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Here is Why Google is Downgrading the Product Category Field for Product Type

Here is Why Google is Downgrading the Product Category Field for Product Type

10/25/19 UPDATE: Hello Facebook Agency Visitor Person!  We’re delighted to have you visit this awesome post. About a year ago, ZATO stopped offering Facebook Ads solutions so we could focus solely on what we do best: Google Ads. Because of this, we’re always interested in partnerships with great Social Advertising agencies (like yourself, wink wink!) and we offer referral fees for signed clients!  Anyway, back to it, and happy reading…

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Maybe you saw this announcement and wondered if there was something behind it. Read on! I believe I can fill in some gaps based upon Google's announcement regarding Google Product Category's quiet sunsetting.If you missed it, here is the release:

google product category optional

What they don't tell you, is the reasoning behind this. We were on a recent (and rare) call with a Google Shopping Feed Specialist who filled in some more details that I'm happy to share with you. It specifically involves a field they don't talk about in this announcement at all, the Product Type field. So what's the deal, why is Google reducing the level of importance it places on its product category? According to what we were told, it is because the Google Product Category just isn't that accurate for proper categorization, and thus giving Google smart contextual signals for matching products to the best queries. What they ARE changing, that they didn't announce here, is they are beginning to place more importance on the Product Type field.

Why Product Type?

Google has wisely identified that the Product Type field is the retailer internal categorization that typically gives detailed insight into how they see how the products should be categorized on their sites... and this gives Google smarter contextual signals than their contrived Product Categories did. Props to Google for seeing this and making the required changes, and I think this was overall a great idea.How does this affect your Shopping Ads account? We've seen many clients who don't even have anything in the Product Type field, so at the very least we suggest you begin implementing a detailed hierarchy into your Shopping Feed in Merchant Center for the Product Type field. The more descriptive you can be, the better. Utilize things like pattern, material, size, and color if possible.

hero conf google shopping session

So, as Paul Harvey would say, and now you know...the rest of the story!

Dear Google, thanks for ruining one of my upcoming Shopping Ads slides with today's announcement :P   Well, even with this spoiler alert, you can still make it out to HeroConf Philadelphia as there will be other great Shopping knowledge dropped in my upcoming session!

Did you know: ZATO can manage just Shopping Ads for your Brand or company alongside your in-house/agency Paid Search team?  Learn more about this offering here: Google Shopping Agency.

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Kirk Williams
@PPCKirk - Owner & Chief Pondering Officer

Kirk is the owner of ZATO, his Paid Search & Social PPC micro-agency of experts, and has been working in Digital Marketing since 2009. His personal motto (perhaps unhealthily so), is "let's overthink this some more."  He even wrote a book recently on philosophical PPC musings that you can check out here: Ponderings of a PPC Professional.

He has been named one of the Top 25 Most Influential PPCers in the world by PPC Hero 6 years in a row (2016-2021), has written articles for many industry publications (including Shopify, Moz, PPC Hero, Search Engine Land, and Microsoft), and is a frequent guest on digital marketing podcasts and webinars.

Kirk currently resides in Billings, MT with his wife, six children, books, Trek Bikes, Taylor guitar, and little sleep.

Kirk is an avid "discusser of marketing things" on Twitter, as well as an avid conference speaker, having traveled around the world to talk about Paid Search (especially Shopping Ads).  Kirk has booked speaking engagements in London, Dublin, Sydney, Milan, NYC, Dallas, OKC, Milwaukee, and more and has been recognized through reviews as one of the Top 10 conference presentations on more than one occasion.

You can connect with Kirk on Twitter or Linkedin.

In 2023, Kirk had the privilege of speaking at the TEDx Billings on one of his many passions, Stop the Scale: Redefining Business Success.

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