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Brand Settings for Google Search and Performance Max Campaigns

In today’s digital landscape, where competition for consumer attention is fiercer than ever, brands must continually seek innovative ways to make their mark. Two Google advertising solutions that have gained prominence are Search and Performance Max campaigns. These tools offer powerful opportunities to reach a target audience effectively. However, to make the most of these platforms, it’s crucial to fine-tune your brand settings.

Brand settings can be applied to these campaigns to steer branded traffic based on your advertising needs:

– For Search, brand restrictions limit traffic to serve only on search queries related to specified brands.

– For Performance Max, brand exclusions provide added control so your campaigns won’t serve for branded queries you want to avoid on Search and Shopping inventory.

Brand setting features aim to help with branded traffic needs, but it’s recommended that they only be implemented on campaigns that really need them, to avoid constraining conversion opportunities.

(You can learn more about Performance Max Campaign Optimisation in Google Ads in our previous blog).

Brands versus keywords

Brands are organisations or trademarked goods and services that have distinct branding, logos, or websites. Keywords are words or phrases that potential customers use to find your products and services.

One benefit of using brand lists instead of keywords is not having to enter misspellings, variants, or versions in multiple languages.

Creating and managing brand lists

When controlling traffic for specific brands, the first step is to create a brand list. Brand lists can be created at the account level and applied to individual campaigns.

You can read more about how to create / manage brand lists and submit requests for brands that aren’t in the Google Ads brand library.

A brand is usable in a campaign even though it has a pending status, but its reach may be limited. After the brand is reviewed and approved, it will be added to the Google Ads brand library and it will be available for all advertisers to select. If it’s not approved, the brand will no longer be usable.

Applying brand restrictions and exclusions

It can be useful to apply brand restrictions to Search campaigns by restricting traffic to Search queries that contain specific brands. To do so, the campaign must have the broad match campaign setting enabled.

Brand exclusions can be applied to Performance Max campaigns to prevent your ads from serving on specific brands on Search and Shopping inventory in Performance Max.


Harnessing the full potential of Search and Performance Max requires a strategic approach to brand settings. With the right brand settings in place, you can maximise a brand’s exposure and drive performance in the ever-evolving world of digital advertising.

If you want to know more about how the correct use of brand settings can help your business, please get in touch.