Get in Touch

PMAX Incremental Growth: How to Optimise Your Campaigns

Written by : 
Georgi Todorov
Reviewed by :  
Jack McLaren
Publish Date:  
May 9, 2024

Google's Performance Max (PMax) is an exciting tool that has the potential to revolutionise how we manage our ad campaigns. However, it's no secret that it has its downfalls.

In this article, we'll look at some of its shortcomings but also share our top tips for making the most of Performance Max and what to expect from the 2023 updates so far.

Disadvantages of Performance Max Campaigns

Limited insights

It is difficult to understand how the budget is allocated across types of visitors (prospecting vs re-marketing) and various channel types because Google doesn’t provide detailed insights. Additionally, Performance Max offers little insight into where cannibalisation is happening, making it difficult for advertisers to understand the performance of their campaigns.

The  biggest concern for advertisers is the limited search term data available. Google's own Insights Page feature can help understand performance by giving access to audience insights, such as how audiences respond to specific copy, imagery or videos, as well as diagnostic insights that highlight setup issues and provide recommendations for improvement.

However, this only provides a surface-level understanding of what's driving the results and is insufficient for making informed decisions using the level of data we have come to expect.


Performance Max campaigns can contribute to cannibalisation if the products advertised in the new campaign are similar to those advertised in the bestsellers shopping campaign.

This is because Google will start to prioritise the new campaign over the old one, thus shifting traffic and sales away from the bestsellers campaign.

Additionally, it is important to monitor other sources of traffic and sales, such as email, organic, or Paid Brand, to ensure that the new campaign is not stealing from those sources.

Limited search term insights

The limited visibility of search terms in Performance Max campaigns can significantly impact the effectiveness of these campaigns. With no indication if the searches served Shopping or Search Ads it can be difficult for businesses to identify poor search terms and take steps to optimise their campaigns. This is all handled automatically by Google over time. The lack of keyword data means companies cannot gain insight into which search terms are being triggered by the campaigns, limiting their ability to optimise the campaigns for better performance and conversions.

Without the ability to add negative keywords directly to a specific campaign, marketers must rely on Account Level negative keywords, which can be limiting and inefficient. This lack of visibility and control can make maximising conversions across all of Google's platforms challenging.

Limited data on Ad placements

Performance Max campaigns are further limited by the lack of bid adjustments and, as mentioned above, the inability to see the budget allocation breakdown on different channels or visitor types. As a result, Performance Max campaigns can be a scary prospect for advertisers, as it can be difficult to adjust and understand the placement visibility.

Top tips for optimising your Performance Max campaigns

Identify top-performing audience signals

One of the biggest complaints about PMAX is the lack of insights and data into top-performing audience signals. One way to improve this, and therefore improve your campaigns, is to assign different audience signals to different asset groups. This structure can help you to test and refine your Performance Max campaign set up.

An asset group is your collection of images, videos, headlines, descriptions etc., that PMax uses to create your ads, and you can have up to 100 of these per campaign. So, once you have created your asset group, duplicate it and add one audience signal per asset group.

For example, if you have five different audience signals. Instead of adding all of these to one asset group. Duplicate your original asset group until you have five, and add one audience signal to each asset group. Don’t make any other changes to the asset group.

This way, you will be able to use the reports to identify which audience signal is generating the most conversions for your campaign and turn off any that are not performing.

Make use of value rules

In the settings section of your Performance Max campaign is value rules. And what this essentially allows you to do is treat your users differently based on either the device they’re using, their location, or, if you have access to Google Analytics, you can also do this by audience. This means you could add your retargeting list as a value rule and use this to treat these users differently from a brand new customer.

Here’s an example based on the location of users. If you know that users who visit your site from the UK are more likely to convert than those based in the USA, you can add a value rule that increases the conversion value of UK users to more than any other location. PMax will then attempt to optimise the campaign to work even harder to target and convert UK users.

Increase conversion rates

Google Performance Max works by automating the advertising process, allowing for specific campaigns for specific products or categories, which helps allocate budgets and targets more effectively.

Additionally, data-driven attribution across channels will help optimise the most incremental touchpoints that drive customers to conversion. Machine learning models are also employed to more accurately predict which ads, audiences, and creative combinations perform best. According to Google, this can all lead to an average increase of 13% total incremental conversions at a similar cost per action.

However, machine learning modes can only work as well as the information they have been given. To ensure maximum conversions, use the asset groups to their full capacity adding as much high-quality creative, video and copy as possible.

Generate more ad spend efficiency

Google PMax allows you to adjust your target return on ad spend (ROAS) or CPA goals to find the sweet spot that offers maximum exposure without sacrificing profitability. If you are new to Performance Max, it’s probably best to leave this target blank for a week or so until you can see what Google is capable of. However, if you are clear on your target ROAS or CPA, ensure you use this feature to maximise your ad spend.

What are the biggest Google Performance Max updates in 2023?

Asset Group Reporting

The asset group reporting update from Google will allow advertisers to gain more insights into their performance, as they will now be able to view metrics such as conversions, conversion value, cost, and other data at the asset group level.

This update has significant implications for the success of Google Performance campaigns as it provides more transparency, allowing advertisers to analyse and evaluate asset groups more easily. This update also allows advertisers to test different asset group setups better, leading to more informed optimisation decisions and improved creative insight.

The budget pacing insights will help advertisers manage their budget and performance more effectively, as they can see how much their campaigns have spent and are projected to spend, along with their current and forecasted conversion performance. All in all, the asset group reporting update from Google has the potential to improve the performance of Google campaigns significantly.

Brand Exclusions

Google Performance Max's updates for 2023 include campaign-level brand exclusions. Advertisers will be able to request additional brand names to be included. Google will also try to include misspellings of branded keywords and potential brand name searches in a foreign language.

Easier Video Creation

This year, Google will make video creation easier by expanding its suite of tools. This will include more advanced templates and features, allowing users to customise the look and feel of their videos. The Content Suitability Center will be expanded, giving businesses more control over their videos. This will enable smarter targeting and higher engagement, ultimately leading to better results.

Furthermore, Google will continue to invest in AI-driven video creation tools, leveraging machine learning and natural language processing to generate more professional-quality videos quickly and efficiently. Through these advancements, digital marketers and brands alike will be able to create high-quality videos quickly and efficiently while avoiding subpar YouTube videos.

Page Feeds

The Page Feeds update will allow advertisers to send traffic to specific website landing page URLs. This feature will give advertisers more control over the content users can view, allowing them to target specific pages and even use labels to group URLs by a particular theme. This additional layer of control will allow for much more targeted campaigns.

On a more technical level, the Page Feeds feature will allow advertisers to send traffic to specific pages through Dynamic search ads. It also allows them to define which URLs they want to use and which they wish to exclude. Using page feeds, advertisers can A/B test titles, optimise product feeds, and extract data from other fields to fill in any blanks.

Here at Pattrns, we're really looking forward to seeing how these updates will impact PMAX campaigns moving forward. And if you're looking for help with your performance marketing campaigns or any other PPC and Paid Social services, get in touch with us; we'd love to learn more about your goals and how we can help you achieve them.