If you use Google Shopping for auto parts in 2021, you may have images are disapproved for not complying with Google Shopping image requirements or Google Shopping feed specifications. Maybe you received the “risk of disapproval” notice, followed by the dreaded “preemptively disapproved” notice.
There continue to be a lot of changes with Google Shopping image requirements through 2021. But don’t worry, we break it all down for you along with changes in Google Shopping data feed requirements.
Google Shopping image requirements
Google Shopping image requirements for size specify a minimum of 100 pixels x 100 pixels. That’s a minimum dimension for everything on Google Shopping except clothing. You’ll have better results if you use the minimum size for clothing, 250 pixels x 250 pixels. Or, better yet go up to 500 pixels x 500 pixels or even 800 pixels x 800 pixels.
- 100 x 100 pixels minimum for auto parts.
- 250 x 250 pixels minimum for apparel.
- 64 megapixel resolution maximum.
- 16 MB image size maximum.
Google Shopping feed specs for auto parts for 2021
Shopping is a great way to sell aftermarket or OEM auto parts. It also has a nice conversion rate and ROI. For many companies selling auto parts online, Shopping is their primary source of paid search revenue. For our clients it’s usually between 50% and 90% of total paid search revenue.
It’s a big deal when auto parts drop out of a Merchant Center product feed.
It takes time to fix, and your Google Shopping campaigns do not show these products.
We’ve seen stricter reinforcing of Google Shopping feed specifications for aftermarket auto parts in recent years. This started as far back as September 2018. When you get warnings on your auto parts images, it may not make total sense. This article explains how Google’s image disapprovals work and how you can do a better job complying with Google Shopping feed specs.
Artificial intelligence scans Shopping images
Google is getting better at identifying images that don’t pass quality guidelines. Images not meeting Google Shopping feed specs are flagged. Sometimes, the algorithm is a bit too aggressive, too.
Google Shopping image requirements: Disapproval due to missing images
Missing images are bad and always have been. Google doesn’t like auto parts with missing images. If you got by with missing images so far, consider yourself lucky.
You’re under the microscope once you’re “caught.” Eliminate all auto parts with missing images now. Don’t wait for auto parts images to be disapproved. That way, you avoid close scrutiny in the future.
Google Shopping image requirements don’t allow auto parts listings without an image, or with a generic “missing image” image.
New disapprovals we see in 2020-2021
Here are two examples of disallowed images that are new types of disapprovals. This first image is of a Jeep antenna mast. This probably got flagged by artificial intelligence: Look closely at the reason given for its disapproval! Hey, even artificial intelligence isn’t perfect.
In this example, we submitted this to Google for approval and it was approved. But, this shows it is important to review your images for similar, incorrect, disapprovals.
This next example is a product that is disapproved for “Products that enable dishonest behavior (Hacking).” This isn’t an image problem, it’s a product problem. But we wanted to include it here.
We first noticed this type of disapproval in January of 2020. This is the first example we’ve seen where a product that allegedly defeats emissions equipment is flagged for enabling “dishonest behavior.” This is something automotive aftermarket marketers should watch for.
Google Shopping disapproval due to “promotional text or logos”
Google’s shopping feed specifications do not allow text to appear in an auto parts image. The image requirements state, “…all items on Google Shopping require an unobstructed image that does not contain additional promotional elements.”
In the first example, we pulled this crate engine image from a popular aftermarket auto parts website. It’s a great image for a website! But, this image violates Google’s policy on promotional text or logos. This product image will be disapproved.
The “FREE SHIPPING” icon is the reason for the disapproval. This product has a secondary image without the icon and in this case, that secondary image would be perfect for Google Shopping.
In this second example, two logos appear in the exhaust parts photo. These logos are in violation because these are “promotional elements.” This image does not comply with Google Shopping image requirements.
Google Shopping image requirement disapproval: image has text
Some auto parts, shirts or hats have text or logos on them. Do they fall under the “no promotional text or logos” rule?
No. These product images are fine to use in Google Shopping. Occasionally, the artificial intelligence algorithm “reads” text in the image and interprets it as promotional text or a logo. The algorithm “thinks” you violated a Google Shopping feed specification. These misinterpretations increased in 2020 but seem to have dropped off and stabilized in 2021.
