, which will allow you to exclude individual countries for certain products. Example: Let’s say you’d like to specify Germany, Austria, and Switzerland as intended countries for an entire feed. The “Add multiple countries” feed setting will allow you to show all products from that feed in all three of these countries without creating a separate feed for each. You can optionally use the shopping_ads_excluded_country attribute to stop a subset of your offers from showing in one of the intended countries, such as Austria. For merchants who ship to more than one country: In the past, Diagnostics only displayed the status of your products in the primary country of sale. To help you diagnose issues with products across countries, we’ve updated Diagnostics to show the status of your products once for each country you target. Your products continue to be available in countries where you ship and have active Shopping ads campaigns. Example: Let's say you have a product that ships to both the UK and Ireland and the UK is set as the country of sale. In the past you would have seen the status for this product only once in Diagnostics: for the UK. Now in Diagnostics, you will see the status of this product twice: once for the UK and once for Ireland. If you have 1,000 such active products that ship to two countries, this means that you will see the number of items in Diagnostics increase from 1,000 to 2,000 Learn more about showing products in multiple countries
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  12. New warnings for ValueTrack parameters in link attributes
    July 31, 2020
    If you’ve submitted ValueTrack parameters in the URL specified for the linkmobile_link, and canonical_link attributes, you may begin to see new warning messages appear on the Diagnostics page in Merchant Center regarding your offers. ValueTrack parameters are specific to Google ads, and could interfere with tracking for other programs such as surfaces across Google.  To ensure that your tracking is uninterrupted, delete any ValueTrack parameters that are present in the URL specified in the link, mobile_link, and canonical_link attributes and use the ads_redirect attribute or a tracking template instead.  These warnings will not result in disapproval, and your offers will continue to show, however your third party tracking may be affected. Learn more about how to fix unsupported ValueTrack parameters  
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  13. Grow online sales with new features for Smart Shopping campaigns
    July 15, 2020
    The way that consumers are shopping today continues to evolve with dynamic market conditions. 25% of U.S. shoppers say they will continue to shop online and avoid going in stores even as stores re-open.1 As shoppers move online, Smart Shopping campaigns2 are helping advertisers adapt by optimizing for your goals based on real-time signals across Google, including Google Search, Google Images, YouTube and millions of sites and apps across the web. This means you can be sure to show your products to the right customers at the right time as consumer demand unpredictably fluctuates.  Now, we’re making Smart Shopping campaigns better by offering a new goal and more visual ways to stand out from the competition.  Acquire new customers with Smart Shopping campaigns With consumers increasingly adapting to a digital-first lifestyle, getting in front of shoppers in their moments of need and inspiration is more important than ever before.3 In fact, in May, 1 in 3 U.S. shoppers said they shopped online with a store that they hadn't before. Now, in addition to optimizing for sales, Smart Shopping campaigns will help you drive new customer acquisition by allowing you to add a conversion value for sales from new customers.   New customer acquisition goal in Smart Shopping campaign settings   Retailers participating in our beta program have seen great results. IT Cosmetics, a makeup and skincare brand, found that new customers who bought their core products are more likely to purchase again. The brand partnered with Add3 to focus their efforts on driving sales from new customers. By adding the new customer acquisition goal in their Smart Shopping campaign, they saw a 188% increase in revenue from new customers.   Shopping ads for IT Cosmetics on Google Images in U.S. Showcase your brand and products in more visual ways Just as Smart Shopping campaigns can optimize your bids and placements, the format in which your products are displayed will also respond to your customers’ needs. We’re adding more visual features to help customers easily discover more retailers, explore options and narrow down who they want to make a purchase with. For example, let’s say a customer is browsing around for furniture ideas across websites and apps. They may see a video Display ad from your Smart Shopping campaign to help showcase relevant products to them in that moment.  Featured video content on Display ad from Smart Shopping campaigns   After more research, the customer narrows down their choices and starts searching specifically for “side chairs”. They may see a more immersive, browsable experience with a carousel of your most relevant products.          1) U.S. example and 2) U.K. example of responsive shopping experiences that may become available   When the customer is ready to buy, they may see annotations that can help them make an informed purchase decision. For example, you can highlight free and fast shipping on Google Search (U.S. only). Retailers who participated in showing free and fast shipping annotations saw an average increase of 9% in conversion rate.4 In the future, more variations of these annotations will become available.   Example of free and fast shipping annotations on Shopping ad in U.S.   In addition, you can continue to highlight promotions on your products to further convince customers to make the purchase with your business. Running promotions on your Shopping ads can offer an average 28% uplift in conversion rate.5 To get started, sign up for the interest form. (U.S., U.K., DE, AU, IN, FR only)  1) U.S. example and 2) France example of promotion annotations on Shopping ads   Wherever you are on the path to recovery, Smart Shopping campaigns can flex to your goals, whether that’s increasing online revenue, acquiring new customers or driving local sales. With one campaign, you can grow online sales by helping customers discover your products through video, immersive product imagery and special offers, like free and fast shipping or discounts. Get started with Smart Shopping campaigns today. Posted by Dimitris Meretakis, Group Product Manager     1. Google commissioned Ipsos COVID-19 tracker, U.S., n=1000 online consumers 18+. June 4-7 2. In Europe, Smart Shopping campaigns can be used with any Comparison Shopping Service (CSS) you work with. The ads will show on general search results pages and on any other surfaces the CSS has opted in to. 3. Google commissioned Ipsos COVID-19 tracker, U.S., n=1000 online consumers 18+. May 21-24 4. Google internal data, Oct 2019. Controlled experiment of 'Free x-day' annotation on Shopping ads showing on Google Search, results conditioned on impression count and does not consider any ranking impact. 5. Google internal A/B testing data from Nov 2019 - Feb 2020, analyzing Shopping ads conversion rate with a promotion annotation versus Shopping ads without an annotation, including 9569 advertisers across the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, India and Australia
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  14. New 0% commission fee for selling on Google through Shopping Actions in the US
    July 23, 2020
    We’ve announced a series of changes to the programs available to merchants selling on Google in the United States to make sure Google is even more of an open platform for digital commerce, where merchants of all sizes can sell for free, using the tools and providers of their choice. What’s changing In April, we made it free to list your products on the Shopping tab, and last month, we announced that free listings are coming soon to Google Search in the United States. Now, we’re making it free to sell your products directly on Google — Google will no longer charge you commission fees for purchases made through Shopping Actions. This new model will allow you to use your own payment provider, manage your customer service, and manage more of your processes, like returns. We're sending more and more invites each day — keep your eyes on your inbox — and later this year, we'll open sign-up to everyone.  What this means for you If you’re brand new to selling on Google through Shopping Actions:  You’ll be invited to onboard directly to this new 0% commission version of the program. To submit your interest in joining, click the button below. Be sure to complete each section of the interest form, as all fields are required. If you select PayPal as your payment solution, you'll need to link your PayPal business account before you'll be able to submit the form. To link your accounts, click the link at the bottom of the payment solutions section of the form. GET STARTED If your store is already live on the platform: You’ll be invited to migrate your account to the new version with 0% commission over the next few weeks. When it’s time to migrate, you’ll find a Terms of Service overview page in Merchant Center, where you can accept the new Terms to take advantage of the new 0% commission rate. In the meantime, starting July 30, your commission rate will be automatically capped at 5% or less.  START MIGRATION Until then, we invite you to review a summary of the new program changes and requirements below.  You’ll see updated help center content for new features as soon as Merchant Center opens for onboarding. Program requirements Link your payment service provider account in Merchant Center To streamline payments servicing, you’ll now be able integrate your payment service provider with your Merchant Center account. Currently, the integration is available with PayPal, and others will be added soon. You’ll need to link your account using the Linked accounts section in Merchant Center, or directly in the payments platform. Keep in mind that your PayPal country and legal business entity name must match what appears in your Merchant Center account. If your store is not yet integrated with PayPal, take a look at this article for next steps. Once you’ve linked your Merchant Center and PayPal accounts, you’ll be able to check your PayPal account for transactions. Additionally, the existing settlement reports in your Merchant Center account will be updated to reflect transactions completed with your PayPal account. Get ready to handle customer support directly You and your customers will now have an opportunity to directly communicate and resolve issues. If a customer isn’t satisfied with your response, they’ll be able to file a Google Guarantee claim that will be handled by Google customer support. This means you should re-confirm your customer service contact email in Merchant Center. This is the email address Google will use to direct customer queries to you (via proxy email). Decide how to generate return labels Today, Google generates return labels on your behalf and charges a flat $5.50 per label. Going forward, you can manage returns in one of the following ways:  Google-facilitated returns: To have Google generate return labels automatically, you’ll need to link your supported shipping carrier for returns. When a customer decides to make a return, Google will generate the return label on your behalf (using your carrier account) for which you'll be billed directly by your carrier. Merchant-managed returns: If you choose not to provide Google with your carrier account info, you’ll be responsible for handling all returns. When a customer decides to make a return, you’ll receive a return request which you'll see in your Merchant Center account. Then, you’ll be able to either share your return labels directly in your Merchant Center account, or via Google’s API.  For either method of managing returns, if you want to manage returns for a subset of your Shopping Actions inventory directly you may mark specific products with a special processing return rule. Other changes Amazon feed compatibility If you’re new to Merchant Center, you’ll now be able to upload product feeds in the format you use for Amazon to your Merchant Center account (if this isn’t available to you right away, it will roll out for you soon). These feed files will be automatically mapped to work in Merchant Center. You’ll be able to use Amazon feeds in the following scenarios: You have full product data and want to create products or you want to update your existing products. You don't have full product information and want to match your products to our catalog or update your inventory. You have data for price and quantity updates for products which have already been uploaded. Income tax Your supported payment service provider will now handle your income tax, TIN verification, withholding, and 1099 reporting, which means you’ll no longer need to enter or maintain this information in your Merchant Center account after you complete your migration. Retailer Standards As a result of reduced commissions, your Retailer Standards performance will no longer impact your commission rate starting July 30, 2020.  Cross-border trade For merchants incorporated outside of the United States, once you link your payment service platform account, a US bank account will no longer be required.
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  15. Shopping Actions policy update: Downloadable software CDs and DVDs
    July 13, 2020
    What’s changing Currently, Shopping Actions does not allow digital goods and subscriptions. Beginning at the end of July, we’ll also begin disallowing downloadable software CDs and DVDs on Shopping Actions. Note that video game DVDs will still be allowed. What this means for you No action is required from you, but if items such as these are in your Shopping Actions inventory, they may soon be disapproved.  If you have any questions, contact our support team or reach out to your Google point of contact.  
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  16. Shopping ads policy update: Misrepresentation
    July 2020
    We’re updating and expanding on our policy on misrepresentation to include the following with regard to unacceptable business practices:     Scamming users by concealing or misstating information about the merchant’s business, or product, or service Examples: Impersonating brands or businesses by referencing or modifying the brand content in the ads, URL,            destinations or misrepresenting yourself as the brand or business in user interactions Examples: Enticing users to part with money or information through a fictitious business that lacks the            qualifications or capacity to provide the advertised products   Offer destinations that use “phishing” techniques to gather user information Examples: Sites that trick users into revealing their personal information by mimicking a trusted retailer   We take violations of this policy very seriously and consider them egregious. An egregious violation of our Shopping ads policies is a violation so serious that it is unlawful or poses significant harm to our users. In determining whether a merchant or destination is violating this policy, we may review information from multiple sources including your offer, website, accounts, and third-party sources.  If we find violations of this policy, we will suspend your Merchant Center account upon detection and without prior warning, and you will not be allowed to participate in Shopping ads again.  Posted July 2020  
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  17. Shopping Actions: updates to policy language
    We’re updating and expanding on our policy on Shopping Actions, to clarify that these are also subject to our Shopping ads policies. To ensure a safe and positive experience for users, Google requires that merchants comply with all applicable laws and regulations in addition to Shopping Actions and Shopping ads policies. It’s important that you familiarize yourself with and keep up to date on these requirements for the place where your business operates, as well as any other places Shopping Actions offers are shown. When we find content that violates these requirements, we may block it from appearing, and in cases of repeated or egregious violations, we may ban you from promoting or selling your products on our platforms.  
