These new Performance Max (Pmax) campaigns utilise machine learning and automation and are continuously optimised, 24 hours a day. They are geared towards performance and goal achievement. In autumn 2022, they will replace Smart Shopping and Local campaigns. Do you know how the new Performance Max campaigns work? Don’t miss out and test them as soon as possible.
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What are Performance Max campaigns?
The Pmax campaign is the newest category within Google Ads campaigns, based on machine learning and automation. It combines all other ad types and essentially works to complement search campaigns.
Google created them in order to have maximum reach across all channels and funnels (both acquisition and remarketing).
If you’re not too keen on constant innovation, you’d better get used to it (and fast). Google Ads Performance Max campaigns will replace Smart Shopping and will also take precedence over standard shopping (when promoting the same products).
Where are Pmax campaigns displayed?
With Pmax campaigns, you are able to advertise under one campaign across all Google channels:
- on the search network (Google Search Ads);
- in Google Display;
- on YouTube;
- in the Discovery feed;
- within the Gmail service;
- and in Google maps.
Why have Pmax campaigns been introduced?
Google is looking for a solution geared towards maximum performance. Humans are not machines; they can’t evaluate large volumes of data or work around the clock. Bearing human limitations in mind, Google is driving the development and use of machine learning and artificial intelligence.
Automation is the biggest advantage of Performance Max campaigns. Machine learning works continuously and the algorithm optimises campaigns 24 hours a day.
The question is just how will Google Chrome’s blocking of third-party cookies affect the performance of Pmax campaigns. This is set to happen as early as this year.
How exactly does Performance Max work?
- For each campaign, you specify a goal that is the focus of the algorithm. This could be sales, lead collection etc.
- Google automatically creates ads from the data you provide. This can include texts, images, CTA elements and videos. Their quality directly influences the quality of Performance Max campaigns.
- So, in a way it’s no longer you who decides on the look of the ad, but Google. At the same time, it optimises campaigns for maximum performance using machine learning, while, of course, taking into account the goals you have set.
- Optimisation takes place in real time and across all channels.
The responsibility for results lays with you
It sounds a bit like the ultimate master solution, but don’t be fooled. No algorithm is going to create a quality ad without supporting data and without you telling it who your audience is.
At first glance, Google tries to relieve you of the burden of mechanical clicking and testing, but it leaves the development of the creatives and responsibility for the results in your hands. You can significantly influence the performance of Max campaigns if you understand what Google is creating them from.
How to create a fully-functional Pmax campaign
Google Ads builds Performance Max campaigns based on:
- the advertising objectives set by you;
- the conversion goals;
- the provided materials (graphics and texts);
- and audience signals (these help Google optimise the campaign and target appropriately).
You can currently choose from the following advertising objectives for Performance Max campaigns: sales, potential customers, and website traffic.
Internationally, Performance Max can also be used to promote the app or build brand awareness. The objective of visiting a local store is currently being tested.
Setting a conversion goal directly influences campaign optimisation. Conversion goals are automatically pre-set according to the ad objective you selected in the previous step.
You don’t have to use all the goals Google offers. Delete the non-matching ones and you can assign priority to the remaining objectives at a later stage.
An example of conversion goals for Performance Max campaigns.
Graphics and texts
Although AI decides what the ad looks like, you will still need to supply it with the materials for it to choose from. Before you create any campaign, make sure you have prepared the images (including the logo), videos, text (headlines, descriptions) and the required CTA elements.
- Each video must be at least 10 seconds long and you can upload up to 5 videos per campaign.
- When it comes to texts, you need to upload at least 3 headings (up to 30 characters), one long heading (up to 90 characters) and 3 descriptions (up to 90 characters).
- Images should be uploaded in .jpeg, .png or .gif format. You can add a maximum of 15 images and 5 logos.
Signals are the starting point for Google at the beginning of every Pmax campaign. By identifying audience signals, you are telling Google: ‘These are the people I want to sell products to, find people like them.’.
A signal can be, for example, visitors to your website over a certain period of time, or people who have made a purchase from you. You can choose your audience based on your own segments, interests or demographics.
The benefits of Google Ads Performance Max campaigns
The rate of work of artificial intelligence and automatic optimisation is much faster compared to humans. You’ll be able to fine-tune campaign performance much more quickly than by manually testing different options.
Higher return on investment
Machines make fewer mistakes during testing, so you don’t pay for the number of failed attempts. Google has tested automated bidding against a set target in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. The cost per desired conversion stayed the same, but the number of conversions increased by 13% (Source: Google Data, Global, Jul – Sept 2021).
Google’s reports have never been particularly good, but Performance Max campaigns promise more detailed reporting. In Google Insights, you will be able to see detailed information about the ad, the target audience, reach and impact of the ad.
Focus on performance
Google’s algorithm manages the campaign based on the objective of the ad. Artificial intelligence evaluates the input data (that you supply) and tries to create the perfect ad for the target customer. It uses the entire Google ecosystem to display ads.
On top of all that, you can:
- use the feed from Google Merchant Center (if you have a well-optimised feed, make sure you don’t forget about it), and
- set a maximum daily budget and bidding strategy, as well as ROAS (Return On Ad Spend) and CPA (Cost Per Action/Cost Per Action/Conversion) targets.
Drawbacks of Performance Max Google Ads
These types of campaigns are definitely not a silver bullet or a permanent solution for gaining orders and customers.
Performance Max campaigns are also not the ideal solution for companies that primarily use Video and Display Ads, as they cannot be limited to certain Google channels. Instead, they are always displayed across the whole range.
With automation from Google, you lose some control over your campaigns. Similar to Responsive Search Ads (RSAs), the algorithm may create the perfect ad, but you don’t control it. Always make sure to prepare your documents thoroughly when running a Performance Max campaign.
Pmax campaigns steal conversions from shopping campaigns. Even a well set-up Shopping campaign will see a significant drop. Especially if you link Performance Max campaigns to a Merchant feed.
Another disadvantage of these campaigns is that you can’t separate new customer acquisition from remarketing.
Do you need to prepare for a transition to Performance Max?
Our Dexfinity team is deploying Performance Max campaigns to clients in a phased approach. Preparing for the transition is essential if you don’t want to experience a steep drop in campaign performance in the autumn. In particular, the start of the biggest e-commerce season (Black Friday and Christmas) can seriously shake up results.
But don’t forget about automation, which is a hot trend in PPC campaigns. We’ve been automating processes and tools for years, and we advise our clients to do the same. They get the job done faster and give you more time to think about strategy.
If you have any concerns about your Google Ads account, PPC campaigns or want to increase sales, let us know. As a Google Partner, we’ll also give you a Google Ads starter voucher worth €350.
Many thanks to the Dexfinity editorial team, which made this article possible
Written by: Adriána Černáčková
Edited by: Martin Bartl
Published by: Róbert Hošták
Translated by: Nikola Davis
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