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Is It Worth Investing in Google's Performance Max Campaigns?

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google performance max: image of a black man wearing glasses and walking socially in an office typing on a keyboard and looking at a computer screen

Performance Max was announced in 2020 as an innovative way to invest in ads on Google Ads. After a year of testing with large businesses, Performance Max was finally launched for everyone in November 2021.

And since then, the results released by Google for Performance Max have been impressive. 

Vodafone, the leading telecommunications company in Europe and Africa, has adopted Performance Max as its main lead generation campaign, achieving a 70% lower Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) compared to generic Search Network campaigns.

Another example of Performance Max testing, MoneyMe, a digital financial services company based in Australia, achieved a 22% increase in conversions and a 20% reduction in the account's CPA after 6 weeks with the campaign active.

What is the Performance Max Campaign?

Performance Max is a type of Google Ads campaign that brings together all of Google's advertising channels: Search, Display, Discovery, Maps, Gmail and YouTube. 

In this campaign, the advertiser defines a conversion goal, provides all the information (text, images and videos) and Google uses the maximum machine learning intelligence to increase its online presence.

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Advantages and disadvantages of Performance Max

The main aim of this type of campaign is to make advertising on Google networks more accessible and easier to manage.

In this context, Performance Max is very attractive for the novice user who is not familiar with Google Ads and would like to use the full potential of this ad platform.

Does this campaign really fulfill this role? Check out the main advantages and disadvantages below.

Easy to implement

The initial configuration of this campaign is very intuitive and requires few manual adjustments, which makes life easier for novice users.

All you have to do is choose your budget, conversion goal and insert the main resources (text, images and videos) and Google's ad automation technology will do the rest.

Ad Optimization

Performance Max ads can increase the volume of leads and online purchases by automatically optimizing your budget and bids on all Google advertising channels.

In other words, Google uses data from ads on all channels to feed machine learning, achieving its conversion objectives much more intelligently than an individual campaign;

If Configured Correctly, It Can Bring Surprising Results

If you select the right settings, with clearly defined objectives, Performance Max can deliver a great result. By the right settings, I'm mainly referring to the audience segmentations you select before starting the campaign.

Campaigns that use up-to-date customer lists tend to have accelerated learning and deliver better results, as they help artificial intelligence find your ideal audience more quickly.

You need to be clear about your goals

If there is no clarity in the conversion action goals you are telling Google to optimize, the Performance Max campaign will not perform as expected.

The same applies to groups of resources (images and videos) or tokens (google shopping): artificial intelligence won't magically make your ads better than your competitors. That's why you need to include the best creative resources in your campaign.

Less Advertiser Control

Most of the criticism of Performance Max, as well as other types of intelligent, automated campaigns, relates to the advertiser's loss of control over the settings.

For this reason, those who like to be in control of all the details of ad placement may be resistant to the continuous automation that occurs with Performance Max.

Limited visibility

Although Google is gradually adding new reports, obtaining the results for each type of channel or groups of Performance Max resources is still quite limited.

For example, Google does not provide total conversions for the Display Network and there is still no way of seeing the consolidated results for each group of resources.

What Objectives are Available for the Max Performance Campaign?

When creating a campaign on Google, different objectives can be selected. However, the Performance Max campaign will only appear when you choose one of the following objectives:

  • Sales;
  • Leads;
  • Website traffic;
  • Visits to local stores and promotions;
  • Campaign without a target.

google performance max: image of the Google Ads objectives screen

Once you have defined the objective, simply select the "Max Performance" option in the campaign type to start.

google performance max: screenshot of places to create a Google Ads campaign

Where do Google Performance Max Ads appear?

Performance Max is a campaign designed to help you get maximum conversions on all Google ad platforms, such as:

  • YouTube;
  • Display Network;
  • Search Network (Google.com);
  • Google Discovery;
  • Gmail;
  • Google Maps.

With this, advertisers can reach all profiles of people, at different stages of the funnel, through just one campaign optimized to generate conversions.

google performance max: image with icons of the Performance Max Campaign ad platforms

Max Performance Campaign Exclusive Features

Performance Max makes the most of automation, with deeper insights and optimized performance for all Google advertising channels through machine learning. 

This combination of features allows Performance Max to achieve unique functionality.

Simultaneous action on different channels

You can achieve all your marketing goals without having to set up several different campaigns, making the learning curve faster.

Quick Strategic Decision Making

In a strategy with several types of campaigns, you will need to compile different reports (Search, Display, YouTube ads) with different messages. This would complicate the process of optimizing the creatives and planning the campaigns.

With Performance Max, you can test and evaluate all these features in one place, enabling faster and more accurate decision-making.

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How to Avoid the Pitfalls of Performance Max Campaigns?

It's a fact that Performance Max promises to deliver all of Google's intelligence across all advertising channels.

However, you need to pay attention to a few necessary settings so as not to fall into traps that will cause your campaign's performance to crumble.

Negative keywords

It is not possible to add negative keywords directly via the platform in the same way as other campaigns.

As a result, it's quite common for ads to initially appear for search terms with a low qualification as "free" in the results report in the Insights tab.

The only way to negate keywords is through Google support or with a dedicated Google specialist for accounts that have access to this type of support.

As not every account has easy access to Google support or a dedicated specialist, smaller advertisers and agencies may find it difficult to carry out negations.

Destination

As Performance Max operates on all Google channels, it is expected that there will be a higher volume of eligible impressions and a greater likelihood of Click Fraud occurring from other countries.

In view of this, we recommend that you choose the "Presence" location option instead of "Presence or Interest":

google performance max: screenshot of places to create a Google Ads campaign

Also, don't rely entirely on Google's targeting settings. It's best to exclude any countries where you don't want your ads to be shown.

