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TPE #77: Advanced pMax for Lead Gen: the Fire & Ice Structure

Jan 22, 2024

Read time: 6 minutes

What’s up everyone — welcome back to The PPC Edge (Miles here).

People often ask me if pMax works for Lead Gen…

As most of you know, I specialize in Google Ads for Ecom brands.

I haven’t done a lot of Lead Gen in my career…

But luckily for us, Bob is an elite Lead Gen specialist.

I sat down with him and extracted his knowledge.

So today, I’ll share an advanced pMax strategy for Lead Gen accounts that I downloaded directly from Bob’s brain!

Up until now we’ve only demonstrated this strategy in our Performance Max Mastery course, so it was about time we’d also share it in The PPC Edge!

I hope you’ll find it valuable.

Let’s dive right in!


Performance Max for Lead Gen… It has its challenges…

Listen up: Performance Max for Lead Gen is hard.

It CAN work, but only if you think carefully about your campaign structure.

Unfortunately, many Google Ads Specialists make the same mistakes when running pMax for Lead Gen:

  • They only use one campaign.
  • They add a bunch of (bottom-of-funnel) assets.
  • And they hope it performs well miraculously.


Here are some of the challenges we see with pMax for Lead Gen:

  • When set up incorrectly, the same assets are used across all networks (Search, YouTube, Discover, Display etc.), and Google decides what gets pushed where.
  • This results in the same messaging across the board, regardless of the channel temperature.
  • In most accounts we audit, the assets tend to be bottom-of-funnel focused, steering on a “heavy” call-to-action like “book a demo now” or “contact us today” (this is less effective in upper-funnel placements aimed at prospecting and raising awareness among new potential clients).
  • If you have enough conversions, it’s best practice to steer on only one primary conversion goal (since this gives the algorithm clear directions on what’s important to you, generating the best results). Generally speaking, you’re working with one bottom-of-funnel conversion goal for all ad channels.
  • Clicks from placements like YouTube/Display/Discover may not lead to immediate actions, as the audience isn't always ready.
  • With Performance Max, you can’t control bids/targets for different channels.


All of this means you have very little control, which makes it hard to get great results with pMax for Lead Gen.

But! There is a solution…


Gain back control with the Fire & Ice Structure.

Introducing the Fire & Ice Structure: we invented this framework to help you gain back valuable control and scale your Lead Gen campaigns like never before!

The Fire & Ice Structure consists of two pieces:



1: Performance Max — Fire Campaign: Lead Generation.

Targeting the 'warmer' bottom-of-funnel channels like Search, these campaigns focus on lead generation, direct call-to-actions, and higher target CPA due to their bottom-of-the-funnel approach.

  • Asset group structure: by service/product (same as Ice campaign).
  • Assets: direct messaging geared towards bottom-of-funnel conversions like free trials, product demos, book a call etc.
  • Bidding: use a higher CPA target to bid more aggressively because both your conversion rates and CPCs are much higher.
  • Signals: use very specific audience signals like custom segments based on searches for your services, tools, niche, competitors, or brand, and search themes (just be mindful of how that can impact your dedicated Search campaigns).
  • Conversion goals: leverage high-value campaign-specific conversion actions to steer the algorithm toward demo requests, consultation calls, contact requests etc. (whichever is most valuable to your business).


2: Performance Max — Ice Campaign: Prospecting.

Designed for 'colder', mid/upper-funnel channels like YouTube/Display/Discover, these campaigns aim at prospecting, introducing your brand or service to potential customers.

  • Asset group structure: by service/product (same as Fire campaign).
  • Assets: adjust your assets and messaging to the mid/upper-funnel conversion goals you set for this campaign (do not use the same bottom-of-funnel messaging as in your Fire campaign).
  • Bidding: use a lower CPA target because the conversion rates are lower (traffic is also cheaper so you’ll see lower CPCs).
  • Signals: it’s best to also use custom segments based on searches, but go broader than your Fire campaign.
  • Conversion goals: focus on low-effort conversion actions that Smart Bidding can use like downloads of whitepapers, ebooks, cheatsheets etc. If you can, it’s best to use only 1 primary conversion goal per campaign.
  • Acquisition: this is optional but you could use New Customer Acquisition Goals to push the Ice campaign to only focus on new customers and limit remarketing. Just be mindful that it’s not 100% foolproof and there are still flaws in how nCA works.


Match your offer with the channel temperature!

A quick note before we continue: be mindful of the channel temperature.

Performance Max, AI, and automation have made many advertisers lazy.

If you want to dominate your competition, you should craft offers and CTAs based on the channel temperature, like so:



Meet your prospects where they are.

  • If someone just discovered you via a Display ad, don’t assume they will magically book a call on the first touch.
  • Warm them up first with something small before you go for the big ask.


Let’s say you have a very specific, niche SaaS product.

People aren’t going to directly book a demo without knowing anything about you.

They need to get to know you, your brand, product, and software solution.

Give them more information first with white papers, ebooks, ungated blogs, and things like that.

The success of your campaigns largely depends on the offers in your creatives and landing pages (meaning: your typical bottom-of-funnel conversions won’t always work for mid/upper-funnel channels).

Match your offer with the channel temperature!


Real-life results with the Fire & Ice Structure.

Many Google Ads Specialists have implemented our Fire & Ice Structure since we introduced it in Performance Max Mastery in August 2022.

One of them is Alfred Simon, who saw great success with this structure and renamed it to the “Micro-Macro” Approach:

(I understand the screenshot is a bit small so I zoomed in on the picture below it. I just wanted to make sure to give Alfred credits for his post).



In our eyes, this is the perfect execution of the Fire & Ice structure.

Check out the results below (Micro = Ice, Macro = Fire):



  • Micro (Ice) campaign: lots of cheap traffic and lower-value micro-conversions, helping him prospect for new customers.
  • Macro (Fire) campaign: lots of expensive, high-quality traffic and a lower amount of high-value conversions, effectively generating qualified leads.


Alfred closes his post with:

“The results are really impressive, and we also saw an increase in lead actions across the whole account and other channels.”

That’s what I like to call a perfect execution — kudos to Alfred for implementing our strategy and making it his own.


In summary: pMax & Lead Gen can work together, but only when done right.

So there you have it: a new weapon in your arsenal!

With the Fire & Ice Structure, it becomes easier (and more fun!) to successfully use pMax for Lead Gen clients.

Try it out and see for yourself.

We hope this helps you scale your Lead Gen campaigns to the next level!

Quick note: we shared this strategy for the first time when we launched Performance Max Mastery back in August 2022.

If you want to make the most out of your pMax campaigns, we highly recommend you to enroll in Performance Max Mastery.

It’s fully up to date with all the latest pMax insights you need to scale your campaigns to the next level, and always be one step ahead of your competition.

With that being said — thank you for reading.

And I’ll see you next week!


Miles (& Bob)

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