Tips and solutions when assigning Google Product Categories in your Google Shopping Feed

October 5, 2021

Assigning the correct categories in your Google Shopping feed is vital for your ads to appear in the most relevant searches. However, the Google Product Category process still raises questions, which is why we have created this blog to answer all of them.

Feed managementGoogleShopping campaigns

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Tips and solutions when assigning Google Product Categories in your Google Shopping Feed

What is Google Product Category?

The “google_product_category” attribute is used to classify or categorize products in Google Shopping. The goal of this product categorization is to make it easier for customers to find your items within Google Shopping.

To set up the categories correctly, you have to use the taxonomies listed by Google known as the “Google product taxonomy”. The Google product taxonomy is the list of categories that Google uses to help classify products in the Google Shopping feed. There are more than 6,000 categories. This is why it’s incredibly important that you categorize your products correctly. Here you can find more info regarding Google's product taxonomy.

Another important thing to note is that the categories are not the same in all countries. There are countries such as the United Kingdom, United States, France, Germany, and the Netherlands where the taxonomy is more complete and the product categories have more subdivisions than others.

An example of Google’s Category taxonomy for clothing would be:

Clothing and accessories > Clothing > Warm clothing > Jackets and coats

In turn, each of these product categories is associated with a numerical code.

How important is the Google Product Category in the Google Shopping feed?

You should always categorize your products. There are too many benefits you’ll miss out on if you don’t.

  • The Google Product Category is decisive when it comes to ensuring users only see products that are really relevant to their search query.

  • The click rate of Google Shopping campaigns will improve because your products will have more precise attributes.

  • Filling in the Google Product Category influences your position in rankings. This allows you to check whether your products appear ahead of your competition.

  • Many other channels such as Criteo or Facebook Ads also use this categorization as a reference. Making it necessary to follow Google’s product taxonomy in order to be successful in multiple, essential channels.

Tips you should take into account when optimizing your Google Product Categories

  1. Google occasionally updates its categories, so you need to make sure your data feed is updated with the latest changes.

  2. The more information you provide in your Google Shopping feed, the better. That's why it's important to be specific about your categorization. You have to choose the most specific category possible. If you use a more specific Google Product Category, your products will appear in the appropriate search results more often. Therefore your CTR will improve significantly and, by creating more relevant ads, costs will decrease.

  3. If your product fits into more than one category, it is important that you choose the most accurate one. It is not possible to choose two categories in Google Shopping.

  4. If the article does not match any of the categories marked in the Google taxonomy (which is quite unusual due to a large number of categories available), then you can use the product_type attribute.

  5. Remember that each country has a different taxonomy, so you will have to configure the feed and categories based on the country where you want to sell your products. Otherwise, your products will be rejected by Google. This has a close relationship with the taxes marked by each country. For example, if you are going to sell your products in the United States, it is important that the feed is configured for this country so that the tax rate for your products is correct.

Risks with Google's automatic product categorization

Google offers a new automatic categorization feature to make it easier to categorize products. Therefore, the google_product_category attribute is now not mandatory. However, while this advance is helpful, it also poses a risk.

The automatic assignment that Google makes is based on an algorithm that analyses other attributes of the Google Shopping feed, such as the brand, the GTIN, etc. In many cases, these attributes are not very specific and this means that Google does not assign the correct category or uses a category that is too generic.

To avoid this, we strongly recommend that you fill in the Google Product Category field in the Google Shopping feed yourself.

How can Channable help me with smart categorization?

Channable allows you to set up the Google Shopping feed in 5 easy steps. And one of the steps in the configuration of the feed is categorization. With the intention of helping our customers in this process (which can be quite long in multi-product catalogs), in Channable we have developed smart categorization.

Thanks to a smart self-learning algorithm, we have managed to make the products you want to export to Google Shopping automatically fit the Google taxonomy. In this way, a category suggestion will appear that matches each of your products. As this is only a suggestion, you will always have the final decision regarding which category is used. This way, you will still have full control of the categorization process.

Would you like to create a fully optimized Google Shopping feed with Channable’s smart categorization? Create a FREE account today and set up your Google Shopping feed in no time.

Don't forget to read our blog with tips to create the perfect feed for Google Shopping.

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Jacob JørgensenTeam Lead Demand Generation

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