How to Analyze Performance Max Campaigns with Reports and Insights

Performance Max campaigns are Google Ads’ automated, all-in-one campaign type. They’re an effective way to reach your audience across multiple channels. But with so many automation tools at your disposal, it can be difficult to understand how your campaign is doing. In this blog post, we’ll provide you with the tips you need to analyze Performance Max campaigns and optimize them for success.

1. Setting the Stage: Define Your Goals

Performance Max marketing campaigns are built around objectives. Your analysis should be aligned with those objectives. If you want to choose Performance Max as your campaign type, you can do so if your goal is to increase «Sales», get more «Leads», or promote «Local store visits and promotions».

Performance uses Google AI to make smart decisions about bidding, budgeting, audiences, creatives, and more. By using Performance Max, you can get more conversions and value from your advertising efforts. PMax takes into account your advertising objective, like if you want to achieve a certain cost per acquisition or return on ad spend. It also considers the creative assets, audience signals, and optional data feeds that you provide.

Here are some important things to take into account:

  • A Performance Max campaign is just like any other Google Ads campaign. This means that all the rules and considerations that apply to Google Analytics and Google Ads also apply to Performance Max campaigns.
  • When you look at the reports for a Performance Max campaign, you will find them in the «Campaigns» tab. Sometimes, the data for a Performance Max campaign may be split into multiple rows, especially when you use dimensions like Campaign, Campaign ID, or Campaign ID. In these cases, it’s a good idea to use the «Campaigns» tab to view the reports.
  • Be careful with filters that you use in your reports or views. Some filters, like Ad group, Campaign terms, and Campaign content, are not compatible with Performance Max campaigns. If you have these filters applied, it may cause the stats to show incorrectly. So, it’s recommended to remove these filters before looking at a Performance Max campaign’s report.
  • Performance Max campaigns count conversions, which include Engaged-view conversions. However, by default, Google Analytics doesn’t count Engaged-view conversions. If you want to track and manage conversion events in GA4, you can learn more about how to set them up and manage them.

2. Create a Custom Report in Google Ads

google performance max custom report

You can generate a personalized analysis of your landing pages in Google Ads. This will allow you to effortlessly identify the Performance Max campaigns that have brought traffic to these specific landing pages. To create a custom report, do this:

  • Access your Google Ads account.
  • Navigate to the ‘Reports’ section located in the upper right corner.
  • Choose ‘Custom’ as the report type and click on the blue ‘+’ button to generate a new custom report.
google ads custom report

Next, we should come up with a catchy name for our report, for example: «Amazing Landing Page Report.» Then, let’s enhance our table. We’ll add rows and columns on the right side of the screen. The rows will consist of Campaign Type and Campaign Landing Page. As for the columns, we’ll incorporate Cost, Clicks, Cost/Conversion, Conversions, Impressions, CTR, and Avg. CPC. Finally, we save the report and wait for the data to arrive.

3. Keep an Eye on the Asset Group Report in Google Ads

google performance max asset group report

The asset report shows all assets used in your Performance Max campaign. You can analyze performance across different assets. Over time, you’ll make strategic decisions about assets, such as moving, deleting, or improving them. This report helps you concentrate on creating assets that perform better and guides you on when to create new assets that perform well compared to existing ones.

Asset Group-level reporting allows you to access detailed performance metrics such as clicks, costs, impressions, click-through rates (CTR), conversions, and more for each asset group.

Quick Guide to Accessing Asset Group Reports in Google Ads:

  1. Navigating to the Report: Go to Google Ads > Campaigns > PMax Campaign > Asset Groups. You’ll initially see the «Summary» table.
  2. Viewing the Table: Click on «Table» next to the «Summary» to access the detailed report.
  3. Customizing the Report: Enhance your report by clicking «Columns» to add additional metrics.
  4. Recommended Metrics: For comprehensive analysis, include metrics like Clicks, Cost, Impressions, CTR, Avg Cost, Avg CPC, Interaction Rate, Conversions, Conv. Value, Conv. Value/Cost, Conv. Rate, and Ad Strength.

Why Use Asset Groups in Performance Max Campaigns?

Asset groups function similarly to ad groups in traditional Google Ads Search Campaigns, offering several advantages:

  • Customization: Tailor ad copies and images for specific products or audiences. For instance, create separate asset groups for «leather sneakers» and «textile sneakers» with unique ad materials for each.
  • Targeted Audience Signals: Use custom segments or search terms to target specific audiences more accurately.
  • Performance Insights: Gain clear insights into the performance of different products or ad groups, allowing for data-driven decisions.
  • Optimization Opportunities: Identify high-performing asset groups to allocate resources more effectively, such as creating separate campaigns for them to maximize budget efficiency.