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  18. Update to products that enable dishonest behavior policy
    July 2020
    In August 2020, the Google Shopping products that enable dishonest behavior policy will be updated to clarify restrictions on advertising for spyware and surveillance technology. The updated policy will prohibit products that are marketed with the express purpose to enable a user to track or monitor another person or their activities without their authorization. This policy will apply globally. Examples of products that will be prohibited (non-exhaustive) Spyware and technology used for intimate partner surveillance including but not limited to spyware/malware that can be used to monitor texts, phone calls, or browsing history; GPS trackers specifically marketed to spy or track someone without their consent; promotion of surveillance equipment (cameras, audio recorders, dash cams, nanny cams) marketed with the express purpose of spying.  This does not include products designed for parents to track or monitor their underage children.  (Posted July 2020)  
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  19. Unpaid listings of specific products in your inventory coming soon to Google Search
    Today, we announced that in the next few months, we’ll be bringing free listings to the product information panel on Google Search for mobile users in the United States. This means that if your product information is eligible (see best practices to become eligible), shoppers searching for specific branded products in your inventory, for example OXO Good Grips Classic Tea Kettle, may see unpaid listings of your business, product pricing, and reviews. This announcement follows the recent launch of unpaid listings of apparel and accessories on Google Search, which offer a more visual and browsy shopping experience, and unpaid listings for all product categories on the Google Shopping tab. All of these new unpaid listing types will help retailers of all sizes and with all budgets better connect with shoppers during a time of expanded digital commerce. Next steps If you’re an existing user of Merchant Center and Shopping ads and you’ve already opted into the surfaces across Google program, you might already be eligible to show your products in these unpaid experiences. Learn more about the specific criteria and best practices, as well as data and eligibility requirements for the different listings in surfaces across Google. To opt into “surfaces across Google”, select “Growth” and then “Manage programs” in the left navigation menu and select the “surfaces across Google” program card. If you’re new to Merchant Center and are interested in participating in the “surfaces across Google” program, you can opt into surfaces across Google during the Merchant Center sign up process and start creating your product feed.
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  20. 2020 Merchant Center product data specification update
    June 15, 2020
    Every year, we make changes to the Merchant Center product data specification with the goal of creating a better experience for users who are searching for products online. This year’s updates focus on improving data quality. What’s changing this year Changes beginning immediately Installment and subscription cost attributes: Values for the installment and subscription_cost attributes will be accepted for wireless products and services in approved countries for Shopping ads only. Submitting values for these attributes for other product categories may lead to disapprovals. Product detail attribute: To help improve product data quality, we’re introducing the product_detail attribute, which can be used to provide technical specifications that aren’t covered by other attributes. This optional attribute lets you provide readable, structured data and enhances our ability to surface individual products based on user queries. Product highlight attribute: We’re introducing the optional product_highlight attribute to let you add short sentences to showcase your product’s most important features. Sale price annotations: We’ve relaxed the requirements for displaying sale price annotations in Shopping ads. In order to show this annotation, the base price, or a higher price, must have been charged for a period of at least 30 days in the past 200 days. (Note: days do not need to be consecutive.) Changes beginning September 1, 2020 Category-specific requirements for Google product categories: Products that fall within certain Google product categories, including some sub-categories of Media and Apparel & Accessories, require additional attributes and/or a combination of unique product identifiers. If these required attributes, such as gender, age_group, size, and color are not provided, your products will remain eligible to serve but their performance may be limited. Similar products that do include the required attributes will be prioritized above those that are missing these attributes. You can use the optional google_product_category attribute to override Google’s automatic categorization of your products if the category assigned is incorrect. Description attribute: The description attribute is required for all products. Products that do not include a product description will still be eligible to serve, however their performance may be limited. Similar products that do include a description will be prioritized above those missing a value for the description attribute. Material, pattern, and image link attributes: Products with more than one value submitted for the material, pattern, or image_link attributes will receive warnings. If your product contains multiple materials or patterns, you will still be able to specify more than one material or pattern value using slashes and hyphens, but you may not separate values with commas. The additional_image_link attribute can be used to submit additional images. To ensure that your products continue serving and prevent possible disapprovals, please go to the Diagnostics page of your Merchant Center account to review the affected products and apply the necessary changes once these changes go into effect.
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  21. Show your products in free product listings on the Google Shopping tab (US only)
    Today we announced that we’re bringing free listings to the Google Shopping tab in the United States. Just as we don't charge sites to be part of the Google Search index, listings for participating retailers are eligible to appear in these results at no cost to them. Paid listings will continue to appear in ad slots and will operate in the same way as Shopping Ads do today. For shoppers, it means more products from more stores, discoverable through the Shopping tab. For retailers, this means you can make your products discoverable in free listings by opting your existing product feeds into the surfaces across Google program. These changes will take effect in the US before the end of April, and we aim to expand this globally before the end of the year. Next steps If you’re an existing user of Merchant Center and Shopping ads and you’ve already opted into the surfaces across Google program, you might already be eligible to show your products in these unpaid experiences, and no further steps are necessary to participate. To opt in, select “Growth” and then “Manage programs” in the left navigation menu and select the “surfaces across Google” program card. You can also add products to your product feed, to make even more products discoverable in these free listings. For new users of Merchant Center who are interested in joining this program, it's open to you today and does not require Google Ads, but we're working to significantly streamline the onboarding process over the coming months. You can opt into surfaces across Google during the Merchant Center sign up process and start creating your product feed. Reporting for surfaces across Google coming soon Soon, you can view your unpaid clicks in the new performance report for surfaces across Google in Merchant Center by selecting “Performance” and then “Dashboard” in the left navigation.  
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  22. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Google Ads policy updates
    Current as of June 15, 2020 The impact of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is evolving every day and we are working hard to maintain a safe advertising ecosystem for users,  advertisers, and publishers. This page provides important information and updates on measures we are taking to prevent abuse related to coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Advertisers must follow Google Ads policies when serving  coronavirus disease (COVID-19) related content, in particular our Sensitive events policy, which prohibits any content that seeks to capitalize on the pandemic, or lacks reasonable sensitivity towards this global health crisis. We will continue to evaluate the situation to both address new products/services that are being used to exploit users, as well as re-enable certain products/services when the situation stabilizes. We will update this page as the situation evolves. Please check this page for updates on how Google Ads is addressing the situation to ensure a safe and positive experience for users. Latest Updates   [30 March 2020] Updating our sensitive events policy:  In March 2020, we clarified that any “public health emergency” will be treated as a sensitive event. For more information, please see the “Sensitive Events Policy” under Inappropriate Content policy. [15 June 2020] Restricting the sale of masks that may be vital for healthcare workers during the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak: We are enforcing a temporary restriction on masks that may be vital for healthcare workers during the COVID-19 response to prevent advertising that may capitalize on coronavirus disease (COVID-19). This decision is to prevent global supply shortages on products which are essential to navigate COVID-19, based on our “Sensitive Events policy” under Inappropriate Content policy. We will allow advertisements for the sale of masks which are made solely of cloth. Masks that contain additional features or devices may not be allowed. We are also taking additional steps to prevent artificially inflated prices that limit or prohibit access to other essential items on Google’s network. Advertiser eligibility to serve Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) related ads:  In order to ensure our users have access to essential information while navigating coronavirus disease (COVID-19), some entities are now eligible to run coronavirus disease (COVID-19) related ads.  We are currently allowing ads from government organizations, healthcare providers, non-governmental organizations, intergovernmental organizations, verified election ads advertisers and managed private sector accounts with a history of policy compliance who want to get relevant information out to the public. We are continuing  to evaluate our policy and enforcement processes as the situation evolves to phase in more advertisers in the coming weeks.  Ensuring the privacy of our users: We will ensure the privacy and safety of our users by continuing to prohibit audience targeting on Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) related content based on Personalized Ads policy.  Protecting our extended workforce and community: We are taking steps to prioritize the well-being of our employees, extended workforce, and the communities where they live, including reducing in-office staffing in certain sites. This may result in some delays while we provide support to our users, advertisers and publishers.  FAQs Where should I go if I want more information about coronavirus (COVID-19)? The World Health Organization website has up to date information and guidance regarding the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. How will Google Ads continue to keep me informed about additional changes that are made regarding coronavirus (COVID-19)? The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) situation is evolving every day, and we're committed to providing you updates, including any changes that may impact our processes and support systems.  To stay informed on how you may be impacted by these changes, continue to check this article. We’ll update it on a regular basis. How is Google Ads fighting misinformation around coronavirus (COVID-19)? We are working hard to quickly remove ads that violate our policies, including those that discourage people from seeking medical treatment or claim harmful substances have health benefits. If you find ad content that violates this policy, please report it. Instructions for reporting violations of our policies are available here. How can advertisers ensure their ads are policy compliant? Please ensure that you are complying with our policies, including Google Ads policies. If your ad content violates these policies, it will be removed. For example, content that claims harmful substances or treatments can have health benefits or content that violates our inappropriate content policies will be removed.
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  23. Shopping Actions France update: Download an EU VAT invoice
    April 1, 2020
    What’s changing? Merchants using Shopping Actions in France can now access invoice statements that provide a summary of your money movements in the Payments section of your Merchant Center Account. The following filters are provided to help you more easily access the invoices of interest to you: Detailed transactions vs. summary view Transaction types: All transactions, earnings, payments, adjustments, and taxes Date range Learn how to download your VAT invoice  
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  24. Shopping Actions: Resources for managing your business during COVID-19
    Below, we’ve consolidated resources around managing your orders and business for Shopping Actions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Check the Announcements section often for updates as we continue to adapt to changing circumstances. What you can do
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  25. Update to Inappropriate content policy
    March 2020
    In March 2020, effective immediately, Google will update the Inappropriate Content policy to clarify the position on Sensitive Events. Updated Sensitive Events policy The following is not allowed: Products that potentially capitalize on or lack reasonable sensitivity towards a natural disaster, conflict, death, public health emergency, or other tragic event Examples (non-exhaustive): Appearing to profit from a tragic event with no discernible benefit to users; price gouging or artificially inflating prices that prohibits/limits access to vital supplies; sale of products or services (such as personal protective equipment) which may be insufficient for the demand during a sensitive event; using keywords related to a sensitive event to attempt to gain additional traffic  Posted March 2020
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  26. Manage your product inventory to help shoppers find what they need through the COVID-19 outbreak
    March 25, 2020
    As communities around the world respond to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic, we know that this time presents unique challenges for retailers of all sizes and the people they assist. There are many ways to help your shoppers adjust to new changes - whether it’s sharing an update on how your business and employees are adapting, or letting your customers know a product is back in stock. Here are some tips and recommendations to manage your product inventory and help shoppers find what they need during the outbreak: Proactively communicate any business changes If your hours of operation have changed, edit your Business Profile on Google and update your ads so that customers know if you’re open, closed, or have modified hours of operation Consider setting an email auto-reply and website banner with answers to frequently asked questions to help your customers get information quickly Increase coverage to help customers get the products they need Offer the option for your customers to pick up products from stores or order online so they can get what they need without spending time in stores See how demand is changing with the best sellers report and quickly add any products that your customers may need directly in Merchant Center Keep a pulse on the current landscape and category demand Tools like Google Trends and Google Alerts can help you stay up to date on local conditions and better understand your customers’ frame of mind Use Auction Insights for your Google Ads campaigns to understand if competitive dynamics within your auctions have changed Show your most up-to-date product information to your customers Increase feed uploads and enable automatic item updates to keep your product data accurate and up-to-date, especially for price and availability Use feed rules or supplemental feeds to make quick updates, such as product availability in your primary feed or store closures in your local inventory feeds If you’re unsure of real-time inventory or restocking times, mark online products as “out of stock”, local products as “limited availability” or "out of stock", or set a purchase_quantity_limit to limit the number of items available to sell per order Review your shipping settings and estimated delivery time to ensure your shipping and handling times accurately reflect your current capabilities If you receive an order on Shopping Actions for an item that is oversold, update the item availability and cancel the order immediately using the appropriate reason code of "product unavailable" or "noInventory" via the Content API Find additional tips for retailers, recommendations for Google Ads campaigns, and resources for small businesses to help get your retail business through this challenging time.
