Are you tired of seeing heavily inflated results in your Performance Max campaigns? Do you want to learn how to maximize your brand’s visibility on Google Shopping? Then keep reading to learn how to fix untrustworthy pMax data with Branded Standard Shopping.
At first glance, Performance Max (pMax) results might look good, but when you dig deeper, you will often see that a significant part of your conversions comes from branded searches. Branded searches are the ones that were going to convert anyway, and pMax takes credit for them, inflating your results.
On average, we see that 10-20% of conversions come from branded searches. Therefore, excluding branded searches from your pMax campaigns is the best solution. However, if you exclude branded searches, you won’t be visible on Search and Shopping when users search for your brand.
To solve this problem, you can set up Branded Search and Branded Standard Shopping campaigns. Most people already have Branded Search campaigns live, but they don’t know how to set up Branded Standard Shopping campaigns effectively. In this blog post, we will show you how to do it.
Brand and non-branded traffic have completely different goals, so it’s essential to treat them differently. You need to split up branded and non-branded traffic into separate campaigns because they have completely different goals. With branded campaigns, you want to maximize visibility (impression share), while with non-branded campaigns, you want to maximize conversions or conversion value within your cost-per-action (CPA) or return on ad spend (ROAS) precondition. Splitting up branded and non-branded Search campaigns has been the best practice for years, and the same applies to pMax.
Here’s how to use Branded Standard Shopping to catch branded traffic on Google Shopping:
Step 1: Analyze the share of branded search in pMax
The first step is to analyze the share of branded search in pMax. On average, we see that 10-20% of conversions are branded. To analyze the share of branded search, click on your pMax campaign, go to insights, and scroll down to search term insights. Calculate the total conversions or conversion value that came from branded searches and compare that to the total conversions or conversion value of your pMax campaign.
Step 2: Exclude branded search terms from pMax
The next step is to exclude branded search terms from pMax, so it will no longer take credit for branded conversions. Create a negative keyword list specifically for Performance Max, contact Google support and ask them to apply it to your campaigns, and add negative keywords whenever you want inside the Google Ads interface.
Step 3: Set up a Branded Standard Shopping campaign
The next step is to set up a Branded Standard Shopping campaign. This campaign will help you maximize visibility (impression share) on branded searches on Google Shopping. To set up this campaign, you need to:
Step 4: Eliminate non-branded search terms from your Branded Standard Shopping campaign to ensure that your campaign is truly focused on your brand.
Unfortunately, Branded Standard Shopping isn’t a concrete concept, and targeting specific (branded) keywords isn’t possible. With Google Shopping, you’ll automatically be matched to relevant search queries based on your product feed, which includes both branded and non-branded search terms.
To address this issue, you’ll need to exclude every non-branded search term that appears in the search term report of your Branded Standard Shopping campaign. Here’s how to do it:
- Create a negative keyword list.
- Add the negatives to your Branded Standard Shopping campaigns.
- Go to your search term report and create a filter that excludes all non-branded search terms that were matched on Branded Standard Shopping. Use this filter: “search term does not include [branded search term + ALL misspellings]”, “added/excluded: none”. This will show you only the non-branded search terms that were matched on Branded Standard Shopping.
- Select all non-branded search terms and add them as negative keywords.
- Click “negative keyword list” and select the list you created in step 1, adding all as exact match negatives.
- Save this filter so you can easily use it in the future.
- In the first few days, add all non-branded search terms that were matched. Then, include them in your weekly checks.
Using a negative keyword list is recommended because it can be added to multiple Branded Standard Shopping campaigns if you have them. This is particularly relevant and simple if you have campaigns in different countries with the same language.
While this is a manual process, doing it consistently for a few weeks will make your campaign almost entirely branded. As time goes on, the number of search terms you need to exclude each week will decrease.
Step 5: Maximize impression share on Branded Standard Shopping with manual CPC
Now that you’ve set up your Branded Standard Shopping campaign, it’s time to maximize your impression share. We recommend using manual CPC bidding instead of smart bidding. Here’s why:
Smart bidding (like target ROAS) is aimed at driving conversions, but in Branded Standard Shopping campaigns, we’re looking to maximize impression share. Manual CPC gives you more control over your bids and is a better fit for this purpose.
To maximize your impression share, set your bids high enough to stay competitive, but not too high that you blow through your budget too quickly.
You can use the “Search Impr. Share” column in Google Ads to track your progress and adjust bids accordingly. Keep in mind that Google may not always show your ad, even if you have a high impression share, so don’t get too hung up on the number.
Step 6: Scale pMax with realistic CPA/ROAS targets
Now that you’ve excluded branded searches from your pMax campaigns and set up a Branded Standard Shopping campaign, it’s time to scale your pMax campaigns.
We recommend setting realistic CPA/ROAS targets for your non-branded pMax campaigns. Don’t expect the same CPA/ROAS as your Branded Standard Shopping campaign, since non-branded searches have a different intent and typically convert at a lower rate.
Instead, focus on increasing your impression share and optimizing for conversions within your target CPA/ROAS range. Use your Branded Standard Shopping campaign as a benchmark for what’s possible.
If you’ve been relying on pMax data to optimize your Google Shopping campaigns, it’s time to rethink your approach. Branded Search conversions can heavily inflate your pMax data, making it difficult to accurately assess your campaign performance and scale effectively.
By excluding branded searches from your pMax campaigns and setting up Branded Standard Shopping campaigns, you can maximize your visibility on branded searches and improve the reliability of your pMax data.
Remember to treat branded and non-branded traffic differently and use manual CPC bidding to maximize your impression share on Branded Standard Shopping campaigns. With these strategies in place, you can scale your Google Shopping campaigns with confidence.