This type of reporting feature can empower you to make informed decisions, optimize campaign performance, and tailor your strategies to meet specific business goals.

4. Streamline Your Smart Bidding Performance with Google Ads Simulators

google performance max bidding simulator

Google Ads offers two main types of simulators: Manual CPC bid simulators and Smart Bidding simulators. These tools are invaluable for forecasting how changes in settings might affect your ads’ performance over a week. Specifically, Smart Bidding simulators provide insights into the potential outcomes of modifying your CPA target, ROAS target, or average daily budget.

Understanding Target and Budget Simulators

These simulators analyze data from past ad auctions you’ve participated in, estimating how adjustments in CPA target, impression share target, ROAS target, or budget could have influenced your key metrics such as cost, conversions, conversion values, impressions, and clicks.

You can use target simulators in two ways:

  1. Set a single campaign or apply targets across your portfolio, which overrides any ad group targets.
  2. Adjust campaign or portfolio targets and ad group targets by a specific percentage.

Simulators draw from historical performance data, incorporating seasonal trends, and update daily based on the past seven days. They also consider conversion delay estimates, ensuring accuracy for both search and Performance Max campaigns. You can scale your simulation results using the Google Ads API.

Target CPA simulators are accessible for Search, Display, Shopping, and App campaigns, while Target ROAS simulators are designed for Search campaigns. Other simulators, including those for maximizing conversions, conversion value, clicks, and impression share, are available for Search campaigns.

Choosing the Right Smart Bidding Simulator

Select a Smart Bidding simulator based on your desired outcome, whether it’s improving conversions, conversion values, clicks, or impressions. Each bid strategy has associated simulators:

  • Target CPA and Target ROAS: Available as ad group, campaign, and portfolio target simulators focusing on conversions or conversion values.
  • Maximize Conversions and Maximize Conversion Value: Utilize the campaign budget simulator for conversion-related metrics.
  • Maximize Clicks: Opt for the campaign budget simulator to focus on clicks.
  • Target Impression Share: Use the campaign target simulator for impressions.

The ‘Bid & Budget Report’ in Performance Max, accessible at the campaign level, combines potential targets with your budget to forecast the impact of adjustments based on your bid strategy.

Access the campaign target simulator directly in your Google Ads interface by hovering over the budget column icon while viewing the list of your campaigns. This tool predicts how changes in your ROAS target might affect clicks, conversions, and revenue, advising on budget adjustments for your desired settings.

Enhance your PPC campaigns with AI

5. Generate Placement Reports for Performance Max Campaigns

Performance Max Placement reports let you track where and how often your ads appear. From March 2024, these reports will also cover Search partner network sites, alongside existing Display and Google Owned & Operated placements.

Creating and Accessing Reports:

  • For Predefined Reports:
  1. Navigate to the Campaigns section in Google Ads.
  2. Select Insights and reports > Report editor > Predefined reports (Dimensions) > Other > Performance Max campaigns placement.
  3. Apply filters if needed and download the report in your preferred format.
  • For Custom Reports:
  1. Go to Campaigns > Insights and reports > Report editor.
  2. Click the Add icon under «Custom» and choose Table.
  3. Search and select Performance Max placement under Attributes for rows and Impressions (Impr.) under Performance for columns.
  4. Add any necessary filters and download the report.

Understanding Placement Reports:

  • Google Owned & Operated: Includes impressions from all Google sites like YouTube and Gmail.
  • Covers ad placements with hidden publisher names.
  • Google Search: Excluded from placement reports as it’s not considered a placement.

6. Use Search Terms Insights

search term insights google performance max

Insights into search terms offer a deeper understanding of the ways customers are interacting with and searching for your business on Google. By analyzing the search terms that have triggered your ads over a selected timeframe, these insights categorize the terms into main categories and subcategories, providing vital performance metrics for each group.

Current Availability for Campaign Types:

  • Search campaigns
  • Performance Max campaigns
  • Shopping campaigns


  • Gain insights into customer search intent through categorized search terms, eliminating the need to manually comb through individual terms in the search report.
  • Implement recommendations to refine your ad creatives, landing pages, and descriptions in the Merchant Center feed based on top or trending search categories, enhancing performance.
  • Determine which campaigns and ad groups are attracting the most interest based on search categories, and utilize targeted recommendations to capture even more demand.

7. Analyze Auction Insights

Auction insights are accessible for Search, Shopping, and Performance Max campaigns that surpass a minimum activity level. In Search campaigns, reports can be generated for keywords, ad groups, and campaigns. Shopping campaigns allow for reports on ad groups and campaigns, while Performance Max campaigns enable campaign-level reporting.

