Although we’ve had Performance Max for some time, we’re only now beginning to test its capabilities. From this, we’re learning more about Google Ads campaigns and what works best.
URL expansion and auto-generated video assets, for example, are two elements of Performance Max that feel rather revolutionary. Other parts seem eerily familiar, such as responsive advertising and conversion-only bidding.
Here are the top 7 do’s, don’ts, watch-outs, and workarounds for Performance Max campaign success based on my experience working with them across many accounts.
Who should utilize Google Ads Performance Max?
While opinions may vary about Google Ads Performance Max, I recommend that e-commerce businesses begin testing it as soon as possible. Unless you have a sophisticated conversion tracking strategy (see the first “do” below), I do not recommend that lead-generating outfits try it.
Even if your objective is to display a certain number, test Performance Max only if you’re prepared to spend at least $50-100 per day for at least a month; without it, the format won’t function.
Below are my top 7 tips for Google Ads Performance Max success.
1. Implement accurate, full-funnel conversion tracking.
Similar to predecessors such as App campaigns, Smart Display, and Local campaigns, Maxista focuses on bidding and targeting automation. Conversion tracking is critical in any Google Ads account, but it’s especially vital in a Performance Max one. While this is simple on the e-commerce side, I’ve seen numerous lead generation firms struggle with lead quality.
This is not a fault of the format but rather a wake-up call to the necessity of tools such as Enhanced Conversions, Offline Conversion Tracking, CRM Integration, and so on.
With automation playing an increasingly more significant role in PPC, those procrastinating on fixing your conversion tracking challenges need to buckle down and get them fixed.
2. Create a PMax segment in Google Analytics to get more accurate data reporting.
Performance Max does not include features such as landing page reports or correct geographic data, q
Create a group of users for whom the acquisition campaign has Performance Max (or whatever naming convention you use) to get more detailed information on how these people engage with your company. For example, By creating a Google Analytics campaign segment, you can ascertain the effectiveness of your traffic sources and decide if you need to make changes, such as URL exclusions or disabling URL expansion.
3. BEWARE URL expansion
We understand that under the hood, Performance Max campaigns include many Google Ads components combined: Search, Display, Discovery, Video, Shopping, and Local are all examples. So it’s only natural that a few Performance Max features “borrow” from previous campaign quirks.
One of the easy-to-overlook features in PMax is URL expansion, which is similar to Dynamic Search Ads. Performance Max campaigns come with URL expansion turned on by default. If you don’t turn it off, your campaign can send prospects to landing pages other than your final URL – similar to a dynamic ad group.
Targeting a dynamic ad group allows you to control which landing pages your campaign leads traffic to. You can do this by enumerating specific web pages or making criteria, for example, “URL has a product.”
You may only set exclusions with Performance Max: the landing pages to which you don’t want the campaign to drive traffic. The exclusion rules work similarly but necessitate setting them up inversely.
4. Make sure to add at least one video asset.
The most challenging element of creating a Performance Max campaign is not the bid strategy or audience signal; it’s feeding enough assets to this format that demands creativity. Since the campaign reaches so many different types of inventory, you’ll need several texts, images and video assets.
If you’ve ever created a Display campaign, you’re probably aware that video assets are optional. It is not an option in PMax. Alternatively, if you do not provide video assets, Google Ads will generate them. While I’m sure, the templates will improve with time, right now. Well, the auto-generated video assets aren’t significant.
Advertisers who don’t own any video content but want to utilize Performance Max can use a free tool like Canva to transform their image assets into a short film.
Before it can be utilized in a campaign, your video must be submitted to YouTube, like all Google Ads campaigns. Select “Unlisted” visibility if you don’t want your video ad on your YouTube channel.
5. BEWARE of tricky location settings
You may target your advertisements to individuals based on their “Presence or interest” in a place and those who are simply “Present.” I suggest choosing “Presence only”; otherwise, your ads could be shown to individuals outside of the locations you set.
The latter is what Google usually chooses. To change it, be sure to do so.
If you have mistakenly been running your campaign under Presence or Interest, the Google Analytics segment I mentioned earlier will be helpful. It enables you to see where your website traffic is coming from.
6. Performance Max should only be used for conversion goals.
As with Discovery campaigns, Performance Max campaigns let you bid for either Conversion or Conversion Value. We hope that someday we’ll see an “Awareness Max” campaign type become available, but in the meantime, this format should only be used if your objective is conversions.
Suppose you want to use Performance Max for a mid-level or high-level objective, and set conversion actions accordingly at the campaign level. For example, if you need to test PMax against an awareness goal, create a “Page View” conversion action and configure the campaign settings so that it only optimizes for Page Views.
7. Creating an audience signal is beneficial.
Google Ads released us to the perplexing new idea of an audience signal with the launch of Performance Max campaigns.
With Google Ads, you are usually in control of specifying which types of users see your ads by adding audiences to your campaigns.
Creating an audience signal in Performance Max gives Google Ads a general idea of the type of users to show your ads. However, remember that PMax will use these segments as a starting point before branching out and showing ads to those more likely to convert based on their behavior.
I believe rebranding “optimized targeting” as an “audience signal” is a good decision, as it gives the user a sense of control rather than appearing completely machine-run. Optimized targeting works in Display, Discovery, and conversion-focused Video campaigns by choosing your audience segments; however, Google will show ads to whomever its algorithms indicate is most likely to convert.
The best way to set your audience signal off in the right direction is by adding two segments: Remarketing and a Custom audience. For Remarketing, it’s ideal to use a customer list; however, pixel-based website remarketing will work just as well if that’s not possible. I usually build my Custom audiences using my top converting Search & Shopping terms.
All audience indications in a Google Ads account are kept on a separate tab inside Audience Manager. Even if you create them using Performance Max, they’ll be available at the account level. This implies that Google has more ambitious plans for the audience signal beyond PMax, so keep an eye on it.
Running a Performance Max campaign successfully.
I believe e-commerce companies should start testing PMax right now, as I said previously. Lead-generating firms can do so only if their conversion tracking is in good working order. And be prepared to invest a significant sum of money into the test so that you can acquire the data Google needs to learn and improve your site.