Google Shopping

The Ultimate Guide To Performance Max Campaigns (2023)

28 · by Dennis Moons on 17 January 2023

Performance Max campaigns are taking the world of Google Ads by storm.

pMax campaigns were only announced at the end of 2021, but with the forced upgrade of Smart Shopping, they are at the top of the to-do list for many ecommerce businesses and service providers.

In this article, we’ll show you why that is. We’ll get you up to speed with how Performance Max works and how you can integrate them in your Google Ads approach.

 What is Performance Max?

Performance Max is a campaign type that’s able to show ads across all available channels of the Google Ads platform: Search, Shopping, YouTube, Display, Discover, Gmail, and Maps

For that reason, I call Performance Max the Frankenstein monster of Google Ads.

Instead of using specific ad formats, like Search or Shopping Ads, Performance Max Ads targets everything inside of one campaign.

google-performance-max-graphic

If you’re not very familiar with Google Ads, this might sound great. Because now you can show ads in all those places, with a single campaign that takes less work to set up and manage!

But if you have gotten a little bit of experience running campaigns, all alarm bells are ringing 🚨

Why should you care about Pmax?

Google only announced Performance Max in November of 2021. A few months later they stated that all Smart Shopping campaigns would be upgrade to Performance Max by July-September of 2022.

Now we’re past that deadline and Performance Max have replaced all Smart Shopping campaigns.

And that shows in the Performance Max adoption rates across the world:

google-performance-max-campaigns-adoption-stats-chart

Performance Max is the next step in the evolution we’ve seen play out in the last few years.

That evolution consists of Google using machine learning to take more control over what your ad looks like, when, and who it is shown to.

Before, you had the option to turn off things like Search Partners or Display Select with regular Search and Shopping Ads.

But with the launch of Smart Shopping in 2018, that optionality changed. All of a sudden, your ads were now showing on Shopping, Display, YouTube, and Gmail.

And Performance Max takes that ones step further.

How Do Performance Max Campaigns Work?

Like I mentioned above, Performance Max campaigns (also called pMax) do a lot of things at once.

Think of a combination of a Search, Shopping, Display, and YouTube Ad.

If you’re more familiar with Google Ads, Performance Max basically is a merger of Smart Shopping with Dynamic Search Ads.

In order for Google to be able to do this, you provide them with a product, feed, a bunch of assets like headlines, images, and videos.

Google will then mix and match all of these elements to come up with a different ad depending on the placement.

preview different placements of google performance max campaigns
Preview of a display placement on YouTube for this Performance Max campaign

The Preview above shows a Display ad on YouTube that’s originating from my Performance Max.

Because pMax campaigns do so much, they have a big impact on other campaigns. We’ll look closer into the exact impact later in this article.

Difference between Performance Max and Standard Shopping

 Performance MaxStandard Shopping
PlacementsSearch Network, Display Network, YouTube, Gmail, Discovery & MapsSearch Network
ReachVery wideLimited
Bid strategyMaximize Conversions or Maximize Conversion Value (with optional targets)All bidding strategies
Level of controlLowVery high
Campaign transparencyLowHigh
Optimization potentialMediumVery high
Remarketing includedYesNo
Impact on Search campaignsYesNone

What Are the Benefits of Using Performance Max?

To get the benefits of using Performance Max campaigns, where better to look to then the initial Google announcement?

Here is what they claim Performance Max campaigns do:

  1. Increase conversions and value
  2. Find new customers
  3. Gain richer insights
  4. Work together with automation

It’s still the early days for Performance Max campaigns. But from my own experiments, I haven’t seen any of the above play out yet.

To me, the current advantages are fairly limited:

  • Potentially more reach: you’re leveraging even more Display-style placements. But this doesn’t always mean better performance.
  • Less work: since Google is handling so much behind the scenes, there is not a lot of work left to do.

Downsides of Performance Max Campaigns?

The downsides of Performance Max share a lot with my criticism of Smart Shopping.

Little Or No Insights

If Smart Shopping was a black box, Performance Max is even blacker.

