Google Launches Placement Reports for Performance Max campaigns

Google recently launched new placement reports for Performance Max campaigns, but nothing is ever quite as shiny as it seems. Have you tried it yet? Tell us what you think in the comments below!

Here’s the lowdown: Google Ads’ placement reports were made for advertisers to see where ads are placed for Performance Max campaigns along with the amount of impressions they get. The catch? Despite this alluring new feature, Performance Max campaigns have been poorly designed from the start.

For those not familiar with this campaign type, Performance Max campaigns allow advertisers to access their Google Ads inventory from a single campaign that’s designed to complement keyword-based search campaigns in order to find more converting customers. It can “drive better performance against your goals, unlock new audiences across all Google channels, steer automation with your campaign inputs and simplify campaign management,” according to the Google Ads Help platform. But according to us, this is just a clever new way to mask something mediocre by trying to sell it as “easy.”

Google has explained that now the Ads platform provides more in-depth information about where the Performance Max campaign ads are being displayed, but the data provided only shows where they are served and the amount of impressions. This leaves out a very important detail: click data. Why wouldn’t they show the most important part of the ad landscape?

Although this campaign type combines search, display, and shopping ads, the available metrics and control settings are very limited.  For example, metrics are not broken down by search term or keyword, so branded keywords cannot be separated from non-branded keywords—a critical oversight. Also, there isn’t any control offered for selective placements or excluding placements.

The only allowed base setting that’s now included in this campaign type is location and ad scheduling, which makes it incredibly visible that this type of campaign is inadequate in terms of control. Did Google really think that advertisers would be happy about this launch?

Google’s public launch statement says: “Placement reports for Performance Max campaigns are a new reporting resource for advertisers to easily see where on Google’s channels ads have served and associated impressions. We created these reports to give advertisers more transparency and assurance around where their ads are showing.”

That’s all well and good, except that we wouldn’t call it “transparent” if it only provides mainly two aspects of ad control. It looks like Google is targeting small account advertisers with this campaign type. Even for advertisers that want to minimize the complexity of their ad setup, the sacrifice of control is just too much of a downside to make the change worthwhile.

It’s understandable that Google wants to help smaller advertisers grow, but giving up so much agency on critical settings like keywords, negative keywords, and negative placements—just to name a few—simply doesn’t add up.

As this story unfolds, we intend to follow along with this blind-as-a-bat campaign type and its placement reports to see if it evolves or gets any advertiser adoption. We’ll make sure to share any updates or changes over time. Stay tuned!

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