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  27. Important update: Your products may show in additional countries
    July 2020
    A few years ago, we introduced the ability to use product data submitted in a primary country of sale across multiple additional countries based on a common language. For example, if you upload product data in French and set your primary country of sale as Canada, those products may be automatically available to show in other French-speaking countries, such as Camaroon, Senegal, and Madagascar, provided you have set up shipping and location targeting for those countries. In July 2020, we’ll begin introducing additional eligible countries. The product data you’ve submitted for your primary country of sale may automatically become available for these countries, and your products may begin to show in these locations, if you’ve already set up shipping and location targeting. With less effort upfront, you’ll be able to reach more global customers with your products. To prevent your products from showing in new countries: Review and adjust your list of targeted countries under “Locations” in your Shopping campaign’s “Targeting” settings To ensure your products can show in new countries: Configure shipping settings and include destinations in your Shopping campaign’s “Targeting” settings for each country that your products ship to Product data of the countries listed below may now show to any other country in the group using the same language, provided all relevant policies for that country are followed. As a result of these changes, certain previously eligible countries combinations may become ineligible. Language Countries in which data may automatically show Arabic Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Tunisia Chinese (simplified) Canada, United States, Australia Chinese (traditional) Hong Kong, Taiwan English Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Brazil, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cote d'Ivoire, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Georgia, Ghana, Guatemala, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar (Burma), Nepal, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Republic of Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Tunisia, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Zambia, Zimbabwe English Austria, Belgium, Czechia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom French Algeria, Cameroon, Canada, Côte d’Ivoire, Madagascar, Morocco, Senegal, Tunisia Portuguese Angola, Brazil, Mozambique Russian Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan Spanish Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Nicaragua, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela
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  28. Shopping Actions update: extension to Retailer Standards shipping defect rate (US only)
    March 16, 2020
    In October, we announced adjustments to your Shopping Actions Retailer Standards performance goals to help support you through the holiday season. In light of COVID-19 and its effects on businesses, these adjustments will remain in place through June 2020.   Item defect rate: Less than 1% Shipping defect rate: Less than 5% (originally 4%) Sales goal: $15K in 90 days Item goal: 300 items in 90 days Item defect rate: 1% - 5% Shipping defect rate: 5% - 10% (originally 4% - 7%) Sales value and item quantity metrics do not apply Item defect rate: Above  5% Shipping defect rate: Above 10% (originally 7%) Sales value and Item quantity metrics do not apply As always, we encourage you to provide the highest standards of service for customers and to achieve Top Retailer or Meeting Standards ratings. Remember - with Top Retailer or Meeting Standards ratings, you’ll receive commision discounts on eligible transactions and other benefits. Learn more about how you can improve ratings
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  29. Update to healthcare & medicines policy: Prescription opioid painkillers
    February 28, 2020
    What’s changing? Beginning in March 2020, the healthcare & medicines policy will be updated to prohibit Shopping ads for prescription opioid painkillers in the United States and Canada. Shopping ads for all prescription drugs will continue to be prohibited outside of the United States and Canada. Posted February 28, 2020
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  30. Update: Add products directly in Merchant Center
    February 20, 2020
    What’s changing We’re introducing a simpler way for you to provide product data in your Merchant Center account. You can now add products directly in Merchant Center. That means, you can add individual product listings without creating and uploading a new feed. Then, once you’ve added individual products to your Merchant Center account, you can make edits to that item individually. And, you’re able to use a combination of feeds and individual product uploads. What you need to do To add individual listings, you’ll use a new section in your Merchant Center account that allows you to manually enter the product data for a given product. Learn more about uploading individual products Keep in mind Product listings created directly in Merchant Center are: Not available for local inventory ads. Cannot be combined with inventory feeds. Do not have an expiration date. Cannot be affected by feed rules. Multi-client accounts are not eligible to use individual product data uploads.
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  31. View valuable Market Insights retail data
    February 2020
    What’s changing? Market Insights will become available under Growth to offer retail data on Google that can help inform your business strategy. It includes the price competitiveness and best sellers reports. You’ll get benchmarks to better understand and compare your position in the retail landscape on Google. You could use these insights to make business decisions around product assortment and pricing, as well as boost efforts to sell products that already display a competitive advantage in the market. What you need to do Make sure to review the policies for Market Insights. Get an account administrator to navigate to Growth in Merchant Center and click on Manage programs.
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  32. Healthcare policy update: Country expansion for over-the-counter drug sales
    January 22, 2020
    What’s changing? In January 2020, online pharmacies in Austria, Czech Republic, Norway, Portugal, and Slovakia will be allowed to promote over-the-counter medication products on Shopping ads, provided that they meet the associated certification requirements. In addition, eligible online pharmacies in the EU/EEA will be allowed to target Austria according to all applicable laws and regulations.  What you need to do Once the change goes live, on January 30, 2020, you’ll be able to apply for the necessary certificates using this online application form.
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  33. Shopping Actions: Find support on the new Shopping Actions community
    January 7, 2020
    What’s changing?  We’ve added a Shopping Actions-specific space to the Google Ads community forum! To get started visit Shopping Actions category and look for answers from a community of passionate retailers and product experts.  How it works You may be able to find an answer to your question from a previous user’s thread. Enter your question in the search bar to find others who have asked the same question If you can’t find it, you can submit a question and a Shopping Actions expert will respond directly to you. Remember to turn on email notifications to get alerted when a response is waiting for you.  You can look for recommended answers that users and experts think are most helpful   You can access the forum from:  The help button in your Merchant Center account Any page in the Merchant Center Help Center  The Ads community page, via “Ask the Community” Google.com search
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  34. Important update: Notice to Shopping advertisers regarding Connecticut sales and use tax
    January 2020
    Connecticut law requires us to notify advertisers on the Shopping platform of certain information relating to the Connecticut sales and use tax and this policy update is in accordance with this legal requirement. The notice applies to advertisers using Shopping campaigns on a recurring basis each calendar quarter unless revoked. This policy update does not impact Shopping Actions. Learn more about the application of marketplace facilitator laws to Shopping Actions  
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  35. Update to dangerous or derogatory policy
    December 2019
    In December 2019, Google will update the definition of the dangerous or derogatory policy to include content made by or in support of transnational drug trafficking organizations. 
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  36. Shopping Actions: Update to policy for book sales in France
    December 9, 2019
    What’s changing? Books participating in Shopping Actions France now must be listed as books using the Google Product Category. If a book isn’t listed within the "Books" Google Product Category, it will be disapproved. Learn more about the books policy for France What you need to do If you participate in Shopping Actions France and currently have books not listed using the Google Product Category, you’ll need to update your product data immediately.  As a general rule, books are never allowed to be shipped for free in France. This means you’ll need to set up your shipping services accordingly. If you haven’t done so, Google will enforce a minimum shipping fee of EUR 0.01 for any order containing at least one book.  
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  37. Change log: Update to political content policy in Singapore
    December 2, 2019
    Google will update the political content policy for Singapore. With this policy change, starting December 2, 2019, political ads in Singapore are not allowed. Political ads in Singapore are ads that: promote the interests of a political party or other group of persons organized in Singapore for political objects;  influence, or to seek to influence, the outcome of an election to the office of President, a general election of Members of Parliament, a by-election of any Member of Parliament, or a referendum;  influence, or to seek to influence, public opinion on a matter which in Singapore is a matter of public interest or public controversy, with key examples being those relating to race or religion; or  bring about, or to seek to bring about, changes of the law in the whole or a part of Singapore, or to otherwise influence, or to seek to influence, the legislative process or outcome in Singapore. Learn more about the political content policy Posted December 2019
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  38. Update to political content policy in Taiwan
    In October, Google will update the political content policy for Taiwan. With this policy change, from November 15, 2019 to January 17, 2020, ads that feature a political party, candidate, or current officeholder for the elected office of President, Vice President, or member of the Legislative Yuan will not be allowed in Taiwan. Learn more about the political content policy
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  39. Updates to Shopping Actions policies for the sale of vehicle parts
    November 12, 2019
    Google has clarified its policies regarding the sale of vehicle parts. As a result, certain vehicle parts are no longer supported for sale on Shopping Actions. In order to make the policy around vehicle parts more clear, we’ve made a small change, from restricting “Vehicle parts requiring ACES identifiers” to restricting “Regulated vehicle parts” (for example, those regulated by the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) in the United States). Unregulated vehicle parts and accessories are allowable, and we hope this policy change will make this more clear. For more information on Shopping Actions unsupported content policies and Shopping Ads policies in general, please see Shopping Actions content policies.
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  40. Merchant Center upgrades to get your products in front of more holiday shoppers
    November 6, 2019
    With Shopping ads now available in more than 50 new markets, and 95 total markets, you can expand your global footprint more than ever. Reach more holiday shoppers around the world Start showing your products globally with multi-country feeds, which allow you to target multiple countries that share the same language by using a single feed in that language. For example, if you upload product information in German for Germany, those products may be automatically available to show in other German-speaking countries, such as Austria and Switzerland. You’ll just need to set up shipping and location targeting for these countries in your Shopping campaign in order to start promoting your products in these new countries. If you don’t already have a feed, you can submit your products more quickly with automated feeds, available in all Shopping ads countries starting in November. Simply enable Merchant Center to crawl your website for structured data and extract your most up-to-date product information for your initial feed. Manage your inventory across Google more easily The new Merchant Center experience has been redesigned with clearer workflows, simpler navigation, and more program insights. You can use the updated interface to easily manage your products, like enabling automatic image improvements to remove promotional overlays on your product images to comply with Merchant Center policies. You can also discover additional opportunities to promote and sell your products. For example, you can opt your inventory into surfaces across Google in the US and India to allow your products to show across Google for free, including rich snippets in search results and product annotations in Google images. Surfaces across Google will be coming to additional countries before the end of the year. Ready to get started? Get more tips and best practices for driving holiday sales. Posted by Raphael Leiteritz, Director of Product Management, Merchants and Brands
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  41. Shopping ads policy update: HIV home test kits now allowed in more countries
    November 11, 2019
    What’s changing? The Shopping ads policy on HIV home test kits is changing as of November 2019. The change will allow the promotion of HIV home test kits in the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom in accordance with local regulations. After the new policy goes into effect, the healthcare and medicines policy will be updated to reflect this change.
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  42. Shopping Actions: updates to Retailer Standards shipping defect rate (US only)
    October 28, 2019
    Retailer Standards are the minimum performance benchmarks across order management, shipping, and volume aiming to help measure your performance and identify areas for improvement. You’re evaluated across your item defect rate, shipping defect rate, gross sales, and total orders. The holiday season is a busy time for everyone. This includes carriers who often times perform at capacity. Therefore, there will be a temporary update to the Retailer Standards shipping defect rate to account for a potential drop in carrier performance during the holiday season. This will help ensure that your ratings are not negatively impacted because of holiday circumstances.  Note: Parcels impacted due to adverse weather conditions are automatically excluded (contingent on proper information captured by carrier) from consideration in RS score calculations and will not affect your rating. The following performance goals will be applied to your scores for the months of January, February, and March of 2020:   Item defect rate: Less than 1% Shipping defect rate: Less than 5% (originally 4%) Sales goal: $15K in 90 days Item goal: 300 items in 90 days Item defect rate: 1% - 5% Shipping defect rate: 5% - 10% (originally 4% - 7%) Sales value and item quantity metrics do not apply Item defect rate: Above  5% Shipping defect rate: Above 10% (originally 7%) Sales value and Item quantity metrics do not apply Beginning April 2020, shipping defect performance goals will revert to their original values.   We encourage you to provide the highest standards of service for customers through the upcoming holiday season, and to achieve Top Retailer or Meeting Standards ratings. Remember - with Top Retailer or Meeting Standards ratings, you’ll receive commision discounts on eligible transactions and other benefits. Learn more about how you can improve ratings
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  43. Update: automated feeds available globally
    November 12, 2019
    What’s changing?  Beginning November 1, automated feeds will become available in every country where Merchant Center is available. How it works Automated feeds use the feed input method “website crawl,” which allows Google to discover products on your website, and create a feed for you in your Merchant Center account. This is done by crawling your website - which allows the feature to read structured data and sitemap information to extract the most up-to-date information about relevant products from your website. Google also reads your website's sitemaps to comprehensively crawl your site. Learn more about sitemaps After your automated feed is created, you’ll then be able to set up a Shopping campaign in your Google Ads account or show products on surfaces across Google. What you need to do In order for automated feeds to work, you'll have to add schema.org structured data markup to your website. Learn more about structured data markup. You’ll need to have values available for the following attributes: id, title, price, availability, and image_link. If you’d like to enrich the data Google discovers from your website, you can provide additional details via structured data markup - for example: gtin, brand, mpn, size, color, description, or condition.You can also upload a supplemental feed with missing attribute data. Learn more about supplemental feeds After you've added structured data markup to your site, the feed input method "website crawl" will become available in your Merchant Center account when you are creating a new primary feed. This will then create product data in the Feeds section of your account. Learn more about automated feeds  
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  44. Important update: Gradual rollout of unique product identifier enforcement relaxation
    Changes to the enforcement of unique product identifiers are currently being applied to all affected Merchant Center accounts. These changes were previously announced to be fully effective as of September 30, 2019, but have since shifted to a gradual rollout. This rollout process will continue throughout the month of October, and all enforcement changes will be visible in affected Merchant Center accounts after November 11, 2019. For your convenience, content in the Google Merchant Center Help Center related to unique product identifiers has already been updated to reflect the new requirements.
