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Why your products are not receiving impressions or clicks in Performance Max (and how to fix it)

Performance Max has become an essential platform for advertising for ecommerce accounts. The competition keeps growing and perfecting a performance max campaign the first time or finding the right strategy can be one hell of a task. Since you’re here, I assume you have a Performance Max campaign already set up. It’s possible you only have one asset group set up covering all products and using every audience signal under the sun or you already have multiple asset groups set up but haven’t figured out the right signals/products to include them.

For first timers, when first greeted with the plethora of audience signals such as keywords, in-market audiences, remarketing, competitor websites etc it can be tempting to just cover all your bases in one area. Why would you need more than one or two asset groups when it’s all right there in one place? 

You’ve got to think, is it likely that all of your products will fall into those same audience signals? It can work in the beginning so that you can figure out what works but overtime you’re less likely to see outstanding results. How can you guarantee that all of your products will generate engagement instead of just a select few? We’ve got the answer for you, and it’s almost too easy.

First, let’s start with a list of underperforming products.

How Can I Identify Low Performing Products In Performance Max?

In Google Ads, head to your Performance Max campaign and filter your product report so that you’re only looking at products with no conversions. The three main areas you want to review are clicks, conversions and ad spend. You will likely find some with zeros across the board. Realistically, we want to make sure every product is generating at least some clicks and ad spend. Download this product report from Google Ads as a spreadsheet so that you can easily pin-point which products need the most TLC.

How Can I Find The Right Audience(s) For Products In Performance Max?

Now you have your sheet, what do you notice about these products? What do they have in common? Are some of them more suited towards a certain audience/demographic? e.g., people with an interest in golf, movie fans, avid cooks etc. These groups can help you build out your audience signals in new asset groups so that no products fall off Google’s radar.

What’s The Right Way To Build Asset Groups In Performance Max?

You’ve highlighted the product groups that are not seeing good performance, now you can build out your audience signals for these specific targets in Performance Max asset groups. Starting with the golf interests signals for example, your asset group could look something like this:

Asset Group Name: Golf Products Audience

Custom search terms/Search themes: golf accessories, golf equipment, golf clothing, golf clubs, golf beginners set etc 

Remarketing audience: Visiting all pages on-site relevant to Golf

Custom interest segment: *Competitor websites also selling Golf equipment*In-market & affinity audiences: Golf Clubs, Golfing Practice Accessories, Golf Enthusiasts and, Golf Equipment

You would then limit your listing group so that it only advertises products relevant to these signals and exclude those products from any other asset groups that they might fall into.

Why Shouldn’t I Group All Of My Products Into One Performance Max Asset Group?

This is the very likely reason as to why some of your products are not seeing the light of day in Performance Max. Google is being fired multiple different signals based on different categories and it’s favouring the ones that work. Meaning products with no clicks and conversions are very unlikely to be given a chance. This also means Google hasn’t been able to find any auctions suitable for these products with the current set up they are in.

Should I Be Spending More With More Asset Groups In Performance Max?

Of course, like any Google campaign, the more budget the better usually. Especially when advertising big catalogues in Performance Max, if you want to guarantee more visibility for all products then you’ll want to be spending more. There’s no real benchmark as to what you should be spending in Performance Max as there are so many layers to it. You don’t want to be spending any less than £50/day minimum. This is to allow Google to have enough budget to play with so that it can enter enough auctions to advertise across all networks e.g., search, display, YouTube.

The Results: Why Having Split Asset Groups In Performance Max Is Worth It

Looking at a real client’s account. We have carried out the above experiment for one of their biggest performance max campaigns. The account overall has taken a big hit due to some developer and tracking issues we faced earlier in the year. Now, as we try to build the account back up again, we have introduced the above strategy to get them back on track.

Starting with one campaign out of five other performance max, we wanted to test the above to see how well it would work. The test hasn’t been running for very long, but already we are seeing improvements for the campaign (and the account as a whole).

In the last couple of weeks, conv value/cost (ROAS) has gone up by 17.12%. Cost per click has also dropped by 25.40%. Clicks are up 38% and conversions are up by 28%. Overall, a very good result.

We will now be carrying this strategy over to other client accounts to deliver the same results! If you’re struggling to hit the nail on the head with your performance max strategy, give this a go. You’re bound to see some good results as long as you get the audience signals and wording right to match your product category(s). 

Also, a quick side note to say products that are performing well should stay within its existing asset group, only split out products that are not doing as well. Otherwise, you face the learning phases all over again.

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