Since their launch in 2021, Google Ads Performance Max campaigns have caused quite a bit of controversy among advertisers. This ranges from full enthusiasm to fierce opposition and everything in-between.
If Performance Max works for you, then it could be an extremely effective campaign type. However, you need to know how to maximize it.
This is the topic we will be covering in this article. Keep reading for more information:
- How they work and what they look like
- Performance Max: The pros and cons
- There are 10 methods to maximize them for the best returns.
What is Performance Max?
Google’s Performance Max campaign, also called PMax, was added to all Google Ads accounts starting in 2021. The fully-automated allows for cross-channel display of ads across all Google ad networks within a single campaign. This includes Search, Display and YouTube.
This is how these campaigns work. First, you need to specify what your goal is. You then provide assets such as images, video, logos and headlines. To get an idea how your ads might look, you can view ad previews. After you have set up the campaign, Google will automatically generate ads on all channels when the campaigns are eligible. It uses machine learning to determine the best ad for the target audience and serve it at the correct time.
Performance Max Campaigns: The pros and cons
- Google fully automates your work, but you can still control the automation with the Audience Signals and assets you provide.
- All of Google’s channels allow you to reach new people.
- They are great for lead generation and ecommerce businesses as they can be based on goals.
- Full-funnel is required in order to optimize and assess your campaign types.
- Although it may take some of the work off your plate , automation has its pros and cons . It will be difficult to manage many elements of your campaign that are not possible with regular Google Ads campaigns. This includes where advertisements are displayed, creative combinations and keywords.
- Campaigns with PMax don’t give insight into new customers versus remarketed or brand versus not-brand.
- Performance Max campaigns need a lot of assets and creatives to be successful. You will therefore need to have plenty of them to use.
Ten ways to maximize your Performance Max campaigns
Even though the majority of your Performance Max campaigns are automated, you can still optimize them for maximum effectiveness. Let’s have a closer look.
1. Your campaigns deserve your commitment
PMax campaigns are fully automated and require enough data and machine learning for them to work. Budget at least $50-100 per month for PMax campaigns. Google suggests in order to give the machine learning algorithm time to improve and to have enough data to make comparisons.
2. As many assets and as possible
You can increase your chances that an ad will be eligible for all inventory types by adding more assets. You don’t have to upload product images if your is used. You can instead use brand or lifestyle creatives to complement the product feed images.
You can simply add your own feed if you are only interested in running Google Shopping campaigns. Your campaign will include Display and YouTube ads, but your Shopping ads will be delivered in Shopping format.
3. Be aware of the warning signs and workarounds
Although we’ve already shared an entire post about in detail, some are still worth repeating.
- Bidding You can only Maximize or Maximize the conversion value for . This makes sense, as Performance Max campaigns tend to be conversion-focused.
- Place settings: Just like any campaign, the default location setting for PMax is “Presence and interest.” To reach only people who live in this location, you can switch to presence.
- Audience signals PMax campaigns don’t allow you to choose a specific audience. Instead, you give Google “Audience signals”, which Google then uses to start your campaign. This is similar to optimizing targeting.
- URL extension:PMax automatically turns URL expansion on. This feature, similar to Dynamic Ads allows Google Ads users to be sent to landing pages that are not your last URL. This feature can be disabled if it is not in line with your goals. You can also leave the feature on, but make sure to use URL exclusions.
4. You can use the Customer Acquisition feature
This feature is unique to Performance Max campaigns. It allows you to select whether to offer the campaign to existing and new customers or to just new users.
5. Optimize your asset groups
You will need to add your assets together into one asset group when building Performance Max campaigns. A are a collection of creatives which will be used depending on what channel they’re being shown on. A common theme is a good way to organize asset groups.
After the campaign is built you have the option to add more asset groups. You can organize them according to your business’s needs. This could include separating them into products and services.
6. Exclude campaign members
To reduce wasted budget and increase efficiency, the next step in PMax optimization is using campaign exclusions. These include:
- Exclusions of products. According to , an average of 17% products aren’t available for purchase in advertisements catalogs. These items are the best starting points for catalog exclusions.
You can also exclude variants of products relevant to the same search query as well as products with low profit margins or low conversion rates. You can do this by using Listing Groups. These groups allow you to exclude products by brand, product ID, category, custom labels, and other criteria.
These campaign exclusions can improve the effectiveness of your campaign and reduce the amount of products Google must put through the learning phase. This will essentially accelerate the process.
