Does Google ads Performance Max campaigns brings spam leads?

A computer screen flooded with spam emails in a bustling atmosphere.Are you noticing an influx of low-quality leads from your Google Ads Performance Max campaigns?

Here’s a fact: these could be the result of conversion fraud – a widespread issue where junk leads are generated unfairly by bots.

This article provides tactical insights into understanding and addressing this challenge, including campaign optimizations for genuine lead generation. Get ready to tackle spammy leads head-on; let’s dive in!

Key Takeaways

  • Google Ads Performance Max campaigns can potentially bring in spam leads, which are low-quality or irrelevant leads that provide no value to businesses.
  • Conversion fraud is a common issue that contributes to the influx of junk leads. This occurs when website owners engage in clicking on ads displayed on their sites or program bots to continuously click on those ads, mimicking human behavior online.
  • To tackle spammy leads from Performance Max campaigns, advertisers should optimize their campaigns for legitimate leads by using conversion-based bidding strategies, adjusting landing page reporting, refining targeting options, and regularly analyzing campaign performance.
  • It is important for advertisers to understand the benefits and drawbacks of using Performance Max campaigns before deciding to implement them as part of their advertising strategy.

Understanding Google Ads Performance Max Campaigns

A laptop displaying a Google Ads Performance Max campaign dashboard.Google Ads Performance Max campaigns are a powerful advertising tool that utilizes advanced machine learning and targeting options to maximize conversions and increase conversion value for businesses.

What is Performance Max?

Performance Max is a unique type of advertising campaign offered by Google Ads that utilizes advanced machine learning and attribution technology to optimize ad performance across various Google platforms.

By focusing on lead generation and conversions, it covers every stage of the sales funnel, making it particularly effective for e-commerce businesses in the B2C sector and lead generation accounts.

Transitioning from Smart Shopping to Performance Max, which occurred in August 2022, has allowed two-thirds of advertisers to capitalize on richer insights provided by this platform such as top conversion-driving topics/keywords and weekly or monthly trends.

Though Performance Max campaigns are automatic – meaning they can’t be altered once set – they boast a notable 12% increase in conversion value compared to smart shopping campaigns according to Google reports.

However, initial stages might present an influx of low-quality leads due to its automated nature.

The type of businesses best suited for Performance Max

Performance Max campaigns excel in the B2C sector, particularly for e-commerce businesses keen on driving stronger campaign performance and improved CPC. These advanced advertising campaigns offer a vast array of targeting options and harness advanced machine learning technology for quick data-driven optimizations.

Businesses with an existing successful advertising history and at least 15 conversions in the previous month are prerequisites to leverage Performance Max. The incredible benefit of increased conversion value by up to 12% compared to smart shopping campaigns can be a game-changer for these enterprises.

Moreover, organizations focusing on lead generation can find significant advantages in using Performance Max, provided they implement accurate conversion tracking measures essential for success with these campaigns.

The benefits and drawbacks of using Performance Max campaigns

Google Ads’ Performance Max campaigns offer several benefits, but they also come with their fair share of drawbacks. The following table summarizes the key advantages and disadvantages of using Performance Max campaigns.

Benefits Drawbacks
Performance Max campaigns have shown improved performance across most industries. Performance Max is a more automated campaign type, which limits manual control and customization.
Performance Max campaigns display ads across all Google Ads inventory, including Search, Display, YouTube, Discover, Gmail, and Maps. This expansive reach ensures maximum visibility for the ads. Without accurate conversion tracking, Performance Max campaigns might not yield optimal results, especially for lead generation accounts.
Performance Max campaigns offer a plethora of targeting options. This mix of audience signals allows for highly relevant targeting. Performance Max campaigns can be complex to set up and optimize without a proper understanding of Google Ads and its functionalities.
Performance Max leverages advanced machine learning and attribution technology for faster data-driven optimizations, leading to stronger campaign performance. There is a potential risk of getting junk leads from Google Ads, which can increase costs for businesses.
Accounts using Performance Max campaigns can expect a 12% increase in conversion value compared to smart shopping campaigns, according to Google. Local, smart, and smart shopping campaigns will be replaced by Performance Max in September 2022, giving businesses little choice but to adapt to the new system.
The new “insights” section in Performance Max campaigns provides richer insights, including top conversion-driving topics/keywords and week-on-week and month-on-month insights.

These benefits and drawbacks should be carefully weighed before deciding to use Performance Max campaigns.

The Issue of Spam Leads in Google Ads

A laptop screen filled with fake leads in a bustling atmosphere.Advertisers often experience a surge in junk leads from Google Ads, which can be attributed to the phenomenon of conversion fraud.

