Feed audits should be an essential part of managing e-commerce accounts but they can be tricky to tackle if you haven’t had any experience with them before. This section is going to be focused on identifying issues within the feed whether it be at product, feed or account level.
The overall aim of this blog is to ensure that you have the tools available to identify any issue within the Google Merchant Center. Free clicks generated from ‘Surfaces Across Google’ also rely on a healthy feed, so making sure that the bulk of the products are active is especially important.
Product Disapprovals ❌
When a product has been disapproved by Google it means that this individual product has broken a specific Google policy and will no longer show.
There is a diagnostic view in the Google Merchant Center that will show you all of your disapproved products and the reason why they are disapproved. However, to save time I would suggest downloading Impressions free to use feed exporter tool.
Once you have got the feed plugin setup, you want to download the Merchant Center you need to audit. Make sure you have ticked the “Include Product Status Report in new tab” box, this will generate a separate tab for disapproved products.
There are now a couple of things that you want to do to make it as easy as possible to identify each product issue.
- Navigate to the ‘Statuses’ tab
- Add a filter to the ‘Servability’ header and filter for ‘disapproved’ products only.
- Sort the values by A-Z based off of the ‘Code’ header.
Now you should be able to see all of the products that are being disapproved within your Merchant Center and the reason why. I’ve hidden all client details (title, item ID, URL etc…) but you should have a sheet that looks something like the below.
As you can see there are 11 products where the image link has failed to process and several products that contain an invalid value for the GTIN. There is also a ‘documentation’ column which links to the Google Ads support page for the specific issue why the product has been disapproved – helpful right!?
Product Warnings ⚠️
Product warnings are slightly different to product disprovals whereby a product with a warning will still show but with very limited visibility. To find out if you have any product warnings visit the ‘Products’ – ‘Diagnostic’ – ‘Item Issues’ section to find out more.
The main culprit for product warnings tends to be items without unique identifiers (GTIN or MPN). Products without these identifiers will still show in Google shopping, however, with the warning they will not get nearly as much traffic.
Top Tip: For products that don’t have GTINs or MPNs make sure the ‘identifier_exists’ product attribute is set to ‘false’. This will prevent this warning from showing!
Feed Issues ❗️
Feed specific issues are the least common type of problems in the Google Merchant Center. These issues usually occur when the product feed has failed to process correctly. To find out if you have a feed specific issue visit the ‘Products’ – ‘Diagnostic’ – ‘Feed Issues’ section to find out more.
Here is a helpful guide on finding all of the required attributes Google needs and the format the feed needs to be generated in, Google Support Link. If you have any further feed-related issues, get in touch with the Impression team and we can help!
Account Issues ❗️
Account issues are the most serious type of issues and can often lead to account suspensions if the issue has not been fixed within a certain timeframe. To find out if you have an account-specific issue visit the ‘Products’ – ‘Diagnostic’ – ‘Account Issues’ section to find out more.
There are many different types of account issues that can occur. An example in the screenshot above shows an error relating to a pricing difference between the feed and the website. This is a serious issue and Google can hand account suspensions for misleading the customers so its best to keep a close eye on this section.
Regular feed audits will help you tackle key issues that are preventing your products from showing across both Google Shopping and Google Surfaces.
In the next part, we’ll be running through how to fix all the weird and wonderful feed/product issues that Google can find…
James Webster – Ecommerce PPC Specialist – @PPC_Webster