Troubleshooting performance fluctuations and changes in Performance Max campaigns

Our guided troubleshooter can help you identify, explain, and address potential causes of unexpected fluctuations in your Performance Max campaign spending.

In this article, we’ll outline different reasons for Performance Max campaign fluctuations and changes, why they may lead to changes in campaign performance over time, and how you can use the tools in your Google Ads account to understand what’s driving these changes.

Keep in mind: It’s normal for your campaign performance to vary.

Before you begin

Use Explanations to identify reasons for performance changes in a single click

Explanations give you insights into large changes in your Performance Max campaign’s performance and help you quickly find out why they happened. By default, you’ll have explanations that compare the date range you selected with the previous period of the same length:

  1. Go to your campaign or ad groups page.
  2. Hover over values in your data table that are colored in blue with a dotted line.
  3. You’ll see how this value has changed since the last period.
  4. Click View explanation to find what caused the change.

Your Google Ads account

Assess performance based on your bid strategy and optimization goal

Before making conclusions about your campaign performance, it’s important to first consider whether the settings you are using  match the metrics your campaign is optimizing towards. Updating your campaign’s bid strategy or optimization goal settings to align with your business and advertising goals will help to ensure that you are focusing on the relevant metrics when analyzing campaign performance to understand what drove fluctuations. 

For example, Target CPA helps you get as many conversions as possible at or below the target cost-per-action (CPA) you set. In campaigns using Target CPA, cost-per-conversion and other conversion-related metrics may be better indicators of performance than cost-per-click and impressions.

Your Google Ads account


9 common reasons why your performance is fluctuating

1. Recent changes to account or campaign settings

Editing any account or campaign settings, such as bid strategy, budget, conversion goals, audiences, location, language, and ad scheduling can change your performance.

Learn more

2. Conversion tracking setup & conversion delay

If there’s a sudden drop or increase in global pings or tag fires for a conversion action that your campaign is using for Autobidding, this can result in a drop in serving and spending as Google Ads optimizes towards your set conversion action. 

Learn more

3. Bids and bid targets

Your performance may fluctuate if your bids, bid limits, or bid targets are set without taking into consideration the historical data Google Ads will use to serve your ads.

Learn more

4. Budget settings

Your campaign may be more likely to have performance fluctuations when its budget is limited.

Learn more

5. Creative coverage and diversity

For your Performance Max campaign, it’s important to ensure you have a diverse set of creatives that can be automatically combined into various ad formats that can serve across all surfaces.

Learn more

6. Targeting settings and overlaps (Location, Language)

If your campaign is targeting a smaller group of users with very specific location or language settings, it may be more likely to have performance fluctuations. You may have multiple campaigns or ad groups in your account that are eligible to enter overlapping auctions due to similar keywords or other targeting.

Learn more

7. Policy and ad review status

Any time you add or make changes to your assets or asset group, they will be re-submitted for policy review. Performance Max campaigns must comply with all Google Ads policies.

Learn more

8. Other account issues

Issues with your payments, billing transfers, or other account level issues can impact the performance of your account, and therefore the performance of your campaigns.

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9. Auction dynamics

The choices that other advertisers, who are participating in the same auctions as you, make can affect your campaign’s performance. 

Learn more

Related links

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