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  45. New automatic image improvements feature in Merchant Center
    You can automatically improve uploaded images, ensure they meet requirements, and improve overall user experience with automatic image improvements, a new feature in Merchant Center. When you enable this feature, Google will attempt to automatically fix unaccepted images by removing promotional overlays, which are not allowed in images for Shopping ads. If the removal is successful, the image will be replaced and the offer will be reapproved. Turn on this feature in Merchant Center and the improvements will automatically be applied to relevant images in your account. To manage the settings for automatic image improvements: Sign in to your Merchant Center account. Click the tools icon , then select Automatic improvements under “Settings.” On the following page, click the Image improvements tab and adjust your settings for automatic image improvements. Related links About automatic image improvements Image requirements additional_image_link: Definition
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  46. Updates to Merchant Center 2019
    Google Merchant Center has been redesigned with simpler navigation that offers you more personalized control of your programs. Use Merchant Center to explore new programs for your products while continuing to manage and configure product data for your current programs.  Navigate the new Merchant Center We’ve made navigating Merchant Center cleaner and easier by consolidating the two side menus into a single navigation panel and moving less frequently used tools to the “Tools and settings” menu. Use the new Overview page (which has replaced the Home page) to get a quick rundown of all your programs and pending tasks. Explore new programs and get insights on how to expand your reach with the Growth page.  The navigation panel The new streamlined navigation panel includes top-level entries to help you easily find the tools and information you’re looking for. Click on a top-level entry to access additional menu items and pages. Overview: Use the new Overview page (previously “Home”) to quickly see pending tasks for program setup, as well as Merchant Center announcements and your customized dashboard information. This page features cards for each of your programs with details such as tasks, feed information, and Shopping ads clicks. Each program card has direct links that you can follow to access your data diagnostics and product feeds. Orders: See active and archived orders, including returns. Products: Manage your product inventory, including diagnostics and data feeds. Pages include Diagnostics, All products (previously “List”), Feeds, and Export. Performance: View reports of past data and use them to monitor and improve operations and service. Marketing: Actively improve your positioning and the appearance of your products and listings. Pages include Promotions and Merchandising. Growth: Use the new Growth page to find insights on how to improve your business in the form of actionable suggestions, market reports, and analyzed data. Use “Manage programs” page to see details on current and potential programs. Access tools Manage your business information, shipping and returns, tax settings, and more in the Tools section of the new “Tools and settings” menu. To get to the Tools section, click the tools icon . Shipping and returns: Set up and manage your shipping and returns services and policies. Tax: Set up tax for all of the locations where you sell. Business information: Manage your business details, including address, website, and contact information. Shopping ads setup: Configure settings for Shopping ads.  Shopping Actions setup: Configure settings for Shopping Actions. Surfaces across Google: Configure settings for surfaces across Google. Local inventory ads setup: Configure settings for local inventory ads. Manage settings Manage your account preferences, access, links, users, and more in the Settings section of the Tools and settings menu. To get to the Settings section, click the tools icon . Content API: Set up the Content API for Shopping (advanced), which enables you to programmatically upload product listings. Account settings: Manage your time zone and language preferences. Account access: Adjust the user access levels and administrative ownership for your Merchant Center account. Linked accounts: Link your Google Ads, Display & Video 360, and supported e-commerce platforms to Merchant Center. Automatic improvements: Enable automatic item updates to allow Google to update your price and availability information automatically based on the schema.org microdata we find on your website. STFP/FTP/GCS: Use SFTP (preferred), FTP, or Google Cloud Storage (GCS) to transfer product data to Google’s servers. Additional Merchant Center features Set up programs Merchant Center supports a variety of programs that help you promote and advertise your products on Google. You can manage existing and explore new programs by clicking Growth in the navigation panel and then selecting “Manage programs.” The “Manage programs” page contains cards that feature Merchant Center’s selection of available programs. You’ll see which of your programs are active and which still require setup. Click Get started or Enable to begin setup or to express your interest in participating in a program.  Get help To find help, click the help icon and choose “Help center and support”. Send us feedback We want to hear about what's working for you in the new Merchant Center and what could be improved. If you have questions about your data or disapprovals contact customer support using the “Get help” link. To share your thoughts on the Merchant Center tool itself, click the help icon and choose “Report an error”.
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  47. Shopping Actions update: Improved returns experience
    August 2019
    To improve the returns experience for both retailers and customers, we’ve made several updates to both our returns platform and policies.  What’s changing Streamlined return operations New dedicated returns tab in Merchant Center: This new interface has a real-time view of incoming returns and serve as a one-stop destination for processing refunds and Google-facilitated returns. Learn more Return shipping fees: All newly created returns will have the return shipping fee information visible in both the new dedicated return management tab in Merchant Center and, soon, also in the OrderReturns API resource. The information provided includes both the amount that can be deducted from the return based on your return policy, as well as whether the customer expects to be charged this amount (deducted this amount from the refund) based on customer selected return reason. Learn more Return configuration improvements New return setting APIs: You can now set your return policy and return addresses via APIs by using the Return Settings APIs. Learn more  Automatic return address update for historical orders: There are new ways for you to update or edit return addresses in Merchant Center. You can choose between sending only new returns to the updated return address or sending all historical returns with the same return_address_label to the updated return address. Learn more Automatic return policy validation and enforcement: To give customers a consistent and predictable return experience, Google will now automatically validate and enforce return policies. Products that don’t follow Google’s facilitated returns policy will be automatically disapproved. New partial refunds guidance for buyers and sellers We’ve clarified our refund guidelines when the item is returned in an altered condition. Learn more Early access to returnless refund support You may save return shipping and processing costs by issuing customers refunds without returns. Submit this form to express interest in early access to the returnless refund feature.
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  48. Important update: Shipping set-up required if your products ship outside your feed country of sale
    What’s changing Shipping data improves the user experience, but for most countries where shipping is not mandatory, this information is missing. As of July 2019, Google Merchant Center will require shipping information to advertise in any country that is not a country of sale for your feed. You can set up shipping either using account level shipping settings or item-level shipping overrides in your feeds in Google Merchant Center. Important: We're not changing requirements for merchants who wish to advertise in one of their countries of sale in their feeds. These changes impact only merchants that are eligible to show their products in other countries based on Shopping ads data  feeds that automatically apply in multiple countries. Learn more about submitting feeds to multiple countries For example, if you've uploaded your product data in German for Germany, you could use the same feed to create campaigns that target other German-speaking countries, such as Austria and Switzerland. With this change, your campaigns for Austria and Switzerland will only be eligible to show ads if you have shipping set up for these countries. Your shipping settings are used across Google programs, including Shopping ads and Shopping Actions. Please make sure that you have set shipping correctly. What you need to do If you have campaigns targeting multiple countries, only products which have set up shipping either using account level shipping settings or item-level shipping overrides in your feeds will be shown. We’ll use the shipping settings in your account and your feeds to determine if a product ships to a given country. Learn more about how to set up shipping settings
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  49. Important update: Changes to enforcement for unique product identifiers
    Providing correct unique product identifiers (UPIs) is vital to ensuring that Google recognizes your products and can offer the best experience possible for consumers. Common UPIs include Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs), Manufacturer Part Numbers (MPNs), and brand names. The following changes to the enforcement of UPIs for Shopping ads in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Czechia, India, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States will take effect as of September 30, 2019: Items missing required UPIs will no longer be disapproved. These items will now be eligible to serve in Shopping ads. However, similar items with correct UPIs will receive higher priority to items that do not have correct UPIs. All items will continue to serve, but the performance of items without correct UPIs may be limited. Make sure to provide the correct UPIs to maximize the performance of your items.   Items for which the identifier_exists attribute is incorrectly set to “false” and for which there is evidence that a UPI exists will be disapproved.  If the same GTIN is used across multiple different products, the items will be considered ambiguous and will be disapproved. Be sure to submit correct GTINs, MPNs, and corresponding brands for all new in-stock products. This will improve the richness and relevancy of the ads we show to potential customers. Contact your manufacturer to request the correct UPI for your products.
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  50. Important update: Your products may show in additional countries
    August 2019
    A few years ago, we introduced the ability to use product data submitted in a primary country of sale across multiple additional countries based on a common language. For example, if you upload product data in Spanish for Chile, those products may be automatically available to show in multiple Spanish-speaking countries, such as Uruguay, Peru, and Paraguay, provided you have set up shipping and location targeting for those countries. In August 2019, we’ll be introducing additional eligible countries. The product data you’ve submitted for your primary country of sale may automatically become available for these new countries, and your products may begin to show in these locations, if you’ve already set up shipping and location targeting. With less effort upfront, you’ll be able to reach more global customers with your products.  To prevent your products from showing in new countries: Review and adjust your list of targeted countries under “Locations” in your Shopping campaign’s “Targeting” settings To ensure your products can show in new countries: Configure shipping settings and include destinations in your Shopping campaign’s “Targeting” settings for each country that your products ship to
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  51. Automatic item updates and Shopping Actions
    June 2019
    Automatic item updates is a Merchant Center feature that updates the price and availability of product listings of Shopping ads, Shopping Actions, local inventory ads, and surfaces across Google based on the data found on your website. This feature is turned on by default at the account level. Automatic item updates are automatically applied to product pricing for Shopping Actions for merchants who were already participating in Shopping ads before enabling Shopping Actions. This allows for the synchronization of product prices across Shopping ads, Shopping Actions, and your channel’s landing page. If you’d like to price your products differently on Shopping Actions than on your own channels, turn off automatic item updates on the account level to avoid syncing your prices. Keep in mind this may cause item disapprovals for your products on Shopping ads. To manage settings for automatic item updates: Sign in to your Merchant Center account. Click the tools icon , then click Automatic improvements under “Settings.” You can enable automatic item updates for price, availability, or both price and availability. You can also turn off automatic item updates completely.
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  52. Shopping Actions update: Changes to retailer standards criteria (US only)
    June 2019
    What’s changing Beginning July 1, the retailer standards program will have updated metrics, thresholds, and incentives - reformulated to make it easier for you to achieve your customer service goals and performance success. Merchants at the “Meeting Standards” level will now be eligible for a commission discount for qualifying orders - to reward you for shipping fast and free. In addition, shipping defect thresholds now include broader considerations for incorrect tracking information, and for late delivery when handling time was met. Item defect thresholds have been modified, and will now include 2-star review items. What this means for you The table below gives a summary of updated scores as well as applicable incentives and penalties: Status Item defect rate Shipping defect rate Incentives Top retailer Old: Below 1% New: Below 1% Old: Below 2% New: Below 4% New: Commission discount 20% for keeping estimated delivery date between 0-2 calendar days, offering free shipping and free returns New: Commission discount 15% for keeping estimated delivery date under 3 calendar days, free shipping, free returns Meeting standards Old: 1% - 10% New: 1% - 5% Old: 2% - 7% New: 4% - 7% New: Commission discount 15% for keeping estimated delivery date between 0-2 calendar days, free shipping, free returns New: Commission discount 10% for keeping estimated delivery date under 3 calendar days, free shipping, free returns Below standards Old: Above 10% New: Above 5% Old: Above 7% New: Above 7% Potential order cap  
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  53. Important update: Marketplace facilitator tax application coming to all states
    Marketplace facilitator tax is a term for legislation passed in the United States by individual states. The legislation shifts tax collection and remittance responsibilities from a marketplace seller to the marketplace itself. What's changing? Marketplace facilitator tax will be applicable in the states listed below in accordance with the following dates: January 2019​ Alabama Connecticut Iowa Oklahoma Minnesota New Jersey Pennsylvania Washington March 1, 2019 South Dakota April 1, 2019 Washington, DC June 1, 2019 Idaho Nebraska New York June 27, 2019 Rhode Island July 1, 2019 Arkansas Kentucky New Mexico Virginia West Virginia Wyoming October 1, 2019 California North Dakota Utah January 1, 2020 Hawaii In accordance with these laws, Google will begin to collect and remit taxes for Shopping Actions products sold in states with marketplace facilitator laws. Google will change the way that taxes are calculated for states that implement marketplace facilitator laws. Firstly, Google will begin to collect and remit tax for these states. This means that your items will be taxed in states that you may not have previously been required to apply tax. Google will determine the tax rate in these states by using the Google Product Categories that you supply in your feed. Additionally, Google will change the way merchants can adjust tax amounts after an order is placed. For orders in marketplace facilitator states, Google will no longer disburse sales taxes to the merchant, and will instead remit these taxes directly to state tax authorities. Secondly, merchants will not be able to refund or alter tax on orders in these states. For states that do not have marketplace facilitator laws, Google will continue to pass any taxes collected back to the merchant, and merchants will be responsible for remitting to state tax authorities. Merchants will also continue to have the ability to lower or refund taxes as they do currently. What this means for you If you're currently providing tax rate overrides as part of your product feed, Google will use the Google Product Categories that you provide in your feed to determine tax rates in any other state where you have nexus. We believe that this will result in more accurate tax calculations for consumers and less effort for merchants. The best way to make sure that your items are getting charged an accurate tax amount is to submit accurate Google Product Categories for all of your Shopping Actions offers. Doing so will enable Google to calculate accurate tax, which will be charged to customers when they check out. You'll need to review your processes for reconciling disbursements from the Shopping Actions programme. Google will no longer be passing tax to merchants as part of the disbursement process for states with Marketplace Facilitator legislation. That means that you'll want to make sure that your systems are not expecting to receive tax for these sales. You should also review your processes for issuing tax refunds for Shopping Actions orders. Since Google will be collecting and remitting tax in Marketplace Facilitator states, you will no longer need to make tax adjustments to orders from these states. Make sure that your systems will be able to handle this change for Marketplace Facilitator states. What happens if I don't do anything? Any merchants that have not provided Google Product Categories in their product data will have tax rates automatically determined and applied by Google in states with Marketplace Facilitator laws. Because Google cannot guarantee that its categorisation is correct, in order to provide the best experience to your customers we suggest upgrading your feed to provide Google Product Categories. Google will make every effort to calculate tax as accurately as possible in these circumstances. However, you have the most familiarity with your assortment, and we strongly encourage you to contribute Google Product Categories that help customers pay the tax amounts that they expect to see.
