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Do I need GTINs?

Many retailers ask us if GTINs fall under essential product data. The answer: it’s highly recommended, although not always necessary. Not all products are assigned GTINs and some marketing channels will accept MPNs instead. This article will explain what GTINs are and how they fit into your feed management and marketing.

  • GTIN: Global Trade Item Numbers
  • MPN: Manufacturer Part Number

MPNs, brands and GTINs are the most common unique product identifiers used to distinguish products from each other.

Types of GTINs

International Standard Book Number (ISBN)

These GTINs are numerical identifiers for commercial books and can be found with the book’s barcode.

Note: ISBNs after 2007 are 13 digits long (ISBN-13) whereas before 2007, they were 10 digits long (ISBN-10).

European Article Number (EAN)

EANs are associated with retail merchandise and are used mostly outside North America. They can be 8-14 digits along although 13 digits is the most common.

Universal Product Code (UPC)

UPCs (also known as UPC-A or GTIN-12) are 12 digit identifiers used mainly in North America. They are also associated with retail merchandise.

Japanese Article Number (JAN)

JANs are only used in Japan and are 8-13 digits long.

Most widely manufactured products have GTINs, in which case you must submit one in your product data. If your product does have a GTIN but you don’t submit one, then that product may not show up in relevant searches. Unique product identifiers are used to help merchants’ products match search queries, so make sure that if you don’t have GTINs you submit MPNs and brand attributes.

Products without GTINs

  • Custom-made products
  • Products from store brands
  • Equipment manufacturer parts or replacement parts
  • Books released before 1970
  • Products on pre-order
  • Vintage/antique products

Remember that including unique product identifiers will help your product listing ads perform better, so make sure you don’t omit any product data unnecessarily.

How to find missing GTINs

  • Check on the product itself under the barcode
  • Contact your distributor or manufacturer
  • Search for the product on Google Shopping and check the product details
  • You can find Google Books or ISBNdb.com

GTINs for Google Shopping

GTINs are a requirement for products that have been assigned GTINs by the manufacturer. MPNs are optional, however. Remember that variations of the same product will have unique GTINs

Submitting unique product identifiers for your products is an essential part of your feed optimization for Google Shopping. GTINs help get your products in front of the right people by classifying your products according to Google’s taxonomy.

You can also ensure that your product categories match Google’s by using ShoppingFeeder’s mapping functionalities. You can even run your shopping campaigns through the app as well as monitor your clicks, conversions and orders on a product-level.

Go to Google Support to read their GTIN guidelines for specific product categories.

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