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Google Manufacturer Center vs Merchant Center

Written by Ben Culpin, Posted on September 3, 2019
(Last Updated: September 04, 2020)

As a manufacturer selling online, you face a number of unique problems.

Firstly, you want to be able to maintain accuracy and quality of your product information across all your sales channels.

Secondly, you want your branding and messaging to be consistent and thirdly you want to be able to increase sales across all the retailers you partner with.

That's why Google created the Manufacturer Center back in 2015. In this article we'll take a look at what it is, how it differs from the Merchant Center and the benefits it brings to manufacturers.

 

What exactly is the Google Manufacturer Center?

As the name suggests, Google Manufacturer Center is designed to allow branded manufacturers to share detailed and rich product information such as product titles, descriptions, images, key features, YouTube videos, and others that are not captured in a Merchant Center feed. If we take the words straight from Google, the tool is designed to let:

"...brand manufacturers accurately represent products to shoppers on Google.com and other Google services.”

Basically, it's giving the manufacturers more control over how their products are being displayed, more accurate data for resellers to use in their descriptions of their products and ultimately create a better shopping experience for their buyers.

This better shopping experience is ensured by:

1. Providing detailed product info that is unique to your brand.
2. Frequently updating your product information. 

What's more, as with any Merchant Center feed, the more accurate and up-to-date your feeds, the more likely your Google Shopping Ads are to show up for relevant search queries.

Google will then take your product data (more info later in the article) and use it to enhance the information it provides users across all of its properties, including:

  • Google.com
  • Google Shopping
  • Google Now
  • Google Express

This information will also be used in seller and reseller ads.

 

How does the Google Manufacturer Center differ from the Google Merchant Center ?


The names are so similar we can definitely understand the confusion. In fact, that's why we produced this article in the first place. To state it as briefly as possible:

Google merchant Center is an advertising tool that helps retailers upload their own accurate store, brand and product data from which Google Shopping and other Google services can pull to create advertising.

Google merchant center

Google Manufacturer Center allows manufacturers to provide information for resellers to use in actual listings to boost more natural search results, drive conversions, and improve the customer experience.

The Manufacturer Center is only available to manufacturers, brand owners, and brand licencors, regardless of whether they sell directly to consumers.

It is possible for a manufacturer to participate in both Merchant Center and Manufacturer Center. Information provided via Manufacturer Center will not affect the listed retailers or the sale price of products advertised on Google via Merchant Center. If a manufacturer would like to advertise their products for sale, they can do so via Merchant Center.

Google manufacturer Center get started

As you can probably see then, there is a significant overlap in the data that each platform is using, so it's highly likely that at some point you will use both.

When you have provided Google Manufacturer Center with information that contains optimized titles, descriptions and product images - it can be used by official distributors to use in their Google Shopping campaigns. 

So the more effort you put into providing high quality data to the Manufacturer Center, the better the shopping experience will be for your customers and the higher the revenue will be for your retail partners. 

 

What does the Google Manufacturer Center look like to your shoppers?

 

Instead of me rambling about this, the best way is to just take an example!

Ex: A shopper, let's call him Mark, wants to buy a new washing machine. The chances are that they don't have an exact model in mind, so will most likely start by using Google just to browse by longtail search terms such as "washing machine and dryer combo" or "washing machine 4kg capacity".

The specific searches which Mark makes include ads in different locations on the SERPs  - at the top, bottom and among some organic text. 

washing machine google manufacturer center

For the ad which Mark is displayed, Google will extract product details from the Google Manufacturer Center, as well as pricing and retailer information from the Google Merchant Center. 

So for the purposes of this example, you are a white goods manufacturer. If you have made use of Google Manufacturer Center to add optimized data, the ad which Google pulls together will contain all the relevant info like up-to-date pricing, descriptions and high-quality images of your products. 

 

So why is the Google Manufacturer Center so important?

