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Marketing 360® Blog

Your Guide to Google Merchant Center’s Product Data Specification 2020 Update

Post By Robyn Rivera | eCommerce Marketing

In June, Google announced its 2020 Merchant Center product data specification update. This update happens every year, impacting product feeds and product visibility on Google, and it’s always good to be in the know about what it entails.

What You Need to Know About Google Merchant Center’s Product Data Specification 2020 Update

Immediate Changes

Some of the changes the update will bring will be available in the future, while others will go into effect right away.

Attribute Updates

The most significant changes to this update brings are the new product details, product highlights, and installment and subscription cost attributes. These changes will have an impact on shopping campaigns.

Product Details

The [product_detail] attribute is optional and used to help Google provide more relevant products in search queries, which it accomplishes through structured, readable data.

With this attribute, you can organize technical specifications not covered by other attributes for your products into bulleted lists that are easier for shoppers to read.

Product Highlights

The [product_highlight] attribute is probably the most significant change in the update, as it lets you add a short sentence (up to 150 characters) that highlights your product’s best features.

Google requires that you use at least two product highlights, but recommends including four to six of them. The maximum number of highlights you can include is 10.

Use product highlights are about highlighting important things about your product, not a place to give general information about your brand or compare your product to the competition.

Installment and Subscription Cost

The [installment] and [subscription_cost] attributes are also optional, and are designed to be used in Shopping ads for wireless products and services. They are useful for providing information about annual plans, payment plans, and monthly contracts.

These attributes are only to be used for wireless products and services only. If you use them for other product categories, it could lead to disapprovals.

Sale Price Annotations

With this update, Google has relaxed its requirements for sale price annotations, helping consumers to spot what’s on sale.

In order for the sale price to be displayed, the base price (the higher price prior to the sale) has to have been charged for at least 30 days within the past 200 days. The days do not have to be consecutive.

Changes Coming on September 1, 2020

Not all of the changes that the update brings will go into effect immediately. Here are the changes that will take place starting in September.

Product Descriptions

With this update, the [description] attribute will be required for all products. Failing to include a product description won’t make it ineligible, but it will limit the product’s performance. Google will prioritize similar products that include the [description] attribute over products that don’t.

Product Category

Products within specific categories, like Apparel & Accessories and Media, will require unique product identifiers and/or additional attributes, like gender, size, age-group, and color.

Like the [description] attribute, products in these categories that are missing the identifiers and/or additional attributes won’t be ineligible, but their performance may be limited.

Material, Pattern, and Image Link

With the update, multiple values for [material] and [pattern] attributes will need to be separated by hyphens or slashes instead of commas.

If you have more than one image, instead of adding multiple [image_link] attributes, add any additional images with [additional_image_link] attributes.


Many of the changes the 2020 update brings won’t make your products ineligible; however, utilizing all of the relevant attributes will make a difference in how your product performs, which makes it incredibly important.

Proper shopping feed optimization is a key part of online retail success. Learn how the team at Marketing 360® can help you get it right today.