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  54. Shipping changes for Shopping ads in Austria, Belgium, Canada, Ireland, and Poland
    Starting July 31, 2019, shipping rates are provided for all products that include Austria, Belgium, Canada, Ireland, or Poland as a country of sale. These rates are required so that the full cost of products can be displayed on Shopping ads for a better customer experience. Accounts that include Austria, Belgium, Canada, Ireland, or Poland as a country of sale are subject to reviews of individual items, as well as account-level reviews. Accounts that don’t include the required shipping information may be disapproved and products associated with those accounts will generate errors and won’t be eligible to appear in Shopping ads. To view shipping information: Sign in to your Merchant Center account. Click the tools icon , then select Shipping and returns under “Tools.” This will take you to the “Shipping services” tab. Learn more about shipping settings and how to set up shipping settings.
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  55. Changes to Shopping Actions Merchant Terms of Service
    April 3, 2019
    We're updating the Merchant Terms of Service for Shopping Actions in the US. What's changing Sales taxes: As a result of new tax rules in certain states, we updated terms relating to how taxes are handled in those states. Publicity approval: We added terms to make it clear that you cannot issue a public statement about the business relationship between Google and you without our approval. Item content: We updated provisions relating to our use of information you provide (for example, product images and descriptions) to make it clearer that our use is in connection with our shopping services. Assortment and shipping: We added new provisions regarding your inventory and shipping speeds. Fraud reduction: We've made changes to help Google reduce the likelihood of fraud. For example, we've updated our policy on disbursements to allow Google additional time to investigate potentially fraudulent transactions. Customer Information: We've updated the terms relating to permissible uses (for example, for marketing purposes) of the user information we provide to you. Payments: We've updated some of the payments-related terms to address things like purchase aggregation and changes to our dispute and refund processes. What you need to do These changes will be in effect as of May 3, 2019. Continued use of Shopping Actions after that date will be subject to the new terms. To review and accept the new terms: Sign into your Merchant Center Account Click the Shopping Actions tab. If you're still in the onboarding process, click on the navigation bar on top and select Terms of Service If your store is live on Shopping Actions, click on the About tab to view the new Terms of Service When prompted, click Accept to indicate your acceptance. If you wish to decline the terms, you will not be able to participate in the Shopping Actions program. To confirm that you'd like to decline, contact the Shopping Actions support team.
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  56. Healthcare policy update: Online pharmacy cross-border targeting of Germany
    April 5, 2019
    In April 2019, we'll begin allowing eligible online pharmacies in the UK and the Netherlands to target Germany according to all applicable laws and regulations. Once the change goes live, Google advertisers will be able to apply for the necessary certificates using our online application form.
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  57. 2019 Merchant Center product data specification update
    Each year, we make changes to the product data specification with the goal of creating a better experience for people who search for products online. What’s changing this year: Google Product Category: The google_product_category attribute will become optional. If you don’t submit a value for this attribute, or if we don’t recognize the value that you’ve entered, Google will automatically assign a category to your product, which will be visible on your product details page on Merchant Center. There are certain categories of products, including some subcategories of Apparel & Accessories and Media, which may require additional attributes, such as gender, age_group, size, color, and/or a combination of unique product identifiers. If you don’t provide all of the required attributes for your product’s assigned category, you will receive a warning on the Diagnostics page of your Merchant Center account. In 2020, these warnings will become disapprovals and the affected offers will no longer show. Learn more about the google product category attribute Ads redirect: As of October 30, 2018, parallel tracking is required for all Google Ads accounts. Parallel tracking sends customers directly from your ad to your final URL while click measurement happens in the background. This helps load your landing page more quickly, which can reduce lost visits. Starting March 27, 2019, the ads_redirect attribute will be required to have the same URL domain as the link and mobile_link attributes. If these values are different, the value for the ads_redirect attribute will be cleared, and your click measurement could stop working. Learn more about the ads_redirect attribute Changes begin March 27th, 2019 These updates will go into full effect beginning March 27, 2019. As a result, some of your products that were previously disapproved may become eligible to serve, which could impact your budget in Google Ads. If you want to prevent these items from serving, go to the Diagnostics page of your Google Merchant Center account to review the affected products and remove these products from your data feed.
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  58. Comparison Listing ads for Comparison Shopping Services
    In 2017, Google launched the Comparison Shopping Services (CSS) program, which enables Comparison Shopping Services to place Shopping ads on Google on behalf of merchants in EEA countries. We’re now introducing a beta for Comparison Listing ads, a new ad format which shows a selection of products that are available on a CSS’s website in a single ad. In addition to the carousel of Shopping ads that shows on Google’s general search results pages, a second carousel of Comparison Listing ads may also appear. How it works When enough relevant Comparison Listing ads are available for a given search, the Shopping unit will show two tabs, the “Products” tab and the “Comparison sites” tab. You can switch between the “Products” view, which shows Shopping ads, and the “Comparison sites” view, which shows Comparison Listing ads. After clicking a Comparison Listing ad, a shopper is taken to a landing page on the CSS’s website where they can compare related products from several merchants. Comparison Listing ads are currently available in a limited beta in the EEA.
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  59. Connecting you to visual shoppers with new ad formats on Google Images
    March 5, 2019
    A recent study shows that Google is the first place US shoppers go to discover or find a new brand or product. But shoppers aren’t just doing their searches on Google.com. We’ve seen that 50 percent of online shoppers said images of the product inspired them to purchase, and increasingly, they’re turning to Google Images. That’s why we’re investing in shopping solutions across more of our properties, like Google Images. When we launched Shopping ads on Google Images, we wanted to provide advertisers with a new way to reach shoppers where they’re looking for more visual inspiration. Now, we’re introducing shoppable ads on Google Images as another way we’re helping you connect with consumers. This new format enables you to highlight multiple products available for sale within your sponsored ad among Google Images results. We’re currently testing this on a small percentage of traffic with select retailers, surfacing on broad queries like “home office ideas,” “shower tile designs,” and “abstract art.”   Let’s say a shopper is searching for home office ideas on her mobile device or desktop and goes to Google Images to explore ideas around how to organize her room. She can scroll through the images, hover over any sponsored ad with the price tag, and see the items for sale in the image -- along with prices, the brand, and more. We’ll continue to roll this out to more categories across more retailers over the next few months.   Moreover, advertisers have been benefiting from Showcase Shopping ads, which lets you promote your brand and products through beautiful imagery, descriptions, and relevant promotions. Since launch, thousands of retailers and brands in 17 countries are running Showcase Shopping ads to reach new customers in their inspiration phase. Now, we’re bringing Showcase Shopping ads to Google Images as well, offering shoppers a more inspirational and rich visual experience. And last month, we shared that we’re expanding Merchant Center as a platform to power shopping experiences beyond advertising on surfaces across Google. Now, in addition to using markup solutions that we've long had available, retailers can provide product data to Google, free of charge, so that we can start showing more of your product information to potential shoppers. Today’s consumers are interacting with us across a multitude of touchpoints, searching and asking for ideas. To help inspire them, we’re continually thinking of ways to create better shopping experiences. And, we want to continue partnering with retailers like you so we can help consumers in these moments that will drive them to the final purchase.   Posted by Surojit Chatterjee, VP of Product Management, Google Shopping  
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  60. Important update: Marketplace facilitator tax application in SD, DC
    Marketplace facilitator tax is a term for legislation passed in the United States by individual states. The legislation shifts tax collection and remittance responsibilities from a marketplace seller to the marketplace itself.  Learn more about marketplace facilitator tax What’s changing?  As of March 1, 2019, the tax will be newly applicable to marketplaces in South Dakota.  As of April 1, 2019, the tax will also be applicable to marketplaces in Washington DC.  In accordance with these laws, Google will begin to collect and remit taxes for Shopping Actions products sold in states with marketplace facilitator laws. Google will change the way taxes are calculated for states that implement marketplace facilitator laws. First, Google will begin to collect and remit tax for these states. This means that your items will be taxed in states that you may not have previously been required to apply tax. Google will determine the tax rate in these states by using the Google Product Categories that you supply in your feed. Additionally, Google will change the way merchants can adjust tax amounts after an order is placed. For orders in marketplace facilitator states, Google will no longer disburse sales taxes to the merchant, and will instead remit these taxes directly to state tax authorities. Second, merchants will not be able to refund or alter tax on orders in these states. For states that do not have marketplace facilitator laws, Google will continue to pass any taxes collected back to the merchant, and merchants will be responsible for remitting to state tax authorities. Merchants will also continue to have the ability to lower or refund taxes as they do currently. What this means for you If you’re currently providing tax rate overrides as part of your product feed, Google will use the Google Product Categories that you provide in your feed to determine tax rates in any other state where you have nexus. We believe this will result in more accurate tax calculations for consumers and less effort for merchants.  The best way to make sure that your items are getting charged an accurate tax amount is to submit accurate Google Product Categories for all of your Shopping Actions offers. Doing so will enable Google to calculate accurate tax, which will be charged to customers when they checkout. You’ll need to review your processes for reconciling disbursements from the Shopping Actions program. Google will no longer be passing tax to merchants as part of the disbursement process for states with Marketplace Facilitator legislation. That means you’ll want to make sure your systems are not expecting to receive tax for these sales. You should also review your processes for issuing tax refunds for Shopping Actions orders. Since Google will be collecting and remitting tax in Marketplace Facilitator states, you will no longer need to make tax adjustments to orders from these states. Make sure that your systems will be able to handle this change for Marketplace Facilitator states. What happens if I don’t do anything? Any merchants that have not provided Google Product Categories in their product data will have tax rates automatically determined and applied by Google in states with Marketplace Facilitator laws. Because Google cannot guarantee its categorization is correct, in order to provide the best experience to your customers we suggest upgrading your feed to provide Google Product Categories.  Google will make every effort to calculate tax as accurately as possible in these circumstances. However, you have the most familiarity with your assortment, and we strongly encourage you to contribute Google Product Categories that help customers pay the tax amounts that they expect to see.  
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  61. Change log: Political content policy in India
    The political content policy for India will change in February 2019. After this policy is live, political parties, political candidates, or current members of the Lok Sabha will not be allowed to run Product Listing ads in India. Learn more about political content Posted February 2019
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  62. Holiday shipping cut-off setting now available
    January 19, 2018
    We’ve improved the way you configure your shipping settings in Google Merchant Center. What’s changing Holiday shipping cut-offs If you have special delivery settings for a particular holiday, such as Christmas or Mother’s Day, you can submit a special configuration through the holiday shipping cut-off setting. For a period of time leading up to each holiday, your ads will clearly state if a purchase will be delivered before the holiday’s date. Learn more. What it means for you  You aren’t required to make changes to your current shipping settings, but you have the ability to update your services if you would like to use the new holiday feature.
