Performance Max – Automated Google Ads in a Nutshell



Performance Max – Automated Google Ads in a Nutshelld-tags
30 March 2023
Google Performance Max is a relatively new campaign that allows advertisers to utilize all of their Google Ads' advertising resources in one campaign. Want to learn how you can earn thanks to it? Keep reading!



Table of contents

Performance Max – What Is It?

Performance Max is a new type of Google Ads campaign that enables using text, banner, video and product ads in a single campaign. It makes it possible to increase the effectiveness of conducted activities that affect the ever-changing customer journey and decision-making.

Google Ads campaigns allow you to use text, banner, video and product ads in one campaign.

Although there are many ways to reach potential customers with your advertisements, winning the hearts of your target audience is more complex than ever. The number of channels used to search for products or services is growing, plus these channels are constantly evolving. This makes it harder to stay ahead of the curve.

Customers not only use a variety of information sources, but they also do research on multiple devices. Analyzing and tracking the constant changes in buyers’’ interests and needs can be infeasible even for marketers.

Performance Max uses the best Google’s automation solutions to boost efficiency and is supposed to be the answer to the above problem.

Performance Max allows you to find customers who are likely to convert and reach them through all Google channels like YouTube, ad network, search, Discover, Gmail, Maps and others.

How Does Performance Max Work?

Performance Max is used to help you achieve your Google Ads account goals. Therefore, it’s not intended to collect clicks and has to have specific targets set. This type is much more effective thanks to using advanced automation, audience signals and data that can be additionally uploaded.

Performance Max Campaign analyzes the overall performance across all channels. 

The campaign uses Google’s resources to monitor customer intent and behavior in real time. It tracks the progress of each auction to offer the right creative to the right audience, at the right time. As a result, it’s able to display an ad that is best suited to the needs of the moment.

Thanks to machine learning, budget optimization and automated bid-setting strategies, Performance Max can help you improve ROI and conversions. Data-driven insights from all the channels help to determine the path to purchase. This, in turn, makes it possible to invest in the most important customer touchpoints.

Need help with making your ads more effective? Choose our Google Ads services!

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How to Set up a Performance Max Campaign? A Step-by-Step Guide

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

how to set up new performance max campaign

As your campaign goal, you can choose driving online sales, lead generation, and others or create a campaign without using the goal prompts.

google ads performance max goals

If you choose a campaign with a specific goal, select your conversion objectives and then, the campaign type. If you create a campaign without a specific goal, choose Performance Max right away and define your desired outcomes.

choosing performance max campaign type

If your website is an e-commerce, select the Merchant Center account you want to use and the country where the products are sold.

google ads performance max merchant center for ecommerce

If you set up a Performance Max campaign for a site that isn’t an online store, you should determine different goals and skip the part with the Google Merchant Center account. Apart from that, everything stays the same.

What if you selected various types of conversions as your goal? Then you should assign a different value to each conversion, corresponding to its actual impact on sales. Performance Max will optimize the campaign to provide the highest return on advertising spend (ROAS).

Next, you should name the campaign and proceed to settings. Specify your budget and bidding strategy. When it comes to bidding, you can decide to maximize the number or value of conversions.

setting up google performance max budget and bidding

Then, you should specify the ad impression location and languages. At this point, you can benefit from additional settings like the ad schedule, campaign start and end dates, or campaign URL options.

google ads performance max other settings

Once the campaign is ready, you can proceed to create resource groups. When you set up a Performance Max campaign, you can create one resource group and add more when you configure the first one.

Name the resource group and, if you’re using the Merchant Center data, select the products you want to advertise. When it comes to selecting products, you can do it in the same way as in your existing product campaigns.

setting up performance max asset group

Now it’s time to move on to the advertising resources. When talking about Performance Max, you can add maximally:

  • 20 images,
  • 5 logos,
  • 5 videos,
  • optionally, one advertising creative in html5.

As for the text, you can create:

  • 5 headings up to 30 characters,
  • 5 headings of up to 90 characters,
  • one ad text of up to 60 characters,
  • 4 texts up to 90 characters.

You should also provide your company name and choose a call to action. Otherwise, it’ll be selected automatically.

After you add the resources, you can preview your ads across different channels and devices.

google performance max campaign preview

It’s also worth mentioning that at this stage you can optionally create audience signals. This means defining the most appropriate group you want to target with advertising.

