This is probably one of the most important blog posts I have ever written and it will be one of the most important blog posts you read this year.
Google has recently rolled out their most ambitious offering to advertisers in years via their Google Ads platform. They have released a new ad campaign type called Performance Max
What Are Performance Max Campaigns?
Performance Max is an automated, or “smart”, campaign similar to the previous Smart campaigns that Google has had for a while. They control the targeting, which creative to show (based on what assets you give Google) in buckets, and the landing pages. Google Ads will automatically create ads based on the assets provided by the advertiser, similar to how responsive display ads work right now.
We have started implementing Google Performance Max campaigns for a few clients as a test run before rolling it out or offering it to other clients. The results have been nothing short of amazing so far. We are super excited!
As just one example, with Performance Max, you now have the capability to upload a custom audience list (let’s say a customer list) and tell Google that you only want to find new customers that you aren’t already hitting with your other campaigns. Google Ads will now use over 72,000,000 data points on users and a 500 touchpoint customer journey. You can call this audience sculpting.
As you know, over the last few months, Google had been rolling back the amount of control that advertisers have on their campaigns and people have been wondering why and now it all starts to make sense. They were preparing the world for the idea of something such as Performance Max.
This new campaign type has literally transformed the entire marketing landscape. Companies will still need the help of advertisers to create amazing messaging and creative assets, and to find the tip of the spear that will convince potential customers to purchase your product or donate to your non-profit BUT Google Ads is taking away a lot of the hard work during the setup phase.
We still have to track the performance and manage it as it learns but the campaign will do much of the hard lifting for you now. It’s truly amazing! We will get into what assets and creative you will need to run the campaign, but first let’s talk about what situations Performance Max campaigns make the most sense.
When Should You Use Performance Max
This is the answer straight from Google:
- You have specific advertising and conversion goals (e.g. driving online sales, lead generation, etc.)
- You want to maximize the performance of your campaign and aren’t limited by which channel your ads appear on.
- You want to easily access all of Google’s advertising channels using a single campaign.
- You want to get additional reach and conversion value beyond keyword-based search campaigns.
Performance Max right now targets users on ALL of Google’s assets (Search, Display, YouTube, Gmail, and Discovery campaign).
They will also add smart shopping to this campaign as soon as Smart Shopping goes obsolete in July of 2022.
“Performance Max campaigns puts your business goals front and center and allows our automation to target your business goals above all else. This is crucial in order to maximize performance from Google Ads!”
Google has talked about there being a 500 touchpoint customer journey (Based on their research data) and Performance Max is one way to use the power of all the data Google has on everyone to your benefit and let Google’s AI test the creative asset “bucket” you give it towards the people you want to reach and it will figure out what works best and where to send these users on its own.
You can read more about what Google believes from their Think With Google website. I highly recommend you at least subscribe to receive notifications since some of their articles provide amazing insight into data and customer patterns that only Google would have access to, if you don’t want to subscribe to it, don’t worry we got you covered.
What Do You Need to Run A Performance Max Campaign?
- Google Ads Conversion Tracking correctly set up and tested
- Great messaging text (similar to expanded search ads) –
- 3 x 30 character headline
- 2 x 90 character descriptions
- 1 x 90 character headline
- Images –
- 1 x 600×316 landscape
- 1 x 300×300 square
- 1 x 314×314 square (for campaigns with Store Visits goal)
- 1 x 128×128 logo
- Recommended: 1200 × 628
- Max file size: 5,120KB
- Videos (Recommended – if you don’t have one MAKE ONE)
- > 10 seconds in length
- Once you provide Google with the following (reference checklist below), Performance Max can begin getting to work to automatically serve ads across Search, Maps, Display, Gmail, Discover feed, YouTube, and Shopping ad inventory.
- If you do not give the Performance Max campaign a video asset it will create one for you and IT WILL NOT perform. You have been warned.
- A clear marketing objective/campaign goal using the new Unified Goals framework
- Working and up-to-date Feeds
- Google My Business (optional)
- Google Merchant Center (optional)
- Dynamic Ads feed (optional)
- Business data feeds (optional)
- The correct signals
- First-party Audiences, incl. Remarketing lists (optional)
- Google Audiences, incl. custom audiences (optional)
- You want to target a specific country or area per each campaign. You also want to know what interest or topics your potential customer would be interested in so you can give Google audience signals (whether to use for targeting or just observations)
- Budget (we will talk about our personal scenario below and what we recommend at this time – April 2022)
Performance Max wants lots of creative, so we need to give the machine what it wants in order for it to work correctly
Results from other vendors and podcast have communicated 1,600x performance enhancement over FB ads, so you want to use it and give it lots of creative to use.
What Should You Do With All Your Other Google Campaigns?
There is no one answer that fits all here and I’m sure this could change as more people try Performance Max and users get used to the new ad styles. If you have other search campaigns I would continue to run those. I would turn off any other display campaigns and smart campaigns. I would keep smart shopping campaigns for now (until Performance Max gobbles this up later this year).
I wouldn’t run any YouTube video ads separately either. I would put display and video ads into Performance Max. That is the strategy that we are using at M is Good and it’s working so far.
So let’s get into the nitty-gritty details about what we are experiencing with Performance Max up to this point.
What Results Are We Seeing With Perfromance Max so Far?
So we were a little late to the game in terms of trying out Performance Max. Our agency was given beta access to test this campaign type last year but we never pulled the trigger on it since we wanted to wait until it got further rolled out and the bugs worked out. Now that Performance Max has rolled out to all advertisers we felt it was a good time to try so we implemented it in the last 2 months.
We have seen an immediate rise in sales and solid ROAS on two eCommerce clients and a service-based local business. The average daily budget is between $100 – 200 a day. Google is recommended as high as a $450/day budget but this seems a little extreme BUT it does let us know that there is enough audience there to scale if we wanted to which is great.
They also have an audience insight tab which gives you great information about the AI’s learnings that you can learn from. Google is AUTOMATICALLY learning from these insights so there is nothing for you to do besides just learning and understanding the information that Google is providing you so that you can take that knowledge to make improvements to the creative or the messaging, or your website, etc.
Do We Recommend Performance Max?
Yes, absolutely. We highly recommend you try performance max if you have at least 4 weeks available to test run a new campaign and can spend at least $100/day on it and have the creative assets listed above ready to go.
Google Ad’s Performance Max campaigns will only get better when Smart shopping gets added so I would jump in and try it as soon as possible if I were you. Get in while it is still early and before the marketing world gets saturated with Performance Max.
We don’t believe that Google Ads Performance Max is a one size fits all solution and it WILL NOT turn your business around on its own. But with the right tools in the toolkit and the correct messaging, Performance Max can be a lifesaver in those moments where you need to grow in prospecting and get more visitors to your site but don’t know how to get highly qualified traffic.
You still need to set up the rest of your customer journey and funnel to be able to retarget these prospecting visitors and capture email addresses to “date” them down the rest of their path to making a decision of whether to buy your product or not.
That’s why we believe that even with this new automation and AI taking over control of the targeting, the important role of having an expert copywriter or graphic designer on your team to make things look and sound great, is more important than ever.
You will still need someone to gather the KPIs of the campaigns running and review all the data to give you an educated best guess of what to do next and where to improve.
Do You Need Help Setting Up Performance Max?
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