What Is Google Performance Max?
Performance Max is a new Google Ads campaign type that utilizes machine learning to maximize performance across all of Google’s networks – YouTube, Display, Search, Discover, Maps, and Gmail.
These campaigns are meant to be fully driven by your company’s goals, and the automation utilizes all of the available data to create and serve ads that make the most sense for those goals.
Additionally, instead of relying on keywords, Performance Max campaigns automate ad creation based upon the creative assets you’ve provided. These include text assets (headlines and descriptions in a variety of character lengths) , display banners, and video ads.
How Does Targeting Work in Performance Max Campaigns?
When setting up a Performance Max ad campaign, advertisers are prompted to select a goal. Currently, the objectives that fit with this new model are “Sales”, “Leads”, or “Local store visits and promotions”.
Based upon your goals, the creative assets will then activate Google’s Smart Bidding process across multiple channels.
In general, only a few of the familiar Google Ads campaign options remain for Performance Max, too. You can, for instance, decide on a budget and a bidding strategy, meaning that you can still enable Google to optimize for a certain Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) or a Return on Ad Spend (ROAS).
Unlike other campaigns, however, PMax does not have ad groups with different keyword clusters. Instead, each campaign has one or more asset groups based on different sets of targeting and creatives, and your ads will automatically be shown to users who are most likely to convert for your specific goals. That said, you can still provide audience insights (i.e. audience signals) to speed up optimization and help Google identify similar users that are likely to have the same interests and behaviors.
How Performance Max Campaigns Fuel ROAS
Traditionally, PPC agencies have focused on optimization within the platform itself – selecting the right keywords and grouping them the right way, managing a good account structure, coming up with ad creatives, and doing landing pages and audience segmentation along the way.
With Google Ads’ Performance Max campaigns, digital marketers will no longer need to select and manage lists of keywords. Rather, they’re going to be focused on the creative assets themselves. They’re still going to be testing headlines, descriptions, images, and video, but not in silos (as it currently exists), but for Performance Max as a whole.
What’s important to keep in mind is that Performance Max campaigns are designed to complement standard Search campaigns, serving as a complete solution to help advertisers drive conversions and ROAS while increasing brand awareness by unifying ad inventory.
Overall, Performance Max offers advertisers several unique benefits, including:
Leveraging machine learning and attribution technology to improve performance and find customers at the right time with the right message
Steering automation and creating goal-focused campaigns that reach customers across Google’s networks
Testing different combinations of assets and audiences to help advertisers improve their CTR and conversion metrics
While PMax might still be in beta, according to a Google case study, retailers have already experienced the rewards that this new campaign type has to offer. In fact, compared to Search campaigns, advertisers saw an 18% increase in leads at a 70% lower CPA with Performance Max.
Mastering the Three Pillars of Digital Marketing Solutions
Performance Max is not going to replace your PPC team, however, it can definitely help your marketing department make an even bigger impact.
As this new ad campaign type begins to take over, the future digital marketing agency will likely have three main pillars of solutions – performance, data science, and creative.
Whether you’re leveraging PMax or another Google Ads campaign, having great knowledge on how to optimize the platform itself will remain a critical factor for success.
Data science excels at extracting valuable information from data and helping digital marketers to discern the most meaningful insights.
Leveraging first-party data, as well as bringing first-party data algorithms as conversion imports, is a great way to get a deeper understanding of customer intent, behavior, and experience. This, in turn, allows marketers to enable value-based bidding and efficiently optimize their strategies to derive maximum revenue.
Performance creative is what’s ultimately feeding these Performance Max campaigns. Based on this, the platform can further provide feedback on what is underperforming or overperforming and whether it’s time to refresh the ad creative.
Effectively, getting direct feedback from the platform is going to make the work of the performance creative team much more efficient.
Putting Machine Learning to Work for Your Digital Campaigns
Google’s Performance Max and machine learning algorithms are set to fully automate all of an advertiser’s manual work with ad copy, targeting, and bidding, marking a big leap for any business looking to make the most of its digital strategy.
Combined with audience signals and high-quality creative assets, Performance Max campaigns can help you better optimize for high-value leads across the majority of Google’s channels. What’s even more, done well, PMax can reach high intent consumer segments that you might not have been aware of before.
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