Google’s New Performance Max Campaigns

Google has released another campaign type, called Performance Max. Read all about it here and find out if/how you could be using them.

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Last month Google announced the release of a new goal focused campaign type, named Performance Max. Google claims that the new campaign uses “automation to help advertisers reach shoppers as they browse for things they love — online and in stores. It builds on Smart Shopping and Local campaigns to deliver the same foundational features, while adding brand new inventory and automation insights.”

This fresh campaign type is available for advertisers to use now, with an easy upgrade option (from Smart Shopping or Local campaigns) becoming available in April of this year. 

These cross-channel and cross-platform campaigns allow ads to appear in front of potential customers at the optimal time. And Google says that if advertisers opt to use Performance Max they could expect to experience an improvement in conversion value of as much as 12%. 

What is Performance Max?

A Performance Max campaign is set up around a goal, so when creating the campaign, after choosing your objective, you select the conversion you’d like to optimise for, ie. leads/purchases.

Once you select the conversion(s) and opt for Performance Max you can start building the campaign by linking it to your Google Merchant centre account and giving it a name. Note that you do not have to have a Google Merchant account/Shopping feed to be able to use Performance Max.

You then set your budget and choose a bidding option (conversions/conversion value) along with an optional CPA/ROAS target.

You then add the usual campaign settings; locations and languages:

Plus a new Final URL expansion option:

It’s then time to add assets, including listing groups from Google Merchant Centre (if you have it) and other ad assets, which include:

  • Ad text:
    • Up to 5 x 30 character max headlines 
    • Up to 5 x 90 character max long headlines
    • 2 x descriptions (a short one with up to 60 characters and a long one with up to 90 characters) 
    • Call to action
    • Business Name
  • Up to 15 images with at least: 
    • 1 x 600×314 (min size) landscape (1.91:1)
    • 1 x 300×300 (min size) square (1:1)
  • Up to 5 logos with at least:
    • 1 x 1200×1200 (recommended) (128×128 min size) square logo (1:1) 
    • 1 x 1200×300 (recommended) (512×128 min size) landscape logo (4:1) (optional)
  • Videos
    • Add up to 5 videos (if you don’t have any, Google will create videos automatically when possible)

Please note that the maximum file size for any image or logo is 5120 KB but all images can be cropped once uploaded so do not need to be added in the given sizes. And also thatAdvertisers with a Merchant Center feed do not need to supply any creative assets to launch a Performance Max campaign. However, we do recommend you to provide creative assets to allow your campaign to serve maximally across surfaces and have optimal performance. Ads may be auto-generated on your behalf.”

Audience Signals

This is an optional step but is an important one to help Google know the most about your target audience, and therefore optimise your campaign(s) for conversions. It is important to add audience lists and custom segments to help enhance Google’s machine learning. 

The key ones to add are: 

  • Remarketing Audiences
  • Custom Audiences 
  • Customer Match

Also, please note that audience exclusions are not currently available in Performance Max. 

Best practices

Currently some best practices include:

  • Keeping your old search campaigns live, to run alongside the Performance Max campaign(s)
  • Ensuring you set up your goals correctly – it is recommended to use maximise conversion value with target ROAS when the campaign has 15 conversions in last 30 days
  • Once set up let the campaign run for at least a week, ideally 2-4 weeks, before evaluating the results
  • When using ROAS targets try to ensure the campaign isn’t restricted by budget and set the target to the average over the last 30 days (obviously this is easier said than done if budgets are tight)

Reporting

Performance Max campaigns allow advertisers to place ads across Google’s network and channels, ie. YouTube, Display, Search, Discover, Gmail, and Maps. To see where they have been placed you need to use the ‘Performance Max campaigns placement’ report, which can be found in the predefined reports section of Google Ads.

However, it is important to note that only impression data is available to view at the moment, which isn’t incredibly useful. For more information about how to run the report see: https://support.google.com/google-ads/answer/11465047?hl=en&ref_topic=10631992

You can also learn more about which assets are and are not performing by viewing the asset report. This shows the performance of each individual asset (low, good, best). It is best practice to replace any low performing assets with similar high performing ones. Please note that until there is enough data available, this will say ‘pending’. Again, for more information see: https://support.google.com/google-ads/answer/10725056?hl=en&ref_topic=10631992

It is still really early days with these new campaigns so it’s impossible for me to have an opinion on how well they actually work. Be sure to come back for the next instalment where we’ll discuss the results.

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