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8 Common Mistakes in Setting Up Performance Max Campaigns

Performance Max is always thought as a campaign type that requires low effort and low maintenance, especially compared to other campaign types in Google Ads. As Pmax evolved over the years, we’ve found this isn’t necessarily the case. Maintenance can be lower than on other campaigns, true, but there is a great deal of effort that needs to go into creating up Pmax campaigns and setting them up for success.

As Performance Max campaign rely heavily on AI and machine learning, we must give them as much data as possible in order for them to understand our target customer. So, to properly set up PMax, knowing your customer is crucial, but not the only requirement.

1. Not enough data

Data is the bread and butter of Performance Max campaigns. The good news is that PMax uses conversions in the entire account. The bad news is that you can’t start with PMax from scratch. It needs around 50 conversions per month to get going. You can try it with a lower number of conversions, but our recommendation is to not go lower than that.

2. Not enough assets

There is a minimum number of assets you need to add before you can start the campaign, however, stopping there seems to hinder performance.

Try to add as many assets as possible. Create new images and visual assets, highlight the benefits and properties of your product, try to describe the products you’re offering in a different way, perhaps with a different tone. Try to appeal to your ideal customer.

This is why knowing your customer is very very important. The more assets you give Pmax, the more it can test and get results.

Google recommends at least 5 versions of each asset, we recommend as many as possible.

3. Pausing it too soon and having unrealistic expectations

PMax is a very complex campaign type that requires a lot of input and data to succeed. Besides the input you give it, it also needs time to test. Consider giving a PMax campaign at least 2 weeks and ideally 4 weeks before you make any major changes and 4 to 6 weeks before completely pausing it.

Google recommends running a campaign for at least 6 weeks to allow Google’s AI algorithm to ramp up and have sufficient data to compare performance. This can, however, be a budget strain if results are not coming in or are too expensive. Our recommendation is to evaluate the campaign every 2 weeks.

Keep it mind that performance can be low and discouraging in the first weeks, which is why it’s imperative to set the campaign up properly.

4. Changing things too often

Just as the above, changing settings and targets too often is detrimental to campaign performance and can reset the algorithm. Don’t do sudden budget changes, and if scaling increase the budget by around 20% every couple of days.

Google recommends that to receive accurate results, you should wait for a short period (at least 2-3 days) after you’ve made changes to your campaign before analyzing the results.

5. Not enough budget

A very common mistake is testing PMax campaign with a low budget. This will not only take a long time, but will restrict the campaigns capability to test and find the right audience.

Setting the budget depends a lot on your CPA, and should be roughly 3 times your average CPA.

We recommend to start with a budget between $50 to $100/day, and to keep it running for a minimum of one month, ideally 6 weeks.

So if your CPA is $25, what budget should you start with? At least $50, and 3x your CPA, so in this case the starting budget should be $75/day.

6. Mixing headlines and descriptions from multiple products

This is another common mistake that happens in an effort to give Google as many assets as possible. If you put headlines and descriptions from multiple product types in one asset group, Google will not understand this and can mix them, leading to confused potential clients and a decrease in performance.

You should create an asset group for each product type, and in general create the campaign structure after the website structure.

7. Not properly setting up Audience Signals

The most common mistake with PMax audience signals is thinking they’re the same as audience targeting. With PMax, you’re merely teaching Google who your ideal client is. If you add your past purchasers to an audience signal, it won’t target them, it will just try to find people like them.

Therefore, it’s important to give Google as much information as possible about your potential customer. The dreaded Buyer Personas actually come in handy here.

The audience signal should contain custom segments, what people search for on Google, what interests they have, even what websites they browse. It should also contain your own first party data, like remarketing lists and past buyers, and you can also add demographic data as well.

This is also where segmenting is done withinn Performance Max campaigns, as each Audience Signal should be unique for its assigned asset group. The images and creative need to match the audience. Different product types mean different queries or websites browsed, different remarketing or past buyers lists, and even different demographics.

8. Setting up the wrong goals

Another easily overlooked setting that can impact campaign performance is the Goals section. By default, for most accounts, this can include all primary goals in the account. Make sure to select the goal that you want this specific campaign to work towards. It can be a purchase, a lead form, app install, even calls. Just make sure you select one.

There are many other intricacies to PMax campaigns, like focusing on new vs existing customers, excluding branded keywords, or creating campaigns for your specific needs (feeds, shopping, local businesses, etc.). However, we hope the common mistakes covered in this article will set you on the right path for success.