Performance Max: About the new Google Ads ad format

November 28, 2022

The topic of AI (artificial intelligence) has been the focus of Google Ads for several years now. Whether it’s smart bidding, automatic target groups, or recommendations for the account based on machine learning – automation can already be found in many details. Since the end of 2021, advertisers have also had access to a new, smart and enormously automated campaign format: the so-called “campaigns for maximum performance”. What distinguishes the format, what advantages it offers, and what disadvantages may arise? We took a closer look for you!

What are Performance Max campaigns?

Maybe you’ve heard about Performance Max campaigns in the past few months or even dealt with the topic a bit. Basically, the new type belongs to the fully automated campaign formats of the Google Ads system, where everything revolves around the so-called asset groups and conversion tracking. The campaign goal you define and the target group signals also play an important role in the control of the campaign. At the beginning of the campaign, you define the goals you want to achieve (e.g. sales in the online store, form submissions, etc.) and provide the system with information about your target group. You also upload various assets, i.e. ad components such as texts in various lengths, images, videos and logos, and leave the work to Google from here on. The artificial intelligence combines all this data and then takes care of delivering the ads to potential customers on various platforms completely independently. There is no need for lengthy keyword research or time-consuming campaign monitoring, which involves manual bidding.

Here the ads are played out

The big advantage of Performance Max campaigns? With just one campaign, you can serve ads across the entire Google network. And that’s bigger than you might think at first glance! If you choose a PM campaign, your ads will appear not only on the Google Search Network, Partner Search Network, and Display Network, but also on Google Discover, YouTube, Google Maps, and even Gmail.

  • You can maintain these assets manually
    As already mentioned, Performance Max campaigns revolve around the so-called assets. Basically, you have the option to create several asset groups per campaign, for example, to structure them according to products, categories or themes. Since the assets are the heart of your campaign, you should give some thought to this before starting and coordinate the individual components well with each other. You can maintain the following assets:
    – Headlines
    – Descriptions
    – Long ad titles
    – Images
    – Logos
    – YouTube videos
    – Ad extensions
  • This is what you can still set for a PM campaign
    Even though Google takes care of a lot of things itself in the Performance Max campaigns, you still have some levers you can turn when setting up your campaign. For example, it is also possible to define negative keywords in order to avoid wastage, as well as to define a geographical focus for the ads. You can also determine the times at which your ads are displayed. Similar to Dynamic Search Ads, you also have the option of using the “Final URL extension” function, i.e. giving Google the option of extracting ad texts from suitable target URLs.

    Note: If the extension is enabled, not only ad titles, but also text lines and other assets of the ad can be changed individually by Google as of recently. This happens whenever Google expects a significantly better performance due to the change.

Bidding strategies for Performance Max campaigns

Since the relatively new Performance Max campaigns are all about conversions, you can’t choose from all the bidding strategies available in Google Ads. Instead, you can decide whether you want to optimize according to conversion value maximization, ROAS target or conversion count. The three bidding strategies offer their own advantages. For example, you should bid according to the conversion number if you want to receive as many orders or inquiries as possible. If your focus is on a high shopping cart value, the conversion value maximization is the right strategy. To optimize the relationship between costs and conversions, the “ROAS target” bidding strategy is recommended.

The advantages of Google’s Performance Max campaigns

Maximum performance – a promise that Google wants to make with its new campaign format. And not without reason, because you as an advertiser benefit from several advantages that can significantly simplify your everyday work and the management of your campaign:

  • You save valuable working time – not only when creating the campaign, but also when maintaining keywords and C
  • Your ads are automatically responsive – they will be displayed in all appropriate channels and on all available placements.
  • You’ll reach your target audience even better – because artificial intelligence lets you reach more potential customers than you would with manual campaign settings.
  • You benefit from better conversion rates – Google works in the campaigns with the help of Smart Bidding and thus achieves the best ROAS for your campaign.

All that glitters is not gold – the disadvantages of the new format

Like everything else, the new campaign format not only offers advantages, but also has one or two downsides that you should be aware of. Unfortunately, you currently only get very few insights into the performance, so that you can only poorly evaluate in detail how the campaign performance is composed. In addition, you must be aware that you are handing over almost all control options to Google and have few options to make manual adjustments yourself. You also have no control over the composition of the individual assets – which makes it all the more important that all titles, headlines, description texts, images, etc. within an asset group are compatible with each other.

Our conclusion: The new Google format offers a lot of potential for stores and other advertisers, even if you almost have to give the wheel out of your hand. But with expressive asset groups, the right bidding strategy, and a long-term term, you have all the trump cards in your hand to make your sales skyrocket.