Performance Max is a campaign type introduced by Google that allows advertisers to run ads across all of Google’s networks, including search, display, YouTube, Discover, Gmail and Maps, with a single campaign.
You can reach your target audience wherever they are and on any device, making it one of the most versatile and effective campaign types around.
Read on to discover everything you need to know about Performance Max campaigns, from getting started and optimizing your campaigns to understanding current adoption and where the PMax blind spots reside.
Setting up for success with Performance Max
- Embrace cross-platform advertising.
One of the biggest advantages of Performance Max campaigns is the ability to advertise across multiple platforms with a single campaign. This allows you to reach a wider audience and expand your online presence.
However, it’s important to understand each platform’s nuances and create ads optimized for different formats. For example, YouTube ads may require more visual and engaging content, while Google Search ads may need to be more text-heavy and focused on keywords.
Be sure to customize your ads for each platform to make the most of your cross-platform advertising efforts.
- Leverage Smart Bidding strategies.
Performance Max campaigns are designed to be used with Google’s Smart Bidding strategies, which use machine learning to optimize your bids and budget based on your campaign goals.
- Take advantage of Smart Bidding strategies such as target CPA (Cost Per Acquisition), target ROAS (Return on Ad Spend), or maximize conversions to automatically adjust your bids to get the most value out of your campaign budget.
- Set appropriate bidding targets and monitor your campaign performance regularly to make necessary adjustments and optimize your results.
Taking this one step further, Vodafone combined Adthena’s Market Trend Data with Google Smart Bidding to optimize results from its new product launch. They were able to track their position in the market and monitor competitors’ ad strategies to maximize click share and sales.
Adthena helped Vodafone discover opportunities and execute bidding strategies based on competitor spending, delivering a +7% click share increase and a 10% boost in sales.
- Create compelling and relevant ads.
Just like any other advertising campaign, the success of your Performance Max campaign depends on the quality of your ads. Create compelling and relevant ads that resonate with your target audience.
- Use eye-catching visuals, clear messaging and strong call-to-actions (CTAs) to encourage users to take action.
- Tailor your ads to your specific platform and ad format, and align your messaging with your campaign objectives.
- Regularly test and optimize your ads to find out what resonates best with your audience and refine your messaging accordingly.
- Monitor and optimize your campaign.
Performance Max campaigns require active monitoring and optimization to achieve the best results.
- Keep a close eye on your campaign performance and analyze the data to identify any trends or patterns.
- Use tools such as Adthena’s Brand Activator to gain deeper visibility over spend across all Google channels, identify any underperforming ads, keywords or placements, and make necessary adjustments to optimize your campaign.
VodafoneZiggo used Adthena to gain vital visibility into its Google Performance Max campaigns, including which terms they appeared on and which terms were unnecessarily driving up costs (e.g., brand terms in other languages).
Eliminating those terms delivered five-figure savings annually.
- Focus on user experience.
User experience is critical in any online advertising campaign, and Performance Max is no exception.
- Ensure that your landing pages are optimized for mobile devices, load quickly and provide a seamless experience for users.
- Ensure that your landing page content is relevant to the ad and provides value to the user.
- Consider implementing conversion tracking and other performance measurement tools to track the success of your landing pages and make data-driven optimizations.
A positive user experience can significantly impact your campaign’s performance and drive better results.
Performance Max user adoption and experience
Performance Max has only been around for 18 months, but the real breakthrough came after the forced upgrade from Smart Shopping campaigns to PMax in September 2022. Still, many brands are still trying to figure it all out.
With PMax in place, you should expect better performance against your goals, gain transparent insights, steer automation with your campaign inputs, simplify campaign management and easily optimize your ads. However, getting more transparent insights and simplifying campaign management isn’t what Adthena customers have experienced.
A recent survey across our customer user base revealed that 67% were currently running Performance Max campaigns. They had a neutral view on Performance Max settings and were used to automated asset creation, but the level of keyword reporting and keyword insights presented significant frustration. Performance Max just wasn’t helping with the certainty of placement of where they will appear.
Uncover the Performance Max blind spots
If Smart Shopping were a black box, Performance Max would be even darker. Out of the box, Google provides limited visibility on search terms, budget allocation and performance by channel, with very limited tracking and reporting capabilities, giving PMax advertisers an overall lack of control.
For example, Casio brand G-SHOCK was experiencing overlapping brand terms, triggering ads (and double charges). Using Adthena search term reporting, they identified and eliminated the brand terms triggering the Performance Max campaign, reducing CPC’s by 23% and wasted spend by five figures.
Performance Max campaigns offer a powerful way to reach a wider audience and optimize your online advertising efforts. By embracing cross-platform advertising, leveraging Smart Bidding strategies, creating compelling ads, monitoring and optimizing your campaign, and focusing on user experience, you can maximize the performance of your Performance Max campaigns and achieve better results for your business.
Remember, stay proactive, analyze your data and make data-driven optimizations – just watch out for those blind spots!
For proven tactics to improve precision, visibility, and control in your Performance Max campaigns check out our guide:
Unlock the black box: Four ways to get more from Performance Max