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Greetings Readers! During this week’s PPCChat session, PPCers shared their experiences with Performance Max, did they find PMax performed differently for e-comm and lead gen?, did they face any challenges while setting up PMax? and more. Here is the screencap of the entire discussion which was hosted by Julie F Bacchini and guest host Menachem Ani.

Q1: Are you currently running Performance Max campaigns in Google Ads? If so, for how long and for what industry or product?

Nope. Not enough brand safety for most of our B2B clients, nor enough controls. @beyondthepaid

I am not currently running any Performance Max campaigns. But I am very interested in hearing from those who are and taking notes…@NeptuneMoon

I’m not running Performance Max campaigns yet. Industry – primarily B2B Lead Gen clients. @marketingsoph

Yes, under duress. G forced my Locals to change over to PMax, so I’m running quite a bit just now. @JuliaVyse

As mentioned, we’ve been running Performance Max since it was in beta in late 2021. It’s been amazing to watch the product evolve. We’ve used it across multiple industries for many clients. B2B/B2C etc, @MenachemAni

Yes, we run a hybrid of both PMax and Standard in most of our ecom accounts and have since they murdered Smart Shopping. We don’t run PMax at all in our lead gen accounts. @PPCKirk

Yes, we’re running PMax for most clients, since the very beginning. We’re heavily in ecom/tech/SaaS. @gilgildner

Yes, we run PMax campaigns for lots of online retailers and some brands. Since the early days but it took a few months until adoption got serious. @mikeryanretail

Yep. Since last year. Ecom, Doctors Appointments, Insurance, etc. @JonKagan

Been running PMax since Jan 2021 for just ecom and DTC brands. Never tried local and lead-gen PMax versions of the product. @duanebrown

Not running PMax but might test specific product lines soon (but w/ stripped assets). In-house manager, large niche apparel/home retailer, 16 years. Still doing Std Shopping with success. We need targeting/control, not wider reach (no black boxes!) @ppc_cindy

We have a dental client that recently launched pMax campaigns, but otherwise no. Most other clients are B2B or lead gen-focused, so we haven’t prioritized testing it for them due to the lack of control (especially for those in the health & finance industries). @adclarke10

Yes but only for e-commerce clients. Curious to hear how they perform for lead-gen ones. @SofiaAkritidou1

Yes. Since it was in Beta (I think summer ’21). For a SaaS. @DianaAlinaAldea

Yes! Since 2021 (early adopter). and for all kinds of clients. Lead gen, e-commerce and recruitment. @AlfredSimon

Q2: How would you characterize your experience with Performance Max for the accounts you manage thus far?

It’s always challenging learning new techniques, but I embrace change and enjoy the challenge. So much has changed over the years. My approach is to jump in head first and learn quickly. @MenachemAni

In general, I’d say I am a PMax fan. It took a while for PMax to “hit its stride” but we learned how to structure it appropriately. It does not always work (when it doesn’t, it doesn’t) but with some patience and attention it’s pretty solid ESPECIALLY for ecom. @gilgildner

PMax is like going to the circle. You don’t always know what is going to happen. It’s clear the product is getting updated and better, imo, overall. Still needs work. @duanebrown

Fine? It took a bit to deal with asset groups vs ad groups and the LACK of audiences, negatives, or any kind of anything you can do other than creative. very easy to set up, but no real optimizations, at least as far as I can see. @JuliaVyse

I like it, but it took some time to get used to. Depends on the account and how well-optimized the existing campaigns are. @BorisBeceric

For many, it feels like an uneasy truce, a sell-out moment… in that they’re not necessarily comfortable with the technology but the in-platform numbers are typically solid so what are you gonna do? No one is overjoyed, but the acceptance level is high.  @mikeryanretail

We’ve only tested it for a couple of B2C clients, but have been pleasantly surprised overall. Still hesitant to use for B2B though.  @adclarke10

A2 When it has enough conversion data/traffic, etc… PMax often does what is supposed to do: get sales at your target ROAS within your budget parameters. That being said, measuring incrementality & impact on other channels is more tricky. @PPCKirk

At the beginning, we weren’t really satisfied with the results and even thought about giving up on it. But after lots of testing and experimenting we found the sweet spot for our campaigns, and now we are really satisfied with what it brings. @DianaAlinaAldea

It depends on a lot of things. I had extremely good and also really bad experiences, but the majority is ok. I’m curious what the future brings and what kinds of updates we will get.@AlfredSimon

Q3: Have you tried Performance Max for e-commerce and/or lead generation? Did you find it performed differently between e-comm and lead gen? If so, how?