Experiencing a surge in junk leads from Google Ads

Many advertisers have reported a significant increase in junk leads from their Google Ads campaigns. These junk leads refer to low-quality or irrelevant leads that provide no value to the business.

The surge in these unwanted leads can be attributed to conversion fraud, where website owners click on ads displayed on their sites to earn money from Google AdSense. Miscreants have also created websites solely for hosting Google ads and programmed bots to continuously click on those ads, mimicking human behavior online.

While Google works tirelessly to identify and stop click fraud, it remains an ongoing battle as fraudsters constantly develop smarter bots. To reduce the impact of junk leads, advertisers are advised to avoid advertising on the display network and optimize their campaigns for legitimate leads using conversion-based bidding strategies.

Understanding how conversion fraud works

Conversion fraud occurs when advertisers receive low-quality or junk leads from their Google Ads campaigns. These leads may appear legitimate initially, as they provide valid contact information.

However, upon further investigation, it becomes clear that these individuals do not remember filling in the advertiser’s form and have no interest in the product or service being offered.

This type of fraud can be orchestrated through click fraud, where website owners engage in clicking on ads displayed on their sites to earn money from Google AdSense. Additionally, fraudsters create websites solely for hosting Google ads and program bots to continuously click on those ads.

Ways to Deal with Junk Leads from Google Ads

– Optimize your campaign for legitimate leads by using conversion-based bidding strategies and adjusting landing page reporting to differentiate between legitimate and junk leads.

Campaign optimization for legitimate leads

  • Adjust landing page reporting: Differentiating between legitimate and junk leads can be done by adjusting how landing pages report conversions to Google. By implementing specific parameters or criteria for valid conversions, advertisers can filter out potential spam leads and focus on genuine customer interactions.
  • Utilize conversion-based bidding strategies: Advertisers can optimize their campaigns for legitimate leads by using conversion-based bidding strategies offered by Google Ads. This approach focuses on maximizing conversions or conversion value based on specific targets set by the advertiser. By setting clear goals and optimizing bids accordingly, advertisers can improve the quality of leads generated.
  • Optimize targeting options: To attract genuine prospects, advertisers should carefully select their targeting options. This includes leveraging audience signals, demographics, keywords, competitor site visitors, and CRM lists to reach the intended audience. By refining targeting parameters, advertisers can reduce the chances of attracting irrelevant traffic or spam leads.
  • Implement advanced machine learning and attribution technology: Google Ads Performance Max campaigns make use of advanced machine learning algorithms and attribution technology to deliver optimal results. Advertisers should take advantage of these features to improve campaign performance and target high-converting audiences effectively.
  • Regularly analyze campaign performance: It is crucial for advertisers to regularly analyze their campaign performance to identify any patterns or trends associated with junk leads. Analyzing metrics such as click-through-rates (CTR), conversion rates, quality scores, asset group performance, and landing page performance can help pinpoint areas that may be attracting unwanted traffic.
  • Optimize negative keywords: Including negative keywords in ad campaigns is an effective way to filter out irrelevant search terms that could lead to junk leads. Advertisers should regularly review search terms reports and add negative keywords as needed to refine targeting and ensure ads are shown to the most relevant audience.
  • Monitor channel breakdown: Performance Max campaigns have multi-channel serving abilities across platforms like YouTube, Display Network, Gmail, Search, etc. Advertisers should monitor channel breakdown data to identify any channels that may be generating a higher volume of junk leads. By adjusting bids and settings for specific channels, advertisers can optimize their results and minimize spam leads.
  • Improve landing page experience: A well-designed and user-friendly landing page can significantly impact lead quality. Advertisers should focus on creating high-converting inquiry forms, optimizing conversion rates, and providing relevant information that aligns with the ad’s messaging. Ensuring a smooth and engaging landing page experience can help attract more legitimate leads and reduce the likelihood of spam.
  • Continuously refine targeting parameters: As campaign data accumulates, advertisers should use insights gained to continuously refine targeting parameters. Adjusting audience demographics, competitor targeting, or other criteria based on the performance data can enhance lead quality and reduce the chances of attracting spam leads.

Reducing the cost of dealing with junk leads

  • Implement conversion – based bidding strategies to optimize campaigns for legitimate leads.
  • Adjust the way landing pages report conversions to differentiate between legitimate and junk leads.
  • Utilize a CRM system with a “Report junk” button to efficiently eliminate junk leads.
  • Accept the presence of junk leads as part of the cost of using Google Ads if measures to prevent them reduce overall conversion rates.
  • Calculate the cost per legitimate lead by dividing the cost of Google Ads by the number of legitimate leads generated.

Pricing the cost of junk leads

Calculating the cost of dealing with junk leads can be a significant concern for advertisers. Not only do they waste valuable resources, but they also eat into the advertising budget.

