Google’s Newest Change to PMAX

Our cries have finally been answered! Google released “brand exclusions” for PMAX and Search in late June. This is great news for us advertisers shaking our fists at the PMAX black-box. 

The real question: To exclude or not to exclude… 

Pros of excluding:

  1. There is more control over the percentage of spend allowed to branded terms. This allows for better auction insights and insight into brand interest.
  2. Excluding allows more budget to flow to nonbrand terms, thereby exposing more prospective customers to your brand. In the long term this can increase new customer growth. 

Cons of excluding:

  1. PMAX will not look as performant as it did with branded queries in the mix. 
  2. It is possible it would hinder signals that the AI uses to make decisions. 
  3. There will be a challenging reset period as we direct traffic back into Branded Search, and Shopping and PMAX are forced to gain a greater understanding of nonbrand learnings. 

So we ripped off the bandaid in the name of growth. 

Here is what we found: 

3 weeks after adding brand exclusions to PMAX, things are trending how we’d hoped. 

  1. Traffic is efficiently diverting to Brand Search 
  2. PMAX spend is scaling back up 
  3. PMAX New Customer CPAs are trending down 


We are seeing positive trends from executing PMAX brand exclusions. Time will tell what the best strategies are for PMAX, but for now we will keep testing to find PMAX wins!

What are your thoughts on PMAX brand exclusions? Reach out if you’d like to discuss! 

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