Peaking into the Black Box that is Performance Max (Google Ads)

Gotta love how for the most part media buyers speak out of both sides of their mouth. One 1 side they will rightfully complain and voice concerns about how poor Google support is, the removal of search query data which hinders campaign optimization, as well as how exact match keywords are less precise.  

Then on the other hand, Google launches it's most opaque or black box campaign type ever, Performance Max, and rather than taking a cautious or slow approach for adoption, it seems many have quickly jumped in the pool. 

PMax is an evolution of smart shopping which some didn't adopt because they do not like to co-mingle display/retargeting with other efforts & also want audience and search term level data. 

The lack of data in Smart shopping campaigns till exists in Performance Max (PMax) and while Smart shopping ran on the Shopping & Display network - PMax will run ads across Shopping, Search, Display, YouTube, & Discover/Gmail. The algorithm will choose for you.

Note that appearing in Search is a new development and when PMax campaigns were rolled out there was no ability to add negative keywords in the user interface, this required outreach to Google Support.  There are rightful concerns about PMax cannibalizing easy wins from Branded Search. 

Again, there is relatively no way to measure or know exactly where PMax is allocating budget - BUT there is a script.

The PMax Script by Mike Rhodes / Agency Savvy

Mike Rhodes is the CEO and founder AgencySavvy and WebSavvy, and co-author of the world’s best-selling book on Google Ads 'The Ultimate Guide to Google Ads' with Perry Marshall.

This script will scrape the Google API and export network performance for the last 30 days so you can track PMax investment across Shopping/Display and so on. 

Helpful yes, but certainly not ideal as it's more of a band-aid or MacGyver solution. 

Again, the situation is rather ironic. The industry claims to embrace data and use data for decision making, yet one doesn't have to look far to see that PMax is the shiny object of the day that also happens to be very black box. 

A longer post could be written about the pros and cons of PMax vs Standard Shopping. However if you wish to test or measure PMax you also need to compare against Display/Discovery/YouTube/Search.  Search should definitely be included especially if one is running PMax with no negative keywords in place. 

While PMax can be great as easy way to do everything all in one or as a simple solution - be weary of agencies charging fees that are on par with more standard approach that would include Search/Shopping/Retargeting broken out on their own, but are instead setting up PMax which easier and more simplistic to set up. 

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