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Surfaces across Google

Surfaces across Google

June 10, 2020

Surfaces across Google was launched in the US in 2019 as a free destination that would make Google the deepest source and most immersive shopping experience for consumers by providing the largest selection of products on the web.

Surfaces show your products to consumers as unpaid product listings on Google Shopping, Google Search, and other platforms, including Google Images, Google Lens, Google Maps, and YouTube.

Tip: If you do nothing else, uploading your products to Surfaces across Google is an opportunity not to be missed!

For starters, Surfaces is certainly the simplest of Google’s three destinations or programs for you to set up and manage.

Step 1. If you do not have a Google Merchant Center (GMC) account, you’ll need to set this up.

Step 2. Activate Surfaces across Google in the GMC.

Step 3. Upload your products to the GMC using AdAmplify’s Google Shopping feed.

 

Standard Listings

Once your products have been uploaded to the GMC, there is nothing more you have to do. They’re now eligible to be shown in standard listings in Surfaces across Google (like Skinveda, our Navago client, below).

Standard listings show the product’s title, description, image, price, and a link to the product’s detail page on your Shopify store, and GTIN (barcode) and manufacturer’s brand. These are all included in AdAmplify’s feed to the Google Merchant Center. As changes are made in your Shopify store, e.g., adding new products or modifying existing ones (including automatic changes like inventory availability), our feed looks after continuously updating the GMC.

 

Enhanced Listings for Apparel and Accessories

If you are in the US (sorry, Canada) and your products include apparel and accessories with options such as size and color, configure your feed in the AdAmplify app to meet Google’s requirements for Enhanced Listings. Enhanced Listings provide a content-rich display of these products, for example, an image of each available color is shown. Because the user experience is more immersive, you can expect Enhanced Listings to perform better.

 

Enhanced Listing Requirements

Google’s requirements for Enhanced Listings puts more responsibility on you to meet certain Google policies, including providing required data attributes. AdAmplify has simplified the work you need to do to comply with Google’s Enhanced Listings data requirements. This ensures that your data feed meets the quality standards set by Google.

 

Enhanced Listing Attributes

These include the following required Attributes:

  • availability
  • GTIN (barcode in Shopify) that’s assigned to the applicable product
  • MPN (manufacturer part number) if product doesn’t have an assigned GTIN
  • Color (for apparel items and accessories)
  • Size   (for apparel items and accessories)
  • age group (for apparel items and accessories)*
  • gender (for apparel items and accessories)*
  • material (your product’s fabric or material; required if relevant for distinguishing different products in a item group
  • pattern (your product’s pattern or graphic print; required if relevant for distinguishing different products in a item group
  • item group (for products with variants)
    * the values for these two Attributes must match the values pre-defined by Google:
    Age Group: newborn; infant; toddler; kids; adult
    Gender: male; female; unisex

Some of these attributes are handled automatically (e.g., item group is assigned internally by Shopify when you set up a product with attributes).

Four of the required Attributes (color, size, age group, and gender) are required for all apparel and accessory products. You’ve likely already set up two for apparel: color and size. Which leaves age group and gender, matching to Google’s predefined values.

If your Shopify values don’t correspond to Google’s predefined values, rather than change these in your Shopify store, you can map your values to Google’s predefined values using our mapping dictionary.

There’s another group of optional attributes that are needed to cover certain situations:

  • condition (if product is used or refurbished)
  • multipack (if your product is a multipack, e.g., multiple identical products for sale as one item)
  • is_bundle: (if product is a bundle, e.g., a camera, lens, and camera bag you’ve created)
  • shipping (when you want to override your GMC shipping settings for a product)
  • tax (when you want to override your GMC tax settings for a product)

 

Other Enhanced Listing Requirements for Surfaces

To qualify for the Enhanced Listing program, you must meet a few other requirements to establish your credibility with Google as you start out. You may link your account to one of Google’s third-party platforms (but, although we’re told there are more coming, today the only option is PayPal); or opt into the Google Customer Reviews program. We recommend you do both, particularly if you plan to participate in Google Actions.

 

Why Does Listing Quality Matter?

Simply put, the quality of your data feed will determine whether your products pass Google’s eligibility requirements and are approved. Google’s goal is to make sure that consumers have accurate information for each product they look at and that it matches what is on your website. Providing complete and accurate information determines whether or not a product is approved by Google and, once approved, how well it will perform.

 

Summary

For most Shopify merchants, qualifying for Surfaces across Google is a simple process; most of it is taken care of when you build your Google Shopping feed using one of AdAmplify’s apps. The fact this is a free program makes the minimal effort involved in setting it up very well worthwhile. And, after setup, things pretty much run themselves: no campaigns to set up and monitor!

For Shopify merchants who sell apparel and accessories, you’ll be expected to set up Enhanced Listings to provide consumers with the best possible experience when your products are displayed in Google Shopping. This means each variant of a product will not be displayed as a separate product (blue shirt; red shirt; etc) but as a single product with the type of option dropdowns consumers are used to seeing when they visit your site.

Although our app will do much of this for you by streamlining any manual effort like mapping or creating an age-group attribute value for each product, the effort you initially put into creating a high quality data feed will pay significant dividends over the long run.

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