Fix issues with Performance Max campaigns

If your Performance Max campaign isn’t performing as expected, it may be due to specific problems with your ads, bidding, targeting, conversion tracking, or campaign settings. This article will help you troubleshoot your campaign in the following scenarios:

Troubleshooting steps

Campaign isn't live

To ensure your campaign is launched and can serve, first check that your campaign is live.

  1. Click Campaigns and find your Performance Max campaign.
  2. Check that the status is “Eligible”. If it’s “Paused” you can use the pause icon Pause icon for ad campaigns to select “enabled”.
  3. Check that your campaign has started again.

Automation is evaluating data

Performance Max campaigns are powered by machine learning models. These models train and adapt based on the data you provide through audience signals and the performance data in your campaign and account. This means performance optimization can take time. Typically, this learning process takes 1—2 weeks. A report of low performance may be an indication that the model is still learning. If your campaign is still performing lower than expected after 2 weeks, contact support to troubleshoot further.

Asset groups are under review (policy issues)

Before your ads can be served, they will undergo a policy review to ensure they’re aligned with Google Ads’ policies. Performance Max campaigns comply with all Google Ads policies. If your assets don’t align with these policies, your asset group may be restricted from serving on some networks, which will affect your campaign’s performance. If your ad is under review for more than 2 full business days, contact us for information.

To check the status of your asset group and edit or appeal a decision:

  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account.
  2. Go to the navigation menu and click All campaigns.
  3. Select Performance Max campaign from the list of campaigns.
  4. Click on the name of the campaign.
  5. From the page menu, click on the Asset groups tab.
  6. Check your asset group’s status to ensure it’s not under review, or that there are other policy issues.
  7. If the status is "Disapproved" or "Approved (Limited)", hover over the status to understand specific policy issues. If you understand the violation, you can click Edit Assets to correct the issue.
  8. If you think your assets have been wrongly disapproved, you can appeal this decision by:
    1. Navigate to the “Asset groups” page.
    2. Hover over the status of a “Disapproved” or “Approved (Limited)” asset group.
    3. Click Appeal and select the reason you feel it was wrongly disapproved.
  9. If you’d like to see the approval status per asset, you can:
    1. Navigate to the “Asset groups” page.
    2. Click View Details. You can see the policy approval status in the "Status" column.
    3. For assets that are in “Disapproved” or “Approved (Limited)” status, follow the steps listed in step 8.

Any time you make modifications to your asset group, your new assets will need to go through this review process again before they can start running.

Learn more about Google Ads policy, Text ad requirements, Video ad requirements, Personalized advertising policies, Image ad requirements, and Image quality requirements.

Restrictive location targeting

If the location targeting for your campaign is too restrictive (for example, targeting user groups only within a 2-mile radius of a specific zip code), it may not serve. Consider widening your geographic target in order to see if it will allow your campaign to serve. Learn more about location targeting

Budget too low

Ensure that your budget is high enough to get the most reach from Performance Max. Generally, your Performance Max campaign budget should be consistent with other well-performing performance campaigns in your account. If your budget is low compared to your typical average cost per conversion, you may see a slower ramp up since there will be fewer conversions each day.

Improving lead quality

Performance Max campaigns are optimized based on your bid strategy, how the campaign is performing, and other campaign performances across your account. If you’re seeing low quality leads in your campaign, you may need to feed information about what a good quality lead looks like into the system so your campaign can optimize accordingly.

Leverage Offline Conversion Import (OCI) to improve lead quality

If you’re seeing low quality leads, the first step to mitigate is to leverage Offline Conversion Import (OCI) as conversion data from offline events to drive optimal optimization via automation. Here are some tips for using OCI:

  • If you’re using Google lead form, GCLIDs should be available via CSV download or you can export to CRM and then back into Google Ads.
  • Zapier can be connected to existing CRM systems (e.g., Salesforce) to help with the offline import into Google Ads.
  • GCLIDless OCI will be available in beta in Q3 including integration with a lead form that will selectively fire a lightweight conversion or assign values to further verify lead quality beyond form submission.

Use conversion value rules

If you’re unable to leverage OCI and optimize towards offline conversions, then you can leverage conversion value rules to assign values to specific types of customers by their likelihood of converting to their desired business outcome (for example, final sale). Conversion value rules can be set by user location, device, or audience.

For example, if your leads from mobile devices are less likely to convert (for example, final sale), then you can assign a lesser value to such leads. Similarly, if you believe that leads from certain audiences, like website visitors, are more likely to convert, then you can assign a higher value to such leads.

Note that conversion value rules are only compatible with a maximum conversion value or tROAS campaigns. Learn more about conversion values and how to set conversion values.

Use qualifying questions within lead forms

  • If you’re using Google lead form, select qualifying questions to help further qualify your lead before they submit the form. Note that this action may result in an increase in CPL.
  • Google lead form offers a predefined or pre-approved set of qualifying questions, more than 70. In Q1’22, we expect to vastly increase this question set to cover a wider range of questions.

Use lightweight signals within web forms

Here are some examples of signals based on your conversion action:

  • [Site] Time spent on the site or bounce rate
  • [Site] Pages visited during session duration
  • [Form] Length of free-form response

Introduce friction in the web form

Add friction to the web forms to further verify lead quality, for example:

  • Leverage captcha to avoid spammy leads.
  • Implement longer forms, specific questions, or free form text.

For advertisers with a Merchant Center feed

To troubleshoot campaigns with a Merchant Center feed, keep in mind the following reminders:

  • Performance Max campaigns will be prioritized over existing Shopping campaigns that run the same products in the same Google Ads account, so when you start to run Performance Max, spend in those shopping campaigns may decrease (even if Performance Max has a lower budget than the Shopping campaigns) and Performance Max will ramp up in its place.
  • To minimize performance impact, we recommend that advertisers set similar budgets for Performance Max as their existing Shopping campaigns for the same products.
  • Your Performance Max campaign may take 2—3 days to ramp up. Once your Performance Max campaign is up and running, you should pause your Shopping campaign If your Shopping campaign and Performance Max campaigns continue to run at the same time, the Shopping campaign may continue spending on some surfaces and not allow Performance Max to optimize fully.
  • Listing group setup guidance: When setting up asset groups for your retail Performance Max campaign, ideally, you shouldn’t have an overlap in products targeted between asset groups (i.e., Asset Group 1 and Asset Group 2 shouldn’t target both products A—Z ; Asset Group 1 should only target Products A—L and Asset Group 2 should only target Products M—Z).

Unsuitable or unintended landing pages

If you've noticed your ads are serving landing pages that you did not intend for the campaign, this may be because Final URL expansion is turned on. Learn more about Final URL expansion with Performance Max

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