What is a catalog feed file and how do I create it?

What is a catalog feed file and how do I create it?

A catalog is a logical grouping of your products. In each catalog, you upload a file, also know as feed file, that is a list of your products and attributes that define how they will display on Bing.

A catalog is a logical grouping of your products. In each catalog, you upload a file, also know as feed file, that is a list of your products and attributes that define how they will display on Bing. Whenever you want to update your catalog, you upload the updated feed file. Each store can have more than one catalog but the products in each file must be unique.

How do I create a catalog?expando image

After you verify that you own your URL and your newly created store is approved, you create your catalog.

  1. In Bing Ads, select Tools and then Bing Merchant Center.
  2. Click the store that you want to update.
  3. Click the Catalog Management tab and then Create catalog.

What you need to know

  • Your feed file must be tab delimited plain text with extensions: .txt, .zip, .gz, .gzip, .tar.gz, .tgz. We only support XML files if it is an existing Google-formatted XML file.
  • The Catalog name is used for identifying your catalog on Catalog Management and in Catalog reports. It can be modified at a later time.
  • The Catalog Location specifies what Market (Country and Language) the catalog would be used for.
  • Feed File submission methods specifies how you will transfer the product offer information files to Bing Merchant Center. Learn more about submitting catalog feed files.
How to I create a feed file?expando image

Here is how you create a feed file using a spreadsheet program. If you want to use a text editor, make sure to use the required attributes. You can also take a look at a short example of a feed file.

Note

Your feed file must be tab delimited plain text with extensions: .txt, .zip, .gz, .gzip, .tar.gz, .tgz. We only support .xml files if it is an existing Google-formatted .xml file.

  1. Open Microsoft Excel or other spreadsheet program.
  2. Create a header row in the first row entering the attribute names that would be used to describe products.
    Be sure each attribute is in its own column and you include all required attributes.
  3. Enter your product offer information in the rows below the header row, using one row for each product.
    Each item’s attribute values should be listed in the same column as the corresponding header attribute name. This means a product’s id must be in the column with header attribute “id”.
  4. Save your spreadsheet as a tab delimited excel file. If using Microsoft Excel, save as Text (Tab delimited) (*.txt).
How do I update the feed file?

Your catalog expires after 30 days, which causes the products to stop publishing, so you need to update your feed file. To keep your product information fresh, it is a good practice to upload your catalog daily.

  1. In Bing Ads, click Tools.
  2. Click Bing Merchant Center.
  3. Click the store that you want to update.
  4. Click Catalog Management tab.
  5. Click the catalog that you want to update.
  6. Click on the Catalog setting tab.
  7. Use one of the three methods to submit your feed file.
  8. Click Finish.
How do I submit my feed file?expando image

After you have created and (optionally) tested a corresponding feed file, it can be submitted to the associated catalog. There are three different ways to submit:

Upload feed file manually (Files under 4MB) expando image

You can use this option if the feed file is smaller than 4MB.

  1. Click the store name and then Catalog management tab. Select the checkbox beside the feed file’s associated catalog.
  2. Click Manual upload.
  3. Browse for catalog feed file and click Upload.
Upload feed file via FTP (Files under 1GB) expando image

You can use this option if the feed file is smaller than 1GB. This is the recommended option if the feed file is larger than 4MB.

  1. Click the store name and then Catalog settings tab.
  2. Under Catalog feed file, click Upload file using FTP.
  3. Enter File name. Do not include the file extension. For example, “bingmerchant”.
  4. Click Save.
  5. If necessary, click change FTP account and update your FTP user name and password.
    Your user name must be 6 - 64 characters and cannot include any special characters. Use only a - z, A- Z, and 0 - 9.
    You can now upload the file of specified file name via the FTP tool of your choice.

FTP server requirements

The recommended FTP upload mechanism is via an FTP program. It is however possible to do so via the command line or custom scripts (such as Python’s ftplib.FTP module). The FileZilla FTP client is recommended for all platforms.

Use the following settings for file transfer with your FTP client:

  • Host: ftps://feeds.adcenter.microsoft.com
  • Username: Your store’s FTP user name. Your user name must be 6 - 64 characters and cannot include any special characters. Use only a - z, A- Z, and 0 - 9.
  • Password: Your store’s FTP password
  • Transfer Mode: Passive

Learn more about FTP upload.

Automatically download from URL (Files under 1GB) expando image

You can use this option if the feed file is smaller than 1GB and on a publicly accessible server. The catalog file will be downloaded once every 24 hours.

  1. Click the store name and then Catalog settings tab.
  2. Under Catalog feed file, click Automatically download file from URL.
  3. Enter Source URL. For example, https://www.contoso.com/feeds/bingmerchant.txt.
  4. If required, enter User name and Password.
  5. Click Save.

Downloading your feed file from Google

You can also download your feed file from Google Docs. Keep in mind that we only accept .csv or .tsv formats for feed files from Google.
  1. Open your feed file in Google Docs.
  2. Click File and select Publish to the web.
  3. Click on Web page and select either Comma-separated values (.csv) or Tab-separated values (.tsv).
  4. Click Publish.
  5. Copy the generated link and use the link as your automatic download URL in your Bing Merchant Center catalog.
What are the file format requirements and accepted symbols?expando image

File format requirements

Note: If the following file format requirements are not met, your feed file will not be processed.

  • File must be tab delimited plain text with extensions: .txt, .zip, .gz, .gzip, .tar.gz, .tgz.
    - .xml files are also accepted (if Google-formatted).
  • If uploading via FTP, the file name of .txt or .xml files have to match the file name specified for a catalog’s settings.
    In the case of compressed text format, the compressed .txt file inside the archive (.zip, .gz, .gzip, .tar.gz, .tgz) must have the matching file name. Any feed file that is archived needs to have a single compressed file inside.
  • File must start with a single header row.
  • Each product offer has to be on a separate line of the file.
  • Do not include HTML in the text files.
  • Do not include trailing tabs at the end of lines.
  • Do not include tabs or line breaks in the middle of offer attributes.
  • Special/Invalid characters will cause processing problems. Learn more about Accepted Symbols in Feed Files next.

Accepted symbols in feed files

Here are the symbols/special characters and what attribute they are accepted in.

Symbols Where you can use
Period [.] Prices, URLs
Colon [:]
Question [?]
Forward-slash [/]
Equal [=]
URLs
Hyphen [-] Offer Identifiers where this is valid (eg: ISBN, MPN)
Pipe [|]
Comma [,]
Greater [>]
Multi-value fields (MerchantCategory, B_Category, Bingads_label)
Percent [%]
Special ASCII characters
Redirect URL (bingads_redirect)
Any Unicode symbol Brand, Title, Description

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