If you were previously flagged for a disapproved image, you’re also subject to additional scrutiny like with missing product images mentioned above.
Here’s an example of an image for a Banks Monster-Ram. It could potentially be flagged as having promotional text. If this image would get disapproved, Google has a method of requesting a manual review of disapproved images. There’s a link to request a manual review in the email you receive.
Disapproval when a kit has multiple parts in an image
Another automated disapproval comes from images showing multiple parts because they’re part of a kit.
This is actually fairly common.
Here are two examples of auto parts. One is OK but the other one violates a Google Shopping feed specification.
The first example is a kit. In a Google Shopping feed, artificial intelligence may disapprove this image because it shows several parts instead of one.
This first image is actually OK for Google Shopping. If you get a disapproval notice, submit this for manual approval like the Monster-Ram above.
The second example shows an auto part in one image from two different views. It displays two parts, but it sells in units of one. In this example, the quantity required is 1, UOM (“unit of measure”), is “ea” (“each”).
If used for Shopping, it violates Google Shopping specifications. It needs a new photo showing just one product, not two.
You must use two separate images to show a product from two angles.
Disapproval due to image background
Google’s description of low image quality says, “…we recommend your main image…use a solid white, gray, or light colored background.”
Don’t believe that it is merely a recommendation.
To be safe, consider this recommendation a requirement.
They evaluate images on best practices, as well as published requirements. We recommend all images use a solid white, gray or light colored background. Images that don’t have a solid white, gray or light background risk disapproval.
This example shows a product on a black background. This is great for a product page but this photo is not a valid image for a Google Shopping feed. It doesn’t comply with the Google Shopping feed specification for a product image.
Google Shopping disapproval from watermarks
Google Shopping feed specifications don’t allow watermarked images. “Watermarked” means a logo appears on top of an image. This is prevents others from stealing the image from a website.
While watermarked images may not be flagged at first, once they are, Google sends a “risk of disapproval” email. You must submit new images within about 30 days.
This example is a clear violation of a Google Shopping feed specification. It does not comply with Google Shopping image requirements.
If you have concerns about someone stealing images from your Merchant Center feed, don’t worry. Unless someone is logged into your Merchant Center they don’t have access to your full-size image and it can’t be stolen. They can only copy the tiny version displayed in Shopping ads.
Some eCommerce platforms let you display a watermark on top of an image programmatically. This lets you display a watermark on your own website but also keeps the image clean for Google Shopping. It also avoids the need to manually add watermarks and maintain two separate files of images. Talk to your web developer about this.
Google Shopping feed management: other reasons for image disapproval
Image size is important for Google Shopping. Auto parts images must be at least 100 x 100 pixels or larger. They must be less than 16 MB. Images for apparel, including automotive T-shirts, hats, jackets or hoodies, must be at least 250 x 250 pixels.
Images must be photos of the actual product, not a placeholder, “looks like” image, or a “representative part” image. Image formats must be non-animated GIF (.gif), PNG (.png), JPEG (.jpg or .jpeg), BMP (.bmp), or TIFF (.tif or .tiff) files.
There are two Google Shopping categories where an illustration is acceptable: Hardware and Vehicles & Parts. Illustrations still can’t show text, part numbers, frames, or multiple products in one image.
Other Google Shopping feed specification in 2021
In May 2020 we started to see aggressive disapprovals for product pages with redirects. Product pages for products that are no longer “live” (maybe for a product being out of stock) that redirect to a home page result in an entire Merchant Center feed being suspended. That’s because in Google’s automated process it looks for an “Add to Cart” or “Buy” button (which doesn’t exist on a home page). When it doesn’t find a button, it flags the feed for possible suspension.
Secret tip: use schema on your product page to identify a part number with the schema for “SKU.” Don’t flag it with schema identifying it as “MPN.”
Google Shopping feed specification questions? Call us
We’re experts in using automotive data to build, manage and optimize Merchant Center feeds. We manage millions of rows of data for Shopping. We’re also experts at Google Shopping feed specifications as well as the new Smart Shopping campaigns. If you need help with your Shopping campaigns we’d love to talk to you!
We’re recently getting a lot of search queries for גוגל שופינג but unfortunately we don’t have this article published in Hebrew!
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