Google Merchant Center: Data Alerts & Product Protection

In the rapidly expanding digital marketplace we all inhabit, Google Merchant Center (GMC) continues to be the best tool for online sellers and marketers to reach prospective customers. Google Merchant Center stands as the backbone of how millions of sellers gain visibility for their products within the Google universe and influences how buyers discover, compare, and decide how to purchase. Because GMC has become so important to the online selling landscape, even one day of downtime can spell disaster for a merchant’s profitability. This is where GMC Data Alerts and Product Protection can be a life and sales savior. 

Product Data Alerts

In Google Merchant Center, Data Alerts are a helpful tool that lets you know if there are product issues that have reduced the number of active products in your feed. The reasons for this can be data quality, shipping issues, link problems, invalid pricing, or anything Google decides is wrong with your listing. Like Product Protection (see below), Data Alerts also need to be set up with a threshold of how many products need to fail before you will be alerted. 

Product Protection

Google’s Product Protection in GMC is a vital tool for making sure that your available products stay in your shopping feed when an unplanned error occurs. We also think of it as a “are you sure?” double-check before items are removed from the feed, even for a planned change. When enabled, Product Protection monitors the number of products in your feed, and if the number drops below a percentage that you set (we use 20%), those items will be kept in the feed, and you’ll get an email that Product Protection kicked in. The dropped or removed products will remain in your feed for 30 days or until manual action is taken to remove them permanently. 

We have a client whose feed is relatively unstable (and their developer can’t figure out why). About every three weeks, their feed drops about 80% of their products. We get an email from Google that looks like this:

Thanks to Product Protection, none of the products are removed from the feed, which ensures that the client’s Shopping campaigns continue to operate normally. Now, if this was a legitimate drop in the products, we could then go in and actually remove the products. To do that, you’ll go into GMC, go to Feed, select the feed file with the issue, and see the removal warning with the option to remove products.

What’s the Difference?

The key difference between Data Alerts and Product Protection is that Data Alerts tell you there is a problem with the SKUs in your feed where they are not showing, while Product Protection monitors your feed to make sure that items that were in your feed are not removed. It’s important to have both turned on because you could have a lot of products that are disapproved in your feed – Product Protection doesn’t tell you that. 

How To Activate Product Data Alerts & Product Protection

Product Data Alerts – To set Product Data Alerts, go to the gear in the upper right corner, and select Preferences under the Settings column. Click the box for Product Data Protection, and hit save; you are now set to get email alerts for the loss of feed products. 

Product Protection – To turn on Product Protection, go to the gear in the upper right corner, and select Account Settings under the Settings column. In the section for Product Protection, click the drop-down arrow, then select the threshold percentage you would like to be alerted at, and save the settings. The system defaults to 40%; we use 20% as our threshold for most clients, depending on how many products they have.

Protecting Your Profits

With an expected growth rate of 56% annually, reaching $8.1 trillion transacted globally by 2026, ecommerce is only getting more competitive across every market sector, according to Statista. Merchants need to take every measure possible to protect themselves and their businesses. The combination of Data Alerts and Product Protection in Google Merchant Center offers a layer of defense against unforeseen issues and will keep your feed alive and active for your prospective and returning customers to find. 

Read our previous Google Merchant Center 101 articles to learn how to set up a GMC account and how to submit a product feed

About the Author:


Related Posts

Sign up for our mailing list

Get the latest on the world of digital marketing right to your inbox.

    Share This Resource, Choose Your Platform!

    Join the JumpFly Newsletter

    Get Our Marketing Insights Right To Your Inbox

      Schedule a Call

        Fields containing a star (*) are required

        Content from Calendly will be embedded here