At this moment, there is very little insight into how the budget is allocated. Both on the different channels, or on the type of visitors (prospecting vs remarketing).

With the impact pMax has on Search (see later in the article), there is also little insight on where cannibalization is happening.

All this results in a scary situation for advertisers. Either you’ve got great results and blindly increase the budget until it stops working. Or your campaign suddenly tanks and you’ve got no idea why that is.

Cannibalization

Since Performance Max covers a much wider range of ads, launching it can have a big impact on your existing campaigns.

If you’re not paying close attention, it will cannibalize some of your other campaigns, and claim credit for the sales.

This makes it a lot harder to judge the incremental value of Performance Max.

I’ll further discuss the exact impact Performance Max has on your existing account. But for now, I’ll leave you with this chart:

google smart shopping campaign tanks
Branded Search Ads campaign tanks after pMax is launched

Can you guess when this advertiser launched a Performance Max campaign?

Limited visibility on search terms

Unlike Smart Shopping, Performance Max offers more insights into which “search themes” are being triggered by the campaigns.

google-performance-max-search-terms-category-themese-inisghts

Still, it’s only a pittance from the level of detail you can get on Standard Shopping campaigns.

Limited visibility on placements

To see which placements your ads have appear on, there is a report:

google-performance-max-placements-report

But as you can see from the report above, it’s still a little light on the details.

Google Owned & Operated is taking up the bulk of the impressions.

Impact of Performance Max on Other Campaigns?

One of the most important things to discuss when it comes to pMax is the impact it will have on existing campaigns.

To do that, take a look at the chart below.

It shows the impact of Performance max on the campaigns in the first column, and which campaign actually enters the auction.

To me, the most important part of that chart is the impact on branded Search Ads.

If you have both a Search Ads campaign that uses phrase or broad match keywords, and a Performance Max campaign, the latter will probably show.

That means that if you have Search Ads campaigns that target your branded keywords, depending on how the keywords are matched, Performance Max will take credit for those conversions.

Since branded searches usually are the most profitable campaign that you can run, pMax will look very good, without actually doing anything new.

So you want to make sure that your branded search is set up in such a way that this isn’t possible.

According to the table above: either by having have the exact keyword in your account or by having a higher ad rank.

Since we can’t see keywords or quality scores for pMax campaigns, you’ll be guessing if your campaign is showing up or not.

How to Create a Performance Max Campaign

By know, I hope it’s become clear that Performance Max campaigns work very differently from other campaigns.

That’s also true for their setup. So let’s look at how to set up a Performance max campaign, step by step.

1 – Pick a campaign objective

When you create a new campaign, Google always asks you about your campaign per marketing objective.

Select the last option in the list, “Create a campaign without a goal’s guidance”:

google campaign objective

2 – Pick a campaign type

Next, you can select a Performance Max campaign.

select performance max campaign
Select a Performance Max campaign

3 – Select conversion goals

Next, you need to select the conversion goals that are used for campaign optimization.

conversion goals performance max campaigns
Pay close attention to which goals are selected!

Pay close attention to this step. Be sure to remove non-essential goals. This avoids duplicate goals or tracking useless things like newsletter signups.

If you would like to remove a goal, simply click the three dots on the right and click “Remove goal”

remove goal google campaign

4 – Budget & bidding

The next section of the setup is where you set your budget and bidding strategy.

budget bidding options performance max campaigns
Budget & bidding options for Performance Max

If you’re not sure what budget to pick, you might be wondering what to put here.

The budget recommendation from Google is to have an average daily budget of at least three times your CPA or cost/conv. for the conversion actions selected for your campaign.

I think that’s on the high side, especially for smaller advertisers. I would recommend to try and have at least 1x CPA as the daily budget. So if your usual cost per conversion is $58, you need to have a budget of at least $58/day.

The available smart bidding strategies are Maximize Conversions and Maximize Conversion Value. Both have the option to set a target CPA, target ROAS, so that gives you additional levers to pull.

Learn more about How to use Smart Bidding in Google Ads.

