You may have heard of Google’s new automated campaigns feature, titled “Performance Max.” With minimal set up required, and much of the complication stripped away from having to set up multiple Google campaigns, there seems to be a lot of promise and potential with this new type of campaign. But is it too good to be true? Read on to learn exactly what Performance Max is, and the pros and cons of giving it a try in your marketing campaigns.

What is Performance Max?

Performance Max is a “new goal-based campaign type that allows performance advertisers to access all of their Google Ads inventory from a single campaign,” according to Google.

Performance Max complements existing keyword-based search campaigns, using already gathered data and inputted performance goals to create automated campaigns that leverage Google’s automation technologies across bidding, budget optimization, audiences, attribution, and more. According to Google, Performance Max is designed to help you find and convert customers across Google’s entire suite of channels, including Display, Search, YouTube, Discover, Gmail, and even Maps, to reach as many new customers as possible.

What Inputs Does Performance Max Use?

Performance Max uses many of the same inputs as traditional search campaigns as well as inputs from Shopping, Display, and Discover, which are incorporated with cross-channel performance goals in mind. And unlike Search campaigns, Performance Max allows for the use of images, which also expands the capability of this platform while keeping input requirements as simple as possible. To get started with automated Performance Max ad campaigns, you will need to input:

  • Marketing goals
  • Your budget
  • Creative assets (desired text and images)
  • Geographic information
  • Feeds (such as Google My Business, and business data feeds)
  • Audience signals (such as first-party audiences, Google audiences, and more). 

Where Do Performance Max Ads Run?

Once initiated, Performance Max ads may run across any of Google’s six channels: Search, Maps, Display, Gmail, Discover, and YouTube.

According to marketing trends blog Search Engine Land, “Performance Max will replace Smart Shopping and Local campaigns but is intended to be a supplement rather than a replacement for the other campaign types like Search and Display.”

The Benefits of Performance Max Campaigns

As you can imagine, there are many benefits to using a feature like Performance Max to easily set up and run cross-channel, conversion-driven ad campaigns:

  • Campaigns are goal-based, and aim to “increase online sales, generate more leads and drive more store visits to physical business locations,” according to Rodney Ip, global product lead of Google Ads
  • Campaigns are easy to set up, which make navigating ad strategy simpler for beginner to intermediate paid ads marketers. 
  • Campaigns are designed to be complementary to existing campaigns, maximizing on existing aggregated data and testing results. 
  • Bidding and targeting is completely automated – “Automation can help you invest your budget more effectively and dynamically allocate spend where the highest ROI opportunities are,” Ip also said.

The Drawbacks of Performance Max

  • With any fully automated product, there are limitations to what Performance Max can do for you. With no one “behind the wheel,” if a campaign doesn’t perform favorably, you can’t blame the machine.
  • Success of automated campaigns are highly dependent on the user providing detailed and accurate inputs. If you provide incomplete goals, you will get incomplete results. If you supply poorly optimized feeds, Performance Max won’t be able to determine where the best locations for your ads are. 

Pro Tip: How to Make the Most of Your Campaigns

Here are some other tips for success for getting the most out of Google Performance Max campaigns, according to Google:

  • Give the campaign at least 6 weeks to run. This will allow the algorithm enough time to learn and gather enough data to support a comparison between other campaign types
  • Add at least 5 text assets (inclusive of headlines and descriptions)
  • Add at least 5 image assets
  • Layering on the most relevant audiences to provide signals to the algorithm
  • Leverage a Google Ads based pixel (vs a Google Analytics) to help get a full picture of performance inclusive of view-through conversions, video views, etc. 
  • Review your Ad Strength to ensure the assets you provide are set up for success and the algorithm can properly optimize with them – the more assets the better!
  • Test Audiences of many different types (in-market vs. custom intent vs. life events, etc) and categories that describe your customer. 
  • Choose highly actionable conversion goals 
  • Import offline conversions to get a fuller picture of campaign success

Need Help? Give us a Ring…

Finally, in order to best leverage Google Performance Max features, it’s necessary that you already have a few to several keyword-based search campaigns set up and running. This way, Performance Max can look to already gathered data and campaign results to further refine automated campaigns. If you need help getting search campaigns off the ground, contact us here.

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