When to use Pmax Campaigns in 2024

When to use Pmax Campaigns in 2024

If you speak to a Google Ads rep or review the recommendations tab in an account, you’ll most likely see a big push to launch or “upgrade” to a Performance Max (Pmax) campaign. Do you stick to segregated Search, Shopping, Display, Video and Demand Gen campaigns or take Google’s recommendation to run Pmax campaigns? Here’s our approach to Pmax at ClickedOn.

What we like about Pmax campaigns

Pmax campaigns lean heavily into Google’s powerful machine-learning model, making the most of AI. These campaigns can be more about the user behind the search than the keywords themself, which can bring you conversions you wouldn’t have achieved in other campaign types. Pmax will also search far and wide to find your customers, given it covers all of Google’s vast inventory, and setting up one campaign setup can be faster than a segregated model.

What we don’t like about Pmax campaigns

Switching to Pmax isn’t a decision that should be taken lightly. Here are some of the aspects of Pmax we don’t like.

While we love Google and how it helps grow businesses of all sizes, at the end of the day, you have to remember that Google’s end goal is profit.

When we like to use Pmax campaigns for eCommerce clients

When we run Pmax for our clients, it’s more commonly for eCommerce clients than lead-gen businesses. Lead quality isn’t an issue as there’s a financial transaction at the end of the conversion, and our gut tells us that Google can prioritise a Pmax campaign over Shopping or Search.

If an eCommerce client has the below characteristics, we will consider Pmax:

These characteristics help remedy the challenges around Pmax targeting warmer traffic and returning customers.

If we want the AI power of Pmax without the wide range of placements, a feed-only campaign will limit your ads to Shopping and Remarketing which we like for eCommerce.

When we like to use Pmax campaigns for lead gen-clients

It’s easy to supercharge Conversions with Pmax for lead-gen businesses; you just have to be prepared for varying quality. Rarely are two leads equal in industries like financial services, tech, and professional services, one lead could be worth thousands and the other close to spam.

So, we much prefer a segregated structure with more control and visibility. To more simply complete tasks like adding negative keywords, making bid adjustments, incorporating client lead feedback, adding exclusions, and more.

When we may consider Pmax in lead-gen accounts:

Pmax hygiene practices

Here are some hygiene practices we follow to give our Pmax campaigns the best chance of success.

  1. Brand exclusion lists. Whether it’s your brand or those of partners, adding a brand exclusion list can help protect your brand and reduce waste.
    Google brand exclusions
  2. Account level negative keywords. You can’t add negative keywords as easily for Pmax campaigns, so account-level keywords should be used. Remember that this list will impact all campaigns in your account, so proceed cautiously.
  3. Negative keyword lists. We contact our Google account reps to add small negative keyword lists at the campaign level to help control quality.
  4. Review website placements report and add account-level website exclusions.
  5. Select ‘Optimize campaign for acquiring new customers’ in the campaign settings.
    Pmax new customer bidding

Our final word on Pmax

The digital marketing space changes quickly. While the above is how ClickedOn currently works with Performance Max, this could change soon. So, we are always testing and recommending that businesses do the same.

Let’s get started

ClickedOn is among the top 3% of agencies in Australia as a Google Premier Partner, providing dedicated PPC expertise with our specialists managing a maximum of four clients each. We pride ourselves on deeply understanding your business, industry, and competitors, leveraging over a decade of experience across Google Ads, Microsoft/Bing Ads, and major social media platforms like Facebook & Instagram.

Contact us to learn how we can help grow your business with Google Ads.


About the author

Matt Lane has almost 15 years of experience working client-side for global financial & professional services businesses like Ant Group, PwC & Aon; and agency-side running paid advertising for eCommerce and service businesses.