7 PPC Community And Google Team Insights

Google has added many automated tools over the past few years, including smart bidding, Responsive Search Ads, and closing variation keywords.

Performance Max campaigns are the latest addition to this growing list of automated PPC tools.

And it’s perhaps the most revolutionary campaign type yet in Google Ads.

Performance Max campaigns allow advertisers to promote their products and services across all of Google’s advertising channels: YouTube, Display, Search, Discovery, Gmail, and Maps from a single campaign.

Traditionally, to serve ads across all of Google’s networks, you needed different campaigns and creatives for each channel.

But Performance Max packs it all into one campaign, simplifying the effort to reach customers.

This is a fairly new type of campaign, so best practices continue to evolve.

To help build more knowledge on this topic, I recently spoke to members of the product team at Google who created Performance Max. (You can watch the full episode of PPC Town Hall below.)

From the first best practices to their roadmap, they shared a lot and even answered several questions that I had collected from the PPC community.

Here are some things to remember about Performance Max campaigns.

1. Performance Max takes precedence over other Shopping campaign types

If you run a Performance Max campaign alongside a Shopping campaign or Smart Shopping campaign for the same product (or product groups), the Performance Max campaign takes precedence.

This means that Performance Max campaign ads will be served to users instead of Smart Shopping campaign ads.

This is similar to how Smart Shopping campaigns are prioritized over standard Shopping campaigns when run concurrently.

When Smart Shopping campaigns upgrade to Performance Max by the end of Q3 2022, they will continue to be prioritized over standard Shopping campaigns.

When you upgrade a Smart Shopping campaign to Performance Max, your ads show on other channels like Search, Display, Discover, YouTube, and Gmail by default.

So when you’re making the transition, you should definitely review and review your creative assets to make sure they’re all set up correctly.

2. Upgrading from Smart Shopping to Performance Max doesn’t mean you have to advertise across all channels

If you liked the convenience of Smart Shopping campaigns and didn’t like the prospect of your ads showing in more places, you don’t have to add all assets to a Performance Max campaign.

If you connect your merchant feed but don’t provide other resources such as video, images, and text, your Performance Max campaign will only show Shopping ads.

Ginny Marvin, Google Ads Manager, said:

“For shopping, when you link a GMC feed to a Performance Max campaign, but don’t add any other assets, the campaign can serve Shopping formats in Search, Display, YouTube, and Gmail. »

This points to a broader tip: while there’s no way to select which channels you want Performance Max ads to appear on, you can achieve this to some extent by being selective about the resources you add. in the countryside.

3. Search campaign keywords take priority over peak performance targeting

Although Performance Max cannibalizes traffic from Shopping campaign types, it is intended to run alongside your Search, Display, and YouTube Campaigns. They are designed to be less cannibalistic in these scenarios.

When running a search campaign alongside Performance Max, Google will first try to serve ads from the search campaigns.

Ginny Marvin said:

“If the keyword is identical to the query (or spelled correct), the search will be prioritized. Otherwise, prioritization is based on ad rank. The keyword must be eligible.

The key here is “eligibility”.

If an advertiser tried a keyword without success and removed or added it as a negative keyword in their search campaign, the Performance Max campaign can still decide to show an ad for it.

The search campaign was not eligible to run an ad, so the Performance Max campaign filled with incremental traffic.

The decision to intervene depends on its belief that incremental impressions can lead the advertiser to achieve its stated goal at the specified target.

And that leads to our next lesson.

4. Reporting Accurate Conversion Data at Peak Performance Results in Higher Quality Conversions

Google says Performance Max is primarily a performance-oriented type of campaign with conversion goals as the target. Like any automation, it makes informed decisions based on the conversion data you feed into the system.

So when setting up a Performance Max campaign, be sure to report the type of conversions that matter to your business.

Instead of calling a lead a conversion, consider only reporting a conversion when a lead is qualified or when it converts to a sale.

In the case of e-commerce, consider not only reporting sales, but also using conversion adjustments to account for returns and repeat purchases which can affect the lifetime value of a new customer.

Google recently introduced enhanced conversions for leads, making reporting high-quality conversion data easier than ever.

5. You can’t allocate specific budgets to channels

In a Performance Max campaign, you cannot allocate budgets to specific channels yourself.

But Google’s machine learning dynamically takes care of it in real time across all channels. It tries to optimize for your stated goal and prioritizes the channels that best help it achieve that goal.

According to Google, manually allocating budgets limits Google’s ability to use its machine learning powers.

If you manually set monthly budgets on specific channels, you’re essentially going back to regular search, display, and other campaigns that may already be running in your account.

But don’t forget the trick of selectively submitting resources to a Performance Max campaign to control which channels it can serve ads on. This, along with running multiple Performance Max campaigns, can restore some control.

Ultimately, ask yourself why you want this control, though.

Andrew Lolk said in another episode of PPC Town Hall that when advertisers demand control, they often really mean they want actionable insights.

Advertisers are happy when automation generates good results, but frustrated when they can’t explain those results to customers and offer strategic advice.

Google promises to create more insights for Performance Max campaigns.

6. You can optimize to attract new customers using the new customer acquisition feature

A complaint of another type of automated campaign, Smart Buys, was that it sometimes prioritized remarketing and took credit for converting someone already in your pipeline, perhaps due to a non-PPC effort like SEO.

In these cases, the automated campaign may overstate its own usefulness and do a poor job of growing a business with new customers.

You can avoid this by telling Google to focus on new customers and sharing your first-party data on who your existing customers are.

And to help, Google has released a beta version of the new customer acquisition goal through which you can optimize new customer acquisition and maximize performance for this audience segment.

To access it now, you can contact your Google Ads representative or wait for the imminent public launch of this new feature.

7. Account-level negative targeting is supported

While Google doesn’t want advertisers to micromanage targeting, Performance Max campaigns will respect negative keywords and account-level negative placements.

Some advertisers have said that it can be beneficial to exclude unwanted geographic locations, or at the very least think very carefully about parameters such as whether you are targeting physical locations or places of interest.

Automation can make a lot of guesswork to find new pockets of conversions, but waste a lot of money in the process.

When you’ve already tried certain keywords, locations, or location targets and found them not to work, use the exclusion features to disallow the automation from retesting those items at your expense.


Performance Max campaigns show a lot of potential for advertisers, but they’re radically different from the other campaign types we’re more familiar with in Google Ads.

A whole new set of best practices will evolve as more advertisers try out this new type of campaign.

But until then, we’re learning all we can by asking Google questions and listening to digital marketers who’ve dabbled in Performance Max before.

Watch the full April 13, 2022 episode of the PPC Town Hall for more:

More resources:

Featured Image: Sammby/Shutterstock

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