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Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Google Performance Max Campaigns but Were Afraid to Ask

Google has launched Performance Max, a new type of campaign, and PPC Bee will soon introduce it to the users of our app. When? Will using PPC Bee give you an upper hand? And how do Performance Max campaigns even work? Read further to learn more.
Martin Černý
| Dec 17, 2021

AI will be handling your ads

Performance Max campaigns are another logical step for Google as the company decided years ago that the future of the technology sector lied in artificial intelligence and machine learning. 

What answer a search engine spits out once you enter your question is no longer up to an algorithm written by a Google engineer. Instead, it’s an AI that makes the call. Increasingly, this has been the case for advertising as well, be it on the part of the consumer (what Google shows you), or now with Google Performance Max where AI steps in and decides what your ads will look like.

In practice, this means that when creating a new campaign in Google you pick Performance Max as your campaign type, decide whether to use your Google Merchant Center feed or not, and then provide Google with your content. Specifically:
  • Graphics (up to 20 images of various aspect ratios, and 5 logos); 
  • Text (titles, long titles, brief descriptions, and descriptions);
  • Up to 5 YouTube videos. 

Then you set your campaign goal, budget, targeting, or a target ROAS and CPA, and let Google draw up your creative content across your Google Ads channels (Search, Display, Shopping, Discover, Gmail, YouTube, Maps). Moreover, it will decide who will see this content.

In the past, you’d have to create several independent campaigns. Now you can do all this with just a few clicks.

Does it work? Is there a catch?

Users have been able to use Performance Max campaigns only since this November so it’s still too early to make an objective evaluation. Our clients’ experiences have so far been varied. For example, Performance Max campaigns achieve better results if a client also links their Google Merchant, though frequently at the expense of their Shopping campaigns. 

If Performance Max is being used without Google Merchant, the results are above-average and there are no negative consequences for other platforms. But these are just two examples—we can’t make sweeping judgements at the moment. 

A whole range of factors will play a role in the effectiveness of the Performance Max campaigns, which is why they need to be created with deliberation and viewed as a test. Also, with this type of campaign you as the advertiser lose essentially any and all control over your ads. Google’s in charge and you’re simply left to determine, with a few exceptions, whether the campaign is on or not. 

This is not to say that Performance Max campaigns are bad. They definitely show us in which direction Google intends to head in the following years, and will no doubt find a place in the PPC specialist toolbox. Time will tell how significant a place it will be.

Something extra from PPC Bee

And now for the most important thing—will creating Performance Max campaigns with our app give you an upper hand? It will, quite a lot, actually. Let’s list just a few of the most significant benefits.

Most importantly, you’ll be able to use any data feed, not just one from Google Merchant Center. This ties to other benefits our app gives you. When creating a Performance Max campaign, you can use our Image Editor and edit your creative content for specific products, following specified conditions (e.g. change product backgrounds, automatically show delivery dates in your creative content, etc.). You can also apply product filters with no limitations, using your own variables, or set time limits for specific products to decide when they show up in your ads.

A detailed guide to setting Performance Max campaigns will naturally be a part of our learn page.

When’s it coming?

We’ve finished the alpha version and have successfully tested it within our team. In the following weeks we’ll conduct a closed beta testing with selected clients (if you’d like to take part click on the Performance Max Campaigns icon directly in the app) and make an open beta version accessible to all our clients by next January.

Martin Černý
Editor of PPC Bee
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