- Exclusion of keywords. Avoid wasting budget on unrelated queries by using negative keywords
- Customers who are already customers. You can also exclude customers from your Performance Max campaign so that you are focusing on customer acquisition. Check the box “Only bid for new clients” when setting up your campaign.
7. Select the best bidding strategy
There are two ways to bid on a Performance Max campaign.
- Maximize Conversions will help you get maximum conversions within your budget.
- Maximize conversion value to achieve the best possible conversions. This bid strategy may result in fewer conversions, but they will be more valuable.
After accumulating sufficient conversion data for your campaign, you may experiment with Maximize CPA with Target CPA and Maximize CONversion Value with bid strategies to elevate your campaign.
Although Target CPA and Target ROAS can be used from the beginning, it’s best to gather as much conversion data before you launch a new campaign.
8. You can use ad extensions
( ) will allow you to expand your ad space and make it more attractive and relevant by adding additional information.
You can find 14 extensions for ad–reviews and locations, calls, pricing, promotions, etc. -but it is worth considering the following:
- Sitelinks These direct visitors to relevant pages. You could, for example, use to highlight product categories and pricing pages, as well as other relevant information. You have many options, and these can make a big visual impact on the ad. Google states that advertisers will see an average 20% rise in click-through rates if they use the minimum number of site links.
- Callouts These are 25-character-long snippets that highlight key selling points or USPs. Include at least 8 callouts
- Structured Snippets: They are used to highlight particular products, services or features within a listicle format. A bag retailer might include a Product Structured Snippet that highlights handbags and messenger bags.
Here’s an illustration of how powerful Ad Extensions can be:
Here are some examples of Search ads which have been served in an auction that has shown multiple ad extensions. Sitelinks are provided by the Wolf and Badger ads, which include a location extension and a promotion extension. The Cambridge Satchel Ad features sitelinks and includes a review extension and a price extension.
9. Make sure your data feeds are up-to-date
This information is important for advertisers using the Merchant Centre. Make sure you have as much information available as possible and keep it up-to-date and pertinent.
Below are important product identifiers you should be paying attention to. These three allow Google to identify what you’re selling, while the third three assist with optimization.
- Name of the brand
- Part number of the manufacturer (MPN, SKU).
- UPC code (also known as GTIN)
- Titles with descriptive words
- Google taxonomy/categorization
- Type of product
The foundation for your PMax campaign is the data feed. It will make the most impact on the results than any other.
To get the best out of your ecommerce advertising campaigns and Performance Max campaigns, consider using data feed management solutions. The feed management software simplifies and automates the tedious work of feeding data. This can , and ultimately increase ROAS and conversion rates.
The Feed Marketing Report reveals that these tools can be even more useful for certain sectors of ecommerce, such as automotive and fashion. This is due to their higher product and variation counts.
10. Optimize your audience signals
Audience Signals is a great place to start if you’re not getting the results that you want after running Performance Max campaigns over a long period of time.
You can tighten your Audience Signals using actual business data. This will allow you to prioritize using this information over Google’s interests (which include affinity and in-market audiences).
- If you are able to access enough customer data, and have permission to share it for marketing purposes, your first choice should be customer lists. Because they are based on real customer data, your customers can be used to create new customers.
- Customers intent audiences are the ones who take Google’s interest to the next level by using relevant keywords
- You can also use website visitor audiences, especially if your customer list is not available. You might consider creating an audience signal using website visitors or website converters.
Google’s interest-based audiences remain a powerful option, but it is worth exploring the options above to increase your Audience Signals.
Optimize your Performance Max campaigns immediately
Advertisers and businesses have new possibilities with Performance Max campaigns. These range from to getting your ads on new channels and finding new customers, and even benefiting from Google’s machine learning and automation technology.
Performance Max is a great tool for lead generation and ecommerce businesses. I recommend that you experiment with it and use the optimizations provided in this article! Here’s how you can optimize Performance Max ads in Google Ads.
Make a commitment to your campaigns
Add all assets you have
Learn the Watchouts and Workarounds
You can use the customer acquisition feature
Optimize your asset groups
Select the best bidding strategy
Use the ad extensions
Make sure your data feeds are up-to-date
Optimize your audience signals
Jacques van der Wilt, a pioneer in feed marketing and a seasoned entrepreneur. He is the founder of , an international feed management company that helps online merchants to optimize product listings across more than 2,000 channels.
Jacques held previous leadership roles in Europe and the U.S. He has been a regular speaker at events in the industry and mentor to Startup Bootcamp.
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