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Greetings Readers! This week’s PPCChat discussion was a lively one. Ginny Marvin has joined host Julie F Bacchini to answer PPCers’ queries about Performance Max and its features like automated bid strategy, removing certain info from headlines, etc. Apart from PMax, content targeting changes in YouTube, targeting issues in Google ads, and more were also discussed. 

Q1: Are you currently using Performance Max? If so, for how long? And how has it been performing for you?

Yes. Been having good success in more ecomm situations with tROAS targets in place. Has had mixed results in lead gen/B2B. @robert_brady

Not currently using it but I have tested it for Lead Gen and it performed horribly. I’ve seen some success in the eComm space though. @spacetime_0914

Yes, all clients have PMax running. Some are seeing great numbers and a few are doing just ok. PMax is not a silver bullet or works on every ad account. @duanebrown

I am not currently running any Performance Max campaigns. @NeptuneMoon

In some accounts, yes, much success, however, recently launches have seemed difficult. We actually heard from our google rep that we should NOT launch any P. Max for lead gen clients in Q4….suss.. @jord_stark

PMax for Lead Gen has been a very mixed bag. Takes away from brand campaigns a ton. Takes away from Dynamic Search quite a bit. Those have been impacted dramatically. We have noticed a decrease in quality of leads and more spam leads. @marksubel

Yes, started in 2021, didn’t like & abandoned, then migrated back into it in April. Performance has been wildly mixed. Cost Per Store Visit is ok, ecom performance has a wide spectrum of performance. @adsliaison will we ever get better info on placement performance? @JonKagan

Using on higher spending accounts (does ok), not so much on lower spending (does not perform well) @jamminFishUK

Love that we’re starting with Pmax – I see good results on smaller budget accounts and where there isn’t overlap on channel (search/shopping/local/video/display). Results largely depend on creative assets and ability to target. @navahf

PMax for eCommerce for one of our smaller eComm clients totally tanked the account to the point where they cut budget in half and are going to turn off completely soon if things don’t change. Migrated from Smart Shopping. It’s been horrible after 8 weeks of testing. @marksubel

Yes, for 9 months in E-comm Struggles to reach tROAS goals Lack of any actionable insights makes it an unpleasant experience. @ronzmahoney

Just about to trial a PMax campaign. This will be our first. @heyglenns

With that said, we have been running PMax since January. Excited to see how Q4 goes this year as PMax updates have been happening behind the scenes. @duanebrown

Tbf top FB ads experts say same about Q4 ad creative. Peak buying is not the time to test things if you can avoid. Know what works and tweak/double down. @beyondcontent

We have tested them for certain clients. But with the smaller clients, we tend to use we haven’t seen great success. @selley2134

Mixed bag but I’m glad I forced myself to use it early. I’ve become more clever with the feed because of it. Still not a fan though. Btw – all with ecom. I won’t put my lead gen on it yet. Too many regulated markets. Can’t lose that much control. @timmhalloran

Yes, in a few accounts for several months now. Performance is inconsistent especially in ecom but lead gen has been looking really good. @adwordsgirl

Just about to trial a PMax campaign. This will be our first. @MarketingWhtsNw

Q2: How are the learning periods for campaigns using automated bid strategies or PMax working/not working for you? Is the learning period an issue for the brands you’re working with?

If I’m doing Pmax, I’m gonna cannonball in, not tiptoe. What I mean is, specifically with ecom, If I’m using Max at all, I want to take advantage of ML – so auto/value bidding is my go-to. I wouldn’t say that for other types where I have more control. @timmhalloran

I still think some brands can need 4 – 8 weeks on learning. There are some ad accounts can hit that learning point in 3-4 weeks. A lot depends on the product and country we are running ads in. @duanebrown

It’s important for clients to understand learning periods. How long they last depends on the campaign/traffic etc. Some clients are impatient. @beyondthepaid

Forgot the original question while I was typing and reading. About a month for the one client I’m thinking of. AOV $120. $400K~ in Pmax. We’re watching LTV across campaigns types like a HAWK tho. @timmhalloran

Doing a lot of reframing of how search campaigns work for clients. The whole concept of a learning period for search is very, very new. Search advertising has long been sold as “hit the ground running” and “get instant usable data”. @NeptuneMoon

I am finding it really varies by volume, but that is purely my own theory. @adsliaison any insight? @JonKagan

Q3: What is your biggest targeting issue or concern in Google Ads?

(Ginny is going to hate me haha) Lack of search term visibility. I get we can see more data in Insights but it’s not actionable there. I want to be able to review the perf and then add/negate from the report. There is so little data there anymore it’s useless. @beyondthepaid

Why can’t Google Ads understand search queries on a geographical level for local businesses? Meaning, I’ll see search queries for assisted living texas, but my Geo-settings are targeting Ohio, why can’t Google understand that this is not a good search query? @marksubel

Even though its 2022, most of the clients I’m onboarding are NEW or nearly new to Google Ads. So a big concern for me is ramp-up for leadgen or ecom profitability. Expectations around timelines. And optimizing w/o affecting learning during that. @timmhalloran

For me lately is has been competitor names showing up both in branded campaigns and also in non-brand campaigns as “matches” for generic services. Frustrating as running competitor campaign should be a deliberate decision & not is just happens w/out negs in place. @NeptuneMoon

