Performance Max – Automated Google Ads in a Nutshell

7min.

Comments:0

Ads
Performance Max – Automated Google Ads in a Nutshelld-tags
26 June 2024
Performance Max is a campaign type that allows advertisers to leverage all Google Ads advertising assets in a single campaign. Discover how you can profit from it!
Ads

7min.

Comments:0

Performance Max – What Is It?

Performance Max is a type of campaign in Google Ads that allows you to run text, banner, video, and product ads simultaneously. This helps increase the effectiveness of achieving goals in the increasingly complex customer journey of making decisions.

With the growing number of ways to reach customers with advertising, the path to achieving goals is becoming more complex. The number of channels that allow searching and buying products or services is increasing and continually evolving.

Customers use various sources of information and multiple devices, making the analysis and tracking of their changing interests and needs very difficult, sometimes even impossible, for marketers.

Performance Max campaigns in Google Ads address these challenges by utilizing Google’s best automation solutions to enhance effectiveness.

Performance Max helps find the right customers across all Google channels – YouTube, Display Network, Search, Discover, Gmail, Maps, and more – where there’s a high probability of conversion.

How Does Performance Max Work?

Performance Max is designed to achieve goals set in your Google Ads account. It is not used to simply gather clicks but must have a specific objective. By using advanced automation, Audience Signals, and optionally submitted data, it can do this much more effectively.

A Performance Max campaign analyzes overall performance across all channels.

It leverages Google’s resources to monitor customer intentions and behaviors in real-time and the progress of each auction. Thus, it can present the right creative and bid at the optimal moment to the appropriate audience.

Using machine learning, budget optimization, and automatic bidding strategies, it achieves high ROI (return on investment) conversions. Data-driven attribution from all channels helps better define the purchase path, leading to investment in the most crucial touchpoints with the customer.

Creating a Performance Max Campaign: Step by Step

To create a Performance Max campaign, log into your Google Ads account, go to the Campaigns tab, click the plus icon, and then New Campaign.

Creating Performance Max campaign

As the campaign goal, you can choose Sales, Leads, Website Traffic, Local Store Visits and Promotions, or create a campaign without using goal suggestions.

Google Ads campaigns objectives

If you select a campaign with a specific goal, the next step is to choose conversion goals for the campaign from those defined in your account, followed by selecting the campaign type. If creating a campaign without a goal, immediately select the campaign type – Performance Max – and then choose goals.

Google Ads campaign types

When the advertised site is an online store, select the Merchant Center account during campaign creation, which the campaign will use.

Merchant Center in Performance Max campaing

If preparing a Performance Max campaign for a site that is not an online store, the difference is that you use goals other than Shopping and do not add a Google Merchant Center account.

Additionally, it is important that the selected goals are current and ideally have a defined value.

If you chose several different conversions as the goal, it is worth assigning a different value to each conversion, corresponding to its actual impact on sales. Performance Max will optimize the campaign to ensure the highest return on ad spend (ROAS).

Next, name the campaign and proceed to its settings. Define the bidding strategy and customer acquisition (optional). For bids, you can choose a strategy of maximizing the number, value of conversions, and ROAS.

Performance Max bidding and customer acquisition

The next step is to define the ad location, languages, and the use of automatically created components. There are also additional settings where you can specify Ad Schedule, Campaign Start and End Dates, Campaign URL Options, and Brand Exclusions.

Performance Max settings

The campaign is now defined. Proceed to create asset groups. During the creation of a Performance Max campaign, you can create one asset group, and after configuring it, you can add additional groups.

Name the asset group and, if using a Merchant Center data feed, select the products you want to advertise. Product selection is done in the same way as in previous product campaigns.

Performance Max asset groups

Proceed to add ad components. In Performance Max, you can add a maximum of:

  • 20 images,
  • 5 logos,
  • 5 videos,
  • optionally, one HTML5 ad creative.

For text, you can create a maximum of:

  • 15 headlines up to 30 characters,
  • 5 long headlines up to 90 characters,
  • 1 short ad text up to 60 characters,
  • 4 ad texts up to 90 characters.

