A Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) is an identifier for trade items that Google Shopping uses to identify and categorize items for sale. Including GTINs on your products will increase your chances of making sales through Google Shopping. Here's a quick breakdown about each GTIN.
Universal Product Code (UPC)
This is the UPC for Nike Men's Roshe Run tennis shoes.
What's a UPC?
A Universal Product Code (UPC) is a 12-digit bar code used extensively for retail packaging in United States. A UPC is typically 12 digits long and represents attributes such as weight of the product, the product type, name, and so on. A UPC applies to virtually every category of products you can think of, from electronics and clothing to food, medication and even services. For example, 6-75911-19318-1 is the UPC for Nike Men's Roshe Run tennis shoes. Learn how to get a UPC for your product here.
European Article Number (EAN)
What's an EAN?
A European Article Number (EAN) is similar to a UPC code, except it has a country code prefix, making it 13 digits. Like a UPC, each EAN uniquely identifies the product, manufacturer, and its attributes. The EAN for the Nike tennis shoes used in the previous example is 0-675911-193181.
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN)
What's an MPN?
MPN (Manufacturer Part Number) that is assigned by the manufacture. While this number is unique, it is not universal because each manufacturer uses it’s own numbering conventions. MPNs are useful when referring to a specific manufacturer's product. For example, the MPN for this Michael Kors watch (highlighted in green) is MK6266.
International Standard Book Number (ISBN)
This is the ISBN for To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
What's an ISBN?
An International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier. Just like products are uniquely identified by UPCs, books, magazines, e-books and other published media can be uniquely marked using ISBN. An ISBN is assigned to each edition and variation of a book, excluding reprints. For example, the paperback version of Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird has an ISBN of 0-0609-3546-4, and the hardcover version has an ISBN of 0-0624-2070-4. ISBNs are 13 digits long if assigned on or after 1 January 2007, and 10 digits long if assigned before 2007. Learn how to find an ISBN here.
So, which code should I use?
The more details you can provide on your item listing, the better. If you have an MPN for your product, please include that. An ISBN should be used if you are selling a book, magazine, e-book, and so on. In terms of choosing between MPN and EAN, a good rule of thumb is this: if your customer base resides in the US and Canada, stick to a UPC as most older barcode readers can only recognize the 12 digit UPC. If you’re selling internationally, you’ll need an EAN.
#protip: A UPC formed in the United States can be transformed into an EAN by prefixing it with a zero.