Devices

We strongly recommend, especially if your goal is lead generation, that your conversion tracking and CRM are working perfectly.

Many accounts we manage show an impressive initial volume of leads, but the quality is often not the best, which is why close monitoring is necessary.

Expert Tips for Greater Performance with PMax

Here's a list of the main recommendations, proven in practice by Pareto's experts, so that your Performance Max campaign really does achieve maximum performance.

Beware of Overlapping Campaigns

Considering that you are running other Search campaigns, it is expected that some search terms will activate Performance Max ads instead of the other campaigns. In other words, Performance Max may "steal" some of the impressions from other campaigns.

That's why it's so important to carry out cross-negativity between campaigns. For example, if you manage a brand campaign separately, make sure that your brand terms are negated in Performance Max.

Exclude Low-Qualified URLs

If url expansion is enabled (Google's recommendation), Performance Max uses all the urls on the site by default in a similar way to dynamic search campaigns (DSA).

With this, Google can show your ads for search terms that are related to any word on the pages of your site.

In addition, as of October 2022, Google began automatically generating descriptions for Search ads based on the content of the pages. With this, Google is controlling 100% of the copy for Performance Max ads.

That's why it's important to monitor and review PMax, especially for clients who are more demanding when it comes to personalizing their ads. This change increases the importance of the client keeping the content of the site up to date.

So, in the same way as negative keywords, it is essential to exclude certain urls from the site that have outdated content or are activated by unqualified search terms.

Minimum Requirements to Achieve an Excellent Score

Performance Max uses the greatest intelligence in Machine Learning and will print your ads on all Google channels. 

That's why it's essential that we configure it with all the necessary resources (texts, images and videos) to achieve maximum quality in the ads.

Although Google doesn't state the minimum requirements needed to achieve an Excellent score for ads, our Team of experts discovered these specifications after carrying out several tests:

  • 5 short titles (at least 1 of which must be up to 15 characters long);
  • 1 long title;
  • 4 descriptions;
  • 7 images, 3 square (1:1), 3 landscapes (1.91:1) and 1 portrait (4:5);
  • 1 logo;
  • 2 videos.

Golden Tip You Won't Find Elsewhere

Did you know that you can generate a report with the main metrics (cost, conversions, impressions, etc.) for all the urls that are running on Performance Max?

I didn't know either, but I found out and I'll tell you about it! This report doesn't appear in the Performance Max settings, but it can be viewed from another unusual path:

Select "All campaigns" → "Landing pages" → Use the filter to select your Performanc Max campaign, as in the image below:

google performance max: screenshot of Google Ads reports

This report is extremely valuable, especially as Performance Max provides very limited information on ads and resource groups. 

New Ways to Maximize Your Results with Performance Max

Discover the latest updates to Performance Max, which bring significant benefits in crucial areas. With these improvements, you'll have more tools at your disposal to boost the success of your campaigns. 

Search and Maximum Performance Combine to Create Powerful Ads on Google

With AI technology, you can maximize your conversions on various media channels, including Search. By using broad keywords and intelligent bidding, your search campaigns will be optimized. 

In addition, peak performance analyzes the content of your landing page to find new conversion opportunities and display relevant ads according to the user's intent. 

You'll also have more control over which search queries trigger your ads, thanks to negative and branded keyword exclusions. These exclusions help you avoid showing ads on unwanted queries. 

If you have specific brand-matching needs, the Content Match Center can help on YouTube and the Display Network.

Enhancing Video Creation in Performance Max

Google's top-performing campaign is not just limited to Search, but covers all available ad channels, providing a significant increase in conversions. 

To ensure the success of Performance Max, it's crucial to have high-quality creative assets, including videos. Now, making it easier to deliver quality video ads by integrating video creation tools directly into Performance Max campaign setup and editing workflows. 

Previously, these tools were only available in the resource library. If you've always wanted to create a video ad, but faced resource or time constraints, now is the perfect opportunity to take advantage of this functionality.

Test and Prove the Value of Performance Max

If you haven't yet tried the best-performing campaign or want to compare it with other campaigns, you can now run A/B tests using experiments. There are two configuration options:

  • Experience maximum performance improvement: evaluate how adding a new, higher-performing campaign to your current campaign set generates additional conversions or conversion value.
  • Top-performing campaign versus standard mall campaign: Compare an existing standard mall campaign with a higher-performing campaign targeting the same products.

See how your results can be improved and decide whether to replace the standard Shopping campaign.

Discover Opportunities to Improve Your Asset Groups and Optimize Your Budget

Explore various optimization possibilities for your campaigns, while new reports and analyses provide a deeper understanding and accurate evaluation of your results. 

Also keep an eye on information about the progress of the budget, this will help you identify opportunities for automatic optimization of your budget and performance.

Observe how much your campaigns have spent and have estimated to spend, along with current and predicted conversion performance. With this information, you can adjust or redistribute your budget to get more conversions. What's more, you'll receive personalized recommendations to maximize the use of your budget.

Conclusion

As you can see, the Performance Max Campaign is the most efficient way for you to advertise on all of Google's inventory at once, helping you to find more customers on all channels.

Are you thinking of starting to test this campaign? Google recommends that you contact a team of experts in the field and Pareto is ready to assist you.

Pareto is an Artificial Intelligence which, throughout its history, has developed various automations for Marketing and Sales that are used by more than 15,000 companies in 84 countries, maximizing opportunities for scale and competitive advantages for businesses.

With Pareto's intelligent automations you can save time, reduce the risk of human error, get clarity on your results at every stage of the funnel, and count on a team of experts to support your company.

Request a free demoand optimize your paid media performance with Pareto Artificial Intelligence.

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