5 – Campaign Settings

In this step, you can make some additional adjustments to your campaign like selecting the locations you want to target.

campaign settings performance max campaigns
Campaign settings for Performance Max

Since pMax is also targeting Search, you also need to select the language(s). This is very different from Shopping campaigns, where Google would use all products that are approved for a specific country.

The last import setting is Final URL expansion.

google-performance-max-final-url-expansion-off

This option basically asks you whether you want Google to decide where they send clicks on your ads.

If you select “On: Send traffic to the most relevant URLs on your site”, Google will look beyond the Final URL in your ad or product URLs in your feed for a page on your site that matches the intent better.

Use the ‘Exclude URLs” to block pages like “About us” or blog from being used as part of your ads.

We’ll explore this feature in more detail in the optimization section of this article.

6 – Create Asset Group(s)

Next, we need to set up one or more asset groups.

This is something that’s pretty different compared to other campaigns.

An asset group is basically an ad group, product group, and advertisement packed into one.

Listing group

First, you have to select the products you want to include in this asset group. By default, it uses all products that are in your feed.

To change that, click the pencil icon to select based on the same criteria we know from other Shopping campaigns.

Assets

When you open up the asset menu, you’ll see a lot of resemblance with Smart Shopping Ads.

google-performance-max-asset-group-example

You give Google a bunch of creative assets, and they combine it in different ways depending on the placements.

Here is what you need:

  • Headline: 3-5 headlines
  • Long headline: 1-5 long headlines
  • Description: 2- 5 description texts
  • Images: at least 1 square and one landscape image
  • Logo: at least 1 square logo, others are optional
  • YouTube video: not required, up to 5 videos of min 10 seconds

I listed the minimum for each ad. But ideally, you want to provide a bunch of assets Google is able to combine. Especially in terms of the images, it’s important to provide variation in dimensions and content.

If you’re interested, here are all potential assets you can provide for Performance Max:

performance max asset requirements
Detailed requirements for Performance Max assets

When you start filling in your text assets, Google will pull headlines and descriptions from your other ads, which makes it pretty easy to re-use them.

performance max headlines
Suggestions for headlines

Audience signal

Audience signal is another new thing that has a new name but actually has pretty familiar content.

Google says that adding an audience signal will help steer its automation more quickly towards the right customers.

Here is what it looks like for my store:

performance max audience signal selection

An audience signal is a combination of:

What you select in this list won’t be the only targeting criteria. It just gives Google a jumpstart at understanding what your audience looks like.

performance max audience signal

Ad Extensions (now also called Assets)

As part of configuring your Asset Groups, you can also add ad extensions. Confusingly, there are now also called Assets.

Because your ads are also appearing as Search Ads, this is really important to grab all the real estate you can.

google-performance-max-asset-group-assets-ad-extensions-sitelinks-callouts

Available options are sitelinks, promotions, callouts, calls, prices, structured snippets, etc.

When those are added, your campaign is ready to go!

Performance Max Campaign Optimization

When we first published this article, this section was very small.

But as we’ve been experimenting in our Lab, many updates have been added!

One meta observation from this campaign type, is that there are a lot of parallels with Smart Shopping optimization.

We’ll cover these more common best practices last, and start with some existing tips, ideas, and wild guesses first 🤓

(Quick note: if you love geeking out about this stuff as well, you want to check this new thing).

Performance Max account structure

The biggest lever to pull when optimizing Performance Max campaigns is that of multiple campaigns.

Having specific campaigns for specific products or categories allows you to allocate specific budget and targets.

As with all automated campaigns, you’ll need to find a balance between control and consolidating data inside of a campaign.

Google recommends 50-100 conversion per pMax campaign per month, but it could also work with 20-30 / month.

Rule of thumb is the less conversions you have, the less campaigns you should have!

Performance Max campaign structure

One of the key differences with Smart Shopping is that you’re able to create multiple Asset groups per campaign.

