A Beginner’s Guide To Google’s New Performance Max Campaigns

google ads performance max guide

We have pulled everything you need to know about Google’s Performance Max and built a guide for beginners to understand what they are, why they can be useful, how they differ to other campaigns and when to use them.

What is Performance Max?

In simple terms, Performance Max is a new goal-based campaign which allows Google Ad users direct access to all channels such as YouTube, Display, Search, Shopping, Discover, Gmail, and Maps within one campaign.

It is an automated Google Ads campaign which means it uses machine learning to find potential customers by selecting the most relevant ads and adjusting bids to what it deems most appropriate to serve your selected campaign goals.

How to set up a Performance Max Campaign:

Step 1: Campaign Settings

First, you need to add a campaign to your account, then select your main campaign objective. For performance max the following objectives are available: Sales, Leads, Promotions and Local Store Visits (shown in image below). This will tell Performance Max your conversion goals so it can prioritise this as the campaign’s primary optimisation target.

After this step select the campaign type as Performance Max.

performance max conversion goals

Step 2: Budget & Bidding 

Set a daily budget and select a relevant bidding strategy (make sure this aligns with your business goal) e.g. if you have chosen your set goal to be conversions then maximising conversions would be a suitable bidding strategy.

Step 3: Location & Language 

This is where you set the relevant location and language settings. You can also adjust ad schedule as well as choosing a start and end date if you wish to set the campaign up as a test or for a set period of time.

Final URL Expansion helps you find new keywords based upon your website’s content. Be sure to set advanced URL options if you want to gain more control over which landing pages are being used, if you do not specify this then by default Google will select its own final landing page.

Step 4: Asset Group Settings

Performance Max uses asset groups which is a collection of creatives centred on a theme or related to a target audience. It consists of images, logos, headlines, descriptions, and videos. These are then mixed into different combinations and tested to see which perform the best. The highest performing ads will be shown more frequently. More detail on these assets will follow later in the blog.

As seen below, this page requests all the relevant assets for every channel. You can create multiple assets per campaign to target different themes. Adding more assets improves the quality of Google’s Ads selection as it can test different compilations of ads and optimise.

Step 5: Ad Extensions Upload

Your Performance Max campaign is finally set up, you can also add multiple ad extensions such as sitelinks, structured snippets, callout extensions and call extensions. Ad extensions can be extremely beneficial to your ad success as they show your potential customers more information or pages from your website they may be interested in. This increases your chances to get the user’s click. Again Google will mix and match these and show the most relevant depending on the search term.

Performance Max Assets Requirements:

In more detail I have listed below exactly what is needed for assets for each channel.

Search Ads:

  • 3-8 Headlines (30 character limit)
  • 2-4 Descriptions (90 character limit)
  • 1 Long Headline (60 character limit)

Display Ads:

Up to 15 images

  • Landscape (600 x 316)
  • Square (300 x 300)
  • Square (314 x 314) – however this is for campaigns with a Store Visits goal

Logos:

  • Logo (128×128) 
  • Logo Size Recommended (1200 x 628)
  • Maximum file size for logos is 5120KB

Video:

  • At least 10 seconds in length 
  • Alternatively, Google can automatically generate high quality videos based upon the images and assets that have been uploaded.

YouTube

  • 12 seconds minimum length for skippable ads
  • Maximum length 6 minutes for skippable ads
  • 30 seconds maximum length for non-skippable ads

When is Performance Max appropriate to use?

Performance Max is the best option to use when:

  • You have specific advertising or conversion goals (e.g. driving online sales, lead generation, etc.) 
  • You need to maximise the performance of your campaign.  
  • You want more ad exposure across different channels with little budget  
  • You want to achieve a wider reach and conversion value beyond keyword-based search campaigns.

What are the benefits of Performance Max?

Goal Focused

Performance Max has targeting settings based upon the conversion goals that you select in the campaign setup, so your marketing objectives are always prioritised above anything else. It uses smart bidding to look at historical search behaviour and contextual data to predict the likelihood of a conversion and then increases your bids when a conversion appears more likely.

Easier Ad Optimisation & Ad Copy

As already mentioned previously, ads are built and tested by Google to make many compilations of ads and whichever combinations that perform the best according to your campaign goals will be shown more frequently.

Full Channel Coverage

Performance Max makes use of all channels which is easier to manage under one campaign. By using full channel coverage, the ad’s reach a wider audience and gain more visibility. Full channel coverage also allows for more PPC data to be collected which in turn allows us to analyse and discover audience segments and an optimal channel combination for maximum conversion.

Saves Time & Money

You do not need to be a PPC expert to run a Performance Max campaign as Google does a lot of the hard work for you. This saved time can then be used to plan, create, and optimise higher quality creative assets.

What are the drawbacks of Performance Max?

Lack of Control

Although automated campaigns can be helpful by reducing a large amount of manual work. Naturally, you don’t have as much control as you would if you were to monitor manually. For example, automated campaigns show different compilations of ads to users, so we have no control over what ads are presented. Additionally, the lack of segmentation and visibility of granular data makes it difficult to see how KPIs can be improved.  

Not available in Ads Editor

Ads editor is a downloadable application for managing your Google Ads campaigns. It allows you to download one or more accounts to make changes offline and then upload the changes to Google Ads. This means that campaigns have to be created manually directly in Google Ads.

 

Final Thoughts

final thoughts

Performance Max is a great campaign setting if you are wanting to get the most reach out of your budget or if you are not a PPC expert. It is definitely something worth testing as it can help push conversion goals without all the hard work of creating an effective PPC campaign. However, it is important to note, like any other campaign it may not be profitable straight away. Google Automated campaigns need time to deliver solid results.

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