Advertisers often spend time and effort filtering out these unwanted leads, which can result in higher costs per legitimate lead. The impact of junk leads goes beyond financial implications; it affects campaign performance and overall conversion rates.

With each junk lead draining resources, it is essential for advertisers to develop strategies to minimize their impact and maximize the return on investment from their Google Ads campaigns.

Optimizing Performance Max Campaigns for Lead Generation

Optimizing Performance Max campaigns for lead generation is crucial for maximizing the effectiveness of your Google Ads strategy. By implementing targeted audience signals, advanced machine learning, and data-driven optimizations, you can improve conversion rates and drive high-quality leads to your business.

What you need to know before setting up Performance Max

Before setting up Performance Max campaigns, there are several important factors to consider:

  1. Performance Max is an automated campaign type offered by Google Ads that utilizes advanced machine learning and attribution technology to optimize ad performance across multiple channels.
  2. Performance Max campaigns are best suited for businesses focused on lead generation, such as B2B companies or those in the SaaS industry. The campaign type is also beneficial for e-commerce businesses looking to increase conversions.
  3. It is crucial to have conversion tracking set up correctly before launching a Performance Max campaign. This allows advertisers to track and measure the success of their campaigns accurately.
  4. Performance Max campaigns rely heavily on audience signals, keywords, competitor site visitors, demographics, and CRM lists. Therefore, it is essential to have a clear understanding of your target audience and the data available for targeting.
  5. Before using Performance Max campaigns, advertisers should ensure their landing pages are optimized for conversion. This includes having high-converting enquiry forms and relevant content that aligns with the ad messaging.
  6. Advertisers need to be aware of their advertising budget and set realistic expectations regarding campaign performance. While Performance Max campaigns can deliver high efficiency and conversions, it is important to monitor costs and evaluate the overall return on investment.
  7. It may be necessary to make adjustments to keyword negation and negative keywords to avoid unwanted traffic or irrelevant clicks that could result in spam leads.
  8. Regular monitoring of campaign performance through the use of reports, such as the Search Terms Report and performance columns, can help identify any issues with junk leads or areas for optimization.

How to optimize Google Performance Max ad campaigns

  1. Utilize conversion-based bidding strategies: By selecting options such as “Maximize Conversions” or “Maximize Conversion Value” in Performance Max campaigns, advertisers can optimize their campaigns for legitimate leads and desired conversion goals.
  2. Leverage audience signals: Take advantage of Google’s advanced machine learning algorithms to target specific audiences based on demographics, CRM lists, competitor site visitors, and other relevant factors. This helps ensure that ads are reaching the right people who are more likely to convert.
  3. Optimize landing pages: Create high-converting landing pages that align with the goals of the Performance Max campaign. Use attractive visuals, clear and concise messaging, and compelling call-to-actions to encourage users to take action.
  4. Implement proper tracking and measurement: Set up accurate conversion tracking within your CRM system or through offline conversion imports to accurately measure the success of your Performance Max campaigns. This will allow you to attribute conversions back to specific ads and optimize accordingly.
  5. Regularly review campaign performance: Monitor the performance of your Performance Max campaigns using Google’s data-driven optimizations and attribution technology. Make adjustments as needed based on insights from campaign performance reports, including asset group performance and landing page performance.
  6. Exclude unwanted traffic: Utilize negative keywords and search terms reports to identify any irrelevant or low-quality search terms that may be triggering your ads. Exclude these keywords to minimize the risk of attracting junk leads.
  7. Focus on high-quality conversions: Instead of simply focusing on increasing the number of conversions, prioritize high-converting leads by analyzing channel breakdowns, quality scores, and ad performance indicators like click-through-rates (CTR) and revenue recording.
  8. Set realistic budget limits: To avoid wasting budget on junk leads, establish a daily budget cap that aligns with your advertising goals and consider adjusting it based on performance results. This can help optimize your spend towards higher-quality conversions.
  9. Consider scaling Performance Max carefully: When scaling your Performance Max campaigns, be cautious about increasing the daily budget too quickly as it may lead to an influx of unwanted traffic. Instead, gradually increase the budget while closely monitoring performance and adjusting as necessary.

By implementing these optimization strategies, advertisers can maximize the efficiency and conversions of their Google Performance Max ad campaigns while minimizing the risk of attracting spam leads.


In conclusion, while Google Ads Performance Max campaigns offer great potential for maximizing conversions and driving higher efficiency, there is a risk of receiving spam leads. Advertisers must be vigilant in implementing measures to optimize their campaigns and minimize the impact of junk leads.

By utilizing conversion-based bidding strategies, adjusting landing page reporting, and having effective CRM systems in place, advertisers can effectively mitigate the issue of spam leads from Google Ads Performance Max campaigns.

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