The new ‘Google Ad’s Campaign’ kid on the block has arrived. Hello ‘Performance Max’ - Google’s complete shift towards automation in search engine marketing.
It launched back in 2021 and Google began to transfer existing Smart Shopping Campaigns to Performance Max campaigns, promising to transition everyone over by the end of 2022. Did you notice the change and wonder what it's all about?
Here we take a look at what Performance Max campaigns can do for your ecommerce business, how to get started and the assets you’ll need to get a head start on these campaigns.
What they promise to achieve…
“Performance Max campaigns puts your business goals front and centre and allows our automation to target your business goals above all else. This is crucial in order to maximise performance from Google Ads!”
PMax is the largest step towards interest-based and intent-based audiences by Google, offering not only demand capture but also demand creation.
The good part? You don’t have to be a wizard to run a PMax campaign. The only requirement is to follow Google’s lead and provide assets and creatives to run your campaign.
What are people saying about PMax?
Initially many customers thought Google’s PMax campaign was nothing but a test on advertisers' money. Google seemed to be saying one thing which was then found to be tactically different from what everyone ends up doing.
Some even felt like test subjects when PMax was launched, promising them extensive features but in fact affecting the sales and revenue from their ads as well as burning through budget.
However it does seem to be stabilising and proving to be a really helpful tool.
So, let’s start with what Performance max campaign actually is and what to do to keep it a performing part of your arsenal in advertising.
What exactly is a Performance Max campaign?
PMax changes the way we buy ads and the structure of campaigns to drive success through a mix of automation and machine learning to help advertisers execute their specific conversion goals.
The campaign type has a wide reach across Google’s Network, reaching customers on:
Yes, that’s right, a single campaign allows you to advertise on Google’s full range of advertising channels and inventory at one place.
Google claims PMax helps you increase your conversions through rich results and data insights with the help of machine learning automation. But that’s not completely true and you would agree that we still have some fair share of things which we need to do to get full advantage of these benefits.
How PMax differs from Smart Shopping campaigns
Unlike smart shopping campaigns, Performance max campaigns have access to all of Google’s ad inventory at once and it automatically optimises it based on the input and users' insights with the help of automation.
It completely changes how we allocate budget, build ad copy and creatives and what goal we have to achieve.
Since the launch of PMax campaigns we have come a long way with constant updates in features and the learning curve of the automation campaign.
It may be intimidating at first as we don’t have much control due to automation, but you can learn how to use this robust automation to your advantage over a series of tests and trials.
How to setup a PMax campaign
Step 1: Go to your Google Ads dashboard and click on the blue “+” icon to create your new campaign, then select your campaign objective.
Step 2: Select PMax campaign as your campaign type and add Google Merchant feed if you want to sell your products too.
Step 3: The following inputs must be provided to set up your PMax campaign first
How do the Results Look in PMax?
Performance max provides mixed results i.e currently there is no way to tell which ad network is getting you your sales/revenue.
When you try to see which ad network is performing the best for you in your PMax campaign you will get something like this:
As mentioned before PMax campaign is still evolving over time and still needs more refinements along the way.
But it doesn’t mean there is no workaround available. In your PMax campaign if you are running ads for shopping you can check the performance of your products/listings.
Go to your PMax campaigns> Listing groups
This will give you an idea of how your shopping ads are performing as per the ad groups you have created. It’s not perfect but better than nothing!
You can also check the insights provided by your PMax campaign, however you will have to wait a few days depending on the traffic your ad is getting. You will be provided some insights on how your ads are interacting with users and you can further incorporate these insights into your ads to improve more as per users' requirements.
Insights into your Performance Max campaign
Here you can see how your ads are performing week after week and analyze your results. Based on these insights you can then work out your ad spend and revenue look like going further:
Here you can see what the segment of your top audience is and how much of these audiences have shared in your clicks, impressions, and conversions
Based on add you should add these audiences to your audience signals to optimize your PMax asset groups further:
Based on your creatives and ad copies you can see what were the best performing ones and what combinations were working for you and from this, you can further create more engaging creatives and copy to optimize your campaign:
Tips & Best Practices to Optimize Your Performance Max Campaigns
Test Different Audiences as Audience Signals
It is unspoken but true that PMax performs better if it has some previous data of conversions and traffic. Then what better way to provide it than your First-party audience data.
Export customer data from your website and give it to your PMax to supercharge results.
Example: Customer match lists or custom audience “converter search terms” can be used as audience signals.
Build Up Your Product Feed
Feeds were crucial in the old Smart Shopping campaigns, and they continue to be a valuable part of the PMax campaign. Despite all the new creative and audience options, Google fundamentally remains dependent on keywords.
PMax produces better results when you feed it as much structured product data as possible (keywords in names and descriptions, product ratings, etc.).
Here is the complete list of tips and tricks to juice up your shopping feed
Assets Groups Segregation
Remember we talked before that PMax provides combined results but also provided you the workaround on how to see which ad network is performing best?
Here’s how to do the workaround:
We recommend segregating your ad networks into different asset groups by which you will have more control and idea of how your ads are performing.
Asset group 1: Should have only creatives and ad copy in this asset group which will serve as your search asset group.
Here you can take advantage of the “Final Url Expansion” option provided to you. You can use it to divert the traffic to the landing page you want and provide more control in handling your search asset group.
Asset Group 2: Should only have product feed without any creatives or ad copy in this asset group. This will give you a better understanding of how your shopping ads are doing.
Extensive Testing of Audience Signals With Different Asset Groups
Extensive testing is the key to create multiple asset groups with different messaging and targets, test offers and promotions. Test different types of audiences in each asset group to check what works best for you and once you find your winning combination, then the only thing left is to play with your budget and ad spend.
To sum it all up:
Now that you understand a little more about how PMax campaigns work and what you need to get started, you can decide if it’s the right campaign type to help you reach your goals.
Performance Max is the future of automated advertising on google. Switching to PMax is a huge shift for all and while this change might be a little uncomfortable - it also offers exciting features as well.
The ability to target interest-based audiences and get useful insights to improve your ad delivery can be very useful if done right and using these machine learning automation insights can supercharge your campaign.
The ability to signal custom audiences unlocks new targeting possibilities. PMax’s interface streamlines creative asset building. New forms of data and value-based bidding leads to more profitable spending. All of this gets supercharged by the power of an automated campaign type.
Still not sure if Performance Max is suitable for your biz or want to know more about how we can help you optimise your digital marketing efforts? Don’t hesitate to reach out to our team for a chat!