Maximize Performance Max ROI: The Power of Product Exclusion

Tired of wasted ad spend on products in your Performance Max campaigns? Performance Max offers powerful automation, but it might not be the perfect fit for every product. This guide will show you how to strategically exclude products to maximize your campaign’s efficiency and profitability.

Unlocking Performance with Google Performance Max: Targeting the Right Audience

Google Performance Max (PMax) is a powerful tool for advertisers, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution.

PMax utilizes high-volume bidding across various Google properties (like YouTube, Search, and Gmail) to reach a wide audience and drive conversions, there can be downsides for certain products.

Here’s a breakdown of the key points:

  • PMax leverages automation: It uses Google’s AI to optimize bids, placements, and creatives across channels. This can be great for reaching new customers efficiently.
  • High-volume bids can be expensive: PMax aims for maximum conversions, so bids might be higher than you’d set manually. This can be wasteful for some products.
  • Not all products benefit equally: If a product has a niche market or requires specific targeting, PMax’s broad reach might be less effective. Tightly controlling who sees your ads can be more cost-effective for these products.

Moreover, even though Performance Max campaigns excel at automation and reaching a wide audience across various Google properties like Search, YouTube, and Gmail, this broad reach comes with limitations:

  • Lack of Granular Control: You can’t choose which specific products are shown within Performance Max campaigns.
  • Potential for Wasted Spend: Ads might be shown for irrelevant products, out-of-stock items, or those in niche markets with low conversion potential.

The key to success is strategic exclusion. While Performance Max campaigns excel at reaching a broad audience, they lack granular control over which products are shown. Product exclusion allows you to focus your budget on relevant products, avoiding wasted ad spend on low-performing or out-of-stock items.

Product exclusion empowers you to address these limitations by:

  • Boosting Efficiency: Focus your budget on high-potential products with better chances of conversion.
  • Reducing Wasted Spend: Avoid showing ads for unavailable or low-profit items.
  • Sharpening Targeting: Reach the right audience with the right products, leading to more relevant ad impressions.
  • Increasing Profitability: Drive higher returns on your advertising investment by focusing on products with better conversion rates.

Carefully consider which products don’t fit well with PMax campaigns. This way you can avoid spending money on impressions that are unlikely to convert. You will be able to focus your budget on products that will see a better return on ad spend (ROAS) with PMax.

8 Reasons to Exclude Products From Performance Max Campaigns

There are several reasons why you may choose to exclude certain products from Performance Max campaigns, including:

  1. Limited budget. If you have a limited budget for advertising, you can exclude products that are not as profitable or that have lower margins. This will allow you to focus your budget on higher-performing products that are more likely to generate sales.
  2. Seasonal products. Some products are only popular during certain seasons or times of the year. You can exclude these products from Performance Max campaigns during the off-season to avoid wasting ad spend.
  3. Out-of-stock products. If a product is temporarily out of stock, there’s no need to advertise it. Exclude these products from Performance Max campaigns until they are back in stock.
  4. Low inventory products. If a product has limited inventory, you can exclude it from Performance Max campaigns to avoid running out of stock too quickly.
  5. Low-converting products. A product with a low conversion rate may not be worth advertising. Exclude these products from Performance Max campaigns to focus on higher-converting products.
  6. New products. New products may not have enough data yet to determine if they are profitable or if they convert well. Take down these products from Performance Max campaigns until they have more data. (Or try BrightBids’s activation feature for products without historical data.)
  7. High-competition products. If a product is highly competitive, it may be difficult to generate sales through advertising alone. You can either exclude these products from Performance Max campaigns or focus on other marketing channels instead.
  8. Non-profitable products. If a product has a negative profit margin or is not profitable for other reasons, exclude it from Performance Max campaigns to avoid losing money on advertising.

Overall, you should carefully consider which products to include in your Performance Max campaigns to ensure you are maximizing ROI and reaching advertising goals.

Get the Most Out Of Your Shopping Ads

Excluding Products From Performance Max Campaigns

There may be cases where you need to exclude certain placements or catalogue items from your PMax campaigns. This could be for a variety of reasons, such as controlling costs, maintaining a clean ad feed, or avoiding irrelevant placements. Here’s how you can do it.

Excluding Placements in Performance Max

You can exclude placements from your Performance Max campaigns by going to the “Content” tab in the Google Ads interface. Here you can exclude certain placements or ad categories that you don’t want your ads to appear on. You can also choose to exclude certain types of placements such as mobile apps or gaming sites.

Excluding Locations in Performance Max

You can exclude certain locations and thus fine-tune your campaign location-wise. To do that, go to the “Locations” tab, then click “Excluded”, and add locations that you don’t want your product ads to appear in. 

Campaign-Level Brand Exclusions

Performance Max Campaign-Level Brand Exclusions

According to Google Ads support, “brand exclusions allow you to prevent your ads from showing on pages, videos, and mobile apps that contain specific brand names or brand-related keywords.”

When setting up a Performance Max campaign, you have the option to exclude certain brands from their targeting. This means that their ads will not appear alongside any content from those brands, even if the content is relevant to the ad’s target audience.

