You’ve heard it by now; Performance max campaigns are replacing Smart Shopping ones, and the updates are rolling at the speed of light. We wanted to create an introductory guide to Performance max campaigns and how you can improve them to maximum benefit.

What is Google Ads Performance Max Campaign?

Essentially, it is all about creating one mega campaign to rule them all. Based on your specific goal, your campaign will be displayed on all the Google channels available. Who makes the decisions? Initially, you. After 6-8 weeks, the machine learning algorithm picks up what you teach it in data inputs and optimize your campaigns for increased performance.

If your advertising objective is “Sales”, “Leads”, “Website traffic“, “Local store visits and promotions”, or creating a campaign without a goal’s guidance, Performance max campaigns will be available to use. From there, you can take steps to make your campaign based on these goals.

  • Online sales or lead generation goals
  • Online sales goals using a Merchant Center feed
  • Store goal
  • Store goals using a Business Data Feed to promote local products

Why should we care about Performance Max?

The ability to automate the campaign process is good as itself. But Performance max comes with features superior to its predecessor Smart Shopping campaigns.

Audience signals are audience suggestions from Google. The algorithm finds different audience signals suited for your ad and new conversions.

Audience and Search Term Insights: The new insight features allow you to dissect every audience segment or search term to figure out the top-performing ones. You can use these insights to optimize the current campaign or fuel your next one’s strategy.

Different asset groups: It’s recommended to provide a variety of assets in every performance max campaign. But you could have a lot more fun than that. Creating and uploading different asset groups for other target audiences is immensely useful.

Optimizing creatives: The new insight features are not limited to the audience or search terms. You can find out which copy converted the most or which asset performed the best.

Create your Pmax Campaign

Create your campaign

In Google Ads, go to Campaigns and click the + button. Create a new campaign and choose your goal. If none fits, go with Create a campaign without a goal’s guidance.

Select Performance Max as the campaign type and Continue.

Set your budget and bidding: Enter the amount you want to spend daily and select a bidding strategy.

Budget & Bidding

Tips for setting your budget: The budget you set establishes the monthly charging limit. The charging limit is the average daily budget that you set multiplied by the average number of days in a month.

“For Performance Max, try an average daily budget of at least 3 times your CPA or cost/conv. for the conversion actions selected for your campaign.”

As your campaign progresses, you can change your daily budget and optimize your spending accordingly. It’s normal to spend more than the daily budget for some days. The overall cost will balance during the campaign, and you’ll never pay more than the charging limit you set.

What bidding strategy should you choose?

Conversions: Choosing the checkbox for “Set a target cost per action”, means the campaign will try to achieve the Target CPA you enter.
Conversion Value: Choosing the checkbox for “Set a target return on ad spend”, means the campaign will try to achieve the Target ROAS you enter.

Location & languages

Select your location target on Campaign settings > Locations. You can exclude the locations you want to omit here by choosing the location and clicking Exclude.

Under Languages, pick the languages for your campaign.

Asset Group

You could provide the campaign with various assets. Set your initial asset group in this stage; after a while, you can add different groups for separate audiences. Want to separate your campaign according to gender? Create one for each. Here’s what Google requires:

Recommended Asset Guidelines for Performance Max campaigns on Google Ads.
  • Images Add up to 15 images.
  • Logos Add up to 5 logos.
  • Videos Add up to 5 videos. (If you don’t upload any, it’ll be auto-generated from the other creatives you upload.)
  • Headlines Add up to 5 headlines (maximum 30 characters).
  • Long headlines Add up to 5 long headlines (maximum 90 characters).
  • Descriptions Add one short description with a maximum of 60 characters and up to 4 descriptions with a maximum of 90 characters each.
  • Call-to-action Choose from various layouts and enter the name of your business or brand.
  • Ad URL options Add the pathway for your display URL and choose a different final URL for mobile.

At this stage, though it’s optional, you should also set up Audience Signals. By doing so, you can guide machine learning for better optimization.

Ad Assets

We want to give the potential customers as much helpful information as possible. And ad assets are precisely that. Based on the campaign goal, you could inform them about the business and lead them to different CTAs, like submitting a form or booking a call.

Review your campaign & publish

Review all the details you’ve set and publish your campaign at the final stage.

Performance max campaigns are only as good as your data input. The campaigns need regular maintenance and tweaking to optimize their performance.

Tips For Your Next Performance Max Campaign

Negative keywords

In Tools & Settings, find the Negative Keyword list and upload the compiled list of keywords you don’t want to use in your ads. It’ll allow you to achieve a better clickthrough rate by eliminating uninterested customers.

Audience Signals

Feed the machine learning algorithm with the most valuable audiences for you. Build a strong audience list and keep it updated. If the audience lists are too broad, Performance max campaigns risk showing ads to irrelevant audiences. When it comes to leads, quality is definitely over quantity, and strict monitoring of audiences is key to achieving that.

Cherish your Insights

The elevated reporting options of Performance Max can be overwhelming. Especially in the first 6-8 weeks of the campaign, it’s crucial to check insights weekly and find out what type of searches your ads appear on.

Exclude URLs

If you submit your entire website to the campaign, the customers will likely end up on a page you didn’t want them to. If possible, restrict your use to one URL. If not, exclude as many irrelevant URLs as possible for better conversion.

Exclude Locations

Exclusion principles apply to location too. While you set up your target locations, exclude the countries or places you don’t want to run ads in.

The machine learning aspect of performance max campaigns is highly remarkable. But unfortunately, we are far from a world taken over by robots. With some patience and the proper budget, we can teach the algorithm to work best for us.

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