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  63. 2018 Shopping Product Feed Specification Update
    Each year, we make changes to the Shopping product data specification with the goal of creating a better experience for people who search for products online. This year, Google is focusing on making changes that relax the way we enforce certain rules.  What’s changing: Long titles and descriptions truncation: With this change, title and description attributes that exceed the character limit will no longer result in disapprovals. Instead, Google will truncate the input to the correct length. If attribute values are truncated, you’ll receive a warning in your account. Learn more about the title attribute and the description attribute Condition: The condition attribute is no longer required for new products. If you don’t submit a value for the condition attribute, or if the system doesn’t recognize the value that you’ve entered, Google will assume the product’s condition to be new. However, if Google finds that the product is listed as used or refurbished on the product’s landing page, your offer may be disapproved or you may receive a warning. Learn more about the condition attribute Cost of Goods Sold (COGS): To help improve the quality of reporting, we’re introducing the cost_of_goods_sold attribute, which can be used to calculate approximate gross profit per item. This optional attribute has been added to help you better focus your advertising campaigns to maximize profitability.  Learn more about the cost of goods sold attribute Size, color, and link attributes: Products with more than one size, color, or link attribute input will receive warnings. If your product is multicolored, you will still be able to specify more than one color value using slashes and hyphens, but you may not separate values with commas. If your product falls into a range of sizes, use a range value rather than repeating the attribute. Learn more about the size attribute, the color attribute, or the link attribute ads redirect: Starting February 1, 2019, the redirect link for Google Ads tracking will need to direct to the same domain as the values in the link and mobile_link attributes.  Learn more about the ads redirect attribute Changes begin June 25th, 2018 These updates will go into full effect beginning June 25, 2018. As a result, some of your products that were previously disapproved may become eligible to serve, which could impact your budget in Google Ads. If you want to prevent these items from serving, go to your Google Merchant Center account and remove these products from your data feed.      
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  64. Order cutoff time and handling time settings now available
    We’ve improved the way you configure your shipping settings in Google Merchant Center. What’s changing Order cutoff time When communicating the amount of time to process an order, merchants often let their customers know when an order needs to be placed for processing to begin on the same day. Orders that miss the cutoff time are not processed until the following business day. This feature allows merchants to configure the cutoff time, along with a specific time zone, for each shipping service, and lets Google calculate more precise estimated delivery dates. Learn more Handling time Handling time refers to the time it takes you to make an order ready to be shipped. Previously, the handling time was only available to be edited in the product feed at an individual item level. This feature gives merchants the option to provide minimum and maximum handling times within a shipping service. Use this feature if you use Merchant Center to configure your shipping, and if all of your items share the same handling times.  Learn more What it means for you  You aren’t required to make changes to your current shipping settings, but you have the ability to update your services if you would like to use these new features. Note: using both the handling time field and the transit time field in a shipping service will result in the Estimated Delivery Date being displayed on your shopping ads. Learn more about estimated delivery date
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  65. Change log: Diagnostics section updates
    In July 2018, the Diagnostics section of the Merchant Center was updated with additional customization, including the ability to view sample items for errors in the past, and to filter by: country, destination, and feed.  Previously, you could only download one large report of all issues, but you can now download individual reports for each issue. These download reports now include three additional attribute fields to help with troubleshooting: custom labels, Google product category (GPC), and product type. Learn more about the item issues download. (Posted July 2018)
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  66. Update to adult-oriented content policy for Germany
    The Google Shopping policy on adult-oriented content in Germany will change in October 2017. Under this new policy, merchants who wish to promote adult oriented content in Germany will be able to do so, provided their ads meet both the usual and the additional German-specific policy requirements for this content. More information can be found at our updated policy pages. Posted October 2017  
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  67. Important update: GTIN requirements are expanding soon
    We require GTINs for all products that have them. Beginning November 15, 2017, merchants targeting Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Ireland, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, Taiwan, and the United Arab Emirates began to see warnings in Merchant Center reminding them to submit correct GTINs and the corresponding brand for all new products with GTINs assigned by the manufacturers. On February 14, 2018, enforcement will begin, and products without GTINs may no longer be eligible to participate in Shopping ads. What it means for you If you sell new, brand-name products that are sold by multiple merchants, you should take a close look at the new requirements and double check that your product data is correct and up to date. If you sell products that are only sold by you, this change probably won't impact you. You also won't be impacted if you sell used, custom, handmade, or vintage products. You can still improve your ad performance by adding unique product identifiers to your product data where they're available. What you need to do If you're targeting Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Ireland, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, Taiwan, or the United Arab Emirates, submit correct GTINs and the corresponding brand for all new, in-stock products that have GTINs assigned by the manufacturer. Learn more about the details of the GTIN requirement and unique product identifiers There are a few important dates to keep in mind: November 15, 2017: Warnings began. You may see item-level warnings in the Diagnostics tab for products that don't meet the requirements. Use these warnings to help you update your product data. February 14, 2018: Enforcement begins. You'll start to see item-level disapprovals in the Diagnostics tab for products that don't meet the requirements. After this date, products that do not have GTINs when required may no longer be eligible to participate in Shopping ads. Posted January 2018 | Merchant Center Announcements
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  68. Important update: Multi-country advertising beta available for new country pairs
    July 16, 2018
    For merchants in certain countries, you'll soon see the ability to use a single feed to target multiple countries at once - your home country and other countries that uses the same language. This means that your products may show to a broader audience - giving users a better product selection, and you the chance at more impressions - with far less effort upfront. This feature will only be available for certain countries. You can target: Norway: using English feeds from Sweden, Denmark, and Great Britain Sweden: using English feeds from Norway, Denmark, and Great Britain Denmark: using English feeds from Sweden, Norway, and Great Britain Austria: using German and English feeds from Germany Belgium: using French and English feeds from France, Dutch and English feeds from the Netherlands, and English feeds from Ireland You may use the feed in either a single campaign, targeting multiple countries or across multiple campaigns. Learn more about how to submit a single feed for multiple countries. For example, say you're a clothing retailer based in Germany. You create a primary feed with Germany as the target country, with German as the language of your feed. You submit prices in EUR. You can already use that feed to create a Shopping campaign targeting Germany. With this beta, you can now also use that same feed to create a Shopping campaign to target Austria. Learn more about feed creation In order for these feeds to work in these new countries, you will need to create different shipping services for each country that your products target. So if you plan to target Norway with your Sweden feed, please ensure you have created a Shipping service for Norway etc. Learn more about Shipping settings and setting up shipping labels. Note: When targeting in Google Ads, your shipping settings should reflect your choice of ''Area of Interest" (AOI) or "Location of presence". If you have live campaigns already set up for these markets they will start to serve. Remove a campaign if you don't want it to show or make sure your shipping settings reflect your campaign settings. Learn more about targeting geographic locations
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  69. Updates to feeds in Merchant Center
    August 16, 2017
    With this launch, we've changed the way we think about feeds and product data in Merchant Center. You can now use primary feeds to submit your existing product data to Merchant Center, as is. Use supplemental feeds and the new Feed Rules features to augment your product data and meet our product data spec requirements.  What’s new Feeds Feeds are now split between primary feeds and supplemental feeds. With the new feed experience, you are now able to submit your existing product data as-is from your site as a primary feed, and use supplemental feeds to provide additional data to meet our requirements. Some feed types that were created before this feature launched are labeled as “legacy feeds”. Legacy feeds will continue to work, and no action is necessary on the part of the retailer if you wish to continue using your legacy feeds. Learn more Primary feeds A primary feed is the required data source that Merchant Center uses to display your products on Google. If the product data in your primary feed already meets our product data specification and policies, creating and submitting a primary feed is the only feed action you will need to take. If you want to provide additional information for your product data beyond the data specification requirements you can do so with supplemental feeds.  Product data that does not meet the Merchant Center requirements can be adapted by using the advanced feed features, including supplemental feeds. In addition, you can use supplemental feeds to enhance or override your product data to improve the performance of your ads. Use primary feeds to add or remove product data, set language and country targeting, and set Feed Rules for your product data. Primary feeds are the only feed type that can add or remove products. Learn more Supplemental feeds Supplemental feeds provide additional, or supplemental, data that can be connected to existing product data in the primary feed. Supplemental feeds cannot add or remove products, or be used as a standalone feed; instead, they're used to update existing product data. Supplemental feeds can provide additional information for multiple primary feeds. To use a supplemental feed, connect it to an existing primary feed through the id attribute via Feed Rules. Supplemental feeds will only update your product data when the supplemental feed contains IDs that already exist in a primary feed. You must provide product data for every id in your primary feed. Legacy online inventory update feeds  If you want to use a separate feed for pricing and availability updates, you can do this by creating a supplemental feed and using the "Take latest" rule to update your primary feed.  To test your uploads With this update, you can now test your product data directly within a primary feed.  Keep in mind: Test feeds can no longer be created as a separate feed. Select the primary feed that you would like to test Click the three-dot icon  on the right hand side of the Processing tab Select Upload input file from the dropdown Choose which file you want to upload Click the Upload as test check box Review errors and warnings that may appear Submit your product data to multiple countries You can now use a single feed as a source to sell your products in multiple languages and multiple countries. Multi-country feeds allow you to manage a single feed across multiple countries and languages by setting up additional combinations of countries & languages for existing primary feeds. Other benefits of multi-country feeds include the flexibility to create rules on a locale-by-locale basis and use supplemental feeds to add product data for specific countries and languages. Merchant Center will automatically convert your currency for the target country that you select, regardless of the price in your feed. Learn more Note: If you set up a multi-country feed for the Content API, items inserted via the Content API will not automatically be replicated for all countries. The country specified in the Content API insertion call will always be the target country for the product data.   What's changing Feed Rules Feed Rules have been redesigned to be more intuitive and allow you to do more with your product data. Feed Rules can be used to update your primary feeds, connect your supplemental feeds with primary feeds to build your product data, provide incremental updates to your product data, and transform your Content API data.  You can set multiple rule alternatives for each target attribute. If you set up multiple rule alternatives, the first one which yields a valid value will be applied. If none of the rule alternatives can yield a valid value, the default rule will be applied to the value in question. Rule Description Set to Use 'Set to' to assign a specific value from a feed, computed value from the Product data specification, or a value you create. The 'Set to' rule lets you combine values from various attributes to create new values. Example:  If values in the description attribute are missing, you can combine color,  brand, and title to build a description. Take latest  Use 'Take latest' to update your product data with the most recently submitted values. You can apply the updated values to the listed sources. Example: If the prices of your products need to be updated, you can submit a supplemental feed with the id and price attributes. The new prices from the feed will be applied to your ads. Learn more Extract (coming soon) Use 'Extract' to update an attribute or value based on values already in your feed.  Find & replace (coming soon) Use 'Find & replace' to replace words or phrases in the selected source. Example:  Replace the value of ‘navy’ with ‘blue’ under the color attribute. Standardize (coming soon)  Use 'Standardize' to replace unsupported values in your existing feeds with supported values based on the Product data specification. We recommend using Standardize for attributes with set values, such as condition or availability. Example: If your condition attribute contains values that aren’t accepted by Merchant Center, such as brand new, use the ‘Standardize’ rule to set the value to new.  Note: If you want to create a combined attribute string with spaces, you must add a space value (“ “) between each attribute. Content API With the introduction of the new features, you can now manage your items inserted through Content API via an automatically created feed in Merchant Center. In addition, you can now create rules for items inserted via Content API. Items to which rules were applied can be fetched using the “productstatuses” call. Due to the nature of Content API, the country and language you provide when inserting items cannot be changed through the multi-country feature. If you want to add additional target countries or languages to a Content API feed, you will need to specify each country and language when inserting items through Content API. Feed processing notifications We will no longer send you emails after every feed upload. In place of the current notification system, we will be introducing a new notification procedure that will only notify you when the number of valid items in your feed drops by 5%. Additional changes Feed creation for ecommerce platforms is now located under account linking. You can navigate to account linking by clicking on the three-dot icon , and selecting account linking from the dropdown.  Files that have been edited can be reprocessed within the Merchant Center tool. If you choose to manually upload your feeds, you can submit files up to 4 GB in size. Give feedback The changes coming to feeds are a direct result of feedback from retailers like you. As you use the updated feeds, we‘d like to hear your feedback. You can provide feedback directly in your Merchant Center account by clicking the 3-dot icon  in the top-right corner of your account and selecting Report an error.   Related links Feeds overview Build your product data Create a feed Submit feeds to multiple countries Set up Feed Rules Remove a feed
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  70. Important Update: GTIN requirements are expanding soon
    In 2015, we began requiring Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs) for products from a list of 50 brands. Going forward into 2016, our requirements for GTINs will expand beyond those 50 brands to include all products with a GTIN assigned by the manufacturer. Why we're making these changes GTINs help us understand exactly what you're selling. When we understand what you're selling, we can help boost your ad performance by adding valuable details about the product and serving the ad in a more relevant way to users. This also means that your ads can serve in more places on Google, YouTube, and our partner sites. Merchants who've added correct GTINs to their product data have seen conversion rates increase up to 20%. What it means for you If you sell new, brand-name products that are sold by multiple merchants, you should take a close look at the new requirements and double check that your product data is correct and up to date. If you sell products that are only sold by you, this change probably won't impact you. You also won't be impacted if you sell used, custom, handmade, or vintage products. You can still improve your ad performance by adding unique product identifiers to your product data where they're available. What you need to do If you're targeting Australia, Brazil, Czechia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, the UK, or the US, submit correct GTINs and the corresponding brand for all new, in-stock products that have GTINs assigned by the manufacturer. Learn more about the details of the GTIN requirement and unique product identifiers. There are a few important dates to keep in mind: February 8, 2016: Warnings begin. You'll start to see item-level warnings in the Diagnostics tab for products that don't meet the requirements. Use these warnings to help you update your product data. May 16, 2016: Enforcement begins. You'll start to see item-level disapprovals in the Diagnostics tab for products that don't meet the requirements. After this date, you'll need to meet the GTIN requirements to continue serving ads for your products. Posted February 2016 | Merchant Center Announcements
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  71. Shopping ads product data specification update
    We periodically make changes to the Shopping ads product data specification with the goal of creating a better experience for users searching for products online. Today we announce an update that only affects merchants who: advertise with Shopping ads in India or, advertise third party products compatible with Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) products. If you do neither, no changes to your product data are required. What’s changing: Taxes in India: We are simplifying our requirements for Goods and Services Tax (GST). Prices submitted in product data now need to include GST to align with user expectations. For many merchants this is also the preferred way to communicate their prices. Learn more about tax settings Third party compatible products: To allow users to better distinguish between OEM products and compatible or refurbished third party products, we are updating our requirements for condition, title, and images of products as well as for unique product identifiers. Learn more about requirements for compatible or refurbished third party products Enforcement begins January 25th, 2018. We recommend that you update your product data as soon as possible to comply with the new requirements. Beginning January 25th, 2018, any product that doesn't meet these requirements will be disapproved. Note that if we receive specific complaints from OEM brand owners regarding your ads for third party compatible or refurbished products, we may require that you comply with the new requirements before the January 25th deadline.
