One of the biggest frustrations to Google Performance Max campaigns is the struggle to scale the account when the Performance Max campaigns are performing as efficiently as you would like. Dropping the ROAS target or drastically raising the daily budgets may not be something you'd either like to try, OR you've tried that and it doesn't work. We've found that reorganizing the account is sometimes the biggest trigger you can pull to actually see incremental growth. Try this "ghostbusters" tip from ZATO in your account.
Warning: it doesn't always actually create incremental growth! It is also not the only way to reorganize your PMax campaigns, or see incremental growth...
But, it is a great way to test giving additional products more exposure as you seek to get Google aimed at more products than simply your bestsellers. Give it a try today!
Can PMax Really, Actually Scale??
Are you hitting the "plateau" of a PMax Campaign? It won't scale or spend more, even when you raise the daily budget and lower the ROAS Target? This is frustrating when a brand actually wants to increase exposure on a successful campaign type, but can't get it to spend more. Here's something to dig into, check the "Products" metrics (how many clicks and sales are actually going to all products), you may be shocked how few are getting served by the algorithm.
We once audited an account with 350K products in one PMax campaign (and one asset group!!) where only 50 products had sales in the past 30 days, and only around 1200 products even had ANY clicks! What about the other 349,000 products??????
Well, here's the tricky thing. On one hand, Performance Max does what it's supposed to do (sometimes really well!): it finds the audience most likely to purchase your products within your conversion targets, limited by your daily budget...
...but this means it most often gets stuck advertising the same products that sell the best, over and over.
So how do you get PMax to actually give other products a chance to prove themselves??
You may be able to get more exposure by re-organizing your PMax campaigns by forcing exposure to what we call "ghost products" at ZATO.
Ghost products are haunting your feed, taking up optimization energy, but non-existent in your actual targeting.
6 Steps for Testing a Ghostbuster PMax Campaign in Google Ads
Step 1: Identify Non-Serving Products in Google Ads Reports
Step 2: Export Non-Serving IDs into a Google Sheet
Tip: leave the serving IDs alone... we want them to keep serving normally to the currently successful PMax campaigns.
Step 3: Create a second column in your sheet and assign a custom label: ghostbusters
Tip: make sure your IDs match. Item IDs are case sensitive in GMC, BUT they download from GAds in lower case!! 🙄
Step 4: Import your new ghostbuster sheet as a supplemental feed.
Tip: make sure your supplemental feed gets attached to your source feed file (this is viewable in Feed Rules on your source feed file).
Tip: make sure you manually re-process BOTH the supplemental feed and your source feed file!
Step 5: Create your new Ghostbusters Performance Max Campaign in Google Ads.
Tip: make sure to only target your new custom label and exclude all other products. This will keep the "bestselling" products still serving as normal in your original PMax campaign(s).
Step 6: Turn Off URL expansion in your Ghostbusters PMax campaign
Tip: we only want to target the products we're not selling so we don't mess with the currently running bestsellers PMax campaign.
...Now What? It's Time to Track!
Now that you've successfully pulled out the non-serving products into new campaigns, it's time to monitor and analyze performance. Ask yourself: Is this new campaign simply cannibalizing from the bestsellers campaign? If so, is it actually performing more efficiently? I actually don't mind as much if you begin seeing traffic shift over (so it's not incremental sales), IF this new campaign actually performs better. Remember, part of what we're doing is simply forcing Google to consider products it hasn't even had the budget to analyze yet. These could surprise everyone and perform better in the existing placements than the originally targeted products. That's not a lose, that's a win to discover that! Don't be so focused on controlling everything that you don't let the system "right" itself.
By the way, cannibalization between campaigns is more likely to happen for an account whose products are all very similar, targeted to similar audience or search queries. It's likely you'll see more incremental benefit in trying this when the products you pull into the Ghostbusters campaign are not the same (like, variants) of the original bestsellers, but genuinely new product types that Google simply hasn't had the budget yet to advertise.
Another thing to monitor (with ANY new PMax campaign, BTW) is additional bottom funnel sources. Are you seeing bottom of funnel sources like email, organic, Paid Brand, etc, dip in traffic and sales once you get more aggressive with new Pmax campaigns? This could mean you are stealing from those and should reconsider. Remember what we've said previously... if PMax simply ties your old setup, then you're losing because of the data insights you don't get with PMax vs Search and Standard Shopping.
If this works for you (it may not, but is worth a test!), can you create a second Ghostbusters campaign and continue to target additional non-serving products? We're beginning to test doing this multiple times over the span of months to see if this overall does increase Google exposure for new products.
Final Performance Max Ghostbusters Tip!
If you actually do run into products that consistently do not sell, consider adding the "excluded_destination" attribute to them for everything EXCEPT "Free_Listings" so you can still show up for free product listings, but so you no longer serve those poor performing product in actual, costly ads.