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We’re all used to hearing about taking things to the max – and some of us may find the hyperbole a bit too much, but Google’s Performance Max is a huge change you really do need to pay attention to – not just a can of fizzy pop…

To put it bluntly, Google’s Performance Max is a smart campaign on steroids.

Designed to complement keyword-based Search campaigns or to replace Smart Shopping, Performance Max utilises all Google channels (YouTube, Display, Search, Discover, Gmail and Maps). All of Google’s automation is then combined to drive performance based on specific conversion goals.

What’s the deal?
One of the features we think is useful is that each campaign can have multiple asset groups. That means, if you have a Merchant Center inventory, these can be based around product groups, so you can tailor copies and bid strategies for each. Alternatively, you can create asset groups around different services offered on your site, which works well for companies without an e-commerce offering.

The benefits of Performance Max are:

  • One campaign covers all channels, so you get more time to be strategic and focus on other areas, such as feed optimisation or improving ad assets
  • Increased conversions, meaning greater return for your investment
  • Dynamic creatives to suit each placement – you’ll always have the right visual in the right place, taking the risk (and effort) out of creative campaign planning

However, as with all campaigns, success is determined on what inputs you provide at the start:

  • Ensure you have reliable tracking of key goals or product sales on your website, so you can truly monitor the effectiveness of the campaigns you’re running.
  • Choose whether conversions or conversion value is the most important to you. This might be determined on whether your key goal is ROI or volume of sales.
  • Collate quality assets for the campaign which sell the benefits of your product. Think about all the touch points, images, videos and text that you use, and make sure you have a variety to keep the creatives fresh – this way, you are more likely to keep the audience engaged.
  • Use historic data to create a bespoke audience who are most likely to convert so you can target the right people in the right way, thus maximising your investment.

And for audiences?
The great news is Google Ads allows you to build audiences as part of the set-up process using multiple segments, and to find users who are most likely to convert when you create a Performance Max campaign. This is a really useful tool for all prospecting campaigns and will speed up the automated machine learning, as well as help generate the conversions.

The first step is to create segments in the platform using visits to your website, search activity and competitor URLs. Once you have created these segments, you can build a bespoke audience by also using demographics, affinity and in-market segments. It’s also worth adding exclusions for segments that you know have a poor/costly conversion rate.

All in all?
Google know what they are doing, and this new introduction is an exciting option for people who want a simple and quick way to set up campaigns. As it’s replacing Smart Shopping – all e-commerce clients should be running them this way! And so far, we’re seeing that the results have been positive and are outperforming standard shopping campaigns.

As with anything, the results are only as good as the data you put in, but by having all of the Google services under one umbrella helps strategic planning on campaigns, increases return on investment and supports on the creatives. It’s a max-terful use of tech!