At Merkle|RKG, we have seen Google cracking down on data feeds containing pricing and availability information that does not match merchant websites. As some will have already experienced, this can lead to a suspension, thus preventing your products from showing in PLAs. This just goes to show the importance of data feeds to the success of PLAs, and advertisers need to make sure that the pricing and availability found in feeds match information found on their websites exactly. We know that this information can change pretty regularly on your site, and that it may be pretty taxing to have your system output a full product feed each time inventory changes. The good news is Google has provided a new feature that makes updating this information a little bit easier. As many merchants may have found out from the notice below featured in the Google Merchant Center, Google recently added the capability to upload Online Product Inventory Update Feeds (OPIU Feeds) to the Google Merchant Center via ftp transfer. This is a great new tool that advertisers should take advantage of.
Only Update Information for Those Items that Need ItThe OPIU feeds allow merchants to submit a feed containing product IDs alongside price, availability, sale price, and/or sale price effective date for just those items which need one or more of these fields to be updated. The purpose of this is to allow regular updates to product pricing and/or stock status without having to upload a full data feed containing each product attribute. Google indicates that, "this feed type is processed faster than your full products feed, allowing fresher information to appear on Google Shopping." Additionally, this should help to cut down on the time it takes your system to output multiple feeds per day. These new feeds have been particularly helpful for large SKU-count clients. If you have products go out of stock mid-day or decide to go live with a price drop, the OPIU feeds get new information displayed in PLAs almost instantaneously. Additionally, this would be a feature to take advantage of if you do not have the capability to connect via the Google Content API to update inventory, as well as if you regularly receive suspension warnings for price/availability mismatches between your website and data feed. One thing to consider before setting up an OPIU feed to manage your product inventory for PLAs is that this does not allow for new products to be added to the Google Merchant Center, since you need to provide many more product attributes than those featured in the OPIU for products to be eligible for PLAs. Thus, you should only add new products through a full product data feed. Otherwise, we highly recommend this new feature, as it can undoubtedly save some processing time for whatever system you use to process feeds to Google via FTP connection.
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