Performance Max questions answered by Google

Best practices, future roadmaps, and common questions answered by Performance Max creators at Google

Andrey Kisselev
Andrey Kisselev

Table of Contents

Optmyzr recently streamed a 60-min video call with Performance Max product managers from Google.

In it, Google answered the most pressing Performance Max questions from the community and mentioned some upcoming features.

Here is a text summary of the call.

Q: What is Performance Max and why use it?

Performance Max is a new campaign type that helps you optimize performance across all channels in Google Ads.

Advertisers that use Performance max campaigns in their account see an average increase of 13% total incremental conversions at a similar cost per action.

All Smart shopping campaigns will be replaced by Performance Max in July 2022.

Advertisers that use Performance Max campaigns in their account see an average increase of 13% total incremental conversions at a similar cost per action - Google

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    Can I run only shopping ads on a Performance Max campaign?

    Almost. With this workaround, you can essentially turn a Performance Max campaign into a smart shopping campaign

    To do that, Configure the listing group but don't add any Images, Videos, or Text Ads to the asset group.

    This way, your Performance max campaign will run mostly shopping ads.

    For more Performance Max tips, check the link on the screen, or in the description.

    Q: How to handle cannibalization Pmax is doing to existing campaigns? 

    For shopping ads within the same account, Performance Max campaigns will be prioritized over existing Smart Shopping campaigns, standard Shopping campaigns, and Display Dynamic Remarketing campaigns that cover the same products. 

    This is intentional because Performance Max is designed to optimize and serve on inventory across Google channels. As a result, we do not recommend running these in parallel with overlapping targeting (e.g., with overlapping products in the same geographic region).

    For searching ads, when a query exactly matches (including spell corrected queries) an exact, phrase or broad match keyword within a Search campaign, the Search campaign will be prioritized in serving over Performance Max. Otherwise, it will be determined by Ad Rank.

    Q: How Conversion goals are specified?

    Performance Max focuses on conversion goals rather than conversion types.

    Conversion goals help you organize your conversion actions so that you can more easily optimize toward your advertising objectives. Actions that you want your customers to take, or conversion actions, are grouped together based on related categories to form these conversion goals.

    The conversion actions in your account are automatically grouped into relevant conversion goals to describe the actions that are the most meaningful for your business.

    Performance Max support retail and lead generation goals

    Q: How should we think about micro vs macro conversions?

    In Performance Max you can assign your conversion actions to be primary or secondary.

    • Primary actions: These are main conversions, and are used for bidding. They appear in the “Conversions” column.
    • Secondary actions: These are analogous to micro conversions, and are not used for bidding. They appear in the “All conv.” column.

    For ecommerce stores, for example, Performance Max supports Purchase goal, as well as a number of cart-based goals like add to cart, begin checkout and more.

    Q: How should we think about low vs upper funnel conversions?

    Performance Max is aimed at low-to-mid funnel. We focus on your conversion goals to deliver the highest-value conversions at the best marginal ROI at auction time.

    So, select the lowest funnel conversions with reasonable volume and that are most closely aligned to the final business outcome to drive the best results.

    If your goal is awareness, consider using Display, Video and/or Discovery campaigns instead of Performance Max.

    Q: How do I drive more value from my budget?

    Automation in Performance Max can help you invest your budget more effectively and dynamically allocate spend where the highest-ROI opportunities are.

    Tip: Whenever possible, enable Data-Driven Attribution. Performance Max leverages DDA to best optimize towards the networks and interactions that are most likely to convert, in real time, which can result in a stronger performance.

    Q: How many conversions do I need for a Performance Max campaign to be effective and provide new insights?

    To start gettings insights, you need 1,000 impressions and 100 clicks per month. Generally, the longer you run a Pmax campaign, the better insights you’ll be getting.

    As for the minimum number of conversions, the approach is similar to smart shopping campaigns.

    While there are no requirements for a minimum number of conversions, Pmax struggles with less than 10-15 conversions per month.

    Note: Performance Max uses conversions in the entire account.

    Q: How do I track results in Performance Max?

    Performance Max uses the Insights page for tracking and monitoring.

    Rather than showing detailed data in various views, it shows actionable insights like :

    1. Drivers of your campaign's week-on-week and month-on-month performance
    2. Search terms your ads appeared for (they are neatly sorted in categories)
    3. Performance issues and recommendations on how to fix them
    4. Marketing intelligence from Google to help you adopt and grow your business and ads
    Performance Max Insights page

    Q: Are there any plans to show more metrics?

    Paid search specialists want to see more metrics like:

    -reporting breakdown by asset groups and actual assets

    -conversion breakdown by asset groups and actual assets

    -reporting breakdown by landing pages when final URL expansion is enabled.

    Google appreciates all feedback. At this time Google is building more insight cards. One will show assets that resonated best with your audiences.

    Q: How do I optimize audience signals?

    It's best practice to use Audience Signals with Performance Max to help jumpstart machine learning. You can use custom segments & your own first-party data like Customer lists.

    Q: If I have a search campaign with brand terms, how do I prevent it from cannibalization by Performance Max?

    If a search term matches a keyword from your search campaign, the search ad will take priority over Performance Max ad.

    For brand safety, Performance Max will soon start using negative keywords (and negative placements) at the account level.

    Q: How do I test and evaluate Performance Max?

    For now you can use Pre/Post framework. More tools are coming.

    Pre/Post framework to test and evaluate Performance Max

    Q: How do I scale up Performance Max?

    1. Use Final URL Extension.
    2. Ensure you have a video uploaded.
    3. More tools are coming up like Simulators, and Recommendations on creative and audiences.

    Can you opt-out of video auto-generation to protect brand quality?

    If you do not upload your own video assets, Performance Max creates videos from the text & images you upload to the campaign.

     Only your own assets are used in those videos, and you can see these in the Assets page. The source will be listed as “Automatically created”.

    Performance Max auto-creates these assets to provide automation systems with the broadest set of options to help you serve on more relevant inventory and to drive more conversions toward your goal. 

    Performance Max can determine which channel and format can deliver the highest-value conversion at the best marginal ROI at auction time, including video.

    There is no way to opt out of this at this time.

    Q: What's the downside of NOT running Performance Max?

    Performance Max campaigns continue on the path of the promised performance improvements, but with fewer insights and less control.

    But not all advertisers are convinced. What future awaits an advertiser who does want to go on this path?

    Google's A: Value of Performance Max will be growing (look at smart shopping campaigns!). For now, we recommend at least starting testing.

    Q: Are there scenarios where Performance Max is not recommended?

    The current use cases for PMax are online sales, lead generation, and store visits.

    If your goal is awareness or app installs, for example, Performance Max wouldn’t be a fit at this point.

    In this case, you can run Performance max alongside the awareness-focused campaigns.

    Also, if you are aiming to drive performance with specific channels, formats, or audiences, consider using Display, Video and/or Discovery campaigns.

    Q: How do I make sure my results from Performance Max also lead to real results in my business?

    1. Make sure Performance max is targeting the right conversion goals
    2. Use values with conversion goals (relevant for leads)
    3. Use Enhanced conversion (relevant for leads)

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    Tired of scrolling? Downoad a PDF version for easier offline reading!

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      Andrey Kisselev Twitter

      Shopping ads specialist, founder @ Addi Marketing. LinkedIn

      Andrey Kisselev Twitter

      Shopping ads specialist, founder @ Addi Marketing. LinkedIn