You also provide the company name and choose a call to action or leave the choice automatic.

It is also possible to add selected components, such as site links (though they will only appear in search network campaigns or display network depending on the chosen component). After adding components, you can preview how the ad will look across various channels and devices.

Creating assets in Performance Max

After adding components, you can optionally add Search Topics and create Audience Signals to define the most appropriate group to target with the ad.

Adding Audience Signals is optional, but it is worth doing because it helps and accelerates optimization towards the chosen goals. Performance Max can display ads to audiences beyond those specified.

If there are audience lists created in the ad account, you can use them. If not, after clicking Create audience signal, proceed to define them.

Adding signals Performance Max

You can define audience signals based on their online activity, interaction with your site, interests, and demographic data.

You can use information about users already collected based on their behavior on your website and/or app, social media profiles, and customer lists.

Custom audience segments are defined the same way as in other campaigns, i.e., based on keywords users enter in the search engine, URLs of websites they visit, or app names they use.

To define audience signals, you can also use demographic data and Google-prepared segments, such as Life Events, Similar Interests, and In-market Audiences.

Performance Max audience

After adding resources and defining audiences, set the budget. Then proceed to the summary.

Performance Max budget

On the summary page, review all the settings you have entered and make any necessary changes.

Performance Max summary

When everything is correctly prepared, click Publish campaign. This way, you have created a Performance Max campaign.

Performance Max as a Product Listing Ad (PLA) Campaign

As previously mentioned, you can implement a product feed into a Performance Max campaign via a Google Merchant Center account connected to your Google Ads account. This enables it to function as a product campaign, which is displayed in search results, partner sites on the Google Search Network, the Display Network, and the Shopping tab. What sets it apart is the ability to present key product information – including the title, price, store name – and a product image. Such campaigns support sales, product promotion, more accurately reach potential customers, increase reach, and website traffic.

Product Listing Ads

When you create a product campaign, a single product group titled “All Products” is created by default – this means it includes the entire assortment contained in the product feed on your GMC account. However, Google allows the product feed to be divided into different product groups, according to:

  • Category
  • Brand
  • Product ID
  • Condition
  • Product type (your own categorization)
  • Channel (how you sell products: locally or online)
  • Custom labels (labels created by you)

You can precisely define which products you want to promote. For example, if you sell shoes and your assortment includes women’s, men’s, and children’s shoes, you can set up a campaign only for women’s shoes or create two separate ad groups, one promoting women’s shoes and the other men’s. To do this, click the “+” sign next to the name “All Products.” A separate window will appear.
Select the type of product group division. To do this, click the arrow on the right side. A list of the above-mentioned division options will expand. Choose the one you want to apply.

The Performance Max (PMAX) campaign limits the ability to create a pure product campaign (displaying only in Google Shopping). However, there are ways to bypass these limitations. As of today (June 2024), one way is to create a standard product campaign, then go to the settings and create an experiment with the PMAX campaign. Then, pause the original campaign and leave the PMAX campaign without assets.

PLA without assets PLA without assets PLA without assets

Uncheck the Automatically Created Components option and there is no need to add Components (formerly: assets, extensions) because the goal of such a campaign is to display only in Google Shopping.

 

Optimization of Performance Max Campaigns

Performance Max campaigns leverage automation and machine learning systems to reach the right consumers and increase conversions across all Google channels and ad assets.

This solution means that Performance Max optimization is usually automatic. However, we can also expedite this process. Optimizing this type of campaign primarily involves optimizing ad assets and using Audience Signals.

The most effective way to increase efficiency is through creative optimization. It’s important to maximize the number of ad assets and remove or improve ineffective ones.

The campaign will measure ad performance to check their relevance. The more assets it has available, the better message it will prepare for a specific audience, which will translate to increased efficiency.

Optimizing Performance Max also involves using Audience Signals. Using them is not mandatory, but it speeds up the machine learning systems. If you have statistics on audience segments most suitable for conversions, you can submit this data to Google Ads using Audience Signals.