While adding audience signals is optional, it’s worth doing it, as it speeds up optimization for the selected audience. During Performance Max campaign, your ads can also be displayed to audiences that don’t belong to the pre-defined group.

If you have audience lists created on your account, you can benefit from them. If not, you can define them after clicking Create an audience signal.

defining performance max google ads audience

Audience signals can be defined based on users’ online activity, interactions, interests and demographics.

You can also use already collected user information on their behavior on our website and/or app, social media profiles, and customer lists.

When it comes to custom audience segments, you can define them as in any other campaign. This means you should base them on keywords that users type into the search engine, the URLs of the sites they visit or the names of the apps they use.

To create audience signals, you can also use demographic data and segments already prepared by Google like life events, similar interests, and market audiences.

setting up google ads performance max audience signal

After adding resources and defining the audience signals, you can proceed to ad extensions and summary.

performance max requirements

On the summary page, you can review all the settings and make changes if necessary.

performance max campaign summary

Once everything is ready, you can launch the campaign. Voila! Your Performance Max campaign is ready.

Optimization of Performance Max Campaigns

Performance Max campaigns use automation and machine learning systems to reach the right consumers and increase conversions across all of Google’s advertising channels and resources.

This means that Performance Max campaigns are frequently optimized automatically. But you can also speed up the process. Optimizing such campaigns usually involves refining advertising resources and using audience signals.

The campaign will measure the effectiveness of ads to check their relevance. The more resources it has at its disposal, the more accurate the message for a specific audience. This should qucikly translate into increased efficiency.

What are other Performance Max requirements for better optimization? You should benefit from audience signals. Using them isn’t mandatory, but it allows the systems to learn faster. If you have statistics on the audience segments most likely to convert, you can send this data to Google Ads using audience signals.

It’s a good idea to use all the segments available in your Google Ads account when defining the signals. Whether these are uploaded audience lists, defined audience segments or information gathered by Google based on interests or life events.

At the same time, it’s worth keeping in mind that you can define audience signals, but Google can also determine them automatically, using data from other campaigns running on the same Ads account, optimized to achieve the same goals.

For this reason, it’s still a good idea to run keyword-based search network campaigns in parallel with Performance Max campaigns and optimize these campaigns to maximize their effectiveness. The search network campaign can be a particularly beneficial data source for Performance Max campaigns if you use matching keywords combined with intelligent bid adjustments and flexible search ads.

This allows Performance Max to maximize effectiveness with related queries.

Other important factors to optimize the effectiveness of Performance Max include the use of enhanced conversions, which make it possible to monitor the campaign when cookies are unavailable (Google Analytics 4 conversion tracking works the same way), and the use of ad extensions.

automated bidding in google ads

The Effects of Performance Max Campaigns

When it comes to evaluating the effectiveness of Performance Max campaigns, you shouldn’t monitor them earlier than 6 weeks after the launch. It’s assumed that the learning phase lasts 1-2 weeks and then you should let the campaign run for a month before making a deeper analysis.

How to evaluate the effectiveness of Performance Max? You can benchmark the results of the campaign in your Google Ads account in the weeks leading up to the launch of Performance Max, with the period after its launch.

Keep in mind that it’s best to compare campaigns with the same goals. Thus, in your analysis, you shouldn’t include data from campaigns optimized for other goals, such as e.g., image campaigns that are supposed to enhance branding.

Jerzy Cygan
Jerzy Cygan SEM Specialist

This benchmark analysis will allow you to measure the increase or decrease in conversions. You should pay particular attention to data on the change in the total number or value of conversions, as well as CPA/ROAS levels.

Only such a comparison of Performance Max campaigns with other campaigns with the same or similar goals will allow you to assess the performance.

Performance Max Campaigns – The Takeaway

Performance Max campaigns use automation and machine learning to reach the right consumers and increase the number and/or value of conversions across all Google channels. To make your campaigns work as effectively as possible, it’s important to:

  • run parallel keyword-based campaigns in the search network,
  • use audience signals,
  • optimize resource groups using ad strength,
  • analyze available statistics and make changes that can improve results,
  • evaluate the effects of Performance Max campaigns based on the results of other campaigns with the same or comparable objectives.

Now you’re ready to set up your Performance Max campaign. Not sure where to start? Contact us – we’ll be happy to help!

Jerzy Cygan SEM Delante
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.

Jerzy Cygan SEM Delante
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.

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