Google Shopping Updating GTIN Requirements

Last year Google rolled out an update to Google Shopping, whereby products from an initial list of 50 designated major brands including Apple, Samsung and Nike must include a GTIN (Global Trade Identification Number) as assigned by the manufacturer.

From 16th May 2016, this will be rolled out to include all applicable products on Google Shopping.

Why are Google making these changes?

Google say that providing GTINs for your products helps with visibility and targeting. Consistent numbering means they can be certain that all Google Shopping listings served up are all for the same model of product.

According to Google’s analysis of last year’s GTIN requirement for 50 brands, merchants who add correct GTINs to their product data may see their conversion rate increase by up to 20%.

Also, they’ve seen that offers matched to the Google Shopping product catalogue may receive up to 40% more clicks than unmatched offers.

Does this apply to me?

If you sell new branded products through Google Shopping then you must have a GTIN for each of the products in your feed. If you sell bespoke goods such as handmade arts and crafts or antiques you are exempt.

You can find out more direct from Google here.

What do I need to do?

Under the old rules you needed two unique identifiers which would include Brand, MPN or GTIN.

MPN (Manufacturer Part Number) is just optional, but you must have a GTIN in your feed for each relevant product. If you have Schema MicroData (aka Rich Snippets) in the code of your product pages you will also want to make sure that the GTIN information is provided to Search Engines.

Please see the information below based on the notes from Google’s Merchant Support Centre.

GTINs come in different formats.

GTINs vary in length depending on the type of product and where the product will be sold. Here are the most common different GTIN formats which you might encounter:

  • UPC (in North America / GTIN-12): 12-digit number (8-digit UPC-E codes should be converted to 12-digit UPC-A codes)
  • EAN (in Europe / GTIN-13): 13-digit number
  • JAN (in Japan / GTIN-13): 8 or 13-digit number
  • ISBN (for books): 13-digit number (ISBN-10 values should be converted to ISBN-13)
  • ITF-14 (for multipacks / GTIN-14): 14-digit number

How to find a GTIN.

The easiest way to find a number you can use is to refer to the bar code on your product’s packaging. We’ve put a few example bar codes below to illustrate how a GTIN might be displayed on your product. If you can’t find the GTIN, you can always contact the manufacturer directly to ask for it.


This type of GTIN is found on products sold in the United States. It’s the 12-digit number below the barcode:


This type of GTIN is found on products sold in Europe or Japan, and also on books sold worldwide. It’s the 13-digit number below the barcode:


This type of GTIN is found on products that are sold in multipacks, like shipping boxes for example. The GTIN is the 14-digit number below the barcode:

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