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Google Performance Max Campaigns - The Complete Guide 2023

GrowthYouNeed, a Google Partner certified agency, explains the best practices to get the most out of Performance Max on Google.

Google Performance Max Campaigns - The Complete Guide 2023

GrowthYouNeed, a Google Partner certified agency, explains the best practices to get the most out of Performance Max on Google.

Everything you need to know about Google Ads Performance Max campaigns in 2023

Google Ads (and even back when the platform was called Adwords) has always had one goal: to provide its users with the best tools to create impactful ads and generate business. The more satisfied advertisers are, the more likely they are to spend large budgets. For the past few years, the heart of the Google Ads project has been automation: automating tasks, campaigns, ads, bids, suggestions... and thus making its platform easier and more accessible. It is with this in mind that Performance Max campaigns have appeared. Overview of the possibilities and best practices to take into account to maximize your ROI on this lever.

What are Google Performance Max campaigns?

Launched in August 2022, Google Ads' Performance Max campaigns are a new type of SEA advertising campaign. Their objective is simple and implied by their name: they aim to generate maximum performance. To achieve this, they combine all the classic Google advertising formats (Search, Shopping, Video, Display, Mail and Maps) into one. The other interesting aspect of these campaigns is that they make digital advertising easier to access and understand for advertisers. By bringing all its formats together in one place and automating as many things as possible, Google is making sure that everyone can get on with it.

How do these campaigns work?

Performance Max campaigns work... by themselves. Or at least most of them do. That's Google's great trick: its campaigns work solely by algorithm and calculate the best ways to achieve the desired objectives. They independently test different formats, taglines, CTAs, audiences, bids to create the perfect mix that will allow you to reach your goals.

Your only work is actually in the setup: to launch a Performance Max campaign, you'll need to provide ad elements, such as visuals (images or video) as well as bits of text, which Google will assemble to create its ads. Other elements must be provided: logos, information on products, services and the company. You will also need to set the objective, although this is usually pure conversion.

Performance Max also adds a new feature: Audience Signals. When you set up your campaign, you can indicate, roughly, what your regular customers look like, to give clues and data to Google, which will use it to target the right people.

What are the benefits of Performance Max?

The advantages of Performance Max over other ATS campaigns are immediately obvious:

  • Time saving
  • Centralization of elements
  • Improved performance
  • Gain in skills
  • Budget optimization
  • Better targeting

On the whole, Performance Max represents a considerable saving of time at the operational level: the management of the campaigns is delegated to Google and its algorithm, and the performances are supposed to be much better than with classic campaigns.

The limits of Performance Max

But beware: you would be wrong to see Performance Max as the Holy Grail of digital marketing, allowing you to delegate all your campaigns to a robot. Yes, Performance Max saves time, skills and often performance. But campaigns still need to be fed with marketing elements, like visuals that need to be worked on, or texts, that need to put forward the right arguments. Moreover, you have to consider Performance Max as an operational tool, but not a strategic one: its objective is to make you sell, to the right people, but only on Google. So integrate it with a set of digital levers to create a global and complete strategy that is more efficient.

Finally, everything is based on algorithms and as developed as they are, humans can get better results on Google Ads by choosing their own parameters. There are two reasons for this: on the one hand, SEA experts are often aware of the best practices to get the best out of Google Ads. By using Performance Max, you reduce your freedom of choice and the personalization of your ads: this can be done at the expense of performance when you have a thorough knowledge of the platform. On the other hand, as an advertiser, you will always know your customers better than an algorithm: you know what they expect, what can convince them to buy etc. Google, with all its data, will only have a superficial vision of your business. Your targeting can therefore be much more relevant.

If you want to learn more, there are online google ads training courses.

The best practices guide on Performance Max

As you can see, Performance Max is a powerful tool for advertisers who want to get the most out of the platform with a minimal investment of time. To make the most of it, here are some best practices.
You can also read our 2023 growth marketing guide

  1. Update your marketing materials regularly

The marketing elements are the images, texts and all the elements that will compose your advertisements. They must be filled in at the launch of the campaign, but ideally they should be updated regularly to offer your audiences something new and avoid advertising "fatigue.

  1. Let your campaign run

A mistake that advertisers often make is to launch a campaign, cut it or reduce the budget during a period because the performance is not what they expected or because the seasonality is a bit down. Performance Max campaigns rely on a complex calculation algorithm and this algorithm feeds off data. Give it time to test and draw its conclusions. It is generally recommended to let the campaign run for two weeks before making any changes.

  1. Give Google enough content

It is recommended to provide at least 5 visual assets and as many descriptions and titles for Google to create and assemble ads. But the more you provide, the better! The algorithm can test all the combinations with each audience and thus address the most effective message to each of them.

  1. Indicate the right objective

It has become crucial to tell Google the right objective for your campaign: it is against it that it will optimize your campaign. You must also set a value for this objective (it can of course be dynamic). This also means that your tagging solution, like GTM, must be implemented perfectly. Without this, Performance Max will run out of steam.

You can also add micro-conversions, such as additions to the shopping cart, visits to certain pages, or time spent at certain locations on your site, to best guide the algorithm.

  1. Think about the structure of your Ads account

When you create a Performance Max campaign, you have to indicate audience signals. Ideally, you want to create a campaign by signal (for example: center of interest, age, location...) and let Google operate afterwards. By taking a wide view, according to a single axis, we make sure not to miss any opportunity. By creating several campaigns, you can also measure the effectiveness of each one and see what works best.

You can also structure your campaigns around your business verticals: one campaign per type of product or service for example.

Get started on Performance Max!

Want to get started on Performance Max and get the most out of it? You've come to the right place. At GrowthYouNeed, we are Google Partners: we are recognized by Google as one of the best agencies in France. We had access to Performance Max campaigns in advance, in the Beta phase, to offer it to our clients. We were thus able to improve our know-how on these campaigns even before their official launch to obtain the best results.

So if you want to be supported on your SEA strategy, by implementing Performance Max campaigns in your marketing mix, it's this way!

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