How to Exclude Products from Performance Max Campaigns and Why

One may say that, with the latest updates like campaign-level brand exclusions, etc., Google's Performance Max is gradually evolving into a more versatile advertising ad tool. So when should you use exclusions for your PMax campaigns? In this blog post, we'll explain why merchants should sometimes exclude products from their Performance Max campaigns and how they can do it.

Why You Should Exclude Products Form Performance Max Campaigns

There are several reasons why merchants may choose to exclude certain products from Performance Max campaigns, including:

  • Limited budget. If you have a limited budget for advertising, you can exclude products that are not as profitable or that have lower margins. This will allow you to focus your budget on higher-performing products that are more likely to generate sales.
  • Seasonal products. Some products are only popular during certain seasons or times of the year. You can exclude these products from Performance Max campaigns during the off-season to avoid wasting ad spend.
  • Out-of-stock products. If a product is temporarily out of stock, there's no need to advertise it. Exclude these products from Performance Max campaigns until they are back in stock.
  • Low inventory products. If a product has limited inventory, you can exclude it from Performance Max campaigns to avoid running out of stock too quickly.
  • Low-converting products. A product with a low conversion rate may not be worth advertising. Exclude these products from Performance Max campaigns to focus on higher-converting products.
  • New products. New products may not have enough data yet to determine if they are profitable or if they convert well. Take down these products from Performance Max campaigns until they have more data. (Or try Bidbrain's activation feature for products without historical data.)
  • High-competition products. If a product is highly competitive, it may be difficult to generate sales through advertising alone. You can either exclude these products from Performance Max campaigns or focus on other marketing channels instead.
  • Non-profitable products. If a product has a negative profit margin or is not profitable for other reasons, exclude it from Performance Max campaigns to avoid losing money on advertising.

Overall, you should carefully consider which products to include in your Performance Max campaigns to ensure you are maximising ROI and reaching advertising goals.

How to Exclude Products From Performance Max Campaigns

There may be cases where you need to exclude certain placements or catalogue items from your PMax campaigns. This could be for a variety of reasons, such as controlling costs, maintaining a clean ad feed, or avoiding irrelevant placements. Here's how you can do it.

Exclude Placements in Performance Max

You can exclude placements from your Performance Max campaigns by going to the “Content” tab in the Google Ads interface. Here you can exclude certain placements or ad categories that you don’t want your ads to appear on. You can also choose to exclude certain types of placements such as mobile apps or gaming sites.

Exclude Locations in Performance Max

You can exclude certain locations and thus fine-tune your campaign location-wise. To do that, go to the "Locations" tab, then click "Excluded", and add locations that you don't want your product ads to appear in. 

Campaign-Level Brand Exclusions

Performance Max Campaign-Level Brand Exclusions

According to Google Ads support, "brand exclusions allow you to prevent your ads from showing on pages, videos, and mobile apps that contain specific brand names or brand-related keywords."

When setting up a Performance Max campaign, you have the option to exclude certain brands from their targeting. This means that their ads will not appear alongside any content from those brands, even if the content is relevant to the ad's target audience.

There are several reasons why merchants exclude certain brands from their Performance Max campaigns:

  • Brand safety. Some brands may be associated with controversial content. By excluding these brands, advertisers can ensure that their brand is not associated with this type of content.
  • Competitor targeting. Advertisers may not want their ads to appear alongside content from their competitors. By excluding these brands, they can prevent their ads from being displayed next to competitor ads.
  • Negative brand association. If a brand has a negative reputation or is associated with undesirable content, advertisers may not want their ads to be displayed alongside that content. By excluding these brands, they can prevent any negative association with their own brand.
  • Improved ad targeting. By excluding irrelevant or undesirable brands, advertisers can ensure that their ads are displayed in contexts that are most likely to result in desired actions, such as clicks and conversions.

It's important to note that excluding too many brands or categories can limit the reach of a Performance Max campaign. You should carefully consider which brands to exclude based on their brand safety concerns and overall marketing strategy.

Exclude Certain Products via Listing Groups

Listing Groups is a great way to organise your products into groups based on various attributes such as product type, brand, price, or other custom attributes. This way you can target specific groups of products with more relevant ads, leading to better campaign performance and increased ROI. You can create multiple listing groups for each campaign, each targeting a different set of products based on different attributes. Check this page for detailed instructions on how to create and manage listing groups in Performance Max.


Subdivide your Listing groups into Category, brand or even item ID levels first.


When you're done dividing, you can start excluding the listing groups you want. 


How to Use Bidbrain for Performance Max Campaigns Optimisation

Bidbrain is a powerful tool for optimising Google Performance Max campaigns because the former complements the latter by fine-tuning the direction of PMax campaigns to achieve the best possible results. By leveraging AI capabilities, Bidbrain can quickly identify best-performing combinations of inventory and creatives that will yield the highest return on investment (ROI).

Say, You are running a PMax campaign with all assets, including shopping, search, videos, display, etc. but want to

  • try a different bidding solution
  • exclude products
  • keep a separate budget only for your Google Shopping ads
  • keep the search, display and video ads in your current PMax campaign, etc.

and not to temper with PMax mechanics in general. You can do all that with Bidbrain by

  • getting the most out of the combination of AI-bidding technology for your Google Shopping campaign and controlling how and where your budget is spent
  • setting different ROAS targets and budgets on different product segments of your choice
  • keeping full transparency on the bidding data and search terms used
  • spending money where it’s most likely to convert into sales
  • get data insights unavailable in PMax.

❗NOTE If you want to use Bidbrain for PMax campaign optimisation, you'll need to do the following.

  • If you want to move all products to Bidbrain, exclude all listing groups from your Performance max campaign—and create a Bidbrain campaign with all products instead.
  • If you want to move just a segment of our products to Performance max, you need to split your listing groups into smaller segments and exclude the segments one by one. See the images above. 

Final Thoughts

Google Performance Max is an effective option that relies on high-volume bids across multiple sites and apps. However, it’s important to understand when certain products should not be included in these types of campaigns—as excluding them can actually save your business money in the long run.