Google Merchant Center

The Complete Guide to The Sale Price Attribute In Google Product Feeds

0 · by Dennis Moons · Updated on 19 April 2023

The most effective method to show in the top position with Shopping Ads is very similar to that for Search Ads, find an edge over your competitor and invest in it.

The sale_price_attribute might be the advantage you are looking for.

In this article, we’ll explore what it is, and how to add it correctly to your product feed.

This article is part of our Google Data Feed hub.

What Is the Sale Price Attribute in the Product Feed?

The sale price attribute in the product feed defines the product’s price during a sale. The value provided for this attribute shows in a product ad, but only if the merchant meets Google’s conditions.

If Google decides to show the sales price,  the regular price will also be included in the product ad. 

Of course, every merchant out there wants this because it serves to sway customers’ decision-making. It gives customers an opportunity to compare the two prices (sale price and base price) and it will help you to convince them that the deal you are offering is better than that of your competitors.

In a nutshell, this is the reason the sale_price attribute is very effective.

There’s a lot more to it, and we will explore that in the sections that follow.

Is the Sale Price Attribute Required?

No, the sale price attribute is not required. This is one of the reasons “sale price” gives merchants a competitive advantage, if a seller has some wiggle room to lower their prices even further, it can give them an advantage over others in the market.

Let’s see how the sale price affects your Shopping campaigns.

How Is the Sale Price Attribute Used in Google Shopping?

Having a value for the sale price attribute in your product feed may trigger the use of the “sale” label in your Google Shopping ads.

We say “may” because Google decides whether or not to show the label. However, there are some steps you can take to increase your chances of getting a “sale” label.

How the Sale Label Works

The sale label (also known as sale price annotation) works by creating a sense of urgency and excitement around a product. 

When a buyer sees a product labeled as being on sale, they are more likely to perceive it as a good deal and feel motivated to buy it before the sale ends. 

This sense of urgency can be a powerful motivator, especially in today’s fast-paced digital marketplace where consumers are bombarded with countless options.

We’ll explore some key strategies for using this feature effectively, be sure to keep reading!

Price Highlight for Comparison

If Google adds the sale price annotation to your product, the prices will be presented in the following manner:

  • the sale price will be shown as the actual price, while
  • the base price will be shown alongside it, but with a strike-through.

This allows customers to immediately get information about the difference in price for that product:

  • how much they’ll save if they buy now, at the sale price; and
  • how well your price compares to that of your competitors (whose prices are probably closer to your base price).

Let’s take a look at what is required from merchants to get this “sale” label.

Requirements for the Sale Price Annotation

Here’s a list with the minimal requirements for merchants to be considered for this badge:

  • The base price  for this product was available for at least 30 days in the past 200 days
  • The sale price can not be shown for more than 30 days
  • The base price has to be valid
  • The sale price has to be lower than the base price
  • The discount offered with the sale price can be in the range of 5% – 90%

The conditions for getting a “sale” label in Google Shopping beyond this list are not shared publicly (as with any other info that affects the ranking of search results).

The Sale Label vs Other Google Shopping Tags

Also note that the sale price annotation is not the only way to make your product ad stand out in the Google Shopping search results. Other labels include:

The Sale Price Effective Date Attribute

Google offers an additional attribute to specify when the sale price should start running, this is the sale_price_effective_date attribute.

If you don’t add the sale price effective date to your product feed, the value for the sale price attribute will be active immediately.

To configure the sale period, you just need to provide a date range for when the promotion should be active.

If you don’t specify the time of day, the sale will start at midnight on the start date and end one minute before midnight on the end date.

Options for Sale Price

Formatting for the sale price attribute works along the same lines as for the price attribute. The value should be a number (the price) followed by the currency.

If the price is not an even number, merchants need to round it up to the second decimal point and separate it by a dot (not by a comma).

For example, 29.95 GBP instead of £29,948623.

How To Add the Sale Price to Your Product Feed

Values for the sale price attribute can be added in more than one way.

Automatically Through An Ecommerce Platform

The easiest way to add the sale price attribute is to sync your feed with your ecommerce platform.

For example, in Shopify, there are 2 fields related to the product price:

  1. Price: required field
  2. Compare at price: optional field

It looks simple, but let me go over how it works.

Situation 1 – No discount

  • Price: product price

Situation 2 – Product discount

  1. Price: this becomes the discounted price (sale_price in the product feed)
  2. Compare at price: this is the base price (price in the product feed)

Through Feed Rules or Supplemental Feeds

Alternatively, you can use the native Google Merchant Center tools to change the sale price attribute. If you can group the items that are on sale around common criteria, you can add this attribute with a feed rule

If that doesn’t work, you can work with a supplemental feed.

Automatic Currency Conversion

If you’re converting currencies, the same rules apply for the sale_price attribute as the regular price.

Often, you’ll come across mistakes with the product currency. This happens when you decide to enter into another market. Three elements are important in this case: language, currency, and country.

The actual scenarios may vary, but they are along the following lines:

  • same language, different currency
  • same currency, different country
  • same country, different language, same currency, etc.

To make things easier for customers who are in a different country or use a different currency, Google offers automatic currency conversion. If you enable this tool, the prices will show in the currency used in the country of the customers, converted at the daily exchange rate on Google finance.

Product ads will feature both the price in the original currency (in brackets) and in the customer’s currency.

Next, let’s look at some common problems you might run into with the sale price attribute.

Common Problems With the Sale Price Attribute

Again, most of the issues you’ll run into with the price attribute also apply to the sale price attribute. But there are a few unique ones.

If you don’t follow Google’s requirements for this attribute, the item will be disapproved and won’t be served in product ads.

Here are some of the most common issues:

Invalid sale price attribute (set to 0)

 If the product is not discounted, just leave the sale_price field blank.Don’t add “0”.

Wrong format

Usually, this is a problem with the currency. Google doesn’t accept the symbol for the currency as a value for the sale price attribute, only the ISO 4217 abbreviation is supported.

Feed value doesn’t match landing page

This is  when data on the product page of your site is different from the product data in the feed. The requirements for sale price are lax; the base price can be listed in a bigger font and hold a prominent placement, yet you have to clearly display both the regular and the discounted price.

On the other hand, checkout requirements for the sale price attribute are more important. When a customer buys the product on your site, the sale price has to be shown throughout all the steps of the checkout process. The only exception to this requirement is when customers enter coupons for applying an additional discount, but even then, the coupon code is to be provided in the last step before completing the purchase.

Sale_price higher than price

We already mentioned that Google takes this as an indicator that something isn’t right. Either there is a mistake in your product feed value for the sale price attribute, or you are deliberately trying to hack the system (more on this below).

The sale label isn’t showing

Even though your product features a sale price, the label is not included in product ads. This happens when merchants try to apply what is known as a “permanent discount.” The sale price is only effective for up to 30 days. After this period, Google will show the base price (defined with the price attribute) as a valid price. You may have a sale price that is lower in your feed, but this will not be reflected in the product ads.

Leveraging the Sale price attribute in your Shopping Ads

If you’re running a promotion, the sale_price attribute can help draw some extra attention to your offer.

Especially because Google Shopping is a comparison search engine, which means you might be selling the exact same products as advertisers in the other ads.

So if you can offer an extra discount, you might be able to steal clicks away from competitors.

Adding this attribute usually is pretty straightforward without much trouble.

So it’s really a no-brainer to add this to your feed!

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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