Google Performance Max - The most important learnings from 2022
Google has increasingly automated working with Google Ads in recent years. This started a few years ago with the introduction of bidding strategies and automatic keyword searches in Google Shopping campaigns. Later, Smart Shopping campaigns were added, where bids were already fully automated.
Since this year, users can use “Performance Max” and Smart Shopping campaigns are automatically switched to this new campaign type.
With Performance Max, bidding strategies are used, and companies give Google input using bullet points and images. Google then determines where the campaign will be implemented (Search, Shopping, Display, or YouTube) and uses its own algorithm to try to optimize the results to meet the specified goal (CPA or ROAS).
This means that you can no longer decide for yourself how much to bid for a particular keyword. The ability to treat different target groups differently in a campaign is also eliminated. All of this means that you lose control over your campaigns. However, Google claims that the algorithm can control the campaign better than humans. As a digital agency we have gained a lot of experience and therefore know exactly what you should pay attention to and what you should avoid.
You should avoid this
- Combine all products or services in one campaign
- Don’t use Performance Max if you generate less than 30 conversions per month with the campaign
- Just let the campaign run and trust that it will be good
Here’s what you should watch out for
- Make sure you use the Google Ads pixel to get the best tracking data
- Implement advanced conversions so you can collect even more data in Google
- Use audience signals: Add audiences based on website behavior and audiences based on interest and affinity for the campaign. Include customer email addresses (if technically allowed by DSGVO); visitors who added a product to their cart; keywords-based segments, etc.
- Continue to add advertising campaigns (manually) via the extensions.
- Add assets like images and videos and test/update them constantly. Since Performance Max also often generates impressions for YouTube and display ads, it is very important to have good creatives. We are seeing a shift from pull to push marketing here at Google.
- Exclude Brand Keywords: You can’t exclude keywords yourself. We see that Performance Max campaigns perform very well mainly because the campaign uses brand keywords. This can give a skewed picture and ensures that you can’t make a good prediction when scaling up. However, you can ask Google through your account manager or support to exclude certain keywords. This way you can continue to add excluded keywords to your Google Performance Max campaign yourself.
If you want to use Performance Max campaigns, but the campaign generates less than 30 orders or leads per month, you can also use “soft conversions”. Try to set a CPA for actions that occur before the transaction, such as “add to cart” or “product page view”.
Once the algorithm has collected enough data for these “micro conversions”, your campaign will perform better. After that, you can change the bidding strategy to your target CPA or ROAS.
The last important tip is to keep monitoring the campaign. When we set up new campaigns, we check after a few hours if the campaign is getting impressions and if the CPC is acceptable, because this is not always the case, especially in the beginning. Only when the first campaign results are promising, we increase the daily budgets.
We don’t always know where most of the budget for a Performance Max campaign is invested – in Video Ads, Shopping Ads or other components. To gain insight into how our clients are spending their budgets, we use scripts to examine the distribution.
This also allows us to better assess whether or not a particular campaign can scale and if ROAS goals need to be adjusted.
Do you need support or want to put your company’s online marketing in professional hands? Then don’t hesitate to contact us! At Nakoa Digital, we are performance marketing and retail media experts. We’d love to help you strategically move your online marketing forward! Simply arrange a non-binding consultation and ask us your questions!