Google’s New Performance Max

Ben Catterick, 
Account Manager, 

What’s better than having 5 different channels to deliver your Google ads through? Having a campaign that delivers to all of them at once!

Google’s new campaign type ‘Performance Max’ recently moved to (open) beta and takes advantage of all available advertising channels; Search, Display, Discovery, YouTube & Gmail, all within a single campaign. It also takes complete advantage of Google’s automation and attribution technology, which has been a driving force in Google ever-increasing advertising arsenal.

An additional bonus is the inclusion of Googles ‘Final URL Expansion’ feature. This allows the campaign to take a website and tailor the landing page to the user’s audience signals, increasing the relevancy and the chance to convert. However, if the website is not optimised towards multiple converting pages, it would be best to stick to the tried and tested single static landing page.

The main downside of Performance Max is that you will have to give up a little of your control. The campaign type utilises a mixture of Google’s ‘Best In Class’ tools, namely audience signal targeting, automated bidding and automated ad optimisation, alongside the newer Final URL Expansion.

Similar to the general display and discovery campaigns, Performance Max uses audience signals. It takes advantage of the standard options; Affinity, In-Market, Custom, Remarketing, Similar and Demographic with the addition of the new ‘Life Event’ audiences. As the name suggests, this now allows you to target users based on important events in their life, i.e. moving house or getting married. With these not yet available on search, it is a great chance to test these higher intent audiences:

 

 

Assets are key to delivering your message and grabbing the user’s interest. Similarly to display or search ads, having the right mixture of strong verbal messaging and eye-catching images is the recipe for success. Google’s rating system will allow you to see what is working and what is not, to help you understand what your audience wants to engage with.

Instantly expand the reach of your message across all available channels. Performance Max really comes into its own when the aim is to drive incremental traffic or conversions. Within Google Ads accounts, search remains at the top of the pecking order, with keyword bids delivering the ad before audience signals are triggered.

Currently, this campaign type is being used alongside already active search and display campaigns. This allows performance max to pick up any audience based users who are not initially caught by the keywords or display ads, much like a safety net. Within the first month of running these campaigns, CPA’s have remained below the £50, with this steadily decreasing as they are optimised and the bid strategy continues to learn:

 

 

The above table highlights the differing use of audience signals towards traffic generation. In the case of the B2B account, the intent of the user to know more is high but the intent to convert is lower, whilst the B2C account has seen lower click intent but when a user does, they tend to have a higher (percentage) chance to convert. Even with other variable factors to consider, e.g. ad copy strength, usage of video, etc, the base results from a broad approach highlight the potential a highly optimised and curated campaign could have on generating incremental traffic and conversions.

While it is still very early days for Performance Max, initial performances across differing accounts has provided a very efficient way to scale accounts towards the slightly more lucrative incremental conversions, whilst also providing another option in the increasing battle to win over new users. From there, the real challenge to build lifetime value for the users begins.

As Google continues to build out the campaigns and tools we can utilise to push performance further, Shrek put it best, ‘Paid Search is like an onion, it has many layers’. This new layer of Google ads will allow for increased incremental user reach and account scaling.

If you have seen anything different or want to talk more about performance max, please reach out to me!

 

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