5 Things We Have Learned from 1 Year of Performance Max (for eCommerce)

5 Things We Have Learned from 1 Year of Performance Max (for eCommerce)

Any digital marketing specialist in your life will tell you - 2023 was not a year for the weak! Our partners at Google, while attempting to conform their practices to a changing digital landscape, threw us some curveballs (Universal Analytics who?).

Second only to the GA4 transition, Google's announcement they would be sundowning Smart Shopping clouded the future of eCommerce advertising with a haze of uncertainty. Performance Max campaigns would replace Smart Shopping and come packaged with a whole prefixed menu of other placements - Youtube? In our low-funnel ecommerce campaign?

One year in, the dust has settled, and the uncharted waters have been well-mapped. This article will highlight lessons learned by our digital marketing specialists as we all celebrate the 1 year anniversary of this milestone in Google digital marketing.

Diagram With Overlapping Circles Representing Google Performance Max Optimal Asset Mix
Optimal Asset Mix Recommended by Google

1. Automation Should Not Inhibit Optimization

Though the powers that be seem hell-bent on removing levers of control in favour of algorithms, digital marketing specialists must not let their optimization muscles become weak. Don't set it and forget it! Strong, scalable performance will rely on constant changes being made to a campaign, regardless of the lack of targeting settings. We have seen tweaks to the following campaign settings result in significant changes to Google Performance Max campaign performance:

  • Negative Keywords
    • Powerful for eliminating irrelevant or inefficient traffic
    • Must be added through a Google representative for now
  • Landing Page Exclusions
    • Further narrow traffic by curating the list of LPs you allow PPC traffic to
    • Chances are you wouldn't want to pay for a click to your return policy, for example!
  • Conversion Value Rules

2. Audience Signals Will Shorten the Time From Launch to Peak Performance

Audience Signals Best Practices to Optimize Google Performance Max Campaigns
Audience Signals Best Practices Recommended by Google

Over the past year, clear best practices emerged regarding Google’s new form of “targeting”.  Audience signals should be thought of as a jumping-off point for an untrained algorithm, so feeding it your juiciest, most likely to convert 1st party data will be the best way to guarantee your Google Performance Max campaign….performs >:). 

Keep audience signals simple. Add only your top 2-3 highest revenue-driving 1st party data segments.

3. Campaign Breakout Opportunities Are Endless – Be Strategic

Google Performance Max Campaign groupings + automated bidding have proven to be the new keys to success. Lift your gaze above the ad group/keyword level of Search campaign’s past, and ensure your campaign structure is designed to maximize return on investment as it relates to your account goals. Some examples are below, but this topic is one to iterate on as metrics change all the time - new ideal structures may reveal themselves.

Goal: Maximize net profit for Company A


  • Group products with maximum profit potential into a campaign with lower tROAS to saturate those items with ad spend
  • Other products can be held to a higher tROAS bid strategy to avoid overspending

Goal: Relieve company B of product overstock 


  • Separate PMAX campaigns by product type
  • Allow for a low tROAS for the campaigns containing the product the company aims to get rid of

4. Product Feed Optimizations Can Drive Results

Product feeds can be daunting to organize and even tougher to optimize, but ensuring your product attributes are optimally configured will put you ahead of the competition. Several feed partners exist to abstract this process and make updates to product attributes much easier - we love Feedonomics and Feed for Google Shopping specifically.  

Take advantage of the full suite of product attributes Google offers - add in ratings, shipping information, colour, and dimensions. Giving users the most relevant information about your product at a glance can improve ROAS.

5. Performance Max Campaigns Are Key to Driving eCommerce Success in 2023 and Beyond

Google Performance Max campaigns are here to stay, and we're happy they are! Most digital marketing specialists agree - these campaigns have taken "omnichannel” advertising within Google to new heights of ROAS and incremental revenue.


Madeline Chamberlin
Senior Account Manager

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