Navigating the “Control Freak” Syndrome: Why Your Agency’s “Shopping-Only” Mindset Might Be a Red Flag 🚩

29 Sep


Welcome to the fascinating world of digital marketing, where every marketer believes they have the secret sauce to online success! And yes, this is the realm where sometimes professionals might tell you to stick only to Google Shopping campaigns. Now, while this sounds like a method to the madness, let’s unravel why this might be more madness than method.

The Overly Controlled Approach:

We all have met them—those meticulous, control-freak marketers who insist on running only shopping campaigns. They seem to fear the seemingly mysterious world of Google’s Performance Max campaigns like cats fear water. Why? The lack of control, the uncertainty, the “black box” nature of it all! But what’s marketing without a bit of unpredictability and spice?

The “Black Box” vs. The Human Brain:

Performance Max campaigns can feel like trying to understand what’s at the bottom of the ocean—mysterious, unknown, filled with potential treasures (or disasters). It’s true; it’s a bit of a ‘black box’, utilizing thousands of AI signals that we mere human marketers can only dream of computing in mere seconds. But isn’t leveraging advanced AI the smart move? After all, unless you’re some sort of marketing superhero with the ability to process thousands of data points in the blink of an eye, relying on AI seems like the way to go!

The Brand vs. Non-Brand Debate:

Then there’s the evergreen debate: should you focus on brand or non-brand campaigns? What truly drives conversions? It’s like the digital marketing version of the chicken or the egg debate. But here’s the catch: if you’re not inherently against brand campaigns, and you’re already running one, does it really matter? Focus on what drives results, not on philosophical debates!

Performance Max: A Melting Pot of Opportunities:

Most Performance Max campaigns can be set to target ROAS (Return on Ad Spend), and guess what’s the biggest component in these? Yes, you guessed it—shopping ads! So, if your shopping ads are already stealing the show in Performance Max campaigns, why limit yourself?

Embracing the Unknown:

It’s crucial not to fall into the trap of marketers who want to micromanage every aspect of a campaign. Newsflash: they can’t keep up! It’s like trying to control the weather—unrealistic and, let’s be honest, a bit silly. Embrace the beauty of the unknown, the power of AI, and the myriad of opportunities that Performance Max campaigns offer. It’s like stepping into a candy store—so many flavors to explore, why stick to just one?

The Exceptions

As with everything in digital marketing, there are potential. If you have less than 25 products, or if have a product that can’t be sold through display, video or search (like knives), a shopping-only campaign is the way to go. For lower amounts of products, there is more spent via display or video, which can’t be controlled and may result in a lower ROAS for the campaign vs a shopping-only campaign. But something that can be tested.


Don’t let the allure of control and predictability lead you down the narrow path of “shopping-only” campaigns. It’s a big, diverse digital marketing world out there—explore it, embrace it, and most importantly, leverage it to your advantage! Don’t be that marketer clinging to their single, well-worn tool, insisting it’s the only one you need. Explore the toolbox; you might be surprised at what you find!

Remember, it’s okay to lose a bit of control if it means gaining a whole lot of results. After all, who wants to be the overly cautious driver on the fast-paced highway of digital marketing? Let’s embrace the speed, the opportunities, and yes, the unknowns of this thrilling journey!

In the ever-evolving realm of digital marketing, flexibility, adaptability, and a willingness to embrace new approaches are key. So, if your agency is stuck in the “shopping-only” mindset, it might just be the red flag you need to reconsider. Keep an open mind, explore the possibilities, and let the results speak for themselves! After all, who knows, the “black box” might just be the treasure chest you were looking for!

Jen D

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