Updated on November 29, 2023 | 6 minute read
What is Performance Max?
What are the benefits of Performance Max?
Performance Max features
What are the cons of Performance Max?
When should you use Performance Max?
Performance Max vs Smart Shopping
Google Performance Max campaigns have replaced Smart Shopping entirely for businesses, and there are many questions surrounding what it is and how it works. What exactly are the benefits of Performance Max, what kind of advertiser should be using it, and can it help boost online sales?
Let's delve into the details of Performance Max and shed some light on this offering from Google.
Performance Max is a goal-based campaign type with the aim of letting advertisers increase conversions across Google’s range of advertising channels. This includes Search, Display, Discover, Maps, Gmail, and YouTube. This allows retailers to increase their presence across different ad formats.
Advertisers will set their own conversion goals to then be used by the automated bidding technology.
This campaign type promises more conversions by optimizing ad performance in real-time and across all channels using Smart Bidding, Google’s AI-driven automated bidding, which is used in Smart Shopping campaigns.
Advertisers upload various assets appropriate to each channel, like images and video, and Google’s machine learning approach then tests which combinations work best for your campaigns. The intention is to have single-campaign optimization across all advertising platforms. Targeting for these campaigns is based on Audience Signals, and is also dependent on your bid strategy.
Google’s new campaign type promises advantages over other offerings.
Performance Max hopes to increase online leads and conversions through the automated optimization of budget and bids across all Google platforms. This could be more efficient than a generic search campaign.
With Google’s real-time data on shopper intent and preferences, Performance Max can help you discover new audience segments that you might’ve been unaware of. This can help you get your ads in front of more interested shoppers.
This new campaign type relies on creative assets supplied by advertisers. That means you can create assets that best suit your audience of shoppers, helping you take control of your ad campaigns.
As of February 23rd 2023, Google introduced some new features to Performance Max campaigns, with plans to roll out further features in the near future.
Here are the features that you can take advantage of:
Much like Smart Shopping campaigns, Performance Max operates as a ‘black box’. While you get results on top-performing audiences, you don’t receive all the data that could be used to reach conclusive results to accurately inform campaign optimization.
The ability to have single-campaign optimization across all Google advertising channels is definitely a plus, but you gain almost no visibility on channel-specific performance and how the assets you provide are utilized. This makes it difficult to enact meaningful change to your campaigns or see how each channel is performing.
Since there’s no channel-specific performance for advertisers, you can’t be sure that your campaigns aren’t cannibalizing your other campaigns.
Unfortunately, Google hasn’t implemented any device modifiers and there isn’t any device-specific data on performance given to advertisers. This makes it hard to test campaigns to their fullest, and you have no way of comparing desktop and mobile.
Performance Max would work well for advertisers looking to appear on all of Google’s advertising platforms, with the ability to access all of this from a single campaign.
It’s also a good option for in-house advertisers, possibly for smaller businesses, looking to set up a simple Google campaign without needing to delve too much into strategy.
Given the drawbacks mentioned above, Performance Max doesn’t offer established retailers the same opportunities for growth as other campaign management options. Advertisers using Google’s automated bidding could miss out on valuable campaign data and may find it harder to compete within their market.
For those using Google Smart Shopping, existing campaigns will be automatically converted to Performance Max campaigns in September 2022.
Performance Max is set to replace Google Smart Shopping by the end of Q3 2022. Advertisers who haven’t already made the switch will automatically have their Smart Shopping campaigns converted to Performance Max campaigns.
Unlike Smart Shopping, Performance Max campaigns cover Google Maps and Discover platforms, giving your ads more visibility.
This new campaign type will have the same foundational features as Smart Shopping but will build on inventory and data insights given to advertisers, while still not giving advertisers access to all campaign data.
Since this new campaign type still doesn’t offer users full transparency and access to data, Performance Max may still not be the best option for retailers looking to fully optimize their advertising efforts.
If you’re looking for an automated solution to Google Shopping management with a human touch and a commitment to transparent data, book a demo with one of our specialists today.
Tom is a Content Marketing Executive, producing content and case studies to simplify the Google Shopping experience, and help our clients discover if Google Shopping is the right channel for them. With an MA in English Literature, Tom has a passion for writing and sharing information with the masses.