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Google’s Performance Max is the Jack of all Trades, but Master of….Well, not none; it does a pretty good job at most things, in my experience. From its comprehensive cloud-based storage to its robust security tools, the platform is designed to take the hassle out of online life—though that doesn’t mean it fulfills every single need one might have. But in general, this versatile tool has repeatedly proved to be an invaluable asset for advertisers. 

What is Google Performance Max?

Google Performance Max, a marketing tool that helps businesses improve their online advertising performance, is the latest and greatest way to maximize your performance in the realm of digital advertising. It’s designed to optimize ad campaigns across multiple channels and devices using machine-learning algorithms to adjust bidding strategies and ad placements in real time. By analyzing data from a wide range of sources, including user behavior and ad performance, Google Performance Max is able to help businesses identify the most effective ad placements and improve overall return on investment (ROI)

With a combination of Search, Display, Discovery, Youtube, Shopping, and Local (everything besides the app), Performance Max is shaking up the way business owners can get their ads in front of the right people. 

For those curious about Performance Max’s capabilities, here are five things you should know.

1. It’s Not Just Shopping Campaigns

While Performance Max did take over the Shopping Campaign type, it’s certainly not a one-trick pony. In our experience, it excels in any CPA or ROAS-optimized campaigns and has incredible machine-learning capabilities to serve ads on all Google properties with amazing accuracy

The result? We often see significant CPA drops after switching clients to a Performance Max campaign—which translates into more success from your ad investment.

2. It’s Easy to Setup

Asset setup is smooth and easy—just don’t skip any of the features. Ad copy entry is very similar to RSA ads in search, in addition to images, logos, and videos. For the images, be sure to select various sizes. If you don’t have a video to use, the system will create one for you, but the better bet would be to design something quickly with an app like Canva. 

Audience Signal is an easy feature to overlook, but it’s what gives your campaign its initial machine learnings. Adding a customer list, along with other targeting information, is key to kickstarting the campaign.

3. You Need to be Careful of the Settings

For the location targeting, be sure to target people who are currently in, or “presence,” of your targeted area. If you include interest areas, you will quickly get users outside your geographic targeted areas. 

Another tricky setup is the final URL expansion. The campaign will default to sending traffic to the most relevant URLs, but as most marketers would prefer, you must select that traffic to be sent to provided URLs only. 

4. Conversion Details are Limited

You want to know how your ad is doing on Youtube? What the CTR is on Search? What keywords are getting the most traffic? Well, first go to…. Just kidding. Welcome to Performance Max Black Box, also known as the “blackest black box of all Google Ad products.” Analyzing that various Google property performance is not available—only campaign-level performance details. Your rep cannot even provide deeper details on Performance Max. You have to trust that Google is spending your advertising money wisely. However, your CPA or ROAS improvement should be enough to lean into that trust.

5. There are Few Optimizations

There aren’t very many optimizations you can make in Performance Max. You can view the asset performance details by seeing the Low, Good, Better, and Best label of each individual asset. It is by no means the data you would like to see, but it does give you insights on what assets to update. 

It is also recommended to update your Audience Signal data when using Performance Max because it can help to improve the accuracy and effectiveness of the algorithm’s optimization. Audience Signal data can include demographics, interests, behaviors, and other relevant factors that help to define the audience. By providing more up-to-date and accurate information about your target audience, you can ensure that the algorithm is better able to identify the most relevant and valuable ad impressions, which results in higher engagement rates and better overall campaign performance

Additionally, updating your Audience Signal data regularly can help to ensure that your campaign stays relevant and competitive over time, as audience behaviors and preferences can change rapidly in today’s digital landscape.

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