Introduced in the Google Marketing Livestream in May of 2021, Google Ads Performance Max campaigns utilise a combination of automation and machine learning to significantly improve your advertising efforts.
The main goal of this type of campaign is to generate leads and drive online sales and in-store visits based on your specific goals while optimising in real-time and across all channels.
Read along as we discuss what Google Ads Performance Max campaigns are, their benefits, and how to set one up for your business.
What are Google Ads Performance Max campaigns?
Google Ads Performance Max campaigns are basically automated ads that are designed to help marketers find more conversions and sales across all of Google’s advertising channels. In other words, Performance Max ads can show up on Search, Discover, Display, YouTube, Maps, or Gmail.
This fact confused a lot of marketers when Performance Max campaigns were introduced. However, nowadays, they’re pretty easy to work around and utilise to their fullest potential.
Anyway, these ads utilise automation, mainly powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI), to help optimise and better target your ads. But, the main feature of Performance Max campaigns is the fact that their creation is also automated.
You see, back in the day, if marketers wanted to utilise most of the channels that Google had to offer, they had to go through this process:
- Create a search campaign if they want to reach customers through search
- Build a video campaign if they want to reach customers on YouTube
- Create a Discover campaign if they want to reach people on Gmail
You get the idea. It was a long and tedious process. Performance Max ads came to fix that. You just provide Google with all assets they need for your ad creatives such as images, videos, copy, and more, and it will handle the rest.
Long story short, Performance Max Ads are the way to go if you want to reach a lot of people across different channels at once.
Benefits of Google Ads Performance Max campaigns
They are everywhere
Google Ads Performance Max campaigns allow you to promote your brand and business across all of Google’s channels, a point that we’ve already touched on above. As a result, you can show up for more customers all at once and drive conversions based on your goals.
Google Ads Performance Max campaigns can significantly increase your leads and conversions. That’s done by optimising your budget and bids across all of Google’s platforms in an automated way.
This means that you can reach your campaign goals at a rate that is far more efficient than a regular search campaign. Simply set your budget, campaign goals and the conversions you would like to reach. Google’s automation will handle the rest.
Better targeted creatives
By creating and providing Google with your best creative assets and your knowledge of your target audience, Google’s algorithm will try to serve up better ads for your existing customers while also finding new ones.
The addition of Google Analytics 4’s Insights page to Performance Max campaigns can help you to better understand how Google’s algorithm works and how it’s handling your campaigns. It also enables you to see which audience segments or create combinations work the best, allowing you to further tweak your campaign to perfection.
New audience segments
Google Performance Max campaigns come with features that allow you to access new audience segments. It works by using Google’s real-time understanding of consumers’ intent, their preferences, as well as other behaviours that they might exhibit across all of Google’s channels.
Such a powerful tool allows you to ensure that your ads are seen by the right people at the right time. Indeed, the chances of people seeing ads about your products and services at appropriate times with Performance Max ads are very high.
How to set up Google Ads Performance Max Campaigns
Setting up your Performance Max campaign is a seamless and quick process. It goes as follows:
- Head to your Google Ads Campaigns dashboard, then click on + New Campaign
- Choose your campaign’s objective: you can select from Sales, Leads, Website traffic, Product and brand consideration, etc
- Choose your conversion actions for the campaign. Keep in mind that Performance Max adds are very goal-driven. In other words, you would want to think about this before you do it
- Select your campaign type. You’re obviously going to go with Performance Max in this case
- Name your campaign, add a budget, then set your bidding strategy
- Choose the locations that you want to target
- Select the language
Pro Tip: When setting a bidding strategy, do not set a target cost per action or a target return on ad spend. These should not be set at the beginning of a campaign. Instead, give it at least a month or two to gather enough data about how Google’s automation works before limiting it.
Google Ads Performance Max campaigns – Assets
Now, we have mentioned that Performance Max campaigns revolve around a set of assets that Google expects you to provide. These assets include:
- 3 x 30 character headline (minimum of 3, maximum of 5)
- 2 x 90 character descriptions (min of 2, max of 5)
- 1 x 90 character headline (min of 1, max of 5)
- Landscape image: 1 x 600×316 (min of 1, max of 20)
- Square image: 1 x 300×300 (min of 1, max of 20)
- Square image (for campaigns with Store Visits goal): 1 x 314×314
- Logo: 1 x 128×128 (min of 1, max of 5)
- Max file size: 5,120 KB (5 MB)
- More than 10 seconds in length
Google Ads Performance Max Campaigns – Disadvantages
Google Ads performance max campaigns aren’t pitch-perfect. They do have some cons, which are:
Similar to how Smart Shopping campaigns function, Performance Max Campaigns will get you results on top-performing audiences. However, you won’t get all the data that you might need to reach conclusive results.
Yes, the ability to have a single-campaign optimisation across all channels is good. However, you lose visibility on channel-specific performance. You can’t also track how the assets you provide are utilised.
Loss of control
Since Performance Max Campaigns are mostly automated, advertisers lose control over what ads are presented. In other words, if you are really keen on your brand image, it’s almost impossible to achieve brand safety with these ads.
This is because it is hard to determine what AI will do with your assets. And although this can be helped with thorough testing, it still is limited to a certain extent.
Google Ads Performance Max campaigns – Things to avoid
Even though Performance Max ads run entirely on automation, you should not approach them in a “set-it-and-forget-it” way. Indeed, the best advertising results usually happen from the combination of automation and the human touch.
You give Google incomplete goals
Google’s automation acts as a team member within your marketing team, a very good one at that. The reason for this analogy is the fact that, like a team member, Google’s automation requires you to give it the most data about your business. From your goals and how you make money to other important bits of information that some might deem useless.
In other words, if you don’t share complete information with Google, don’t expect it to work. For instance, let’s say that you set your main goal as generating leads when first setting up your Google Ads Performance Max campaign.
However, leads were never truly your business’ prime goal. Your campaign isn’t a mind-reader. It will do everything in its best to generate your leads. So, in case one day you decide that you want to not only gain leads but turn them into conversions, then you should let Google’s algorithms know about that in order for them to work properly.
You don’t use the data
With growing concerns about data collection amongst people all around the world, third-party data in online advertising is becoming less and less reliable.
As a result of this, first-party data is becoming more prominent than ever. What we mean by first-party data is information you collect about your existing customers with their consent. Not only is this data guilt and risk-free, but it’s also more accurate than third-party data itself.
Once you have this data on your hands, feed it into Google Ads’ algorithms and let them do the work. This reduces the hassle that Google might go through to find a suitable audience for you which would cost you a lot of money.
Your creatives aren’t helpful
You have to always keep in mind that Performance Max ads mainly function using the creatives that you provide. Those assets can include text, images, or video. So, for example, let’s assume that the headlines that you have provided aren’t attention-grabbing enough. Or, the images that you have uploaded are very low resolution.
In both cases, Google will struggle to make something out of your creatives. Even when they do, it won’t really sit well with your existing or potential clients. No one wants to click on an ad with a questionable headline or a bad quality image.
If you don’t trust machines, you can trust us
If you’re the kind of business owner who cannot fully trust machine learning to take care of their campaigns, we have the solution. Book a discovery call with us today, and we’ll show you how we can optimise your campaigns effectively using everything Google has to offer.