By Paid Media Analyst Conor Crummey
Performance Max - what is it?
Google says it’s a goal-based campaign type that allows performance advertisers to access all of their Google Ads inventory in a single campaign.
However, I like to think of it as an all-in-one Search, Video and Shopping AI machine on steroids - with the potential to cannibalise your other ad campaigns if you don’t know how to tame it.
Performance Max (also known as PMax) was unveiled in 2021 and has been met with a pretty much equal amount of love and hate (I love it, by the way).
Google keep their cards close to their chest, but it’s believed it was invented in order to allow non-specialists to maintain a competitive edge in their marketing and utilise all the platforms that Google offers within one campaign.
However, it can be professionally utilised by Google Ads experts to its full potential, generating jaw-dropping results.
How does it work?
Performance Max consistently adjusts bids in real-time based on the performance data it receives. Google uses AI to do this, but you do have the ability to add your own assets such as ad copy/images and videos, exactly the same way as your Search Ads.
The algorithms take into account various factors such as audience, target cost per conversion, conversion history, and more to optimise Ad bids.
You might also find yourself asking how I can make this work for me? Well, in this short blog post I will be outlining five tips and tricks I like to include in my PMax campaigns in order to get the most out of them!
Let's start at the initial campaign set-up so you can come out swinging.
1: Be specific within your conversion goals
Doing this will ensure your campaign has the biggest impact and the AI algorithm will try to focus all your expenditure on activities that will produce results. Conversion goals can be generated through the ‘Conversions’ tab found within ‘Tools & Settings’.
2: Add audience signals ASAP
Think of audience signals as telling Google that these demographics are probably the people that will convert for my business, and you definitely should probably show my asset groups to these people. Although PMax isn’t limited to only showing the added audience signals, it is our strongest control over who these ads are shown to, and therefore the quicker PMax understands who converts for this campaign, the better.
3: Don’t shy away from optimisation
Optimisation within PMax campaigns can be daunting, especially when your campaign has started to perform well, but it is essential to remain competitive.
This can be done through certain factors such as:
Location settings: Like any other campaign, PMax location settings default to “presence or interest.” If you only want to reach people in that location, switch to presence only.
Create as many asset groups as possible and then optimise them, adding new ad copy variations and/or trying out new images and videos. See what works best for you.
Use campaign exclusions - exclude products from listing groups that aren’t relevant to their asset group.
4: Use Performance Max in conjunction with other campaign types
PMax isn't a direct replacement for other campaign types and should run in conjunction with other campaigns.
Google uses data from your other campaigns to help ensure PMax ads are being served the best way.
5: Exclude brand keywords from Performance Max
Ideally we want our PMax campaigns to only be shown when potential customers search terms outside of the brand name.
Click the settings on your PMax campaign, scroll down to ‘Additional Settings’ and expand ‘Brand Exclusions’.
Click into the search box and select “New brand list”, name it accordingly then find your brand in the search box.
The world of Performance Max is vast and still relatively new, and the biggest advantage for me is staying on top of the frequent changes and updates that Google rolls out. Recently I’ve also found LinkedIn to be a great source of research material.
This campaign type can be an absolute powerhouse in the right hands, but it has the potential to spend a lot and generate mere pennies if left untamed.
Need help with your Performance Max campaigns? Contact Ascensor’s PPC experts today to see how we can help.