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  72. Important update: Changes to email contact options in Merchant Center
    We’ve redesigned email contacts in Google Merchant Center and increased the number of email addresses that can receive notifications. With this update:  Any email address that has access to an account can receive email notifications. All account users can now opt in to receive Merchant Center emails and manage their email notification preferences. Users can choose which types of emails to receive.  We’re introducing email only contacts. Email only contacts can receive Merchant Center emails without having access to the Merchant Center account. Multiple email only contacts can be added to all Merchant Center accounts.  We’re retiring the Primary and Technical contact fields. Email addresses currently assigned to these roles have been migrated, and preferences have been updated.  What it means for you This change means more contact options for your Merchant Center account.  We’ve already migrated your existing account email preferences to the new settings. No changes are required for your current notification settings, but we encourage all users to log in to Merchant Center and update your email preferences based on the types of emails you’d like to receive. You can choose between mandatory service announcements, tips and best practices, surveys and beta invites, and feed processing notifications.  It’s also a good time to review the email contacts currently in your account. Make sure each user’s email address is up to date, and add any new email only contacts you’d like to receive Merchant Center notifications.    Related links User access for Merchant Center Set up your account   Posted August 2017 | Merchant Center Announcements  
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  73. 2017 Google Shopping Feed Specification Update
    Each year, we make changes to the Google Shopping Product Data Specification with the goal of creating a better experience for users searching for products online. This year, we’re focusing on improving the quality of the information related to tax, shipping, and availability.  What’s changing: Minimum Order Value: Until now minimum order value was only accepted for articles in the food and beverage categories. We are now accepting products priced below your minimum order value in all categories and countries. Set the minimum order value in shipping settings before you upload products with prices below this threshold. If you’re already advertising products with prices below minimum order value in the  food and beverage categories, be sure to update your shipping settings and provide the minimum order value by June 26th, 2017. Learn more about adding a minimum order value Shipping-related attributes: To improve the quality of shipping information shown to users, we’re introducing upper bound price and weight value limits for the shipping and shipping_weight attributes to catch outliers we believe to be input errors. Starting June 26th, all items that have a shipping cost or weight above the new limits will be disapproved. Learn more about the updated shipping and shipping_weight attributes Handling time: If you’re targeting the United States, you can now display the estimated delivery date of your product in your Shopping ad. To enable this optional feature, we’re introducing two product data attributes called min_handling_time and max_handling_time. Use these attributes to indicate the amount of time it normally takes to process an order. Google will compute an estimated delivery date from these attributes and the transit time in your shipping settings in Merchant Center. Learn more about handling time
 Enforcement begins June 26th, 2017 Beginning June 26th, 2017, all of the updates will go into full effect and any product data that doesn't meet the requirements in the Products Feed Specification will be disapproved.   
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  74. New shipping settings launched
    We’ve improved the way you configure your shipping settings in Google Merchant Center. Why we made these changes: We’ve designed the new shipping settings to align with the way you interact with shipping outside of Merchant Center. What it means for you: No changes are needed for your current shipping settings, and new shipping services are now easier to set up. Learn more What’s changing There are several key concepts that are changing with the new shipping settings experience.  Shipping services Shipping settings will revolve around the concept of a “service” instead of a “method”. The new service is designed to reflect shipping services that you use regularly, like ground shipping or express shipping. For example, you can define the time in transit for a service, such as 3-7 days for ground shipping service in the US. Shipping groups Configure shipping rates for different groups inside a single service. Shipping groups offer the ability to define groups of products inside a service, based on shipping label attribute values. Rate tables Improved rate tables have eliminated the need for complex shipping rules. You’re now able to define rates for a service based on various dimensions using a table in the shipping settings. Advanced settings For cases that may not fit the rate table, or when two dimensions are not enough, you can access advanced functionality right from the main rate table. Example: Use automatic carrier rates for a certain configuration Postal code location groups Location groups have changed to be based exclusively on postal codes. Configurations that use location groups based on regions (e.g. a state) will now use tables that explicitly reference the region instead of the location group. Existing location groups based on cities or states will stay as read-only groups and can be referenced in the product data.   Related links Tax & Shipping Configure account-level shipping settings   Posted June 2016 | Merchant Center Announcements
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  75. Important update: new articles for the Product data specification
    October 24, 2016
    Today we launched changes to the format of the Product data specification.  What this means The requirements for your product data are still the same. So if your product data currently meets our requirements, that won’t change with this update. The changes should make it easier for you to understand what to submit and how to optimize your product data for success on Google. How it works Now instead of one article with all the requirements, the information is broken up into different articles depending on what you’re doing: The new product data specification lets you know exactly what you need to do to get started. This article lists every attribute, when it’s required, and the minimum requirements for submitting it. Use this table when you’re first starting out and just getting a feed set up. Check it out. Each attribute has its own article with detailed information if you need to review some examples, troubleshoot issues, or optimize your data. This also means that you'll be able to search for an attribute article in the search bar or bookmark a link directly to an attribute that you reference often. Check it out. For some of the more complicated areas, new best practices guides explain how to format several attributes. For example, if you’re advertising a custom product or software subscription,  you can review a guide specifically about how to submit these types of products. Check it out. New attribute names for certain languages Based on your feedback, we updated our attribute translations for certain languages so their meaning should be clearer to you. We’ll still accept the old translations for now. While you don’t have to update your product data yet, we recommend doing it soon for your own troubleshooting purposes. Attribute translations were updated in these languages: Chinese (simplified) Czech Danish Dutch French German Italian Japanese Norwegian Polish Portuguese (Brazil) Russian Spanish Swedish Turkish To see the updated translations for each language, select that language from the menu at the bottom of this page. Other small changes In addition to these big changes, we also made some minor changes that you might notice: Attributes now look like code and use underscores ( _ ). Instead of the ‘sale price’ attribute, you’ll now see the sale_price attribute. This doesn’t mean that you have to start using underscores instead of spaces, either spaces (sale price) or underscores (sale_price) are still accepted depending on the format of your product data. However, we think this new style will help you better understand when we’re talking about an attribute. TRUE and FALSE is now yes and no. To make our language clearer, we’re now accepting yes and no along with TRUE and FALSE. There’s no need to change your product data to use the new values yet however. Moving forward, we’ll also stop talking about TRUE and FALSE and talk only about yes and no.  Merchant Center Announcements | October 2016
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  76. Updates to feed rules in Merchant Center
    August 26, 2016
    Today, we launched changes to the Merchant Center feed rules. Why we’re making these changes The changes and updates are based on feedback that we’ve received since the launch of the feed rules feature. One of the most common requests we received was to be able to certain values within a target attribute without applying the update to all of the values. To allow for this, we’ve adjusted some of the existing feed rules behaviors. The updates we’ve made to mapping and conditional rules should make creating these rules more intuitive and better align the functionality with most retailers expectations. We encourage you to review any existing mapping and conditional rules to see if the new functionality makes it easier for you to transform your data. What’s changing We’re updating the overwrite settings and behavior for mapping and conditional rules. Specifically, the “overwrite all values for this attribute” checkbox has been removed from mapping and conditional rules. Changes to mapping rules Mapping rules, also known as the “Use values from an existing column” option, will now overwrite all existing values you may also have submitted directly for the target attribute. In the previous version of feed rules, mapping rules for a target attribute that exists in the feed wouldn't overwrite any existing values when the “Overwrite all values for this attribute” option was unchecked. Changes to conditional rules Previously in feed rules, if the “Overwrite all values for this attribute” option was unchecked, a conditional rule for a target attribute wouldn’t update any existing values that met the condition. In the updated feed rules, conditional rules will always update target attribute values for any products that match the criteria, regardless of if there is an existing value or not. In addition, conditional rules now have an ELSE option, which you can use to state what should happen if a value doesn’t match the defined conditional rule.There are three choices with the ELSE option: Use values from a specific field in the feed Remove any values that may have been submitted Create a new value for products that don’t match the rule Updating legacy rules Existing legacy mapping and conditional rules with the previous options will remain active and will continue to transform your data based on the options you previously selected. We’ve added an Upgrade button to rules that have legacy feed rules functionality; click Upgrade to apply the new behavior. Legacy rules will continue to work as long as the rule remains unedited. However, clicking the Upgrade button or editing and saving a legacy rule will update it to the new options and behavior. Before modifying any legacy rules, verify that the change won’t negatively impact the processing of your feed. To update your rules, go to the feed rules page in Merchant Center, apply changes to the legacy rule that you wish to update or click "Upgrade" to upgrade this rule to the updated feed rules behavior. What’s new With this update, we’re also introducing new features to feed rules which will allow you to expand and augment current rule structures and offer more opportunities to transform your data. The new features are: Combine values: Combine, or concatenate, static values and values from fields in your feed to populate values for a target attribute. For example, create values for the ‘image link’ attributes by combining the ‘link’ field with the ‘id’ field. Extract values: Search an existing field within your feed for specific values to populate a target attribute. For example, search within the ‘description’ field for colors that match a specified list to populate values for the ‘color’ attribute. More conditional rule operators: Additional operators for conditional rule operators have been introduced. The new operators are: Does-not-equal Does-not-contain Does-not-start-with Does-not-end-with Give feedback The changes coming to feed rules are a direct result of feedback from retailers like you. As you use the updated feed rules, we‘d like to hear your feedback. You can provide feedback directly in your Merchant Center account by clicking the question mark icon in the top-right corner of your account and selecting Report an error. Related links About feed rules Set up feed rules
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  77. 2016 Google Shopping Products Feed Specification Update
