Google suggests that for smaller merchants, using a TXT format may be the best option. There are a number of reasons for this but the main one is that it requires the least technical knowledge.
If you’re new to online shopping, or if you’re a merchant with a small number of products, this data feed file can be created with relative ease. However, you do need to be reasonably familiar with spreadsheets.
If you know that your product information won’t change very often, and you have the time and resources to make the relevant changes and upload the data feed each time products change, then this could be ideal for you. But if you have products that often go in and out of stock, and you are adding a lot of new products all the time, this won’t be the best option.
Let’s look at the potential advantages and disadvantages of using the TXT format for your data feed:
- If you know how to create spreadsheets then generating a TXT file is easy
- You can easily optimize the feed titles and descriptions
- It is easy to view multiple products at once
- You need to manually update and upload your file whenever you make a change
- You need to ensure you re-upload every 30 days
- It’s not suitable when you have many products
- It is easy to make formatting mistakes
- You need to familiarise yourself with Product Feed Specifications
Step 1: Open your spreadsheet program
Using a spreadsheet program such as Microsoft Excel makes it easy to create a feed and convert it to the proper format. You can reference our example file as you're creating your feed.
Step 2: Create a header row
On the first row of the spreadsheet, enter the names of the attributes that describe your items, each in its own column. You can list your products to Shopping ads using highly structured information with the help of two types of attributes:
- Required attributes
- Recommended attributes
Any items that are missing required attributes will not process successfully. Items missing recommended attributes will still process successfully. We strongly suggest you include information about those attributes as well to increase the chances that your products will be included in relevant results. Refer to the table below for an example header row, and refer to the product data specification for all the required attributes for your target country.:
Step 3: Enter your item information
In the rows below the header row, enter information about your items for the attributes you've chosen. Each item should be listed in a separate row, and its information divided into the appropriate columns. (For example, an item's description should be in the same column as the 'description' header). You may leave a cell empty if there is no value for an attribute.
Step 4: Convert your spreadsheet
Most spreadsheet programs allow you to export data into a tab-delimited file. Either of the options below will create a file with a name ending in the ".txt" extension. This is the file you should submit to Google Merchant Center.
Step 5: Submit your data feed
Check that your file meets is in the correct format and upload it to the Merchant Center.