To access these insights within the updated Google Ads interface, follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to either the Campaigns, Ad Groups, or Search keywords section in your Google Ads account, depending on the report you wish to generate.
  2. Choose the campaign, ad group, or keyword by ticking the corresponding box next to each. Remember, keyword selections are limited to one page at a time, except when opting for ‘All’.
  3. Click on Auction insights to proceed to your report.
  • If you’ve selected solely Search or Shopping campaigns/groups, the appropriate auction insights report will be displayed.
  • For a combination of Search, Shopping, or Performance Max campaigns, you’ll need to specify your preference between ‘Search campaigns’ or ‘Shopping campaigns’ from a drop-down to view segmented insights.

To find auction insights more efficiently, utilize the filter feature:

  • Click the filter icon above your statistics table.
  • Choose a filter to apply and specify your conditions, then click Apply. This will update the table to highlight keywords or ad groups with available auction insights reports.

8. Study Audience Insights

Audience insights provide a comprehensive understanding of your customers by revealing the distinctive characteristics, interests, and behaviors of user groups interacting with your ads and converting.

For users leveraging Google AI features like optimized targeting and automated bidding, audience insights highlight successful Google audience segments. Learn more about the composition of your conversions, their percentage representation, and their comparison to the targeted population.

Currently, audience insights are accessible for the following campaign types:

  • Asset audience insights: Search, Performance Max, Demand Gen, Video
  • Persona audience insights: Search, Shopping, Performance Max, Demand Gen, Video Action campaigns (VAC), Display

Why use Audience Insights

Start utilizing audience insights to:

  • Understand your customers and leverage Google AI’s identified high-performing user groups.
  • Enhance creatives by identifying engaging assets and messaging.
  • Achieve better results by optimizing targeting, creatives, and overall campaign performance.

How to use Audience iInsights

  1. View audience insight summaries: Go to the «Insights» page and check the «Audience insight» cards for a quick overview of converting audiences, the highest index audience, and their percentage representation.
  2. Get in-depth information about your top audience: Explore an expandable table below the cards, providing detailed persona audience insights for top-performing audiences.
  3. Identify audience segments resonating with your assets: For asset-based campaigns (Performance Max, Demand Gen, Search, Video), discover Asset audience insights showing which audience segments your assets resonate with most. Use these insights to create more assets appealing to your audience.

Utilize affinity indexes, defined audience segments, and call-to-action guidance to enhance your targeting strategy and creative output.

9. Keep It Safe with Diagnostic Insights

diagnostic insigths pmax

Diagnostic insights provide crucial information to understand why your campaign may not be serving or generating conversions. These insights pinpoint issues that could be hindering your campaign’s performance and offer actionable recommendations for resolution.

Key Benefits:

  1. Real-time monitoring of your campaign’s serving status.
  2. Identification of issues affecting your campaign’s ability to serve effectively.
  3. Access to specific recommendations to address serving-related challenges.

You can find diagnostic insights when your campaign has not received any conversions or traffic. Check for these insights on the following pages:

  • «Insights» Page: Click the «Campaigns» icon in the Main menu, then navigate to «Insights and reports» to view the status of your campaign.
  • «Overview» Page: Alternatively, click the «Campaigns» icon and go to the «Overview» section.

Common Issues Highlighted by Diagnostic Insights:

  1. Account budget exhausted: Ads can’t run due to a depleted account budget.
  2. Account budget reached an end date: A new budget is needed as the current one has expired.
  3. Account canceled: Ads aren’t running because the ad account has been canceled.
  4. Account suspended: Ads are halted due to an ad account suspension.
  5. All assets disapproved: All assets in your campaign have been disapproved.
  6. Campaign budget too low: The set daily budget is limiting the campaign’s serving capability.
  7. CPA target too low: The CPA target is set too low.
  8. Extremely high ROAS target: The selected ROAS is excessively high, hindering conversions.
  9. Inactive asset group: Asset groups are paused for an unspecified reason.
  10. Inactive campaign (ended): The campaign has ended due to missing start or end dates.
  11. Inactive campaign (paused): The campaign has been paused.
  12. Low account budget: The account budget is insufficient and needs adjustment.
  13. Low ad strength: Ad strength is low, requiring improvement in asset groups.
  14. No active billing method: Ads won’t run due to the absence of a billing method.
  15. Outstanding balance: Ads stop running due to an outstanding payment.
  16. Payment declined: Ads are halted because current payment methods cannot be charged.
  17. Some assets are disapproved: Only a few assets in your groups have been approved.

For more PMax tips, check out these blog posts:

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