OrbitalAds | Paid Search Automation for Performance

Pros and Cons of Performance Max Campaigns

Performance marketing is an attractive way to make money online. You can generate leads and sales for your business for just a small investment. But does the positive return on investment offer come with a catch? Learn about the pros and cons of Performance Max (PMax) campaigns.

What Are Performance Max Campaigns?

These are auto-optimization Google Ads campaigns focused on getting you the most conversions for the least amount of money. They use a smart bidding model that combines different strategies into one. Google optimizes your campaigns to get the most conversions from your budget and optimizes across devices, locations, search terms, and more.

PMax campaigns use a machine, artificial intelligence (AI), to help make this magic happen. This method means AI learns from real-time data to optimize your campaigns in real-time.

Pros and Cons of Performance Max Campaigns

PMax campaigns drive results and can be the best choice for the right advertiser. When considering Performance Max, it’s essential to keep the pros and cons in mind.


With PMax campaigns, you can reap the benefits of automation to help scale your campaigns faster; there are a few key features that make this possible:

1. High Level of Automation

Automation is the ability of a machine to operate without human intervention. Machine learning is a type of automation in which algorithms analyze large data sets and learn from them. Types of automation include:

  • Machine learning 
  • Process automation 
  • Digital assistants
  • Robotic process automation 

The main benefit of PMax campaigns is that they take care of bidding while you can focus on other tasks at hand. One con to be aware of with a PMax campaign is the slowdown when changing your conversion tracking settings. Performance Max will pause optimization until it’s ready (up to 72 hours).

2. Conversion-Focused Optimization

The “conversion-focused optimization” strategy involves using data to predict which message works best at converting visitors. What if you’re running a promotion and want to maximize your revenue instead? 

In that case, you will want to optimize for conversions rather than clicks. If you wish to track only conversions (no clicks), you can use the Google Ads conversion tracking option when creating your PMax campaign.

3. Less Manual Work

The next perk is that you won’t have to agonize over the campaign budget. Before setting up a manual campaign, you need to decide how much you want to spend and what type of bidding strategy you want to use. After choosing these essential factors, you’ll need to check your ads’ performance. You can make adjustments throughout their lifespan. 

With Performance Max, Google handles all this for you. Automation also means no need for keyword research or audience creation—Google will do it all instead. This benefit can be a huge time saver for ad managers with busy schedules.


There are a few disadvantages to Performance Max campaigns:

1. Low Level of Control

PMax campaigns aren’t without their limits. They offer the benefits of customization, efficiency, and a high scale level (through the inventory acquired from partnerships). In reality, they can still feel restrictive compared to search or display campaigns.

The primary drawback to running PMax campaigns is the low control advertisers have over their targeting and performance data. The campaign manager’s ad server doesn’t let advertisers access keywords or audience data.

Users can’t add negative keywords or use smart bidding strategies in PMax campaigns. You must rely on your campaign manager for these tasks instead.

What usually happens is that most of the budget runs through branding terms because it aims to provide the best performance which, usually, is strictly related to brand terms. 

If you want to keep strict control over where you bid, keep regular campaigns like search or shopping and use automation tools like the ones that Google provides or automation tools like OrbitalAds.

2. Impossibility to Add Negative Keywords 

You can consult with your Google Ads representative to have negative placements and ad groups added. This method includes negative keywords, audiences, placements/URLs, topics, mobile apps, in-market categories, demographics (age and gender), household income, or parental status.

Consider switching to manual CPC bidding or setting a maximum cost-per-click (max. CPC) bid limit to ensure you’re not exceeding your budget with an automated bidding strategy. Using max CPC bids instead of automatic bidding will keep you away from Google’s help in optimizing the campaign. Especially in promoting it according to what the advertiser needs.

3. Difficulties Analyzing the Source of the Data 

When looking at the data from a PMax campaign, you’ll want to see how the keyword or audience you’re bidding on is performing. This result may be difficult with keywords or audiences when there isn’t enough traffic for Google to separate which clicks came from what audience. 

It will group your data in the “Other” category if this happens. This problem makes it hard to determine which keywords are performing well and which audiences have produced good results.


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