Manager, Demand Generation

Group Media Director

Work Smarter, Not Harder: Rise’s Guide to Performance Max

With a new installment of Google Marketing Live comes a slew of exciting product announcements. One of the most intriguing announcements from this year’s event was the professed intention to make Performance Max campaigns a highly-integral part of the GoogleAds ecosystem. While we understand that some marketers may be apprehensive about this campaign shift and relinquishing some control to Google’s machine learning algorithms, at Rise we believe that, when applied properly, these new campaigns can offer plenty of benefits.

For those less familiar, the premise of Performance Max is that this new goal-based campaign type will leverage Google’s machine learning algorithm to place and optimize ads across a variety of different Google channels (think: YouTube, Display, Gmail, etc.). This takes the guesswork out of deciding which of your GoogleAds placements most-deserves your next marketing dollar. However, what makes this new campaign type especially different is that all ad types, messages, creatives, placements, etc. within this campaign are competing against each other for the title of “best performer”, which allows for new ad combinations to be discovered.

Performance Max does remove the need for many manual day-to-day optimizations, making campaign strategy and set-up that much more important. With Performance Max, marketers can leverage automation for: 

  • Automatically increasing brand visibility across placements and audiences that have not been tested yet.
  • Discovering image, video, and text assets (and combinations of each) that resonate best across Google placements.
  • Expanding reach in search beyond manually built-out keywords.
  • Optimizing toward multiple business goals with ease.

The above scenarios are all possible as a result of enhanced machine learning automation, but with Performance Max, it’s not all automation, all the time. Performance Max is designed to supplement advertisers’ manual campaigns— meaning it serves on all of Google’s inventory— but allows the robust search campaign structure you have already built out in your account to still take hierarchical precedence over its automation in most instances. For example:

  • In a Search campaign, Exact Match keywords will always take precedence over a Performance Max campaign; for Broad and Phrase Match, whichever campaign (Performance Max or any of the aforementioned) that has the highest ad rank will take precedence.
  • In a Smart Shopping campaign, Performance Max will take precedence over Shopping, Local Inventory, or Dynamic Display Remarketing ads, but for all other Display ads, the campaign with the highest ad rank will take precedence.
  • In a Standard Shopping campaign, both a Shopping Ad on Search/Shopping and a Shopping Ad on Search Partners will favor a Performance Max campaign; however, for Shopping Ads on gMail or YouTube, whichever campaign has the highest ad rank will take precedence.
  • In a Display campaign without a feed, whichever campaign has the highest ad rank will take precedence over Performance Max.
  • In a Display campaign with a feed, a Dynamic Remarketing campaign will always favor Performance Max, but for all other Display ad types, whichever campaign has the highest ad rank will take precedence.
  • For Video, Discovery, and Local campaigns, whichever campaign has the highest ad rank will take precedence over Performance Max.

In addition to these campaign-specific preferences, Performance Max does currently allow users to configure geo-targeting, time-parting and brand safety measures, like negative placements and landing page targets (for advertisers using Final URL expansion), with additional features expected to be released later this year. Additionally, Google has created a Performance Max Optimization Experiment that allows advertisers to see the impact of running a Performance Max campaign alongside existing campaigns. Later this year, additional experiment types, like channel-specific impact and geo-experiments, are expected to be released.

Now that we’ve made it through the basics, here is how Rise recommends getting started with Performance Max:

1. Ensure your account has functional and accurate conversion tracking that aligns with the goals of the upcoming campaigns.

Having things like data-driven attribution, enhanced conversions, and more robust conversion values in place will improve the quality of optimizations and set your account up for success.

2. Segment and define your campaigns based on target audiences and goals.

Think: Which product lines/service lines/personas are different enough in their offerings, structure, needs, etc. that they warrant different messages from other creative groupings? To highlight different messages, consider leveraging separate asset groups or campaigns.

3. Create a few different asset variations (images, videos, text headlines) for each segmented campaign and set up distinct ad groups to test combinations.

Each element should be able to function independently, regardless of which ad format or creative gets “assigned” to which message via machine learning insights (this is why a segmented audience structure is so important!).

4. Plan for sufficient funding and let the automation run for at least 4-6 weeks before evaluating and making changes.

Machine learning, like any other kind, has a learning curve; therefore, fidgeting with the campaign during this time will hinder or delay meaningful learnings. If Target Efficiency (CPA or ROAS) will be used, ensure that daily budgets have ~5x the efficiency to test with. For smaller budgets, consider a more open-ended Maximize Conversions test to start with.

5. Focus on creative quality.

After the initial ramp-up period, review asset reports and replace all low-quality assets. Leverage Consumer Interest, Audience and Auction insights to help guide new creatives for testing.

Once you’ve got your Performance Max campaign(s) set up using the above process, get ready to reap the benefits! Here are a couple of key results you could enjoy via this campaign’s usage:

  • A deep understanding of which of your creatives are most likely to drive value (and revenue!) with your target audiences.
  • An increase in incremental conversions, made possible by expanding the reach of your brand across Google properties.

If you’re ready to take the guesswork out of maximizing your GoogleAds campaign performance, contact Rise today.

07/13/2022 at 09:16