In fact, you’re able to have up to 100 assets groups in a Performance Max campaign:

multiple assets groups performance max
Multiple assets groups in a Performance Max campaign

So I’m guessing these Assets groups really do behave like Ad groups. (Of which you can have 20,000 in a campaign btw)

This opens the door to having a single campaign, but building out multiple assets groups to target different parts of your product catalog, a different theme, or a different audience.

Then you can customize each asset group with different text, images, and videos, a different Final URL, and different products.

One Google recommendation to keep in mind is to minimize listing group overlap:

We recommend that each asset group target different products (i.e., Products A-L in Asset Group 1 and Products M-Z in Asset Group 2).

This is in line with one of our iron rules of campaign optimization: one thing, one campaign.

So I think the multiple asset groups is probably one of the biggest levers we have available.

Asset optimization

Besides multiple asset groups, we can also improve the assets within each asset group.

Here is an overview of the Asset detail report, which looks a lot like the report for Responsive Search Ads:

performance max asset report
Overview of the assets performance inside pMax

All your assets, text, images, and videos will be evaluated. You’ll see the result in the Performance column.

There are four potential values:

  • Low: low performing against all other assets of the same type across properties.
  • Good: assets perform well enough
  • Best: one of the highest performers of all assets
  • Pending: not enough data yet (you’ll need > 5000 impressions per asset)

The goal is to get rid of the Low performing ones and have at least multiple “Best” assets for each asset type.

Note that a specific asset type performance is different from “Ad Strength”. This last one is an indicator that Google gives depending on the amount and variety of assets that you’ve provided in your asset group.

If this works similar to other accounts, a poor ad strength doesn’t automatically mean you’ll see bad results.

One other interesting observation from the asset type report above is the last column Source.

In this report, the source is Advertiser, it basically are all assets that I provided.

But that brings the question of whether there are assets that are NOT provided by the advertiser?

To explore that rabbit hole, let’s talk about video!

Performance Max Videos

If you don’t add a video to your asset group, Google will automatically generate them.

performance max automatically created videos
Look at the videos Google added to my campaigns!

If you’re wondering if they’re any good, have a look at what was added to my campaigns:

performance-max-auto_created_video_youtube_google
YouTube doesn’t allow embedding unlisted video, so click here to see the ad

I have (mostly) stayed away from YouTube Ads because it’s so hard to produce good creative.

So imagine how much it pains me to spend money on this type of garbage.

The only way to stop showing these auto-generated videos is to add a YouTube video that can show instead.

If you have the resources, I would recommend creating your own video, instead of trusting that Google will put something together that represents your brand and products well.

Google also has a free tool called Director Mix that can help to quickly create a decent video.

Adding Negative keywords

Unlike Smart Shopping, Performance Max offers more insights into which search terms are being triggered by the campaigns.

Under Insights, they provide the “Top search themes”:

If you click on either of the themes, you can see the actual search terms:

This is a lot less data than what you can get with Standard Shopping or normal Search Ads campaigns.

  • No indication if these searches served Shopping or Search Ads
  • You have no idea how random of a selection this is: are these all searches, the most popular, etc.

But after being starved from keywords with Smart Shopping, I’ll take any data I can. (And realize how deep I’ve fallen 😅)

If you do identify poor keywords in this list, you can’t add negative keywords manually to your campaigns. But similar to Smart Shopping, you can add them by going through Google support.

Google is working on account level negative keywords, so that might make it a little bit easier vs going through support!

google account level negative keywords
Account-level negative keywords are coming to Google Ads! – source: Google video

If you’re having problems getting Google Support to add negative keywords, you can also go through your CSS provider if you’re in Europe.

Final URL Expansion

When Google says Final URL expansion, they are talking about going beyond the Final URL and the individual product URLs.

In the setup section, I mentioned the ability to turn this on or off. But actually, there are 3 options:

  1. URL expansion ON, no exclusions
  2. URL expansion ON, with exclusions
  3. URL expansion OFF

Note: URL expansion is OFF if you’re not targeting All products in the listing group.

I would mainly test #2 & #3. As part of the exclusions, I would put any non-commercial pages on my site like about us, FAQ, shipping details, etc.

You might want to use them in your sitelinks, but not as the main URL of your ad!

