I’ve discussed PMAX vs Standard Shopping with many people in the DTC/Ecommerce space.

At this point pretty clear it’s an overspending trap, and significantly overreports performance:

– Stealing branded search traffic without a way to measure it
– Aggregating clicks from all channels (CPCs stay low at scale – which has historically been a massive indicator of overspending)
– Turning images into videos, then running them on the video network and attributing view-conversions as click-conversions.

I’ve scaled spend back on a number of brands, and revenue stays the same.

The picture is VERY clear when looking at third-party attribution tools like Northbeam.

Here’s how I migrate my accounts back to Standard Shopping.

Follow me if you want to learn more about Google Ads & performance marketing in the DTC/Ecommerce space.

❗ PMAX is an “overspending trap” ❗
It inflates attributed revenue, tricking brands into spending too much on inner-funnel traffic.

I often scale brands back 50% and revenue stays the same.

Here’s how to migrate to Standard Shopping without breaking your account:

1. Launch a new Enhanced CPC standard shopping campaign.

Set the bids about 20% higher than the CPCs of your current PMAX campaign.
This will help get the new campaign into the auction.

I like to start these off at 20-30% of your PMAX budget.

If your standard shopping campaign doesn’t start serving, decrease your PMAX budget slightly.

If that doesn’t work, switch your Standard Shopping campaign to “Maximize Clicks” bidding for a day.

This will force the campaign into the auction.

🚨 Maximize Clicks bidding strategy overspends often.

If you decide to use it, scale down your starting budget about 50% for that first day.

Then, switch it back to Enhanced CPC for the rest of the migration.

2. After 15 Conversions switch to Target ROAS bidding.

Standard Shopping campaigns can’t start on TROAS, so you’ll need to “upgrade”.
15 Sales is what Google says, but you can sometimes switch them earlier (as low as 5).

Set your ROAS goal at your current campaign ROAS.

3. Shift spend over 2-4 weeks

Campaign level data is important in today’s Google Ads.
It’s important to let your new campaign “age” a bit before scaling it.

4. Slowly increase your Target ROAS goal.

As you’re shifting budget, slowly increase your TROAS goal.
I usually do this once most/all of the budget has been migrated.

In my experience PMAX over-reports 30-50%, so use that to help guide your ROAS target.

5. Monitor account-level ROAS

You’ll see once you’re done migrating, your account-level revenue will stay the same with less spend.

Branded search campaign traffic and revenue will jump up.
This will balance out the lower ROAS on your shopping campaigns.

I’ve noticed that branded search campaigns make the biggest jump when the last of the PMAX budget is cut.

It seems like PMAX serves mostly inner-funnel traffic on small budgets.

6. Follow me for more Google Ads insights like these!

I have an archive of posts like these on my website.