Google Performance Max Campaigns | Negative Keyword Lists | Strategy with Standard Shopping Campaigns

As many may not already know, Google has launched the ability to add negative keywords to performance max campaigns. Adding negative keywords to your campaigns has many benefits. The top 5 benefits; are improved ROAS (return on ad spend), increased CTR (Click Through Rates), creating more relevant ad groups, boosted conversion rates, and improved overall ROI (return on investment). Negative keyword additions are imperative to your Google ads campaign success. While many are still under the impression that Performance Max campaigns are the new “set it and forget it” this new addition of negative keywords continues to prove the contrary.

How can I add negative keyword lists to performance max at the campaign level?

  • Yes, you can add negative keyword lists to your Google performance max campaigns. To do so you must contact Google support to add the negative keywords list to the campaign. Your account also must be eligible for negative keywords.
  • First, make sure you have already created your negative keyword list so you are able to identify the list you would like to have Google help you add.
  • For our example below “PMax Brand Exclusion” we are making sure you are adding in all variations of your brand.
  • To contact Google support, you will need to go to: .
  • Select Google Ads account then you can ask for help with: “How do I add a negative keyword list for performance max campaigns.”
  • Once you have contacted Google support, they will be able to reach out with the next steps for implementation.
  • After Google has added the negative keyword list to your Performance Max campaign you can double-check by looking at the campaigns where the negative keyword list has been applied.

One of the new bread-and-butter strategies that our account managers have started to implement in their performance max strategy is to exclude branded search terms from the “primary” standard shopping campaigns. What this means is that we are creating two different standard shopping campaigns, one for “branded search terms” and one for “non-branded search terms”. This is a common strategy that is already being used on some of our standard shopping ads campaigns and DSA (dynamic search ads) campaigns. 

Adding a negative keyword campaign for just the brand search term has many benefits, especially in the e-commerce space. Segmenting out campaigns into “branded” and “non-branded” allows full control over budget and bids on these search terms coming in. In our experience, many clients tend to want to spend less on their brand terms than on their actual products being searched. When people are searching for your brand, they tend to have low incremental value. The ability to segment performance max campaigns by the brand can have a huge impact on data analysis and strategy.

Make sure to double-check that adding branded negative keywords applies to your account. You can check to see if you are opted into negative keywords by logging into your account. Once you are logged in you will have to go into your performance max campaign and click on insights (this insights tab is located on the left-hand side underneath recommendations). From here you will be able to find the search term insights at the category level. We tend to recommend using a 30–90-day window to review your data depending on your buying cycle.

  • Next sort your categories by conversion value to gauge what the branded search terms traffic has been. An important data point at the category level is being able to see the search terms that have triggered assets from your performance max campaign. If you are seeing a lot of search volume coming from your branded search terms you know you are in a great space to utilize this strategy.

Note: If you do not yet have a lot of performance on the pmax campaign you can always do a quick check using your other campaign types and filtering for your branded search and adding in your conversion value column. Establishing that you are ready to move forward with a strategy is a great first step.