PMax Vs. Shopping Campaigns: Which Is Right For You?

PMax Vs. Shopping Campaigns

Performance Max has been a buzzword among digital marketers since its release. It is Google’s newest advertising solution that utilises machine learning to optimise ad performance across multiple Google networks. 


Many advertisers have claimed that Performance Max campaigns have delivered significant results, but is it always the best solution for every scenario – what happens when the latest and greatest technology fails to deliver the desired results? That’s what we recently experienced with a client who was going through a rough patch of low search volume and low purchase intent. Despite the sophisticated algorithms in Performance Max, the campaigns were struggling to deliver results. Daily budgets were not being hit, CPCs were rising, and revenue was not being generated at the required volume.


After much frustration, we made a bold move and switched back to traditional shopping campaigns. After just a few days of optimization, we saw a substantial increase in volume, leading to a remarkable 184% increase in revenue compared to the previous period. The return on ad spend also increased, so they weren’t sacrificing profitability for volume.


The experience was a reminder that sometimes the latest and greatest technology isn’t always the best solution for every scenario. It’s important to stay flexible and adaptable in our approach to advertising and be willing to switch back to tried and true methods when the situation calls for it.


While Performance Max campaigns are undoubtedly effective at delivering results, they can sometimes lack the human understanding of the need to drive volume, especially in times of low intent. Standard shopping campaigns, on the other hand, are designed to capture users who are actively searching for products, regardless of their level of intent. By targeting these users with a more volume-driven approach, the agency was able to generate impressive results despite the challenging search environment.


So while Performance Max campaigns can be a great tool for certain situations, it’s important to recognize their limitations and be willing to experiment with other approaches when the situation demands it. Sometimes, the best ideas are the ones that go against the grain. Being willing to challenge the status quo, experiment with new ideas, and take calculated risks in our advertising campaigns is key to unlocking untapped potential.


With this in mind, let’s dig into the pros and cons of each campaign type to help you decide what would work best for your accounts.

Performance Max


➡️ Advanced targeting capabilities: Performance Max leverages machine learning algorithms to automatically target relevant audiences across multiple channels and platforms, making it easier to reach potential customers.

➡️ Increased efficiency: Performance Max automates many of the tedious tasks involved in managing advertising campaigns, such as bid adjustments, ad placements, and audience targeting, freeing up time for marketers to focus on higher-level strategic initiatives.

➡️ Enhanced visibility: Performance Max allows advertisers to show their ads across a variety of Google networks, including search, display, and YouTube, providing greater visibility and exposure to potential customers.



➡️ Limited control over ad placement: While Performance Max automates many aspects of campaign management, it also limits control over where ads are placed and how they are displayed, which can be problematic for some advertisers.

➡️ High minimum spend requirements: Performance Max campaigns often have high minimum spend requirements, which can be a barrier to entry for smaller businesses and advertisers with limited budgets.

➡️ Limited transparency and insights: Performance Max provides limited visibility into the performance of individual ads, which can make it difficult for advertisers to identify and address issues or optimise their campaigns.

Standard Shopping


➡️ More granular campaign management: With Standard Shopping campaigns, advertisers have more granular control over the campaign structure, including the ability to create specific product groups, set bids at the product level, and tailor ad copy and landing pages to individual products or categories.

➡️ Easy to get started: Standard Shopping campaigns are relatively easy to set up and manage, making them a good option for advertisers who are new to Google Ads or who don’t have a lot of experience with advanced targeting capabilities.

➡️ Better suited for specific goals: Standard Shopping campaigns may be better suited for specific advertising goals, such as driving sales of a specific product or category, while Performance Max campaigns may be better suited for broader awareness campaigns.



➡️ Limited automation: Standard Shopping campaigns offer limited automation capabilities compared to Performance Max, which can make campaign management more time-consuming and labour-intensive.

➡️ More limited targeting capabilities: Standard Shopping campaigns do not offer the same advanced targeting capabilities as Performance Max, which can make it more challenging to reach specific audiences or optimise campaigns for specific goals.

➡️ Limited visibility across multiple platforms: Standard Shopping campaigns are typically limited to Google’s Shopping network, which may limit visibility and exposure compared to Performance Max campaigns, which can show ads across multiple platforms and networks.

Key Takeaways

So, what can we learn from this experience? Here are some takeaways:

💡Be flexible and adaptable in your approach to advertising. Just because a particular campaign type or technology is popular doesn’t mean it’s the right fit for every situation.

💡Don’t be afraid to experiment with new ideas and take calculated risks. You never know what might work until you try it.

💡Measure and analyse your results regardless of what approach you take. It’s important to measure and analyse your results to identify what’s working and what’s not based on what you are trying to achieve.