Google Merchant Center

How to Update the Gender Attribute in Your Product Feed (A Guide)

0 · by Dennis Moons · Updated on 14 March 2023

Some items are so common, like fashionable apparel products, that users need additional attributes to hone in on their desired item within the search results.

There are several such attributes in Google Shopping. In this piece, we’ll discuss the gender attribute and cover what it is, how Google uses it, how users benefit from it, and the formatting requirements for entries to this attribute.

Let’s dive straight into it.

This article is part of our Google Merchant Center Data Feed hub.

What Is the Gender Attribute in the Product Feed?

The gender attribute allows merchants to indicate the gender of the intended user of the product. Of course, this applies to products where gender is relevant for the design and use of the product.

Usually, gender goes hand in hand with the age and size attributes, as ads standardization within Google is done through these three attributes.

If the product comes in variants defined by gender, you need to provide values for this attribute.

Let’s check this in greater detail.

Is the Gender Attribute Required?

Yes, gender is required for products in the apparel category. These are items listed under 161 (Apparel and accessories) within Google’s product taxonomy list.

The attribute should be populated for free listings and it’s required for Shopping ads in select countries (Brazil, UK, USA, France, Japan, and Germany).

However, for some of the subcategories within the Apparel category, gender is optional, including tie clips, shoe covers, key chains, handkerchiefs, etc.

Advertisers can provide values for this attribute for products in other categories as well, particularly if the design of these products is different for each gender. This type of product data can be added in all countries (not just the select few mentioned above). 

Next, we’ll touch on Google’s way of using this information.

How Is the Gender Attribute Used in Google Shopping?

Gender helps Google to serve relevant search results to users’ queries. 

Users can also use [size] and [age]. For instance, when a potential customer needs a jacket, the results will be different if the filter is set to show a jacket for “adult,” “male,” “XL (size)” relative to a query filtered for “teen,” “unisex,” “M (size).”

In short, this is the reason why advertisers need to specify the gender of the intended user for a product.

Options for Gender

The formatting requirements for gender are easy. Advertisers can provide only one of three predefined values:

  • Male
  • Female
  • Unisex

It’s self-explanatory, you simply label the gender and that’s it.

There are two ways to submit the supported values.

If you use the text feed file format, you can simply enter the value. For example, “unisex.”

Entries in an XML feed file format need to have tags before and after the value. Following on the same example, “<g:gender>unisex</g:gender>”

Important note: the three supported values for gender (male, female, or unisex) have to be submitted in English, regardless of the market you operate in.

When you have one product available in multiple variants defined by different attributes, use the item group ID attribute. For instance, a jacket in three colors (black, brown, and white), with two different designs for male and female and available in sizes small, medium, and large, will have a total of 18 product variants. All of these items can have the same item group ID, and the gender attribute defines some of these variants.

How To Add Gender to Your Product Feed

Most ecommerce platforms are built for inventories containing apparel items, so it’s easy to find the field where you can specify the gender of a product’s intended user. Once you do this, product data will be shared with Google Merchant Center automatically.

Important note: on some platforms, changes to the gender attribute can only be applied at a product level. This means that if you have multiple variants, some of them will not have the correct gender label. Double-check the effect of these changes before you go on to completing other tasks.

One way to solve this is to edit the gender attribute using feed rules in the Merchant Center. Define the criteria for selecting product items, i.e. the “rule” and then you can reverse the value for the selected items.

Next, we’ll check what happens when values for gender aren’t correct.

Common Problems With the Gender Attribute

If you don’t follow Google’s formatting requirements, the item will be disapproved. Luckily, there are only three correct entries (male, female, and unisex), so it’s easy to check whether you’ve made a mistake.

The most common issue is a wrong value for gender. Edit the entry and you’ll solve the issue.

Every Bit of Product Data Counts

Rich product data helps Google deliver more relevant search results to users. The info about the gender your product is designed for is one example of this.

Update the product data on [age] and [size] as well and users can easily filter out results that aren’t useful to them.

There are only three supported values for the gender attribute in Google Shopping (male, female, and unisex), so even if you make a mistake, it’s easy to correct the issue and get your item shown to users again.

Dennis Moons

Dennis Moons is the founder and lead instructor at Store Growers.

He's a Google Ads expert with over 12 years of experience in running Google Ads campaigns.

During this time he has managed more than $5 million in ad spend and worked with clients ranging from small businesses to global brands. His goal is to provide advice that allows you to compete effectively in Google Ads.

Follow him on Twitter or LinkedIn.


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