Google Merchant Center

How to Configure the Material Attribute in Your Product Feed?

0 · by Dennis Moons · Updated on 10 April 2023

Learning more about a product’s quality is important to online shoppers, so the material a product’s made of is as relevant as its color, size, and price. 

In this article, we’ll introduce you to the material attribute and cover how to use it in Google Shopping, how to add it to your product feed, and how to deal with several main issues that might arise when using it. 

Let’s start by defining the material attribute.

This article is part of our Google Shopping Feed hub.

What Is the Material Attribute in the Product Feed?

The material attribute in the product feed helps merchants specify and describe the primary material or fabric used to create their products. 

With this attribute, you can create specific material filters that will help potential clients filter down their search results and easily find a product that contains the specific materials or fabrics they’re looking for. 

Is the Material Attribute Required?

If your products vary by specific fabrics or materials, the material attribute is required. 

For example, you must add this attribute if your products are categorized under home goods, apparel, or jewelry. Otherwise, your items can easily be disapproved, or even worse, they might not even appear in the search results of potential customers. 

Adding the material attribute is optional only for products where information about the product’s material or fabric is unnecessary. For example, you don’t need to add the material or fabric for books, CDs, cosmetics, etc. 

Google Merchant Center recommends that merchants submit this attribute when it’s required, as many potential customers might make a decision to buy your product only after learning more about the material that the product’s made of.

How Is It Used in Google Shopping?

Using the material attribute in Google Shopping is pretty simple — all you have to do is include a brief description of the specific material your product is made of. 

You can add all kinds of materials, starting from standard ones that are usually used for clothing items, such as “cotton” or “wool,” or something more specific that makes your product stand out, such as “recycled cotton.” 

By including detailed and precise information on the materials that your products are made of, you can attract more potential customers, which ultimately leads to a higher profit. 

What Kind of Material Variants Can You Add to the Product Feed? 

The material attribute is not used only for clothing/apparel categories; it can be useful for all kinds of products where a product’s material is relevant to its value and quality. You can use it for products such as:

  • Jewelry 
  • Furniture 
  • Home decor 
  • Sporting goods 
  • Electronic devices 
  • Cosmetics and makeup 

For example, if your product is categorized as “jewelry” and is made of precious metals, you should add both the color attribute of the item and the material attribute (“gold,” “bronze,” “silver,” etc.). 

If your item has several variants made out of entirely distinctive materials, you’ll need to add the correct information on the materials for each variant of the item. 

For example, you can sell women’s boots from the same line with two variants, where the first type is made out of leather, and the second is made out of suede. In this and similar cases, you’ll need to ensure that the material attribute doesn’t stay the same and add it separately.

If your item is created from various materials, you can include up to three different materials, specify the main one, and separate the rest using a slash. 

For example, if a clothing item you sell is mainly made out of cotton but also contains a small percentage of elastane and polyester, you should add them all, starting with the primary one: 

  • cotton/elastane/polyester 

There are specific formatting guidelines that you have to follow when adding the material attribute. You can use up to 200 characters, and you cannot repeat a field, i.e., write down the same material or fabric twice. 

Two file formats are supported:

  • For text feed: “Wool”
  • For XML feed: <g:material>Wool</g:material>

How to Add the Material Attribute to Your Product Feed? 

You can add the material attribute to your feed either through Google Merchant Center or an ecommerce platform like Magento or Shopify. When you manually change the material attribute on an ecommerce platform, the information will be automatically shared on the product feed. 

If you’d like to add the material attribute through Google Merchant Center, you’ll need to create rules for the attribute to select specific items and categorize them.

What Are The Most Common Problems With The Material Attribute? 

Although using the material attribute might seem like a piece of cake, there are undoubtedly a few common issues that merchants often encounter. Let’s see what they are and how to solve them. 

Conflicting or incorrect information about the material

Sometimes, merchants can mistakenly write inaccurate data about the material, or use inconsistent or conflicting words. This might lead to potential customers feeling like the merchant’s not transparent enough or adds misleading information to attract more customers. That’s why merchants need to carefully check all of the information on a product’s material before posting and make sure they don’t misspell a word or add incorrect data. 

Not being specific enough when adding the material attribute 

Using only general terms is not enough if the item is made of unique materials. For example, if an article is created out of various materials, such as cotton and silk, but you choose to share that it’s only made of “cotton,” your customers won’t get accurate information on it. 

To avoid situations like this one, share the correct information and add all of the materials that were used in the product-making process. 

Lack of information about the material(s)

In some cases, merchants forget to include the material attribute, which leads to their products not appearing in search results. When you post a new item that’s made of a specific material or fabric, double-check if you’ve included the material attribute. 

Lack of updates on the product feed and the material attribute 

The product feed and the attributes must be regularly updated, especially if there’s a sudden change in the material used to create a specific product you’re already selling.

Not updating the material info or the product feed often results in inaccurate search results and misleading information, which ultimately leads to losing potential customers. Don’t forget to check your product feed occasionally and update it if necessary. 

The Material Attribute Can Be a Real Game-Changer For Some Businesses 

Google Shopping is well-known for many things, and one of them is — the more information you share about your products, the more customers you’ll get. 

So, we advise you to share all the important information about your products, especially if you’re selling furniture, clothing, and jewelry. 

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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