Understand and use product groups

Understand and use product groups

Product groups are used to specify which products from your Microsoft Merchant Center catalog should be included in a particular ad group.

What are product groups?

Product groups are used to specify which products from your Microsoft Merchant Center catalog should be included in a particular ad group.


In order to understand product groups, first make sure you are familiar with both product ads and shopping campaigns.

After you create a shopping campaign, Microsoft Advertising creates a default ad group. That ad group includes a product group containing all of the products in your Microsoft Merchant Center catalog feed. However, you don't typically want an ad group to contain all products. Instead, you likely want each ad group to contain only very closely related products in order more effectively manage which ads show, and when. With product groups, you can narrow down that default group to a customized list of specific products and divide up to 5 levels for each product group.

You can use the following attributes from your catalog feed to choose the specific products you want to include in any particular product group.

  • Category (Up to five for each offer)
  • Brand
  • Condition
  • Item ID (Also known as Merchant Product Identifier)
  • Product type
  • Custom label (Up to five for each offer)

You can use multiple attributes to narrow your group even further. For example, you can create a product group based on brand and condition.

An exampleexpando image

Let's say Matt is the owner of a small toy store and his catalog includes the following items:

Merchant Product Identifier Title Brand Category 1 Category 2 Product Type Custom Label 0
1111 Toy 1 Tailspin Toys Toys & Games Indoor Paint Ages 1-5
2222 Toy 2 Wingtip Toys Toys & Games Indoor Stickers Ages 1-5
3333 Toy 3 Tailspin Toys Toys & Games Outdoor Chalk Ages 6-12
4444 Toy 4 Wingtip Toys Toys & Games Indoor Glitter Ages 6-12
5555 Toy 5 Tailspin Toys Media Indoor DVD Teens
6666 Toy 6 Wingtip Toys Toys & Games Outdoors Sports Teens
7777 Toy 7 Tailspin Toys Media Indoor Books Ages 1-5
8888 Toy 8 Wingtip Toys Toys & Games Indoor Paint Ages 6-12

He wants his ad group to contain only toys for ages 1-5. To do that he would simply narrow the default product group down to a product group where Custom label = Ages 1 -5.

As another example, assume that Matt wants to create an ad group that contains only toys from Tailspin Toys for ages 1-5. He simply needs to create a product group where Brand = Tailspin Toys and Custom label = Ages 1-5.

What creating a product group looks like in Microsoft Advertisingexpando image

Let's see what the second example would look like in Microsoft Advertising.

Matt's created his shopping campaign and is looking at the default ad group. It contains the default product group that contains all products.

Screencap: Product group - all products

First, he wants to select only toys from Tailspin Toys. So he clicks the pencil icon to display the following. In the drop down, Matt wants to divide all products by Brand.

Screencap: Product group - divide

Matt then chooses Tailspin Toys, and saves his changes.

Screencap: Product group - updated product group

Now Matt wants to divide Tailspin Toys even further, to select only the right age group. So he click the + next to Tailspin Toys.

Screencap: Product group - drilldown

In the dropdown list, he chooses to customize Tailspin Toys by Custom label 1, then selects "Ages 1-5."

Screencap: Product group - dropdown

Right now the product group still contains everything in the catalog feed. It's just divided into "Tailspin Toys," "Ages 1-5" and everything else. But he wants this ad group to contain only Tailspin Toys for ages 1-5. He need to exclude everything else. Note that Microsoft Advertising has already created a couple of rows that contain "Everything else."

So to exclude everything else, Matt simply clicks on the on the pencil icon pencil icon next to the appropriate bid and selects Excluded. (Alternately, Matt can change bids for multiple products groups by selecting the check boxes next to the product groups he wants to modify and then clicking Edit to open the bulk edit options.)

Screencap: Product group - exclude

Doing this for Everything else in "Tailspin Toys" will exclude Toy 3 and Toy 5. Then, doing the same thing again for Everything else in "All products" will exclude Toy 2, Toy 4, Toy 6, and Toy 8.

Matt now has an ad group with a product group that contains only Tailspin toys for Ages 1-5.

About product group performance dataexpando image
  • Structural changes to product groups, like updating or deleting product groups, appear immediately in the table.
  • Structural changes often necessitate the redistribution of existing performance data across the new structure. Once the data has been reprocessed and is up to date, you will no longer see the alert above the table.
What you need to knowexpando image
  • There is a 1 to 1 relationship between ad groups and product groups. In other words, each ad group has one product group and vice versa.
  • You can view your product groups on the Product Group tab within each ad group.
  • When viewing your product group, if there is a small triangle to the left of an item in the Product Group column, that row has been divided further by some other attribute. Click the triangle to expand that row and see the more granular segments.
  • Remember to "exclude" items that you don't want to be in your product group.
  • You can narrow down a product group in your catalog feed up to 5 levels. For example, Office supplies > Office instruments > Writing and drawing instruments > Pens and pencils > Pens > New

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