Campaign Priority & Performance Max

Performance max takes priority over all Shopping campaigns, both Smart and Standard Shopping.

But digging through the Google Ads API docs, I found an interesting line on campaign priority:

Campaigns with numerically higher priorities take precedence over those with lower priorities.

performance max campaign priority
Campaign priority in Performance Max?

I think this refers to having multiple pMAx campaigns in an account and then using different campaign priority settings to prioritize one over the other.

This opens the door for more complex account structures and our beloved tiered bidding tactic!

Performance Max Placements

Google has a predefined report inside of Google Ads called the “Performance Max campaign placements”.

It’s a big improvement from where it was when pMax first launched, but it’s still a little light on details.

It only shows the Impressions and the Google Owned & Operated doesn’t make us much wiser.

Check this example:

google-performance-max-placements-report

But I suspect we’ll see more metrics and more accurate data in the coming months.

Once there is a more useful report, it can help to exclude certain placements via account level exclusions.

That covers the optimization details that are unique to Performance Max campaigns. Luckily there are a bunch of tactics we can leverage from other campaign types.

Google Merchant Center business settings

In Google Merchant Center, you can upload your logos and business colors.

That makes sure that at least some part of your branding is used in your ads:

performance max colors
My purple main color comes through thanks to GMC settings

Leverage Goals Deep in the funnel

Performance Max isn’t just for retailers. It can also be leveraged for lead gen campaigns.

One of the recommendations Google has for those advertisers:

If using Maximize-conversions or tCPA bid strategies, select the deepest funnel conversion action that has sufficient frequency and set the tCPA accordingly.

This is something we’ve seen in Smart Shopping as well.

We’ve tried to get more data into Google Ads by using start checkout or add to cart as the main goal.

Even with all the necessary measures to accomplish this (discounted values or more aggressive ROAS targets), we haven’t seen this result in the algorithm getting any better as a result of more data.

So it’s interesting to see a very similar recommendation from Google about focussing as deep in your funnel as possible.

No doubt we’ll try goals higher in the funnel at some point, but it’s not on top of our list.

Feed optimization

While there is not much to change on the actual Shopping Ads, we still have a lot of power over what we put in the feed.

So like Smart Shopping, product feed optimization is very important.

First, that means cleaning up your feed and making sure you’ve fixed the warning in Google Merchant Center.

The second part is to bring in the necessary info you need to organize your campaigns via custom labels.

Then the true feed optimization can start with updating product titles, descriptions, images, etc.

One interesting new feed attribute is the short_title. This is way for you to send through a shorter product title compared to the one you use in your main feed. This will help your product titles look better when you have less real estate.

Bid adjustments

The last section of our Performance Max optimization is about the bid adjustments like ad scheduling or location targeting.

Since they’ve been around for a long time, I’m not going into detail here.

Performance Max Results (So Far)

Performance Max was released in the middle of the 2021 holiday season. So it’s hard to say how it will perform during real peak time.

But from testing for the last 9-10 months, we’ve seen mixed results.

Early on, results were relatively good for clients that were pushing Smart Shopping hard before.

But since the forced switch, we see that it doesn’t hold up across the board. Even account for a learning period and giving the campaign a few weeks to catch up, it’s clear that the situation is more complex.

That’s why we haven’t said goodbye to Standard Shopping, far from it. It might not be where Google is headed in 5 years time, but if you want results TODAY, you need to pick the campaign that makes most sense.

And if the pMax campaigns aren’t delivering, you need an alternative!

Another area where we’ve seen poor results is with clients with well-built Search Ads campaigns, Performance Max also got good results, but it really came at the cost of the existing campaigns.

Because they have been honed over many years, it’s understandable that pMax isn’t able to get up to par yet.

So at this point, I look at Performance Max as just one tool we can use.

Who Should Use Performance Max?

If you’re still with me, your head is probably spinning from all the things you should look into.

So to finish, I want to add my recommendation on who should use Performance Max.

If you’re just starting out, or you’re spending less than 1k/mo, stay away from Performance Max. Because of your limited budget, you need to take more control over where your ads appear.