Not a Google Ads concern. More an industry one…or two really. 1. We don’t get the proper tools to guide the machines and the engineers building the tech don’t understand what we really do 2. More agencies continue to compete on price that hurts us all. @duanebrown

Questions From PPCers For Ginny Marvin

Q1: Any update on the low quality leads being driven in waves? (other than just doing more on our end to add friction). Any progress on making it smarter than the 4-6 weeks of learning needed? @gregfinn & @eben_lowy

We’re prioritizing several solutions to further mitigate Invalid Leads caused by Invalid Traffic. I can tell you these concerns are being taken very seriously. Cont…@adsliaison

For reference, here are my previous tweets on this:… &…@adsliaison

And here is more on Google’s traffic quality efforts:….

Learning periods do vary. The models train & adapt based on the data you provide via audience signals and the performance data in your campaign & account. Typically, this learning process takes 1 to 2 weeks but can be longer. @adsliaison

Q2: Any updates around Greater autonomy on removing certain info from headlines from PMax ads?  E.g not having to reach out to reps to remove things. @PPC_Fraser & @runnerkik

Related Question: How do advertisers without dedicated reps get changes made to PMax campaign? @NeptuneMoon

Can you clarify @RunnerKirk what you mean about removing info from headlines? @adsliaison

Would second this question! PMax sometimes auto-generates some terrible headlines/creatives and there is no easy way to fix the errors.@gilgildner

I think this is what @runnerkik and @PPC_Fraser are referring to. @NeptuneMoon

I see. If you are running PMax with a product feed and only add  some assets, we may autogenerate videos based on your text & image assets and headlines & descriptions based on the final URL. @adsliaison

What if you don’t have a feed? Will PMax still auto-generate things? And is there a way to have auto-generated items edited or removed without the intervention of a rep required? @NeptuneMoon

If you add all the assets, then we’ll use those. If you don’t upload a video, for example, PMax may auto-generate a video using the text & image assets you’ve provided. Also, a plug for the new Video creation tools in the Asset Library w/ templates, etc . @adsliaison

So no way to remove items without getting a rep involved? What about negative keywords? @gilgildner

Q3: Can you speak to shopping campaigns competing with Pmax and the viability of standard shopping campaigns in 2023? @navahf

PMax is prioritized over standard Shopping campaigns. You can continue to run standard Shopping campaigns, but we don’t recommend running them in parallel w/ PMax with overlapping products in the same region. @adsliaison

Q4: What is the official advice for local businesses or startups running small budgets that can’t afford to wait for ML to learn?  (I’d argue it’s much easier to optimize for large budgets with ML than with small budgets.) @beyondcontent

Automation can benefit SMBs by reducing complexity etc. We rec beginners start small. Budget, bidding & other recs to get started:…. While there’s no minimum budget, it can take longer to see results if it’s too low. Expectation setting is critical. @adsliaison

Right. I just think it’s a bad fit for smaller businesses unless PMax can figure it out quicker. Clients don’t have patience as you know! And PMax starts to feel like it’s just filling in remnant inventory on some of these placements that the small biz. don’t need. @marksubel

If testing automation, there are reports & signals that can help indicate whether you’re on the right track during the learning period, such as bid strategy reports, search terms reports & insights, on-site behavior etc. And best practices for setting up for success …@adsliaison

Here are two resources for them to start with. For Search, I’d suggest this guide to steering search ads automation:…. For PMax, I suggest this guide:….@adsliaison

Appreciate the guidance! I struggle to recommend G Ads in certain micro biz circumstances because risk of it not working within an acceptable time period feels too big. Feels wrong that I can’t help those who need it most vs enterprise. @beyondcontent

Q5:Not so much a question, but a product feedback: In SA360’s UI, there’s the option to “Filter to selected campaigns”. Can we PLEEEEEASE get this feature in standard Google Ads? It’s SO handy. @ScottOmiller

I’ll pass it along, thx! @adsliaison

Q6: Why are the content targeting changes in YouTube coming in early 2023 (no longer being able to target keywords, topics or placements) going to be applied to existing accounts by stripping this targeting out? Not how these changes have happened before? @NeptuneMoon

To clarify, we’ll no longer offer contextual targeting for Video Action campaigns. It will remain available for other campaign types on YouTube ads.@adsliaison

What is the reason for this? If I remember right the biggest diff between these and other types is the responsive video ads in discovery in-stream right? @timmhalloran

Are keywords on the road map for deprecation in the future? Not just talking about YT but also Search? @gilgildner

There are no plans to deprecate keywords in Search campaigns. @adsliaison

Thanks! This is what we’ve all been wondering since lots of folks are talking about betas and continuing keyword targeting changes. @gilgildner

The documentation says for conversion campaigns? Here is a write-up on Search Engineland about it too:… @NeptuneMoon

Our statement on this change is in the SEL article as well. @adsliaison

So let’s clarify a bit more here. Does this impact YT campaigns that have a conversion action attached to them? Are all YT campaigns w/ conversions as goals considered Video Action? And it will not impact any awareness-type campaigns without a conversion action?  @NeptuneMoon

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