Performance Max (or ‘P-Max’) ads are an ad type within paid search that has become very popular in 2022 and 2023. Think of them as a bucket that Google holds out and says, “Pour some money in and we’ll get you performance!” and then try to maximize that performance per dollar in terms of traffic. Hopefully, that traffic generated is of a transactional nature to your website and – for the most part – Performance Max ads seem to work relatively well.
The unfortunate thing about Performance Max campaigns is that you can’t tune where the ad will and won’t show up. For example, one of the places P-Max ads materialize is as an ad within your Google Business Profile (or ‘GBP’). Why is that a problem? An ad within your GBP – particularly when it’s high up on the listing and prominent – is much more likely to get the click than the organic website button on your GBP listing.
The result of that is that the click generated comes in as “paid”. You paid for that click, as opposed to it coming in as organic as it would have anyway for that particular keyword. As a result, your paid search traffic is effectively cannibalizing your organic traffic.
Paid search vendors that we work closely with have very much confirmed that P-Max ads definitely take away from organic traffic. And, we would say that’s okay, as long as you’re very well aware that your organic may fall a little bit as a result of using P-Max, and that’s not a reflection of your SEO status.
So, to recap:
- Performance Max ads are a paid search solution that have increased in popularity over the last year.
- By all accounts, they’re effective, however, you have no control over where those ads will show up.
- As a result, use of P max ads can certainly cannibalize your organic search traffic, and you need to be aware of that.