    Today, we launched changes to the Google Shopping Products Feed Specification. Why we're making these changes The ads created for your products rely on the quality of the product data you submit. To help increase the quality of your ads, we make changes to the requirements for product data through the Products Feed Specification. This year, we've relaxed some restrictions while tightening others, all with the goal of making sure that your products perform when they're seen by potential customers. What's changing and when Added support for unit pricing Target countries: All (New for Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Russia, Turkey) Details: You can use the 'price,' 'unit pricing measure,' and 'unit pricing base measure' attributes together to submit the price details for products that are commonly sold with unit pricing. You'll include the total price using the 'price' attribute, and provide the details for unit measurements using the 'unit pricing measure' and 'unit pricing base measure' attributes. For example, you might use unit pricing to clearly provide price information for flooring, business cards, or beverages. Learn about how to submit unit pricing. Increased the maximum feed file size from 1GB to 4GB Target countries: All Details: The file you use to submit your product data can now be up to 4 gigabytes. Learn about submitting feeds. Increased the minimum image size for non-apparel products from 32x32 to 100x100 pixels Target countries: All Details: Ads with large, high-quality images have proven to be more effective and lead to better performance, so we're increasing the requirements to 100x100 pixels for non-apparel products. For apparel products, the minimum image size is still 250x250 pixels. We recommend that you submit images that are at least 800x800 pixels. Learn about image size requirements. Disapprovals begin September 1, 2016: Warnings will start to appear in the Diagnostics tab to help you understand what updates to make. Make updates to your images to meet the new requirements before September 1, 2016 to prevent disapprovals. Enforced 'color' and 'size' attribute requirements for apparel products in Germany, France, Japan, and the UK Target countries: Germany, France, Japan, the UK Details: The 'color' attribute is required for all apparel products submitted for Germany, France, Japan, and the UK. The 'size' attribute is required for products in the 'Apparel & Accessories > Clothing' and 'Apparel & Accessories > Shoes' categories submitted for Germany, France, Japan, and the UK. If you don't provide these attributes for apparel products, the items will be disapproved. Learn more about submitting the 'color' attribute. Learn more about submitting the 'size' attribute. Disapprovals begin September 1, 2016: Make sure your apparel products targeting these countries meet the requirements before September 1, 2016 to prevent disapprovals. Added requirement to submit a Google product category for products in 'Apparel & Accessories', 'Media', and 'Software' Target countries: All (New for Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, India, Mexico, Norway, Poland, Russia, Sweden, Turkey) Details: The Google product category helps us understand what you're selling. Learn more about Google product category. Disapprovals begin September 1, 2016: Warnings will start to appear in the Diagnostics tab to help you understand what updates to make. Add the required attribute and values before September 1, 2016 to prevent disapprovals. Added requirement to submit a GTIN for all products that have one Target countries: All (New for Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, India, Mexico, Norway, Poland, Russia, Sweden, Turkey) Details: GTINs help us understand exactly what you're selling. When we understand what you're selling, we can help boost your ad performance by adding valuable details about the product and serving the ad in a more relevant way to users. Merchants who've added correct GTINs to their product data have seen conversion rates increase up to 20%. If you sell new, brand-name products that are sold by multiple merchants, you should take a close look at the new requirements and double check if your products have GTINs. If your products have GTINs, add the GTINs to your product data. Learn more about when to submit GTINs. Disapprovals begin February 14, 2017: For Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, India, Mexico, Norway, Poland, Russia, Sweden, and Turkey, warnings will start to appear in the Diagnostics tab to help you understand what updates to make. Make sure to meet the new requirements before February 14, 2017 to prevent disapprovals. Keep in mind that disapprovals have already begun for products that don't meet this requirement targeting Australia, Brazil, Czechia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, the UK, and the US. Posted May 2016 | Merchant Center Announcements
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  78. Introducing the new Merchant Center
    Google Merchant Center has been redesigned with clearer workflows, simpler navigation, and more program insights. Use the new Merchant Center to explore and discover new Google programs for your products while continuing to manage and configure your product data for Shopping ads. Merchant Center is now designed around: Business information: Manage details about your business and brand, such as your store name, contact details, and website Catalog: Upload and manage your data across multiple Google programs Programs: Discover additional programs to help promote and sell your products Navigate the new Merchant Center We’ve made navigating Merchant Center more intuitive by bundling common tasks and actions. Use the new Home page to view recent announcements and dashboard data for your account and view consolidated product feed and data quality information under Products. In addition, you can manage your program information and configuration under each Program and use Shipping and Sales tax to configure your account-level services. Home Go to the Home page from the navigation panel to quickly view Merchant Center announcements as well as your Dashboard information. The Dashboard contains cards such as product data overviews, feed information, and Shopping ad clicks. For more information on your product data, follow the direct links to access data diagnostics and product feeds. Business information Manage your business information and details in the new Business information section. About your business: Manage your store name and contact information Website: Claim and verify your website Logo: Upload your store logos to be used on Google Products The products section allows you to manage your feed, review feed data quality, and view a detailed list of your products in a centralized spot. Use the Products page to quickly identify trends and opportunities for your product data. Diagnostics: Review and troubleshoot current and historical issues with your product data Feeds: Upload and manage your product data List: View detailed information about your submitted products Message archive View recent account notifications within Merchant Center by clicking on the Mail icon in the upper-right hand corner of your account. The messages stored in the message archive include emails that have been sent to your Merchant Center account. Manage account settings Manage your account preferences, account links, Merchant Center users, and much more in the new account settings drop-down. To go to your account management preferences, click the 3-dot icon in the upper right-hand corner of your account. Account preferences: Manage your time zone and language preferences Account linking: Link your Google Ads, Display Video 360, and supported e-commerce platforms to Merchant Center Automatic item updates: Enable automatic item updates to allow Google to update your items in Shopping ads based on the schema.org microdata we find on your website User: Adjust user access level and administrative ownership for Merchant Center STFP/FTP/GCS: Use SFTP (preferred), FTP, or Google Cloud Storage (GCS) to transfer product data to Google’s servers API diagnostics: Set up the Content API for Shopping (advanced), which enables you to programmatically upload product listings Merchant Center programs: Explore programs in Merchant Center that may help you advertise your products New Merchant Center features Explore programs Merchant Center supports a variety of programs that help you promote and advertise your products on Google. Go to the Merchant Center Programs page under the 3-dot icon to explore programs in Merchant Center. The Programs page contains cards featuring the various programs that are available in Merchant Center, and some may be a good fit for your business. Select the Learn more option in each card to continue exploring the various programs and select Get started to express your interest in participating in a program. Feed rules update We’ve updated feed rules to more closely align with how we see retailers using the tool, allowing you to partially change or update existing values, create new values by combining static values and values from different attributes in your feed, and extract values from other attribute values. Learn more Currency conversions Use the currency conversion tool to help you expand the reach of your products to more countries with little extra work. This new feature could be especially valuable to you if you sell and ship products to multiple countries, but your website doesn’t have different product pages for each country’s currency. Just submit the products and prices you use on your website, and the tool will estimate the currency conversion in the ads for you. Learn more Up-to-date diagnostics The diagnostic page in Merchant Center has been updated to provide you with the latest results from your feed uploads and product updates. The results will be displayed in near-real time instead of twice a day -- meaning that you’ll have fresher data to update and optimize your product feeds. Get help To find help, click the 3-dot icon in the upper right-hand corner of your account and choose Help center and support. Send us feedback We want to hear about what's working for you in the new Merchant Center and what could be improved. To share your thoughts, click the 3-dot icon in the upper right-hand side of your account, and select Report an error. Posted October 2019 | Merchant Center Announcements
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  79. 2015 Google Shopping Feed Specification and Google Product Taxonomy Update
    We've made updates to the Google Shopping Feed Specification and Google product taxonomy with the goal of creating a richer experience for customers searching for your products online and to simplify the process of providing information in your feed. Some of the updates require changes to your current product data that need to be implemented by September 15, 2015.  Google Shopping Products Feed Specification For the US, Units & Quantity Attributes can now also be submitted to support products sold in bulk or by volume like tiles or floorboards. Learn more We refined our guiding principles and requirements around GTINs, because GTINs uniquely and completely identify a product in the global marketplace. When you submit these identifiers, you help us make your ads richer, and you also make it easier for users to find the product you’re selling. Learn more We tightened our submission rules around the ID Attribute to prevent submissions of invalid characters or sequences because they are difficult to process. For example, we’ll no longer allow trailing whitespaces or control characters. Learn more Apparel and Variant attributes have been simplified into one section, called Detailed Product Attributes and Item Groupings. Requirements for these attributes have been expanded to Brazil. With this change, you'll be able to submit all available product details to describe your products as accurately as possible. When you provide accurate details, you help users locate your products. Learn more Due to popular request, we are introducing stable numeric Google Product Category IDs as an alternative to the Google Product Category path. Now you can submit the ID for the Category instead of the full path. Learn more We are expanding our Shipping requirement to Switzerland, Czechia, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, and Japan to be able to display the total price to users. This update benefits both you and the users, since users get access to complete cost information, which drives conversions for your business. Learn more  Google Product Taxonomy We simplified many Google product taxonomy paths by rolling up a number of categories to their parent nodes. You no longer need to provide subcategories of: Coats & Jackets Shirts & Tops Pants Shorts Swimwear Handbags Shoes Medicine & Drugs Books Video Game Console Accessories Most of the categories under Activewear are now included with their non-active counterparts, for example, 'Active Skirts' will now be found under 'Skirts'. These categories include: Active Dresses Active Jackets Active Leotards Active Pants Active Shirts Active Shorts Active Skirts Active Tanks Active Undergarments Activewear Sets We added more subcategories to the verticals: Food, Beverages & Tobacco Mature Some verticals have undergone significant rework, and you may wish to revisit your provided Google product categories for items that are part of these categories: Arts & Crafts Decor Hardware Sporting Goods Motor Vehicle Parts & Accessories Like last year, some of these changes won't be visible to Google Shopping users immediately, because we want to give you enough time to make changes to your product data. To update your data, make sure to review the Products Feed Specification, the Summary of Attribute Requirements, and the Google product taxonomy. We encourage you to use the test feeds feature, feed debugger, and the Diagnostics tab to ensure that your updated product data can be processed correctly. You can also review the documentation for the Content API for Google Shopping. Enforcement You can begin submitting updated product data immediately. If your data is formatted incorrectly, your item will be rejected during feed processing. We will start enforcing the new and updated attributes on September 15, 2015 with the exception of the expanded shipping requirement. Given that specifying accurate shipping rates can be more complex, we're providing more implementation time for this change -- shipping enforcement will begin February 1, 2016. Values you submit for the 'google product category' attribute can be any taxonomy value we've published since August 2011. While it's not required, we recommend that you update your values for the 'google product category' attribute to use the latest taxonomy values. If you are using the 'google product category' attribute in your Shopping campaigns, some of your products might get assigned a different bid because they are categorized differently. After the deadline, non-compliant items in your product data might be disapproved and removed from Google Shopping.  Enforcement begins June 1, 2015 Numeric Google Product Category IDs: If you submit numeric Google Product Category IDs they must be valid IDs. Invalid submissions will be disapproved. Enforcement begins September 15, 2015 GTINs: For Australia, Brazil, Czechia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, the UK, and the US, you need to submit 'gtin' and 'brand' attributes for all products sold in ‘new’ condition from a designated brand. The list of designated brands will grow over time. The requirements remain the same for products that don't meet these criteria. ID Attribute: You need to submit valid and unique strings. Invalid submissions will be disapproved. Detailed Product Attributes and Item Groupings: These attributes can now be submitted for all products if they exist, are relevant to identify the product, and if the information fits into the accepted values for the detailed product attributes. For Brazil, the attributes ‘color’, ‘age group’ and ‘gender’ are now required for the 'Apparel & Accessories' category and the ‘size’ attribute is now required for the categories 'Apparel & Accessories > Clothing' and 'Apparel & Accessories > Shoes'. These requirements are already in place in France, Germany, Japan, the UK, and the US. Enforcement begins February 1, 2016 Shipping costs: You need to submit accurate shipping costs for the US, UK, Germany, Australia, France, Switzerland, Czechia, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, and Japan. If accurate shipping price configuration is not possible, you'll need to overestimate the shipping cost when you enter it.
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  80. Important update: change to business day configuration
    What’s changing? Previously, our shipping settings assumed that weekends were non-business days for all merchants, meaning that estimated delivery date was longer when orders are placed near a weekend. This is no longer the case.  What does this mean for you?  You’re now able to customize your shipping settings based on the days of the week that you process orders (handling time), as well as the days of the week in which delivery might occur (transit time). These settings will help lower the calculated estimated delivery date to reflect any weekend fulfillment activity that routinely happens in your business.
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  81. Update to political content policy (June 2019)
    In June 2019, Google will update the political content policy to disallow regulated political advertising in Canada. This policy relates to the introduction of new legislation in Canada and will be in effect until the completion of the 2019 federal  election. Here are the requirements: From June 30 to Oct 21, 2019, election ads will not be allowed on Google platforms in Canada. Election ads in Canada are ads that feature a federal political party, leader of a federal political party, a current member of, or candidate (including nomination contestant) for member of the Parliament of Canada. (Posted June 2019)
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