Google’s New Performance Max Campaign Type – One Campaign To Rule Them All

Charlie Carroll, 
Performance Director, 
Google Performance Max

Google’s new ‘Performance Max’ campaign type seamlessly combines search, display, and YouTube into a single campaign.

Using a wealth of data and signals, automation and machine learning are at the heart of Performance Max. Designed to get the most out of your advertising strategy, these campaigns effectively find new customers at your target CPA (cost per acquisition) or ROAS (Return on Ad Spend), so that you can invest more time in improving your landing pages, expanding to new campaign types, testing other channels, and more.

Read on for everything you need to know about Performance Max: how it works, how it interacts with other campaigns and what data and insights are available.

What Are Performance Max Campaigns?

Google Marketing Live 2021 saw the introduction of Performance Max campaigns, which aim to generate leads, increase online sales, and increase traffic to brick-and-mortar locations.

Performance Max campaigns are flexible campaigns that combine automation and machine learning to help marketers achieve conversion targets. With this campaign type, potential consumers can be targeted on a variety of platforms across Google’s Network, including:

Google Performance Max across channelsImage from Google Blog

How Do They Work?

This is a fully automated campaign type, so once you have uploaded your ad creatives into the asset bank (images, videos and ad copy), Performance Max will create and optimise online ads in line with your preset goals. This means that Performance Max will build multiple ad formats and optimise ad targeting for you through Smart Bidding, in order to target your customers anywhere on Google’s network.

What Are the Benefits?

Goal-Orientated

Performance Max campaigns are designed to achieve the goals that you set when creating the campaign. This is great for driving conversions, especially when you have a particular goal in mind such as getting people to try your new product.

One of our B2B language translation customers was able to generate up to 30% more conversions using Performance Max compared to campaigns, at a similar account CPA.

Easy Set Up

Setting up Performance Max campaigns is a lot easier than setting up individual campaigns for each network. In fact, a Model Scouting customer was able to double their account conversion rate from 4.02% to 8.95% in just 2 weeks of using Performance Max!

Assets are all uploaded to one place after you’ve selected your chosen campaign parameters, budget, and location goals. This will also show you how your ads will appear across different networks, with data on how different assets relate to one another and whether they reflect the message you were going for.

Improved Performance

Google states that Performance Max enhances campaign performance by identifying your customers at the right moment and in the right place across all channels, thanks to its superior machine learning and attribution capabilities. In addition, Google’s AI automatically assesses creativity and displays the best-performing creative on the best-performing channels according to which have the highest chance of conversion.

A beauty care product customer found that after 4 weeks, Performance Max was generating 50% of their total account conversions at a 10% lower cost per sale. Another customer, a Performing Arts Company, saw a 23% decrease in CPC using Performance Max, with over 100 incremental leads

Focus on Strategy

This fully automated campaign leaves you with more time to work on your strategy and other high-impact initiatives.

Are there any issues With Performance Max?

As good as Performance Max campaigns are, here are some of the issues we’ve found while working with these new campaigns:

Google Has The Control

The automation of the campaign means that ads will be created and tested by Google’s AI technology, which gives you no control as to which assets are shown together. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but means that you need to ensure all creatives work together before uploading them.

Lack of Transparency

Performance Max campaigns have limited reporting and optimisation capabilities. Although Google offers insights into your top performing assets and audiences, there is no clear feedback on which keywords and networks perform best within the campaign.

As cross-network ads, Google has complete control over where ads are displayed. Unfortunately this means that marketers are unable to access the performance metrics for a specific channel.

Creative assets face the same issue with Performance Max only providing aggregate performance data. Google will tell you the top image pairings, but conversions are attributed to these pairings without indicating which assets are individually best performing.

Cannibalising Your Campaigns

As Performance Max campaigns provide little insight into specific channel performance, it is possible for these campaigns to cannibalise the keywords, placements, and audiences used in other campaigns.

Best Practice

  • Include as many images, videos, copy, and other assets as possible. Automation works best with a wide range of excellent quality assets.
  • You need to allow the campaign an adequate learning period before comparing conversion results. This allows Google enough time to test asset combinations and targeting in order to gain you the best results.
  • Be conscious of your campaign budgets as this campaign will spend what it’s given.

 

The Future of Performance Max

Replacing Smart Shopping Campaigns for eCommerce Businesses

Google announced that Smart Shopping campaigns would automatically switch to Performance Max campaigns by the third quarter of 2022. The transition will be in phases, but marketers can begin upgrading their campaigns at the beginning of April with Google’s convenient one-click solution.

The New Default Campaign Type?

More and more of Google’s original features are being phased out in favour of newer, more complex strategies. There’s a growing notion that Performance Max will become the default campaign type and reduce advertiser control.

 

The Bottomline

Performance Max campaigns use machine learning and automation to effectively manage ad creation, targeting and bidding according to your specified goals. As such, they allow you to focus on strategy and other high-impact initiatives, but do reduce individual campaign control with limited performance data.

Nevertheless, Performance Max offers promising results that can help drive success for your business.

 

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