Ultimate Guide To Performance Max Campaigns (2024) - Barrie Smith - Freelance PPC Consultant
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Ultimate Guide To Performance Max Campaigns (2024)

Google introduced Performance Max campaigns towards the end of 2021 and they took the world by storm, particularly for eCommerce stores.

Pmax campaigns as they are commonly known were a forced upgrade of Smart Shopping campaigns at the time with users now unable to create the latter.

What are Performance Max ads?

Performance Max campaigns help advertisers reach more potential customers across Google’s ad inventory, by showing ads across all available channels of the Google Ads platform: Search, Shopping, YouTube, Display, Discover, Gmail, and Maps.

Performance Max campaigns utilise machine learning algorithms to deliver ads across the various Google-owned platforms.. They are designed to maximise the performance of ads by automatically optimising ad placements, targeting, and bidding strategies. This is unlike the previous campaign types that limit advertisers to one type of ad format, Pmax can target everything within the single campaign.

How do Performance Max campaigns work?

Picture the assets you need to run ads on Search, Shopping, Display and YouTube, and that’s what you need to run a Pmax campaign. And you don’t have to include everything. If you don’t want to run these campaigns on YouTube then don’t add any videos.

If you want to run your ads on all of these platforms then you will need to provide Google with the following assets:

  • 1x Final URL
  • Up to 20 Images (minimum 1 Square and 1x Rectangle (1.91:1 or 4:5))
  • Up to 5 Logos
  • Up to 5 Videos
  • Up to 5 Headlines (30 characters)
  • Up to 5 Long Headlines (90 characters)
  • Up to 5 Descriptions (1x 60 characters, 4x 90)
  • Business Name
  • Sitelinks
  • Call to Action
  • Promotion Ad Assets
  • Prices Ad Assets
  • Calls Ad Assets
  • Callouts Ad Assets
  • Structured Snippets Ad Assets
  • Lead Form Ad Assets

Google’s alogrithm will then use your assets to produce an ad dependent on where it is being placed, with the aim to deliver the ads to the most relevant audience and placements that are likely to achieve the advertiser’s goals.

eCommerce companies may look as Pmax campaigns as an upgrade to Standard Shopping campaigns. For those who used Smart Shopping campaigns previously, they were automatically transitioned into the new campaign type in 2022.

The difference between Performance Max and Standard Shopping campaigns is as follows:

Performance MaxStandard Shopping
PlacementsSearch Network, Display Network, YouTube, Gmail, Discovery & MapsSearch Network
ReachVery wideLimited
Bid strategyMaximise Conversions or Maximize Conversion Value (with optional targets)All bidding strategies
Level of controlLowVery high
Campaign transparencyLowHigh
Optimisation potentialMediumVery high
Remarketing includedYesNo
Impact on Search campaignsYesNone

What are the Pros of Performance Max?

Google states the following benefits of Performance Max campaigns:

  • Increase conversions and value
  • Find new customers
  • Gain richer insights
  • Work together with automation

Google’s machine learning algorithms continuously analyse and optimise Performance Max campaigns to improve their performance over time. This includes adjusting bids, targeting, and ad placements based on real-time data to help advertisers achieve their marketing objectives more effectively.

I believe they can be very useful for someone with an ecommerce store that has limited or no Google Ads experience as they are easy to setup. However, they don’t guarantee profit and still require optimisation to improve. By automating various aspects of digital advertising, Performance Max campaigns can save time and resources for advertisers while delivering better performance and results.

What are the Cons of Performance Max?

The biggest criticism I have of Performance Max campaigns is that there are little to no insights. Similar as to why I wasn’t a fan of Smart Shopping campaigns, there is even less insight coming out of these.

You cannot tell where your budget is being allocated, which channels, which keywords get the clicks and conversions. You literally just seen the most basic of stats, such as impressions, clicks, cost, conversions, and cost per action:

You can only use Smart Bidding with Performance Max campaigns; Maximise Conversions, Target CPA, Target ROAS or Maximise Conversion Value.

Any negatives must be set at account level, of which there is a limit of 1,000. Currently you can exclude brand keywords but only by contacting your Google rep.

Is Google Performance Max worth it?

Whether Google Performance Max is worth it for your business depends on your advertising goals, budget, and the level of control you prefer over your campaigns. Performance Max can be an excellent choice for businesses looking to maximise their advertising results while benefiting from Google’s machine learning algorithms.

They can be a great asset alongside Search campaigns as they offer a more broader reach, allowing your ads to run across multiple Google platforms, including YouTube, Gmail, Discover, and the Display Network. This can help your business reach a larger audience and improve your chances of reaching more potential customers compared to a Search campaign on its own.

The goal-oriented approach has proven to be particularly effective for my eCommerce clients. By focusing on your goals, these campaigns can optimise for better performance through machine learning.

Although the algorithms provide automated optimisation, I recommend that you continue testing Asset Groups, Headlines, Descriptions etc. as you would for any other campaign.

I am seeing excellent results for ecommerce clients so I would certainly recommend testing them if you have an ecommerce business.

If you need help with your Performance Max campaigns or Google Ads account, get in touch today and I will be glad to help.