How Do Google’s Performance Max Campaigns Work? 

Smart Shopping campaigns in Google Ads are being updated to Performance Max, a change that might be alarming to those wary of Google’s purportedly useful updates (which always seem to shift control of settings and data away from users).  

We had concerns, but our experience with Performance Max so far has been encouraging. The first thing you should know is that all your campaign settings, budgets, & historical data will transfer if you select the upgrade option – you won’t have to configure the campaign as if it were brand new. 

Performance Max campaigns can also run anywhere on Google, meaning they can fill the role of Search and Display campaigns, ads on video platforms and Google Maps, Discovery campaigns, etc. 

That’s because when you create an “asset group” in Performance Max, you’re really creating a cross-platform ad (the assets will be accessible by Google’s system in the creation of ads on various platforms).  

So, most of the work you currently do setting up and maintaining your campaigns on various platforms will be shifted onto Google’s broad and capable shoulders. The downside is a lack of transparency, an attribute that has become characteristic of Google’s automated systems. 

What Should I Expect from Performance Max? 

Switching your campaigns over will almost certainly improve your cost per sale/cost per lead while reducing your workload. The process is simple: upload assets (videos, images, text, even HTML5 banner ads) to Google’s library and give them a budget. Then, they’ll create a combination of ads and run them on various platforms. 

You can set specific locations you’d like to target, and there is a campaign setting where you can choose to optimize for acquiring new customers, which is useful. You can also see which keywords resulted in conversions and use these keywords in your audience signals. 

How Does It Perform? 

Performance Max is an all-in-one campaign that can result in cheaper conversions. However, it’s impossible to say which ad combinations or platforms are generating the conversions: Google only provides bundled data from all platforms. It would be nice to get more detailed reports that would allow advertisers to opt out of the platforms that are performing poorly within the Performance Max campaign. 

Google offers an “Insights” page and ratings for your individual assets, but the data they provide is intentionally vague: ad copy headlines are given the status of “best,” “good,” and “poor,” but nowhere does Google say what criteria or metrics they’ve used to determine these ratings.  

Should I Run a Performance Max Campaign? 

As always, the bottom line is cash in and cash out. Performance Max campaigns require less work and can produce cheaper conversions and increase your advertising ROI. Based on what we know so far, we do recommend running Performance Max campaigns.  

Need help with your overall marketing strategy or running pay per clicks ads? Get in touch with our professionals for a free consultation to see how we can help. 

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