Performance Max: How do I use audiences to generate jaw-dropping results?

Since its launch, Google’s Performance Max has been adopted by marketers and advertisers across the world.

Described as a goal-based campaign type that allows advertisers to access all of their Google Ads inventory in a single campaign, we like to think of it as an all-in-one Search, Video and Shopping AI machine on steroids.

Performance Max (also known as PMax) was launched in 2021 and since then has been met with equal amounts of love and hate by users.

Google keep their cards close to their chest, but it’s believed it was created to allow non-specialists to maintain a competitive edge in their marketing efforts, and to utilise all the platforms that Google offers within one campaign.

However, it can also be used to its full potential by Google Ads experts like us, generating jaw-dropping results.

Here’s a guide to help you learn about Performance Max audiences, best practices, and how to optimise your campaigns to get the results you’re looking for.

Audience is key

You might find yourself asking ‘if everything is automated, how do my ads find an audience?’  Performance Max uses audience signals made of specific data such as age, gender, location, browsing history and search keywords.

Audience signals are instructions given to Google about who they want their ads to reach. They aren’t exact targets but suggestions that help guide the algorithm to target relevant potential customers. 

By understanding these signals, Google’s Performance Max algorithm can serve ads that are more likely to be seen and engaged with by relevant users, which hopefully leads to more overall conversions.

How to add an audience signal

To add an audience signal to a Performance Max campaign, head over to your campaign’s asset groups and click the pencil icon next to ‘Signals’. 

Within this interface you can add specific search terms that act as keywords for your audience signal, and add unique demographics or interests that you believe fall alongside your audience.

Remember to name and click save on your audience signal after filling in the information required.

These audience signals play a big part in the success of each Performance Max campaign, and mastering the influence we have on these audience signals is key to remaining competitive and generating high conversion rates. 

These four recommendations will help you stay competitive when you’re using Performance Max.

1: Create separate asset groups for each audience

By organising audience signals into specific asset groups, you can determine which audiences are converting and continue targeting them. 

This can provide you with greater control over your campaigns and removes most of the ‘guesswork’.

2: Utilise Google Analytics data in your audience

By utilising data found in Google Analytics, you can further filter who sees your ads. For example, you can create an audience in Google 'audiences’ and exclude people who have previously converted on your site and add it as a signal to your campaign. 

This way, you can target your PMAX to new customers more frequently.

3: Build unique custom segments that include competitors

Custom segments are built upon three main sections:

  • The interests and products/services people are searching for
  • The types of websites people browse
  • The types of apps people use

While adding the information above, consider adding your competitors’ name and direct links to their ‘contact us’ and ‘check out’ pages. 

This allows your Performance Max campaigns to target potential customers with high intent on converting. Remember to only target competitors that are relevant to your ad spend and company size.

4: Test different audience signals

If a Performance Max campaign isn’t performing as well as expected, it may be worth checking and changing your audience signals.

Keep things fresh by introducing new search terms and websites to your custom segments, and don’t be afraid to create a new audience and apply it to under-performing campaigns. However, leave well-performing asset group signals alone! 

Need some help with your Performance Max campaigns? Contact Ascensor’s PPC experts today to see how we can help. 

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