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What are Performance Max campaigns on Google?

What are Performance Max Campaigns?

Performance Max campaigns launched in November 2021 as a new goal-based campaign type with some users coining it as a new way to buy Google ads.’ It is claimed to be the most significant change to Google ads in years. Its purpose is to allow performance advertisers to access all of their Google ads inventory from a single campaign – hence the name ‘Performance Max’. It allows advertisers to increase conversions across Google’s range of advertising channels – Search, Display, Gmail, Discover, Maps and YouTube. 

It aims to streamline and automate your ads in order to reach valuable customers online – saving you time and money by efficiently managing your budget across multiple channels in one single campaign. So no matter which Google ads channel your customer is on – performance max campaigns aim to find them. Give Google your campaign goals, budget and target metrics and you are good to go with performance max campaigns. You can no longer use Smart Shopping campaigns and will need to upgrade them to Performance Max campaigns.

Benefits of Performance Max

The biggest benefit of performance max campaigns is the ability to find customers online wherever they are and advertise your business across all of the Google ads channels. Through automation, you can set your business goal and let Google do the work to optimise your campaigns to get the best results. Who better to optimise your ads and maximise performance than Google and its own machine learning, right? 

Automation remains to be a huge advantage of performance max campaigns. It takes the pain out of time-consuming, manual set-up across all of the different Google ads channels you wish to advertise on. The campaign features include smart bidding and audience signals and the option to select a variety of creative assets. From headlines to descriptions to images and videos, performance max will create customised, compelling ads across the Google channels. It’s true what they say, you get out what you put into it – the more foundational work you do to set up your conversion goals, desired audiences and calls to action, the better the automated results will be. 

Performance max can discover new audiences you might not have been aware of. With performance max campaigns you can unlock new audience segments by using Google’s real-time understanding of user intent, behaviour and context to show up in the right moments with more relevant ads. Not only are you attracting new audiences, you are branching out into new Google channels too that you may not have been confident going into before. Sounds like a win-win for users and businesses alike.

Audience signals are a new feature unique to performance max campaigns. They allow you to suggest audiences to Google’s machine learning algorithms to optimise conversions. It can give you a competitive head start as it steers the machine learning algorithms in the right direction and towards the audiences who are most likely to convert. This can save time but also maximise results. 

Disadvantages of Performance Max

Whilst automation remains a key advantage this also brings on a lack of control within the ads. Giving Google more control unfortunately comes at a price. The price of limited visibility in terms of performance. It can be difficult to draw specific insights as you cannot actually extract performance data by platform. Therefore making it difficult to understand which channels are working and which aren’t, making it in turn harder to know which assets need working on and which don’t. 

Whilst performance max is there to make your life easier, that doesn’t mean we should put all of our eggs in one basket. Performance campaigns still need to be steered and monitored to ensure that it is the right strategy for you and your business. Search, Display, and Video all provide success and are popular in their own right. Plus you can gain greater insight into your campaigns and the data they present. 

Performance max campaigns will help you reach a wider audience across multiple Google ads channels. However be mindful that by giving Google more control, you are giving up access to valuable insights. To ensure you are getting the most out of your performance max campaigns, check your insights tab weekly and Google Analytics and use the data you are given and your own knowledge to decide if it is the best option for you. 

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Niamh Taylor

I am the Founder and CEO of Digital Twenty Four. I’m an award winning digital marketer who took a risk, and left the safety of a well-paid, super safe in-house head of marketing role to launch Digital Twenty Four in May 2015. But -it was a risk worth taking because I now own a brilliant company, with a brilliant reputation, and with the best humans working within it. And an award-winning digital marketing expert with over 20 years experience in marketing.