image_link - Google Merchant center Feed Specification Guide

 

image_link - Google Merchant Center Feed Specification Guide

 

The digital space is fast growing into one of the most effective marketing spaces. Google’s advertising tools are a great way to reach out to new customers effectively. It’s also one of the most convenient for lots of small and local businesses. 

There can be several kinds of ads that you can put out using the Google feed software, but the most common shopping ads are banner ads with pictures. Visual stimulation can be a powerful thing. People tend to focus on images that catch their eye, and once they do, they remember what they see a lot more effectively than something they heard or simply read alone. 

It is possible to get a well-rounded idea about a product or a concept simply by looking at a picture. Choose something that represents your core brand or idea, so that customers want to know more about what you offer. It is essential that you format your ads as recommended in the Google feed specification guide in order to make it successful. Keep reading to find out the requirements for product images as per the Google merchant center feed guide for an impactful campaign.

 

Definition 

 

The image you choose is what appears on your ad to potential customers. The image_link  in google feed is how your image can be identified by Google. The URL for your main product page should be included with the image_link attribute. 

 

When to use the image_link attribute?

 

It’s required to use these attributes for each product. If your product has multiple images, you can submit the main image using image_link and include any other images in the additional_image_link attribute. 

 

Format guidelines

 

Here are the guidelines for formatting so that it’s easy to understand the data you're submitting to your ad. Let’s start with the basic properties of the data: 

 

Type

URL (including http or https), ASCII characters only, and RFC 3986 compliant

Limits

1 – 2,000 characters

Supported file formats

 

GIF (.gif), JPEG (.jpg/.jpeg), PNG (.png), BMP (.bmp), and TIFF (.tif/.tiff)

Example entry

http://www.example.com/image1.jpg 

 

1. URL Guidelines

 

  1. The URL used should point to an image in a supported file format.

  2. Ensure that it complies with RFC 3986 and starts with http or https

  3. All symbols or spaces with URL encoded entities should be replaced

  4. Ensure that your URL is crawlable by Google. This needs all the files in the correct configuration. 

 

2. Google shopping Image guidelines

 

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The following are some basic guidelines to follow in your image URL so that it can be understandable to everyone. Deviation from these guidelines could lead to your product ad being dismissed or delayed for technical reasons. You will be notified if this happens, so here are things you might need to fix. 

Here are the guidelines to follow to make sure your ad image meets all the requirements and is thus optimized for the best performance. 

  1. Image should meet the following size requirements for optimum quality of your image:

    1. For non-apparel images: at least 100 x 100 pixels

    2. For apparel images: at least 250 x 250 pixels

    3. No image can be larger than 64 megapixels

    4. No image file can be larger than 16MB

  2. The entire product should be accurately displayed 

  3. All the products in the bundle need to be shown in the picture and must be identified with an attribute. This ensures that users understand what is included.

  4. If a placeholder or an image doesn’t show your product, don’t use it. These elements don’t allow customers to distinguish what they are buying clearly. 

    1. An exception is made for products in hardware, vehicles/parts, and computer software. Refer to Google’s codes for these categories for any additional information. 

  5. Generic images, graphics, or illustrations that are not actual images of the product should not be used

    1. An exception is using logos or icons for computer software

  6. Icons or logos shouldn’t be used instead of the actual product image

  7. You shouldn’t use a single-color image that is just a square of colour

    1. Exceptions are made if your product includes vehicle paint, painting consumables, craft paint, ink/glaze. Refer to Google’s codes for these categories for any additional information.

  8. Images with any promotional content or elements that cover the product shouldn’t be used. These include:

    1. A call for action, such as ‘buy’

    2. Any information about services, such as ‘extended warranty’

    3. Information like free shipping

    4. Any information about price

    5. Adjectives like ‘best’ or ‘cheap’ – these are promotional 

    6. Information about compatibility or condition, such as ‘new’, ‘adaptable’, ‘3-piece’ 

    7. Overlay information like watermarks, brand names, logos

    8. Any barcodes

    9. Brand, retailer or manufacturer names 

    10. logos of brand, retailer or manufacturer 

  9. your image should not have a border. This makes it easy to fit the image into various design templates.

 

Google shopping images - Best practices

Here are some tips to get the best out of your ad from Google by making things easier on both sides:

  1. Use an URL that is stable

  2. If you make any changes to an image, let Google know. These can include:

  3. Adding an image for a new product

  4. Changing an image for an existing product

  5. You should enable automatic improvements to any image 

  6. The image used should provide a clear view of the main product that is sold. Any additional angles/views can be included with an additional image attribute.

  7. A unique image should be used, with the distinguishing details of each variant of products. This means that each variant of the product needs its own image. The variants and their respective images should not be used interchangeably.

  8. The variant should be correct. Make sure that your image matches the material attributes of the product, in addition to the colour and the pattern.  

  9. Show only 1 variant, if the difference is based on colour.

  10. Make sure the image is correct. If you are advertising a customizable product, there are different requirements which you should check separately. 

  11. Use images of the highest quality for the best ad performance.

  12. Your image should be framed in the image space, taking up approximately between 75% and 90% of the space. 

  13. For the background, use a transparent or solid white type. These options make sure your image works with many designs and elements.

  14. A single unit of the product only should be displayed. If you need to use the ‘multipack’ attribute, ensure that the main image is of a single unit, and that any other images are added using the ‘additional image’ attribute.

  15. Any products that are not sold together with the main product should not be included. This includes any accessories and supplementary parts of a product – like a mouse and a mouse pad that are sold separately.

  16. You should not submit a thumbnail of an image or scale it up. This is important to keep in mind, as images are often cropped or adjusted in some way in the final ad to focus the shopping ad on the product and for experimentation. 


Examples

 

1. Variants 

 

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Say you are selling heels in two different colours – black and brown. The black heels need to be submitted with an image of the black heels only, and the same for the brown heels. These images cannot be interchanged. If the heels of different sizes look the same, you can use the same image for different sizes. 

 

Product

Google shoes

image_link

http://www.example.com/image1.jpg

title

Original Google shoes, mens size 8, blue and orange

color

blue/orange/purple

size

8

size_system

US

id

8989-blu_or-M-8-US

item_group_id

8989

 

Product

Google shoes

image_link

http://www.example.com/image2.jpg

title

Original Google shoes, mens size 8, green and brown

color

green/brown

size

8

size_system

US

id

8989-grn_brn-M-8-US

item_group_id

8989

 

2. Software subscription 

 

Say you were advertising for a streaming service like Netflix called Watchflix (made up name), you could use it’s ‘W’ logo as your image. 



Product

Google Security Software Basic Edition (1-year subscription)

title

Google Security Software Basic Edition (1-year subscription)

price

29.90 USD

google_product_category

Software > Computer Software > Antivirus & Security Software

brand

Google

mpn

123GOOGLE432

gtin

1234567890123

id

G-ABC123

shipping

0.00 USD

image_link

http://www.example.com/software-logo.jpg

 

Conclusion

 

If used effectively, Google as a platform for your shopping ads can be an amazing tool for your business. These formatting tips can help you get the most out of digital marketing. There are additional sources that you can refer to more tips on how to maximize your reach. You can always consult Google’s own Merchant Center for any other information. 

 

Further readings on Google Feed 

 

  1. How to Troubleshoot your Google merchant center data feed?

  2. What are the Requirements to Google merchant center data feed?
  3. Tips to Optimize Your Google Merchant Center Data Feed

  4. How to create the correct Feed for multiple countries?

  5. Google Merchant Center Feed Guide.