Shopify Metafields can be a powerful resource to customize your Shopify store experience and product data.
Common Use Cases for Metafields
- Used by apps to customize your store’s functionality. For example adding recommend products or adding product customization.
- Add extra images or videos to product pages.
- Add custom data to customer account.
- Add custom sliders or header to blog posts and/or pages.
Shopify Metafields can also be used to create an optimized Google Shopping Product Feed. The easiest solution for getting started with Google Shopping ads with your Shopify store is using the free Made by Shopify Google Shopping App. This app makes it easy to connect to Merchant Center and setup your products. However for stores with extensive product catalogs or store owners who want to customize their feed data you may need another solution.
Metafields can be used to create custom feed data which can then be used by your feed creation tool of choice.
If you look at the Product Data Specifications for Google Shopping feeds you will notice that there are lot of fields that are required and even more that are optional. However keep in mind that the most complete and optimized your data is the better your chances are for creating a high return Google Shopping campaign.
Use Cases for Metafields
Basic Feed Data
Creating logical and optimized product types.
Categorizing your products into the correct and most appropriate Google Product Category.
Set Age group, gender, size type, color.
Setting the pattern of your item, e.g. Stripe, Polka dot, Argyle etc.
Setting the material of your item, e.g. Leather, Suede, Stainless Steel etc.
Depending on how your site is structured a lot of this basic data can be set using your tags and product types. However you may find that the you cannot be as granular as you want to be with your product data. I also find that using Metafields is typically faster to edit the product data when combined with the Shopify Bulk Editor.
Advanced Feed Data
Even if you are using tags combined with logic in your feed tool you still could benefit from Metafields when it comes to setting some of the more obscure product attributes.
Custom Labels are as the name suggests, custom and can be used in any way you want. You can set up to 5 custom labels per product using custom_label_0, custom_label_1, custom_label_2….
You can create custom labels using the Metafields and then push those labels to your feed which allows you to use them in reporting and structuring your shopping campaigns. One example is setting products by seasonality using custom_label_0.
The labels would be Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer. Inside of AdWords you could then separate your products using the custom label.
Another example would be using custom labels to organize products by price. For example using custom_label_1 to separate products $10-$50, $50.01 – $100, $100.01 – $150 and so on. You could then use this custom label to create separate campaigns filtered by the price of the product.
Running a promotion using Google Merchant Promotions? You can set the promotion_id attribute using a Metafield which would allow you to run the promotion on a set of products in your catalog. You can use a Metafield to set the promotion id to for example BlackFriday and using Merchant Center promotion create promotion for products that have the promotion_id set to BlackFriday.
Create Shopify Metafields
To create your Metafields you will need to use an app, there are plenty of apps (free and paid) that give you the ability to create and manage Metafields. I will leave up to you to select an app based on your needs. I have tried many of them and for the most part they all offer the same functionality.
Some apps will allow you to export and import your product data with your Metafields. This can be a big time saver when you need to sort, filter, and edit your product data and Metafields in Excel or Sheets.
This is my preferred method. I use ShopifyFD which has some issues with loading and display but to quickly create and view Metafields associated with a product it works very well. I prefer this solution when I know that I will be editing the Metafields in the Shopify bulk editor and don’t need an interface for managing the Metafields.
Use the Metafields API
Using the Metafields API is beyond the scope of this post but this is another option that will give you the most power and allow you to quickly create and edit Metafields.
Edit Shopify Metafields
Like I mentioned above some apps will allow you to export and import your Metafields to a CSV. These will typically be paid apps but if you are more comfortable using Excel or Sheets then this will be the easiest way to edit. The other great feature of doing an export of your product data and Metafields is that you can then sort and filter by your Metafields, inside the Shopify bulk editor you can’t search for or filter products by any Metafield.
If you are using a structured system of tags and product types you should be able to accomplish most of what you need to do by using the bulk editor. The bulk editor with Metafields is the same as you use when editing price, product name, etc but the additional fields will be displayed and can be edited.
The most difficult part of using the editor will be creating a URL that contains your Metafields. Unlike the standard fields like price, name, SEO title, tags, product type, etc that you can add in the bulk editor the Metafields will not be visible as options. Instead you need to type these in as additional parameters at the end of the URL.
This post is great starting point for learning how to do this. I would recommend adding all of the standard fields you want included in your view and then build on the additional Metafields parameter. For example I usually look at the product name, product type, and tags in addition to viewing the Metafields I have for product type and field title.
Use the Metafields API
The Metafields API can do accomplish all of this if you have the technical ability or resources to use it.