We’re all-in on e-commerce, so yes it works fantastically. At first, PMax didn’t do so great with lead gen but we’ve been seeing it get a little better. It works when you have lots of conversion goals set up (sometimes difficult to do well with lead gen). @gilgildner

We’ve done both. eCommerce is much easier because the system already has the revenue and can target traffic that will likely convert. With Lead-Gen, the trick is getting quality leads. The only way to accomplish this is to connect your CRM data to Google Ads. @MenachemAni

Not yet, but I’m sure it will come up this year. @JuliaVyse

I have 2 lead gen clients, 1 tested when it came out. Received tons of spam leads. Would do it totally differently today. For my ecomm accounts it generally does great. @BorisBeceric

Yep. Not so much of a difference by more than the vertical itself. @JonKagan

PMax can work for ecom/DTC. You still need the data to make it a success. PMax is not all that. Standard shopping still works and can beat PMax in the right hands. Just running only PMax can often get you average results… especially if brand is not removed. @duanebrown

We don’t have any ad accounts only running PMax. I don’t trust Google that much. Understanding when to use a tool: PMax vs standard shopping … is how we separate the good from amazing campaign managers today. @duanebrown

Can’t speak to ecomm, but we’ve tested it for B2C lead generation and seen good results. Branded queries seem to be one of the main conversion drivers, but we also haven’t seen a major impact on our Brand Search campaigns which was interesting. @adclarke10

Tried for both. E-commerce is easier, but lead gen can work extremely well. When we used offline conversion data and value-based bidding some accounts went to the moon. E-commerce is more about product management. Making sure that every product gets a chance. @AlfredSimon

Q4: What is your biggest challenge when either setting up or managing Performance Max campaigns?

Sometimes I just really like to see data, and it makes me sad when I can’t. Then I get over myself and just start testing. @gilgildner

I think the set-up is actually fairly easy and dictated by the product/targets. The hard part is optimizing with less buttons to push and that’s where you can separate yourself from the competition. @BorisBeceric

I like this list, I’d also add to it: the inability to match specific assets to specific audiences is a problem with PMax. That’s marketing 101, i.e., segmenting a target audience out and then giving them a unique message. Audience signals fail here.  @PPCKirk

For a lot of traditional search marketers, the creative needed to start but also maintain it. It’s very much like FB but we should also ask clients for the best FB/IG creative to use on PMax. Not being able to remove brand and not getting reporting people want. @NeptuneMoon

No transparency whatsoever. @JonKagan

There are many things that can be improved, but I think the biggest is the ability to see performance per assets groups, which is finally coming soon this year. And also the inability to add by yourself the negative keywords you want. @DianaAlinaAldea

1. That we don’t see actual data on asset level. I would like to know which picture or video or text is better. 2. Asset group level reporting (happily this is coming this year) @AlfredSimon

Q5: How long do you wait to judge the performance of your Performance Max campaigns? If they are not performing well, what actions do you take to try to improve performance?

I’m very lucky that I use them for Map Search in an ongoing way, so I have mom and you to work out success. For shorter campaigns, it’s basically once the learning period is done, we monitor very closely. @JuliaVyse

It’s more about data/volume than time. Folks used to say “wait 6 weeks or so” but that’s outdated. It’s sort of changed to a goal/sheer volume approach for us. Hard to explain in a tweet but lately we’ve had PMax campaigns absolutely slay within 1 week or so. @gilgildner

I usually wait 2-5 weeks. I throw out the first week by default. @JonKagan

I usually wait for around six weeks after making a big change. One of the first optimizations is changing low-performing visuals or copy. Another thing people can play with is testing different audience signals. @DianaAlinaAldea

I love to use the best-performing audiences in the insights tab in other non-PMax campaigns in the account, in an attempt to make the best possible with the few data available. @DianaAlinaAldea

Q6: What questions do you have for @MenachemAni about Performance Max?

Scaling is a big issue for PMax. I saw a great post from @PPCKirk earlier today (the “ghostbusters” one) which is sort of what we do with high/mid/low converting structures. Any ideas on scaling, especially for mid-size to larger accounts ($100k-250k/mo or more?) @gilgildner

Any thoughts on how/if it’s worth trying to get P-Max to work for a heavily regulated industry with strict compliance guidelines? @timothyjjensen

What’s your opinion on negativizing brand keywords from PMax? Is there a case in which you wouldn’t recommend it? @SofiaAkritidou1

Curious: @MenachemAni doing anything unique/interesting that you don’t see other people talking about. An interesting thing to test is PMax campaign structures. Like smart shopping, structure plays a big role in scaling. Tons of options beyond P/ROAST breakout. @duanebrown

@duanebrown I don’t see lots of folks talking about Social Style (No Shopping) Performance Max campaigns using the top creative assets from Facebook/Instagram. Agree – Structure is really important! @MenachemAni

what is the most effective way to revolt against Google for bringing Pmax to us? @JonKagan

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