Understanding Performance Max Listing Groups

Last updated by Bryan Caranto, May 29, 2023

Previously, we talked about Performance Max Asset Groups and how they are used for your advertising objective. 

Today, we’ll discuss Performance Max Listing Groups and why it plays a huge part in your Performance Max campaigns! 

Specifically, we’ll look at:

What is a listing group?

“Search theme” is now “search category”

How to remarket effectively

How to fix inaccurate data inside your listing groups

How your attribution model affects the data you see

Let’s get started!

Understanding Performance Max Listing Groups YouTube thumbnail | Solutions 8

What is a Performance Max listing group?

Performance Max Listing Group

Performance Max listing group is the list of products from your existing Smart Shopping campaigns. You can attach specific products to your asset groups for targeting through listing groups––it’s a part of your campaign’s asset group.

In other words, Performance Max inherits these preexisting product lists. 

By Google’s definition:

“Listing groups are made up of listings, which currently includes both products and collections (groups of products, assets, and rich retail data that represent a category landing page on your website).” 

Before we dive into the listing groups, let’s talk about the latest update (and features) in Performance Max’s Insight Tab.

"Search theme" is now "search category"

Yes! That’s right. If you’ve been wondering what happened to “search theme,” Google has changed it to “search category.” 

Search categories are “auto-generated groupings of the search terms driving traffic to your campaigns.” 

And here’s what’s super cool about it:

We can now see conversions, clicks, impressions, conversion value, click-through rate, and conversion rate. 

Aside from that, you can sort them into ascending or descending order to identify the most (and least) valuable results to you!

Sorting your search categories in Performance Max

There’s one caveat though; we still can’t see where the data comes from. 

For example, our competitive click-through rate is 5.56%: 

Competitive click-through rate in Performance Max

However, there’s no other information about it—we don’t know if it’s on the search, shopping, or YouTube network. Hopefully, as Performance Max evolves, we’ll get more insights.

The good news is that Performance Max gives us all the available tools we need to leverage what we used to know about how Google Ads works. 

If you’re new to listing groups, don’t fret! It’s nothing but the Smart Shopping campaign you’re running that you add to Performance Max. 

Meaning, Smart Shopping acquires the listing groups.

Whether you’re building your own, using one click, or you want to wait for Google to automatically update your Smart Shopping into Performance Max, it’s best to start this now so you can test it.

Performance Max is evolving into an omni-channel with remarketing structure. Unlike Standard or Smart Shopping products, you need to think about listing groups differently.

How to remarket effectively

Remarketing in Performance Max

Let’s say I had two different Performance Max campaigns. 

Campaign A has a listing group going after ten products. Campaign B has a listing group going after ten completely different products. 

If someone clicks, adds a product from Campaign A to their cart, views a product from Campaign B, then leaves the site, who remarkets?

Well, we asked two different teams and each has their own unique answer. 

The first team said that the product from Campaign B will be remarketed to the customer. 

The second team said that product A remarkets from the original click. 

So, if the customer clicked on an ad but added a different item in the cart, the original campaign would remarket the same product. (Even if the customer is probably no longer interested.)

Both answers make sense. However, we tend to lean toward the second team (Campaign A remarkets).

That’s because their team is working on one of our accounts that’s over a million a month in ad spend. Plus, it’s a team we know and trust.

So, what does this have to do with listing groups?

If you’re running one big Performance Max campaign, you need to run all the products in your listing group. 

Don’t exclude anything unless there’s a valid reason why (i.e. the item is out of stock, you don’t want people to buy that item, etc.).

Whether you’re using an asset group or not, you’ll need to leave all those products enabled. Chances are people might buy those products. 

Doing so will keep your revenue flowing. Otherwise, you’ll have ineffective remarketing since you’re paying for the interest but failing on remarketing your campaign. 

How to fix inaccurate data inside your listing groups

Inside of your listing groups you’ll see all conversion, all conversion value, and conversion value by cost. What’s missing? Conversions.

Listing Groups in Performance Max

This is one of the issues we found inside the listing groups. Because of that, it’s impossible to see what your real conversions are

Since there’s no way to segment by conversion action, let’s assume that everything is being counted as a conversion. In that case, you’re getting inaccurate data.

Fortunately, this is easy to fix. 

If you’re running Performance Max, go into your conversions and shut off all conversions you’re not counting as a primary. 

For eCommerce, make sure that you’re counting only purchases as conversions. Meaning, everything else – newsletter sign ups, contact forms, etc. – shouldn’t have a conversion value. 

That’s because if the only conversion value you’re measuring is the actual sale, then the data you see will be much more accurate.

How your attribution model affects the data you see

Google Ads conversion Attribution Models

Another factor that affects the data you see is the attribution model you’re using. 

Do you see branded conversions coming in and you’re using First click attribution? That means their first interaction with your campaign is from the brand.

But what if you’re using Last click attribution? Then now it looks like you’re stealing your search category data away and giving it to your brand.  

So what attribution model should you choose? 

The most practical would be data driven attribution. It helps you split up your conversions and gives attribution to the brand alongside a search category split. 

With our Insights Tab is a little bit more broken out, you start to see what attribution models affect your search categories.

By using data driven, position-based, or linear attribution model, you’ll at least be able to identify what earned a click and what earned the remarket. 


Related blogs:

Introduction to Performance Max Asset Groups

Performance Max Insights Tab (Fully Explained!)

Performance Max: The Ultimate Guide (Everything You Need To Know)

Stay tuned for our Performance Max updates!

There’s still a lot to learn about Performance Max and we’re constantly pumping out new content to share our new insights and discoveries. 

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