Ad Groups

Ad Groups are a very flexible method to bundle ads. You can use them to display random ads in the frontend, run split tests, set the order in which ads appear, create ad rotations, or display ad grids.

An Ad Group can have multiple ads, but an ad unit can belong to several ad groups.

You will learn how to use and display Ad Groups on this page.

Setting up Ad Groups

Ad groups are for ads what categories and tags are for posts. You can create them on the edit screen of an ad using the Ad New Ad Group button.

But all the other information about the ad group, e.g., the group type or the number of ads to display, can you only select on the group overview page (Advanced Ads > Groups & Rotation).

Ad Groups in Advanced Ads
You can use ad groups to manage multiple ads

You will find examples of the group types below.

Assign an ad to a group

  1. Visit the edit page of the ad and find the ad group metabox (on the right side).
  2. Click on the ad group you want to assign the ad to and save.
  3. Keep in mind that you can assign one ad to multiple ad groups.
assigning an ad to an ad group
Assigning an ad to groups from the ad edit screen

Adjust the ad group settings

If you want to combine several single ads into one group, assigning the ads to groups on the group page in bulk is faster.

  1. Navigate to Advanced Ads > Groups & Rotations.
  2. Click the “New Ad Group” button or edit an existing ad group.
Ad group settings
You can find all settings for the ad groups on the ad group page

Ad Group Types

Advanced Ads provides four different ad group types.

random ads group typeRandom ads
Display ads randomly based on their ad weight.
ordered ads group typeOrdered ads
Display the ads in the order set by the ad weight option.
ad slider group typeAd Slider (Ad Slider add-on)
Rotate ads dynamically on your site.
ad grid group typeGrid (Advanced Ads Pro)
Create blocks of ads. Manual.

Random Ads

Some use cases for the Random Ads ad type:

Ordered Ads

Some use cases for the Ordered Ads type:


The slider group enables the Ad Slider. In this mode, the slider rotates ads, as you might know, from image sliders. 

This feature comes with the Ad Slider add-on. You can find more details, as well as a demo, here.


The ad grid allows you to order multiple ads in columns and rows.

This feature comes with Advanced Ads Pro. You can find more details about ad grids here.

Ad Grid example
Ad grid example

Ad weights

Different ad weights in Advanced Ads

You can also set each ad’s weight on the ad group overview page. Ad weights control the proportion of views or the order in which ads of the group are displayed.

By default, any ad assigned to an ad group has a weight of 10. Therefore, in an ad group with equal ad weights, each ad would get about the same impressions as the others.

You can disable an ad within an ad group by setting the ad weight to 0.

By default, the ad weight dropdown menu offers values from 0 to 10. They will increase when you add more than 10 ads to a group. After saving your ad group, you can choose ad weights between 0 and the number of ad units in the group.

You can also manually increase the maximum ad weight by adding code to the functions.php as described here.

Using ad weights with Random Ads

Keep in mind that the ad weight does not influence the order in which the ads appear but just the chance an ad could appear.

Ad weight examples

To rotate ads with the same chance to appear, give all of them the same ad weight – any number from 1 to 10.

Ad #110
Ad #210
Ad #310

In the next example, the chance of Ad #1 being displayed is the same as Ad #2 and #3 together. I added percentages to make this more clear.

Ad #11050%
Ad #2525%
Ad #3525%

Using ad weights with Ordered Ads

With Ordered Ads, the ad weight doesn’t define the proportion of the views an ad gets compared to the other ads from the same group but the order in which it is displayed. The higher the ad weight, the higher the position in the chain.

If two ads have the same ad weight, they are displayed randomly. This allows you to add a slight rotation into a typically fixed order.

Ad weight examples

The following ad weight example would mean that Ad #1 gets checked first. If only one ad is displayed in this group and the display conditions allow the ad to be displayed, Ad #2 and #3 won’t show up.

If the display conditions of Ad #1 return false, Ad #2 gets checked, etc. You could also use such a setup to define fallback ads, e.g., when Ad #3 and #4 wouldn’t have any display conditions and are displayed anytime when Ads #1 and #2 are not. Ad #3 and #4 rotate evenly since they have the same weight.

Ad #110
Ad #29
Ad #38
Ad #48

Additional options for ad groups

Visible Ads

Using this dropdown menu, you can set the number of ads from this group that you want to display at once. By default, this value is set to “1”.

However, specific ad setups are based on multiple ads, such as neighboring ad spaces, ad grids, or text links similar to the deprecated link unit ads from Google AdSense.

Setting to define the number of visible ads
Use this option to choose how many ads you want to display at once

Refresh Interval

This option allows you to refresh and reload the ads at a specific interval. This way, you can show different ads to your visitors and increase the chance of clicks. This feature requires Cache Busting and comes with Advanced Ads Pro.

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Embedding Ad Groups

You can display an ad from an ad group almost through the same options as displaying ads.

  • function in your template
  • shortcode in your post content
  • through the ad widget
  • through placements

You will find the ID of the ad group in the first column of the ad group overview page.

Keep in mind that displaying an ad group means there will be one ad randomly chosen from the group based on ad weight and the display conditions of each ad. The latter can cause that no ad can be displayed.

shortcode and PHP function for ad groups
Click on usage to see the shortcode and the PHP function

PHP Function

Use the following code to insert the ad group with the ID 4 into your theme:

<?php if(function_exists('the_ad_group')) the_ad_group(4); ?>

Just open the template file and include the code. The first part will guarantee that there will be no error message if you deactivated the plugin and forgot to remove the code snippet before.


The shortcode is the easiest method to insert an ad group anywhere within a static page or a post. For our ad group with the ID 4 just use this shortcode.

[the_ad_group id="4"]

Just open the post, page, or any other post type with a content field and include the code.

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