If you run more advanced Display or YouTube Ads campaigns, Performance Max might cause all sorts of trouble.

For everyone else, Performance Max might be good, but you need to test.

During those tests, the most important part is to safeguard your branded Search from cannibalization.

And when you’re comparing before/after results, make sure you look at the changes in your whole account, not just Performance Max vs your Standard or even Smart Shopping campaign.

Curious to hear your thoughts on Performance Max in the comments 🙂

Dennis Moons

Dennis Moons is the founder and lead instructor at Store Growers.

He's a Google Ads expert with over 12 years of experience in running Google Ads campaigns.

During this time he has managed more than $5 million in ad spend and worked with clients ranging from small businesses to global brands. His goal is to provide advice that allows you to compete effectively in Google Ads.

Follow him on Twitter or LinkedIn.

28 responses on "The Ultimate Guide To Performance Max Campaigns (2023)"

  1. Mona says:

    Hello,

    Great article! I’ve been trying to find good information around pMax, and it’s not easy. Even Google (our Google reps) has given me conflicting advice… One said to create separate campaigns, and when I did, I was told by another “no no no”, go back to Asset Groups.

    Can you speak a little more about avoiding cannibalization with Search campaigns? I’m finding that my branded campaigns are doing okay, but the more granular ones, like by size, by age, etc., are suffering. (We are an eCom that sells shoes) So, I’m thinking I may step back from those and let pMax do it’s thing…

    I had to pause the children’s pMax because even though I had two campaigns, one for adult and one for kids, Google just wasn’t getting it. So, I paused and am trying with Standard Shopping since I need to do a lot of work with negatives to avoid overlap.

    Thx again!

    1. Dennis says:

      Hi Mona,
      Thanks! Yeah things are still very much in motion with pMax.

      pMax can show instead of your Search ads if you don’t have the same keywords in your account that are searched for. Beware that this refers to the actual query, not the “exact match type”.

      Example 1:
      person searches for: white shoes for toddlers
      search campaign: “shoes toddler” (= phrase match keyword)
      result: pMax can/will show

      Example 2:
      person searches for: gym shoes 6Y
      search campaign: “gym shoes 6Y” (= phrase match keyword)
      result: search campaign can/will show

      Hope that clarifies things a tiny bit 🙂

    2. what kind of videos are you creating for Performance Max? Product specific videos, company introduction videos, collection specific videos? All of the above and letting Google decide?

      I think I know how to setup the rest but I am a little confused as to what kind of videos to add to a Performance Max campaign.

  2. Hey Dennis,

    I normally don’t comment on DIY/Guide articles but first off, this was one of the better articles that I have read yet on a topic in paid media. Really appreciate how thorough you were and how much detail you gave. So thank you!

    A few follow up questions for you (don’t feel obligated to answer by the way):

    ->Have you had any luck adding priorities to your PMax campaigns? If so, did you see a significant change in traffic to the campaigns you changed?
    ->Have you experimented with Brand vs Non-Brand terminology in your ad copy? If so, what did you see?
    ->Have you experimented with Prospecting vs Remarketing audiences? Guessing yes based upon this article, but if you did, what did you see as a result?
    ->Any other tips/tricks you’ve seen for optimizing these campaign types? I’m personally a fan of segmenting SKUs, Audience Signals, & DMAs based upon past CVR data from prior campaigns or Google Analytics, though I’d love to hear your perspective on this as a fellow PPC Pirate/Data Geek.
    ->Are you doing or trying to do a webinar on this topic?

