Understanding Google’s Performance Max Campaigns

Earlier this month, Google rolled out a new campaign type, Performance Max, to all advertisers worldwide. Next year, Smart Shopping and Local campaigns will upgrade to become Performance campaigns, which makes now the perfect time to review how these campaigns work and if they’re right for your account.

Performance Max campaigns were first launched to a limited audience last year as a new way to buy Google ads across YouTube, Display, Search, Discover, Gmail and Maps from a single campaign.

Let’s take a closer look at this new campaign type.

What are Performance Max Campaigns?

Performance Max campaigns allow you to promote your products or services across the Google Network by creating one easy-to-manage campaign. It uses machine learning models to optimize bids and placements to drive conversions or conversion value for your goals, but you provide important inputs like audience signals, and high-quality text, images, and video that can significantly improve your campaign performance.

How To Set Up A Performance Max Campaign

Performance Max will show as a campaign type selection if your advertising objective is “Sales”, “Leads”, or “Local store visits and promotions”.

After you select your campaign’s objective, you’ll select Performance Max as your campaign type.

performance max campaign

You’ll set a budget for your campaign, but the bidding method will either be “maximize for conversions” or “maximize for conversion value”. Then, you’ll add all of your assets to create your asset group.

performance max assets

Your assets will automatically be assembled into all applicable formats and show the most relevant ad creative. You can use the ad preview editor to see possible creative asset combinations.

You can also add audience signals to your campaign that help Google Ads automation optimize for your selected goals.

audience signals

You should note however that Performance Max may show ads to relevant audiences outside of your signals if they have a strong likelihood of converting to help you meet your performance goals.

When To Use Performance Max

Performance Max campaigns are not a substitute for search campaigns. In my opinion, search campaigns where you have control over the keywords you are bidding on will target your most relevant audience, but Performance Max campaigns can be a good complement to other campaign types in your ad account

Performance Max campaigns work best when you want to maximize the performance of your campaign, and aren’t limited by which channel your ads appear on. It also works well for advertisers who don’t have a lot of time to manually manage their ads and want to easily access all of Google’s advertising channels using a single campaign.

As with any type of automated campaign though, I recommend keeping a close eye on performance especially the first few weeks after launching. It can be easy to set it and forget it only to realize a month or two later that you’ve spent a lot of money and not seen much in return.