Performance Max is a Google Ads campaign type that is designed to optimise ad performance across Google's entire suite of advertising channels. Google states that it leverages their advanced machine learning to automatically place ads where they're most likely to achieve the advertiser's specified goals, whether that's generating leads, driving online sales, or increasing web traffic. By integrating various ad formats like video, display and search, Performance Max provides a comprehensive approach to reach potential customers wherever they are on Google's platforms, simplifying campaign management and aiming to maximise results for the advertiser. This also makes it an ideal choice for those new to digital marketing, offering them a streamlined, results-driven advertising solution.
What is needed to setup an effective Performance Max campaign?
There are a few steps you need to take in order to setup an effective Performance Max (or Pmax) Campaign. It may look a little overwhelming but once done, it will help the campaign run more efficiently.
Have Clear Campaign Goals - Look at what you want to achieve with your campaign, such as increasing online sales, generating leads, or simply driving traffic to your website. Clear goals help in optimising the campaign, rather than have a scattered approach.
Quality Asset Variety - Prepare a range of high-quality assets including images, videos, and texts. Performance Max uses these assets to automatically create ads across different formats and platforms. If you don't have these then your campaign won't be able to run across Googles advertising channels. If you need help with creating images and videos etc., You can use popular freelancing sites like PeoplePerHour and Fiverr or even Google can automitcally create assets for you, although they will unlikely be the best for your business.
Audience Signals - Provide detailed information about your target audience. This includes demographics, interests, and past interactions with your business if available. These signals will help Google's algorithm to find the most relevant audience. Adding your own customer data can really help with this stage as it helps Google understand the type of customers you have had previously.
Conversion Tracking - Set up conversion tracking on your website. This allows you to measure the effectiveness of your campaign in terms of actual business results, like sales or leads. This step is a must for pretty much all Google Ads campaign types. If you don't track conversions, you can't see what is actually working and therefore you are effectively advertising blind. Invest the time in getting Conversion Tracking setup from the start and reap the benefits later.
Budgeting & Bid Strategy - Work out a budget that you are comfortable with and choose a bid strategy that aligns with your campaign goals. Performance Max campaigns use automated bidding, but you still need to set an overall budget. After a period of consistent advertising, you can then start analysing the conversions coming in by seeing your cost per conversion and then look to adjust your budgets from there.
Product Feed (only for Retail/eCommerce) - If you're business is in retail/eCommerce, link your Google Merchant Center account and ensure your product feed is up to date. This allows your products to be featured in Google Shopping ads too.
Landing Page Optimisation - Ensure that your landing pages are optimised for conversions. They should be relevant to the ad content, load quickly, and provide a good user experience. This is a huge subject in itself but one that massively impacts conversion rates, we suggest some additional reading on this subject.
Performance Monitoring - Make a plan for regular monitoring and analysis of campaign performance. This includes reviewing metrics like click-through rates, conversion rates, and return on ad spend. Try not to micro analyse over short periods of time, as you will always get peaks and troughs from day to day. Instead look at a 14 day, or even better 30 day periods before making key decisions.
How long does it it take to gather useful, actionable data from running a Google Performance Max campaign?
The short answer is, some preliminary data can be available within a couple of weeks, it usually takes a few months to gather enough data for deeper, more actionable insights. Here are a few points to consider:
The Initial Learning Period - Google's algorithms typically require a learning period to optimise the ad delivery. This period can last approximately 2 weeks, during which the algorithm will be collecting data, testing different ad variations, and learning which strategies work best for your business goals.
Data Accumulation Phase - After the initial learning period, the campaign starts to accumulate more consistent data. Depending on your campaign's complexity and traffic volume, it could take additional weeks to gather enough data to make those really meaningful assessments.
Ongoing Analysis - While initial actionable insights can be gathered in the first few weeks, as mentioned above, continuous monitoring is essential for long-term success. Performance can change over time due to various factors out of your control, like market trends, consumer behavior shifts or changes in your competition.
More Significant Milestones: For more substantial insights, especially things related to ROI or conversion rate optimisation, it might take a few months. This duration allows for a comprehensive analysis of different ad placements, formats, and audience responses.
Do I still need to use other campaign types, if Performance Max runs across a Googles channels?
Performance Max is very powerful and also versatile campaign type, but the decision to use it exclusively or alongside other campaign types should be based on a strategic assessment of your marketing goals, audience, and the specific characteristics of your individual business. Testing and monitoring the performance of different campaign types is also a good idea to provide insights into the most effective approach for your business. Here a few things to consider:
Complementary Strategies - If you have specific marketing goals that require a more controlled and targeted approach (like branded keyword targeting in Search campaigns, which is very common), running specialised campaigns alongside your Performance Max campaigns can be beneficial.
Target Audience & Segmentation - If you have distinct audience segments with unique requirements or behaviours, you might also find some value in running separate campaigns tailored to these segments. For instance, you might use a Performance Max campaign for your broad targeting and a specific Display or Video campaign for your niche audiences.
Testing & Optimisation: As a general rule of thumb, running different campaigns types can be a good strategy for testing which ones perform best for your business. You can compare the results from Performance Max with those from more traditional campaigns like your Search or Display.
Budget Allocation - If you have enough of a budget to experiment with multiple campaign types without compromising the performance of each, it can provide valuable insights and potentially better overall results. Sometimes it can benefit from being able to tweak and dial in each individual campaign type.
Product fit or Service Type - Some products or services might benefit more from specific types of campaigns. For example, if you're selling within a niche and it's a high-value product, a well optimised Search campaign targeting specific keywords could be more effective than the inherent broadness of a broad Performance Max campaign.
Comparing Performance Max Campaigns to Smart Campaigns
Before the introduction of Performance Max Campaigns, Smart Campaigns were Google's primary offering for businesses seeking an automated, easy-to-manage online advertising solution. Smart Campaigns also use machine learning to optimise ad placements, but they are a lot more simplified and less customisable than Performance Max campaigns. They are more targeted towards small businesses and those that are new to online advertising.