Hopefully the last example helped to go some way in outlining why the Manufacturer Center is important. 

But just in case, let's take a look at a few reasons why it is a vital element for manufacturers to get acquainted with: 

The information your provide helps to increase traffic

It sounds obvious to say it, but the more accurate the information you provide to the Google Manufacturer Center,  the more users can be sent to your products.

Furthermore, Google is better able to qualify these users, so your products receive relevant traffic from people who are more likely to become customers.

- which in turn helps to boost conversions

As the information you are providing to the Manufacturer Center is helping Google to drive more relevant traffic, it therefore follows that these potential customers are more likely to convert.  

By using the information that comes right from you, the manufacturer, Google Shopping will see improved consumer confidence. Users know that they can trust the information Google gives them and this confidence will in turn lead to more sales.

Manufacturers will get valuable analytics info 

Google will provide those participating manufacturers with analytics-based insights they can then use to improve their:

  • Products
  • Product Information
  • Customer Experience

Something as small as the product image being used may be hurting its marketability. Google Manufacturer Center will make this clear so the company behind a product can make the necessary changes ASAP and start seeing greater sales.

It hands control to the manufacturers

As mentioned earlier, the motivation for the Manufacturer Center's introduction was to give greater control to them.

Previously, manufacturers have been reliant on digital marketers and third-party sellers to advertise their products accurately and effectively - with Google referring to them for information.

Though it wasn't the manufacturer's fault, they lost sales at the hands of incorrect information from retailers. The Manufacturer Center now gives them a direct means of importing the most accurate and up-to-date information without having to rely on any third parties. 

Your Google Manufacturer Center Feed 

Details provided through Manufacturer Center help Google to better understand the product and its defining attributes.

They use your information to enhance the information that is available to consumers and to increase the quality of your Shopping Ads. and the information displayed directly to users on Google.com, the Google Shopping tab, or Google Now cards.

To list your products on the Manufacturer Center, Google only requires that you complete five fields for your products:

Field Title
Product ID
Title
Description
Image Link
Brand
GTIN (Global Trade Item Number)

Recommended - Should-have fields for Google Manufacturer Center:

Field Title
MPN (Manufacturer’s Part Number)
Product Line
Additional Image Link
Feature Description

Optional - Really good idea to have fields for Google Manufacturer Center. Remember, the more detail you can provide, the more relevant your traffic will be:

 

Field Title
Product Name
Product Type
Disclosure Date
Release Date
Video Link
Product Page URL
Suggested Retail Price
Product Detail

Once you have this information you can import your feed to the Manufacturer Center in a variety of formats and wait for approval from Google. 

 

Further tips for optimizing your Manufacturer Center feed

 

  • Optimize your titles –  With the Manufacturer Center, you have an increased chance of ranking for competitive keywords you aren’t ranking for in Google’s search engine. Check back regularly and update the keywords in your titles and descriptions when needed.

  • Make use of effective Google categorization – Get as granular as possible with the “product types” supported by your data sheet. Check out our guide to
    nailing Google categorization to ensure you’re providing every possible detail and you’ll be rewarded for it.

  • Use Merchant Promotions – You may have already heard of Merchant Promotions which let you add options like free shipping and discounts to your listings. Get more info on
    Google Merchant Promotions here. 

Final Thoughts

Manufacturer Center is an exceptional free tool from Google, designed to give you the opportunity to standardize your brand’s identity across the Web. According to Google (who should probably know a thing or two about this subject), brands who manage their product information with Google Manufacturer Center average around 8 percent more impressions and 10 percent more clicks. 

Don't make the mistake of thinking it will be a quick process though. Optimizing, importing and maintaining the data required to drive their great results takes time and requires the right tools for the job. 

That's where WakeupData makes it as straightforward as possible. Learn how to Optimise your Google Shopping feed or  Book a free demo to learn how you can connect your products to Google Manufacturer Center and Merchant Center with ease using our pre-made templates.

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