When defining them, it’s worth utilizing all the segments available on your Google Ads account, including uploaded audience lists, defined custom audience segments, and Google-segmented audiences based on interests or life events.

Although we can define Audience Signals, the campaign can also acquire them automatically using data from other campaigns run on the same ad account, optimized for achieving the same goals. This particularly applies to search campaigns.

For this reason, it’s beneficial to run search network campaigns alongside Performance Max, based on keywords and optimize these campaigns for maximum effectiveness. Performance Max can receive particularly useful data when using broad match keywords combined with smart bidding and responsive search ads in the search network campaign.

This allows Performance Max to maximize effectiveness with related search queries.

Other important factors for optimizing Performance Max performance include using enhanced conversions, which allow measurements in the absence of cookies (similarly to the conversion tracking option in Google Analytics 4), and using ad extensions.

Evaluating Performance Max Campaign Results

It’s best to evaluate the results of a Performance Max campaign no earlier than six weeks after its launch. The learning phase is assumed to last 1-2 weeks, followed by allowing the campaign to run for a month before conducting a deeper analysis.

How to assess Performance Max effectiveness? You can compare the campaign’s performance on the Google Ads account during the weeks preceding the launch of Performance Max with the period following its launch.

It’s important to only consider campaigns targeting the same goals as the Performance Max campaign. Thus, we exclude data from campaigns optimized for other goals, such as brand-building awareness campaigns, from the analysis.

Such a comparison will allow us to measure the increase or decrease in conversions. The most crucial parameters to examine are the changes in the total number or value of conversions at the same level of CPA/ROAS.

Only this method of comparing Performance Max with other campaigns having the same or similar goals will allow for a reliable evaluation of its results.

Summary

Performance Max campaigns utilize automation and machine learning systems to reach the right consumers and increase the number and/or value of conversions across all Google channels and advertising assets. To ensure these campaigns operate as effectively as possible, it’s advisable to:

  • Run parallel search network campaigns based on keywords.
  • Use Audience Signals.
  • Optimize asset groups by utilizing Ad Strength measurements.
  • Analyze available statistics and implement changes that can improve results.
  • Evaluate Performance Max campaign effects based on the results of other campaigns with the same or comparable goals that ran before the launch of Performance Max.

Now you can create your own Performance Max campaigns! If you’d like us to create effective advertising campaigns for you, please get in touch.

Author
Jerzy Cygan SEM Delante
Author
Jerzy Cygan

SEM Specialist

SEM specialist, in the industry since 2009. He joined Delante in 2022. He is interested in knowledge of website development, online marketing, advertising tools, as well as web analytics. Privately passionate about soccer, mountain hiking and science fiction literature.

Author
Karolina Pyznar Delante
Author
Karolina Pyznar

SEM Specialist

A Management and Economics graduate. She started her adventure at Delante with an SEM internship in December 2021. She currently holds the position of SEM Specialist. Her special interest from the professional angle is Internet marketing, and she is no stranger to Google market changes. Privately, she enjoys traveling, sport, especially gym.

Author
Michał Szydlowski
Author
Michał Szydłowski

Junior SEM Specialist

Author
Jerzy Cygan SEM Delante
Author
Jerzy Cygan

SEM Specialist

SEM specialist, in the industry since 2009. He joined Delante in 2022. He is interested in knowledge of website development, online marketing, advertising tools, as well as web analytics. Privately passionate about soccer, mountain hiking and science fiction literature.

Author
Karolina Pyznar Delante
Author
Karolina Pyznar

SEM Specialist

A Management and Economics graduate. She started her adventure at Delante with an SEM internship in December 2021. She currently holds the position of SEM Specialist. Her special interest from the professional angle is Internet marketing, and she is no stranger to Google market changes. Privately, she enjoys traveling, sport, especially gym.

Author
Michał Szydlowski
Author
Michał Szydłowski

Junior SEM Specialist

Get a
Free Quote

Awards

Award - Deloitte 2021 Award - European eCommerce Awards 2022 Award - European Search Awards 2022 Award - Global Agency Awards 2022 Award - IPMA Award - US Search Awards 2021