    Kind Regards,
    Oliver

  3. Mark says:

    Well I do not comment on articles – but yours is good. Have wierd experiences with performance max and simply function of adding negative keywords to it easily (even just like in smart search) would give us a way to deal with it. Sadly google is pushing it to hard. Currently I even turned off perf max in few ads accounts and restarted smart shopping which resulted in 100% higher over all account performance (and 60% in store sale) – week to week reults – in the recesion, huge inflation, in trend of searches for products going down since few months. I would say that’s says everything about it. 😉

    1. Dennis says:

      Hi Mark!
      Thanks for chiming in with your experiences.
      I agree, these are rough times. Switching from Smart Shopping to Performance Max has a lot of advertisers on edge. With so many advertisers switching during the common months, I think some of the underlying systems on Google’s side will also need to adapt to this new reality.
      Fingers crossed we figure it out soon 🙈

    2. Amy says:

      How are you turning on Smart Shopping? I only have the option of regular shopping campaigns. I would love to turn off pMax. It is totally cannibalizing my branded campaigns.

  4. Khaled says:

    Thank you so much, this has been very useful! I’ve been running a smart shopping campaign for 2 years now and it’s working find with around 4 transactions per day. Now I’ve paused it and created a new performance max campaign and it has been 5 days now without a single transaction. My question is, is this normal, should i wait a bit longer or is there is something wrong keeping in mind the optimization score is 100% and targeting is almost identical. Thanks again.

    1. Dennis says:

      Hi Khaled,
      Performance Max does much more than just serve Shopping Ads. So as part of starting this new campaign, Google also needs to re-adjust to see where it can get sales.

      I would be patient for a few more days before making big changes.

      Hope that helps!
      -Dennis

      1. Amy says:

        I’ve been patient for weeks and haven’t seen improvement in recalibration here. It’s only cannibalizing my branded search and decreasing my roas for the whole account.

  5. Mehdi says:

    Hi Dennis,

    I usually don’t comment on articles like that, but I really appreciated the throughout overview and your plume.
    Thank you for it,
    Best
    Mehdi

    1. Dennis says:

      Thanks Mehdi, I appreciate the kind words 🙏

  6. Patrick says:

    Dennis:
    Loved your article. Great information on PMAX. I have one question. Do you recommend one main PMAX account with all products and then segment out asset groups by brand or categories? I’m seeing conflicting information about this on the web? At this time we have one PMAX campaign the first asset group is all products general group. Then we have other asset groups built out by brand and category. Will this method cannibalize each other? Should we set up a different PMAX account for the all products?? Love to hear your thoughts. Thank you.

    1. Dennis says:

      Hi Patrick,
      Thanks for your feedback!

      Question 1: Do different asset groups cannibalise each other:
      Yes, and that’s ok.
      My current rule of thumb is to only include every product in a single asset group. So if you have multiple assets groups, you each want to have different products in each listing group.

      Splitting it based on category is ideal, splitting it on brand+category can work, but keep in mind that these will compete for generic searches. (If you have 2 assets groups for both Nike and Adidas running shoes, which one should show if people search for running shoes)?

      Question 2: Should you have multiple Performance Max campaigns?
      You can definitely have multiple Pmax campaigns. Each campaign can have its own budget and target CPA/ROAS. So if you have big difference between products in terms of margin, or you want to allocate more budget to certain products, it might make sense to split.

      For example:

      • Pmax – Bestsellers – $200/d @ ROAS 250%
      • Pmax – other products – $50/d @ ROAS 350%
  7. Great explained…

    Are we run both Standard and Performance campaign at the same time for the advertising of the same service in 2 different campaign types?
    In Google, the new pMax campaign will not conflict with existing search and display campaings?

    Please let me know.

    1. Dennis says:

      Hi Sarfraj,
      If you run a Standard and pMax campaign with the same product inside of them, the pMax will take priority. Unless your pMax budget runs out, then your Standard Shopping campaign will take over again.

      For your second question, pMax definitely conflicts with existing search and display campaigns. You have to look at each of the campaigns and asses the impact. With Display there isn’t much you can do, but if you check the table in the article, you can adjust your Search campaigns to make them take priority over pMax.

  8. Oskar says:

    Hi Dennis,

    What’s you thoughts on amount of the amount of products you should include in a Pmax with a limited budget?

    We have around 10 000 sku’s but are running on a small budget (20 dollars a day), do you think we should consider to only include our bestsellers or a niche of our assortment so that the algoritm could learn better/faster?