There are several reasons why merchants exclude certain brands from their Performance Max campaigns:

  • Brand safety. Some brands may be associated with controversial content. By excluding these brands, advertisers can ensure that their brand is not associated with this type of content.
  • Competitor targeting. Advertisers may not want their ads to appear alongside content from their competitors. By excluding these brands, they can prevent their ads from being displayed next to competitor ads.
  • Negative brand association. If a brand has a negative reputation or is associated with undesirable content, advertisers may not want their ads to be displayed alongside that content. By excluding these brands, they can prevent any negative association with their own brand.
  • Improved ad targeting. By excluding irrelevant or undesirable brands, advertisers can ensure that their ads are displayed in contexts that are most likely to result in desired actions, such as clicks and conversions.

It’s important to note that excluding too many brands or categories can limit the reach of a Performance Max campaign. You should carefully consider which brands to exclude based on their brand safety concerns and overall marketing strategy.

Excluding Certain Products via Listing Groups

pmax listing groups

Subdivide your Listing groups into Category, brand or even item ID levels first.

divide pmax listing groups

When you’re done dividing, you can start excluding the listing groups you want. 

exclude pmax listing groups

Beyond the Interface: The Secret Weapon for PMax Product Exclusions

While the Google Ads interface offers product exclusion functionalities, there’s a hidden champion in your advertising arsenal: Merchant Center feed rules. By wielding the power of feed rules, you can achieve even more granular control and strategic product exclusions for your PMax campaigns.

Why Consider Feed Rules for PMax Exclusions?

The Google Ads interface offers basic exclusion options like location and category. Feed rules, however, open a treasure trove of possibilities:

  • Granular Targeting: Exclude products based on specific attributes like brand, color, price, or custom labels. This enables highly targeted exclusions for niche products or low-performing items.
  • Scalability: Effortlessly manage exclusions across your entire product catalog. Update rules once, and the changes reflect across all your PMax campaigns that utilize that feed.
  • Automation: Set up automated rules based on dynamic conditions. For example, exclude out-of-stock items automatically to ensure you never advertise unavailable products.

Unlocking the Power of Feed Rules

Here’s a step-by-step guide to utilizing feed rules for PMax product exclusions:

  1. Navigate to your Merchant Center account. Locate the “Feeds” section and select the product feed associated with your PMax campaigns.
  2. Click on “Rules” within the feed. This is where you’ll define the exclusion criteria.
  3. Create a new rule. Select “Exclude” as the action and choose the attribute you want to base the exclusion on (e.g., brand, price, availability).
  4. Define the exclusion condition. For example, if you want to exclude all products below a certain price point, enter the minimum price threshold.
  5. Save the rule. Your Merchant Center feed will now automatically exclude products meeting the defined criteria.

Beyond the Basics: Advanced Feed Rule Strategies

While basic exclusions are powerful, feed rules allow for even more sophisticated strategies:

  • Combine Multiple Attributes: Craft rules that exclude products based on a combination of factors. For instance, exclude all hats (category) under €20 (price).
  • Utilize Custom Labels: If you have custom labels assigned to specific products in your feed, leverage them for targeted exclusions.
  • Schedule Exclusions: Set temporary exclusion rules for seasonal products or promotional periods.

Remember: It’s crucial to monitor the performance of your exclusions and adjust them as needed. Regularly analyze campaign data to identify new exclusion opportunities and ensure you’re maximizing your return on ad spend (ROAS).

With product exclusions through feed rules, you can unlock a new level of control and efficiency for your Performance Max campaigns. Target the right audience with the right products, minimize wasted ad spend, and ultimately drive higher campaign profitability. So, don’t be limited by the interface—embrace the power of feed rules and unleash the true potential of your PMax campaigns.

Using BrightBid for Performance Max Campaigns Optimization

Say, You are running a PMax campaign with all assets, including shopping, search, videos, display, etc. but want to

  • try a different bidding solution
  • exclude products
  • keep a separate budget only for your Google Shopping ads
  • keep the search, display and video ads in your current PMax campaign, etc.

and not to temper with PMax mechanics in general. You can do all that with BrightBid by

  • getting the most out of the combination of AI-bidding technology for your Google Shopping campaign and controlling how and where your budget is spent
  • setting different ROAS targets and budgets on different product segments of your choice
  • keeping full transparency on the bidding data and search terms used
  • spending money where it’s most likely to convert into sales
  • get data insights unavailable in PMax.

❗NOTE If you want to use BrightBid for PMax campaign optimization, you’ll need to do the following.

  • If you want to move all products to BrightBid, exclude all listing groups from your Performance Max campaign—and create a BrightBid campaign with all products instead.
  • If you want to move just a segment of our products to Performance Max, you need to split your listing groups into smaller segments and exclude the segments one by one. See the images above. 

Maximizing Performance Max ROI: Why Exclude Products

By strategically excluding products in Performance Max campaigns, you can:

  • Boost Efficiency: Focus your budget on high-potential products.
  • Reduce Wasted Spend: Avoid showing ads for unavailable or low-profit items.
  • Sharpen Targeting: Reach the right audience with the right products.
  • Increase Profitability: Drive higher returns on your advertising investment.

However, it’s important to understand when certain products should not be included in these types of campaigns—as excluding them can actually save your business money in the long run.

Get the Most Out Of Your Shopping Ads


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