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TPE #49: Brand Exclusions (how to exclude brand from pMax)

Jul 03, 2023

Read time: 3 minutes

Hey, Bob & Miles here with a new issue of The PPC Edge!

We want to share a new feature that’s being rolled out in all accounts: Brand Exclusions.

With this new feature, you can exclude specific brands from Performance Max campaigns.

In today’s issue, we’ll dive into:

  • Why you can’t trust your Performance Max data
  • How Brand Exclusions work and how to set them up
  • When to use the negative keyword list hack (or not)

Let’s go!


Why you can’t trust your Performance Max data

Before we dig into the technicalities of Brand Exclusions, we want to start off with a bold statement:

You can’t trust your pMax data because it’s inflated with branded search conversions, making it look better than it actually is.

Performance Max heavily cannibalizes your other campaigns and LOVES to take credit for every single conversion. People who search for your brand would’ve converted anyway, so why would you let pMax take credit for it?

On average, we see 10-15% (up to 42%) of conversions on pMax are from brand. That’s a lot!

Even if you have tight branded search campaigns, misspellings will slip through.

If you have a big share of branded search conversions in Performance Max, you simply cannot trust the data. This will lead to you making wrong decisions, and your account as a whole becomes less scalable.

Check out this guide if you want more details on why we think you should exclude brand from pMax.


The solution: exclude branded search terms from Performance Max campaigns

Up until now, the only way to exclude brand from pMax was either via a Google rep, or with the negative keyword list hack (popularized by our beloved community member Geert Groot).

But, luckily for us, Google is giving us new controls to exclude branded search terms from Performance Max campaigns.

With Brand Exclusions, you can enter brand names you don’t want your ads to show for on Search and Shopping traffic in Performance Max campaigns.

This works slightly differently than excluding branded search terms via negative keyword lists:



Only want to exclude Search and Shopping traffic? → Use Brand Exclusions.

Also want to exclude Video and Display traffic related to your brand? → Use negative keyword lists.


How to set up Brand Exclusions in Google Ads

Here’s how to set up Brand Exclusions in Google Ads (4 simple steps)


Step 1: In your pMax campaign, go to settings

Click on a pMax campaign, go to settings, and scroll down until you see ‘Brand Exclusions’.



Step 2: Create a new brand list

You can exclude brands by creating a brand exclusions list directly inside your pMax campaign, or in the Shared Library.

Enter a list name, and add brands to your list:



If you don’t see your brand name, you can request it to be added. This process typically takes 4-6 weeks to complete, so be mindful of that.



Step 3: hit save and make sure the brand list is added to the right pMax campaign

After you save the list, make sure you add it to the right pMax campaign(s). You can create different lists for different campaigns, or use one across all of them.


Step 4: check if you no longer see branded search terms in pMax campaigns

The last step is often overlooked: after adding Brand Exclusions, you want to double-check if you no longer see any branded search terms in your pMax campaigns.

Check this 1, 7, and 30 days after adding Brand Exclusions.

Simply go to insights > consumer spotlight > search term insights and check if you see your brand pop up under search categories.



Brand Exclusions function as negative broad match keywords

Brand lists work like negative broad match keywords. This means misspellings and multiple languages will be excluded as well.


Important final note for ecom accounts: don’t forget to run a ‘Branded Standard Shopping’ campaign!

We have one final, crucial note for you:

Beware that if you exclude brand from Performance Max campaigns, you’re no longer visible on Search and Shopping when customers search for your brand.

You NEED to set up Branded Search and Branded Standard Shopping campaigns (ecom) to ensure you stay visible when people search for your brand.

We wrote a full guide on how to set this up, check it out here. It’s a must read if you’re excluding brands from Performance Max campaigns.


Exclude brand to make your pMax data more trustworthy

So that’s how you exclude brands from Performance Max campaigns. We’ll close off with a few important considerations:


Happy excluding!

See you again next week.


Bob & Miles


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