    1. Dennis says:

      Hi Oskar,
      With such a larger catalog and such a small budget, I’d highly recommend feeding Google a much smaller selection of skus. This isn’t just advice for pMax but any campaign.
      Your bestsellers are a great starting point!
      -Dennis

  9. Natalie says:

    Hi Dennis!

    Super appreciate this article and all your courses so far. Question for you- if we narrow down the products showing in our PMAX campaign to just bestsellers, do you recommend grouping those bestsellers together in one asset group or creating an asset group per bestselling product? If you can please let me know your thoughts! Thank you.

    1. Dennis says:

      Hi Natalie,
      It’s hard for me to answer that question. It depends on 2 things:

      1. Sales volume of bestsellers
      2. The similarity of bestselling products & audiences

      #1 – the more conversion volume you have, the further you break it down. There is no hard cap, but I’d make sure you have at least 20-30 conversions per asset group per month.

      #2 – if the products are very similar = they would trigger the same search queries or target the same audience, I’d keep them together. But if you’re trying to sell BBQs and outdoor fire pits, you probably want to use different asset groups to customize assets.

  10. Denise Smith says:

    Just found and read your article and I have a question about a limited Pmax campaign. We work with a vendor who is running Pmax for us, but limiting the assets (no video’s, additional images, keywords, etc) because they don’t want to cannibalize our search campaigns that we have branded and non-branded. So in our search campaigns we only run keywords. I am trying to get them to test Pmax without using our shopping feed and use keywords, images and videos in these campaigns. They are pushing back and wanting to run standalone display, YouTube/video and Discovery campaigns.

    Thoughts? Pmax test without feed or standalone campaigns?

    1. Dennis says:

      Hi Denise,
      I’ve seen good results from a pMax without assets. But the pMax without feed (for ecommerce) hasn’t been producing results in the tests I’ve done. Very few impressions, barely any clicks, etc.

      So in your case, I think it makes more sense to either run everything from the pMax campaign or pursue standalone campaigns.

      Note: the YouTube component with pMax at this point pales in comparison with what a good standalone YouTube campaign can do!

  11. Rae Bassett says:

    Sensational article Dennis. Like others here I am more of a lurker, but wanted to say how much I appreciate you sharing these insights.

    My personal experience from transitioning to pMax from smart shopping – if you had a ROAS target in the previous campaign then you must drop that target right back down and then gradually lift it. Otherwise the new pMax tanks pretty quickly because it can’t learn fast enough to meet the target. Just thought I would share that here in case it helps others.

  12. Chris says:

    Great article! One of the best I have found so far.

    I am struggling with one thing: we offer different products: accessories for smartphones, game consoles, laptops, tablets etc.

    So I plan to create a different Asset group for each product type.

    The problem is selecting the country – we honestly ship to all countries around the world from the UK and UK itself is just 40% of our revenue – the rest is split between 100+ countries.

    Is it a good idea to separate the pMAX for countries, or to keep ONE pMax – WORLDWIDE targeting, but rich and specific Asset groups?

    Thank you so much.

    1. Dennis says:

      Hey Chris,
      thanks for your nice feedback 🙂
      Two of the biggest reasons for having multiple campaigns is being able to control budget and target. So in your case, I might create a list of “top countries”, and one for all the others. That wwy you can focus your budget on the locations where it’s easier to sell.

  13. Philippe says:

    Hi,

    The business I am doing google ads for is specialized in finding professionals for house renovations.

    For Search campaigns we have Branded terms, vertical terms and general terms.
    For PMax campaigns (20) we have vertical and general campaigns seperated for language (FR & EN), location & budget.
    – Google Rep mentionned to only use a campaign per conversion action, we have one primary conversion action.

    Having only a few campaigns with all verticals within different asset groups, we lose visibility on performance.

    What are your toughts on this?

  14. Jason Hood says:

    Wow, this is an incredibly comprehensive guide to performance max campaigns. The tips and strategies provided are not only informative, but also actionable. This is definitely a must-read for anyone looking to optimize their performance campaigns in 2023. Thanks for sharing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *