What are Performance Max Campaigns?

What’s the point of PMax?

One of the most commonly-used words in marketing-speak these days is “holistic:” “We want to ensure we are running a holistic marketing program that encompasses all channels working together in harmony,” “We want a holistic view of our customer,” “We want to look at marketing’s role holistically in the context of the big picture of the overarching business,” etc.

The point is that removing siloes and running all marketing activity as one well-oiled machine is the way forward and the path to a successful, long-term plan.

And Google’s Performance Max (PMax) campaigns wholeheartedly take a leaf out of this book!

They’re all about moving away from individual campaign types running in their own siloes, with little to no cross-pollination between them, and moving towards one cohesive, overarching campaign that has coverage and reach across Google’s entire network, including:

  • Display
  • Search
  • Maps
  • Discover Feed
  • YouTube
  • Gmail
  • Shopping Ad Inventory

Google describes the new campaign type as using “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.”

Enhanced Machine Learning & Automation

In addition to having the benefit of increased coverage, Performance Max campaigns use Google’s sophisticated machine learning and automation to seek out audiences at the time and places they’re most likely to convert. You can optimize for one of 3 conversions goals:

  • Sales
  • Leads
  • Local Store Visits and Promotions

Some of the unique machine learning features of PMax campaigns also include:

• URL Expansion:

While you can stipulate which landing page you’d like to send clicks to, you can also allow Google the flexibility to choose the landing page, based on customer intent, using machine learning. This could open you up to increased conversions on pages you didn’t expect would drive results!

• Asset Groups:

Performance Max introduces a new ad format called Asset Groups, which is a group of assets (images, videos, logo, headlines, descriptions, CTA) that are all related to a single theme or audience. Multiple asset groups can be created per campaign.

  • Optional assets that we recommend are Google Business Profile feed, Merchant Center feed, Dynamic Ads feed, and Business data feed.
  • The more assets you can provide per asset group, the more Google has to work with when seeking out and serving ads to high-value audiences.
  • Google provides asset reporting that will score your assets on a Low-Good-Best scale so that you can replace low-performing assets with higher-performing ones.

• Audience Signals:

Audiences can include First Party and Remarketing segments as well as Custom audiences. These audiences provide Google with a blueprint of sorts to find who’s most relevant to your business and who’s more likely to convert.

Is Performance Max Right for Your Business?

Our recommendation is to run a Performance Max in parallel with your current Google initiatives and to A/B test results. You could see significantly better performance (12% or higher increase in conversion value), especially if you’re an ecommerce brand. Shopping campaigns often perform much better when run through PMax.

Some FAQs that we often get asked on PMax:

Q. Can PMax cannibalize your existing Search campaigns?
A. No. Exact, Phrase and Broad match searches in your search campaign will be prioritized over PMax.

Q. Can you add negative keywords?
A. Yes. We can work with our Google rep to get those implemented and it will soon be available as a self-serve feature.

Q. Is PMax a good option for lead gen?
A. It can be. The key here is to let Google know which conversions are worth the most to your business and which conversions are valuable but less valuable. Defining values for all your conversion actions will address this.

Q. Is PMax only for ecommerce brands selling physical product?
A. No, it can be used for all types of business. However, they are currently driving best results for ecommerce use cases.

Q. Which performs better, Smart Shopping campaigns or PMax campaigns?
A. In September 2022, Smart Shopping campaigns will be sunset and PMax will take their place. If you’re wanting to test now, run both in parallel and let PMax eventually take over.

Q. Is PMax good for local campaigns?
A. Absolutely! You can use the goal of Local Store Visits & Promotions to drive foot traffic as well as a presence on Google Maps. PMax will replace Local Campaigns in September 2022.

Q. Do I have to provide video assets?
A. We strongly recommend including video assets otherwise Google will auto-generate its own from your static ones and you lose control of the quality of the video being served. Anything longer than 10 seconds is fine!

So, what does the future look like for PMax campaigns? It’s a campaign type that’s only going to become more sophisticated in its machine learning prowess and we see it ultimately becoming the go-to campaign selection for advertising on Google.

For now, though, we’re not switching over 100%; we prefer to keep our clients’ existing Google campaigns running and optimized across each network leveraging full-funnel reporting and attribution.

However, it really makes sense to test PMax and gain learnings on whether it can drive results for your business. We’re certainly on board with this and are keeping a close eye on its evolving features!





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