Google Merchant Center

Short Title Attribute: When and Where To Use It

0 · by Dennis Moons · Updated on 13 March 2023

When we talk about product feeds, most attributes are shared between platforms like Facebook or Google.

But sometimes Google adds product attributes that are unique to their platform. Such is the case with short titles.

In this article, we’ll cover the formatting of the short title attribute in Google Shopping, give you tips on optimizing short titles, and explain how to differentiate short titles from product titles.

Let’s dive straight in.

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

What Is the Short Title Attribute in the Product Feed?

The short title attribute provides a product label that’s brief and to the point. It’s an alternative to the product title attribute, which is longer and more optimized.

Google introduced short titles to improve the appearance of product ads in alternative placements like on Display, Gmail or YouTube.

Is the Short Title Attribute Required?

No, the short title is optional, unlike the product title. Short title attribute is basically an extra field you can add to your product pages that gives a shorter version of the product title. This is useful in situations where there isn’t a lot of space, like in search results or on mobile devices. While it’s not necessary to include a short title, it can be helpful for both people and search engines to have that shortened version available.

It’s recommended for some google_product_categories, especially if you want to make your campaigns more appealing to users who’ll get your ads while browsing on mobile.

How Is the Short Title Attribute Used in Google Shopping?

Short titles are most useful for sharing important and succinct info about your product in ad placements. 

For example, in Display placements where only a short version of the title can be featured in the ad, the short title can do a better job at attracting the buyers’ attention.

Product titles that are not shortened look awkward and often incomplete, ending with “…”.

Moreover, you can use the short title attribute to further optimize product titles.

Regardless of the value you’ll provide for this attribute, keep in mind that this version of the title will most likely appear on the Display network.

This can come from Display, Discovery, Performance Max or YouTube campaigns.Let’s check the formatting requirements.

Options for the Short Title Attribute

In theory, the character limit for the short title is 150 characters. However, Google encourages advertisers to keep values for short titles within 65 characters.

To provide value for this attribute in a text feed, simply enter the short title, for example: “Gardening Scissors.”

If you use XML feeds, add a tag before and after the value, for instance:

  • <g:short_title>Gardening Scissors</g:short_title>

Practical tips for formatting the short title attribute

Use professional and grammatically correct language

This is the best way to ensure everyone will understand your titles. Don’t try gimmicks, titles in all caps, emojis, symbols, and unusual characters.

Don’t include promotional info in the short title

There are plenty of other attributes in product feeds for promotional text, including sale price, shipping, availability, etc.

Highlights always go first

Add the most important detail at the beginning of the short title, because users usually don’t read the whole title.

Mention the brand name

But only do this if users search for a branded product, or if you stock the same product from multiple different brands. 

There are also tips for optimizations that apply specifically to short titles. Possibly the most important is if your e-store sells a product with different variants, not to include product variations in the short title, rather keep these for the product title.

Say you sell shackets in sizes M, L, and XL, and in colors black, blue and gray. Here is how it’s recommended to handle this product in the short title as opposed to the title:

  • The title attribute: Male Shacket by brand X, size L, blue
  • The short title attribute: Brand X Male Shacket
  • The title attribute: Male Shacket by brand X, size XL, gray
  • The short title attribute: Brand X Male Shacket
  • The title attribute: Male Shacket by brand Y, size M, black
  • The short title attribute: Brand Y Male Shacket

Next, let’s check how to add short titles.

How To Add Short Title to Your Product Feed

The short title attribute is specific to Google Ads, and no other platform uses it for the time being. Google introduced this attribute recently (April 2022), so it’s relatively new.

Because of this, data feed tools (or other ecommerce platforms) don’t offer methods for adding short titles.

There are two ways to add values for short title within Google Merchant Center: feed rules and supplemental feeds.

With feed rules, you can select feed items based on a criterion (or a rule), and then add short titles for each of them.

If you use supplemental feeds, it’s easier to make bulk changes. For example, you can add the same short title for all product variants that have their own different titles.

It may be useful to compare these two attributes to avoid confusion.

Short_title vs Product_title

The purpose of the product title attribute is twofold:

  1. To help Google in matching relevant products with search queries.
  2. To provide as much product info to the customer as possible.

Also, it has to correspond with the info available on the landing (or product) page.

So, product titles are long, they feature distinctive features of the product (including product variants), and they cater to the typical search phrases (and lately search intent in general).

Short titles follow a somewhat different logic.

They need to describe the product, but briefly, correctly, and in general terms. The actual landing page for a short title can have much more details about the product than what’s apparent from the title.

Short titles exist to boost the click-through rate for browsing users, who might otherwise skip a long and comprehensive title. It’s the bare minimum that’s required for these users to understand they need the product. And to click and (hopefully) convert.

Short Titles Positively Affect Product Ads

If you’ve done digital advertising for a long time, optimizing short titles might seem counterintuitive because these days, it’s all about providing the most detailed product data possible – and short titles are closer to what was done in the past.

However, since Google offers a separate attribute to improve the shopping experience of its users in browsing contexts, take this opportunity to get more clicks.

It’s easy to format and optimize short titles: make the short title more generic (particularly for an item with many product variants) so that users targeted by Discovery and Shopping campaigns get a title that fits in the ad placement. If users understand what your offer is right away, clicks and conversions from these campaigns will go up.

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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