Google Ads Performance Max – What Do You Need to Know?
Introduced in November 2021, Google Ads Performance Max campaigns are a goal based campaign type that Google has brought in to replace Smart Shopping. In fact, at the time of writing, there’s a fair chance that some of you might have already had you Smart Shopping campaigns automatically upgraded this month. Perhaps that’s why you’re here, trying to find out what on earth is going on! Or perhaps you’re just curious to learn more about these new campaign types. Regardless of which camp you fall into, carry on reading to find out more about Performance Max.
What is Performance Max?
Designed to bring together all the various Google Ad offerings into one place, Performance Max ought to help advertisers increase their conversions by employing Search, Display, Discovery, Maps, Gmail and YouTube ads to reach potential visitors. It isn’t built to just haphazardly bombard people with all these different ads as they go about their business, however, and one of the main benefits of having all these different campaigns types centralised is that they can be delivered in a concerted fashion.
Google itself lists a great deal of benefits to adopting Performance Max, such as unlocking new audiences across different channels, steering automation with your campaign inputs, transparent insights and better performance all within a simplified campaign type.
To have a chance of achieving this, you certainly need to make sure that you are able to provide all the relevant assets for each campaign, and then the Google AI-Driven Smart Bidding should kick in to deliver more conversions by optimising performance in real-time to reach the right audience for your goals.
That is the plan at least.
On the flip side, as with all developments, there are a few potential ‘negatives’ to be mindful of as well. Whilst simplification can often be a good thing, so far there isn’t any visibility on channel-specific performance in campaigns. This means you’re unable to see how assets are being utilised and which ones are delivering, making it challenging (though not impossible) to work out where optimisations need to be carried out. You also lose control on keywords, so anyone who has steered clear of bidding on their own brand in the past will not be able to do this going forward.
What’s more, you cannot modify bids based on device and there is no reporting of the different device performance, so your Google Ads campaigns alone will not be able to tell you if your mobile optimisation has paid off to help PPC convert.
To put yourself in the best position to run successful PPC campaigns going forward, here are just a few Performance Max best practices tips that our Paid Media Specialists would recommend –
- Make sure Enhanced Conversion Tracking is in place, so you’re feeding as much information as possible into your campaigns. The more successes you track, the better Google can recognise who to target and replicate that success.
- Decide if you want URL expansion on or off when launching new campaigns. Performance Max has URL expansion turned on as standard, so if you only want your campaigns landing on your specified Final URL then you need to turn this off.
- As previously mentioned, look to provide all of the asset types available so you maintain that control. Video is one we are finding clients aren’t always ready to supply, but it is definitely important to have it in place as soon as possible. If a video isn’t provided, your Performance Max Campaign will use the information you have provided to create a very basic video that cannot be amended or edited, regardless of how much you may want to.
- Be sure to create an audience signal for each campaign as this is your opportunity to provide some degree of guidance with regards to who you want to target. This can then be replicated and Google can expand its understanding of the right customer for you from this solid foundation. There are not many occasions where you get to exert control over a Performance Max Campaign, so don’t waste this chance to do so.
Performance Max, in theory, should be a solid upgrade on Smart Shopping as it brings Google Maps and Discovery platforms into play so there is an increase in potential reach whilst keeping conversion at the heart of the AI learning.
At Fuel Communications, we have seen some really encouraging results for clients as we’ve adopted these campaigns and look forward to continued strong performance as we head towards that busy Q4 period – it really isn’t that far away!
Please reach out if you have any questions or want some help navigating this latest development in Google Ads.