Keming Tan Hire

Google – Performance Max 

It has long been clear that online shoppers generally need a large number of contact points on various online channels before they make a purchase. Google has picked up on this and launched Performance Max, the jack of all trades. By the end of September, the automatic conversion of Smart Shopping and Local campaigns to Performance Max should be completed.

The new smart campaign type has been available globally to all advertisers since the end of last year. According to Google, using Performance Max campaigns will be simple, comprehensive and, of course, performance-enhancing: Advertisers provide various creatives and specify their objective. The Google algorithm then automatically takes over the perfect playout of campaigns across the entire Google inventory, from Search to Display to YouTube, Gmail, Discovery or Maps. For SEA managers, this means a change in focus, but not less work.

What is Performance Max?

With Performance Max, Google wants to counter the complexity that now characterizes the advertising landscape. The multitude of advertising channels and objectives make the success of advertising expenditures appear increasingly opaque. Google wants to relieve advertisers of this complexity and map it in a single campaign type with Performance Max.

Two major advantages are realized with Performance Max: Since the complete Google inventory can be reached, the campaigns score with high reach and optimal visibility. In addition, the new campaign type allows for optimal target orientation.

How does Perfomance Max campaign control work?

The right target selection is elementary to make the campaign management successful. With Performance Max, it is possible to track important business goals. Instead of revenue or clicks, margins, profit or new customer acquisition up to offline sales can be brought into focus. Combined with the enormous reach across the entire inventory, this is an unbeatable combination.
Of particular importance are the creatives that are made available to the system. These are images, videos, texts as well as descriptions that are uploaded into asset groups, similar to the ad groups from search campaigns. The algorithm automatically creates the ads in the appropriate formats for the various channels from the available creatives. Our tip: A lot helps a lot! The more assets or creatives are provided, the more possibilities for the algorithm.

In order for the ads to serve the corresponding target in the best possible way, the algorithm also needs „audience signals“. These should serve Google as an indication of where the target group could be found. Ultimately, however, the algorithm will decide who sees or does not see which ad based on the results.

The audience signals are assigned to the asset groups. Possible signals can come from the company, for example, information about purchase completions, shopping cart abandonments, website visits. In addition, demographic or interest-based data is possible, as are keywords or existing segments. All under the premise that Google understands these signals as indications, not as an exclusion criterion or mandatory restriction.

With strategic considerations to more performance increases

The new campaign type relieves account managers of work. Where previously different channels were served in parallel with complex campaign control, now the combined inventory such as Maps, Shopping, YouTube, Gmail, Search or Discovery scores. Several campaigns become one Performance Max campaign. The algorithm behind Performance Max manages to deal with the complexity with AI and automation and merge the results regarding different goals in a way that is not possible manually. But that’s no reason to put your feet up. On the contrary.

Depending on the size of the customer, it makes sense to create multiple Performance Max campaigns that are aligned by product assortment or service. These each contain individual asset groups, which in turn are supplemented by texts and creatives that fit the theme. This is the only way to ensure the best possible placement of the entire portfolio. However, it still means a high maintenance effort for campaign management.

Account managers should use free capacities especially for an optimal strategic alignment of the campaign, for the detailed selection of audience signals as well as for the best possible arrangement of the asset groups and the analysis of the results. Only in this way can the potential of Performance Max be properly exploited.

Pursue multiple goals

The new campaign type enables the tracking of different goals or is based on them. The more concretely a goal can be specified, the better the algorithm can track it. Try to describe higher-level goals such as sales, awareness, or traffic in as much detail as possible, for example, by setting goals such as calls, completed lead forms, click depth, or similar. Both budget and bidding strategy need to be adjusted for the respective goals, aligned by cost per action (CPA) or return on advertising spend (ROAS).

What remains to be emphasized is the variety of goals that can be pursued with Performance Max. Economic goals such as profit maximization often make more sense than pure revenue considerations, and the goal of acquiring new customers as the basis for long-term success has also recently been optimally integrated with this campaign type.

Parallel search campaigns are effective

If you only rely on Performance Max, you will only be shown a single ad per search query, which is currently the rule of Google’s algorithm. However, in many cases there are several channels from which ads can be seen on a single search results page (SERP). For example, the SERP can contain shopping or local ads as well as search ads. Consequently, if you maintain Search campaigns in addition to Performance Max campaigns, you will ideally be played out with two ads.

Fazit: Alles automatisiert und einfach?

The benefits of automation and increased reach by linking inventory are a win in many cases. However, initial experience shows that success varies depending on the customer and the objective, which in turn makes it clear that campaign analysis remains as important as ever. In particular, the sensible clustering into several performance-max campaigns must be planned precisely in order to place the portfolio in the best possible way. All campaigns still need continuous monitoring and optimization, although the conditions for this have become more difficult due to the networking of channels.

Assets require special attention, as they are the basis for good performance. Too few assets or unsuitable creatives leave the Google algorithm little room for good performance. Finally, with the new campaign type, the tasks shift somewhat and there are definitely good chances for better target achievement. However, it does not mean less work for the SEA manager.

To ensure that everything runs smoothly in the particularly important fourth quarter, the campaigns must now be urgently optimized. It takes time until target groups are perfectly developed and assets have been expanded in the best possible way. Strategic considerations such as targets and budgets must also be reconsidered and come to the fore when using Performance Max.

Published as a guest article at

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