Back in 2022, we published a blog on 9 Ways to Optimise a Performance Max Campaign, though since then Google has developed the campaign type and we have learned more ways to use and generate results from PMAX campaigns. In the following blog, we will discuss four more tips and techniques to help get the most out of your Google Performance Max campaigns.
1. Use PMAX Scripts to see where your sales and traffic are coming from
The lack of reporting data is one of the main sticking points most users have with a PMAX campaign. Questions such as ‘How much are we spending on each channel?’ and ‘What results are we getting from each channel?’ are two major issues limiting the confidence to scale the campaign or even justify running it.
While this data isn’t easily accessible within the Google Ads Platform, we can access this data using the 3rd-party scripts in the scripts function in Google Ads.
OK, yes, scripts sound a little scary, though Mike Rhode’s and his PMAX script (walkthrough included) make them a lot easier. When you have followed Mike’s video and implemented one of his scripts, you will have access to cost, conversion, value and ROAS breakdowns per channel while the script also grants access to asset group results.
An example breakdown of PMAX data from the PMAX Script
2. Turning off the ‘Automatically Created Assets’ Setting
Google require as much information as possible to feed PMAX campaigns, but Google also (indirectly) state that they need as much control as possible to run PMAX campaigns. While giving full control to Google may sound like the correct thing to do to help get results from an AI & ML-based campaign, there are a few settings you should be aware of. In particular, settings on how Google can edit your ad copy – one of them is the ‘Automatically Created Assets’ setting.
Accessed via the campaign settings on the Google Ads console, ‘Automatically Created Assets’ allows you to select if Text Assets can be automatically customised based on ‘content from your landing page, domain and ads in combination with assets that you provide directly’. The Final URL option of ‘Automatically Created Assets’ allows you to grant Google permission to ‘Send traffic to the most relevant URLs on your site when it’s likely to result in better performance’.
The assets and the landing pages you select for your campaign are two of the main control points you have for your campaign – therefore opting into ‘Automatically Created Assets’, allows Google to change assets, change the landing page on top of show ads to who the system believes is best – which could lead to irrelevant ad copy being served and therefore, bad results.
This can be seen in Patrick Schammer’s breakdown on LinkedIn on how Shirts of Europe GmbH’s PMAX campaign took a downturn at the beginning of 2024. Shirts of Europe GmbH’s implemented Mike Rhodes PMAX Scrrpit to get more data on the issue – leading to the identification of a cost share shift from the shopping network to the search network within the campaign. This was solved by opting out of ‘Automatically Created Assets’ to help drive the campaign back to serve on the shopping network and better returns.
Automatically Created Asset setting in the Google Ads platform
3. Focusing your PMAX Campaign Goals – Setting Your Campaign Up To Succeed
Campaign goals are one of the foundational campaign design decisions that will decide how your campaign will perform. The campaign goal setting allows you to define to Google what the main objective of the campaign is aka the main conversion action.
While this sounds quite simple, the default is to use the ‘account goal settings’ and Google will therefore optimise the campaign to any primary conversion in the account. Therefore, if your conversions aren’t configured correctly in Google Ads, your campaign could be optimising and spending towards something less valuable like clicks to email conversions.
In your Google Ads account, you can set as many conversions as you want as primary conversions. However, a campaign will use any primary conversion selected (for that campaign) to be used for bidding optimization (of that campaign). The number of primary conversions your campaign generated will then be shown in the ‘Conversion’ column, while any secondary conversion will be shown in the All Conversions column (along with primary conversions).
Setting Primary Conversions in Google Ads
1. Tools & Settings > Measurement > Conversion
2. Your Conversions will be listed with the ‘Action Optimisation’ listed in the table beside each conversion
3. Click the name of the conversion
4. Select ‘Edit Settings’ at the bottom of the page
5. Click ‘Action Optimisation’ and select if you would like the conversion classed as primary or secondary.
Setting a conversion as a campaign goal on a Google Ads PMAX campaign.
1. Select the PMAX campaign
2. Go to Settings
3. Click on Goals, then select ‘Use campaign-specific goal settings’ and choose your primary conversion
4. Using Asset Groups and Product Feeds to serve all items
This one is for PMAX campaigns that pull from a product feed Google Merchant Center Product Feed.
The machine learning used to power Google’s PMAX campaigns can be extremely good at generating and capturing sales when it is allowed the time and budget to get moving though there are times when the campaign will only serve some items in ads. While this tends to be the top-selling items, the other items in your product feed can be ignored by the campaign. By default, this is the purpose of the campaign and machine learning, as the campaign has learned that it can generate sales by serving the items though there may be times when you would like your other items to be served.
Viewing what items the PMAX campaigns Asset Group is serving:
1. Select the PMAX Camapign.
2. Click Insights & Reports > Listing Group
3. Select the Asset Group you wish to view (this should be blue and in the table, under the column ‘Asset Group’)
4. Sort by Conversions and view data using the date function.
If you find that your PMAX campaign is only serving high-selling products, you use the following methods to help ease the situation. The first is to let that PMAX campaign/asset group focus on your top 5-10 items, which can be done by creating a subdivision in the listing group and only selecting the top 10 items.
If you aren’t sure how to achieve this, Google has a decent guide to managing Listing Groups.
Once that is done, you can set up either a new campaign or a new assets group to serve the items that were ignored by the original campaign/asset group. You can do this by using the same subdivision method as before.
Some other points to consider…
- The data you are feeding Google is now more important than ever if you are using PMAX and other automated campaigns like Demand Gen. The ML and AI are learning from that data, therefore what you feed it (offline conversions, audience signals, 1st party data et)c will directly impact your results.
- Testing is extremely important for the progress of your campaigns but also for the scaling of your campaigns. As with anything you read online (including this article) don’t blindly just implement, test the change first over the 6-8 week learning period and interrogate the results.
- Google is still auto-creating a video from your assets if you don’t include a video in your PMAX campaign. While I have seen some OK versions of this in the wild, most are poor. Therefore, I suggest adding a video asset to your campaign.
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