In today’s world, automation is at the centre of every digital advance. In the digital marketing world, algorithms and marketing automation tools are becoming more and more powerful and essential for online advertising. With this in mind, comes the need for data: the more data you can feed the algorithm, the better performances you will get. And this is where Google puts its foot in the door with Performance Max campaigns. The main goal of this feature is to gather a maximum of data to generate better results and maximise the performances, as stated in its name. Unfortunately, this means for us to have less of a view on what and how the algorithm actually works, and it becomes a black blox for the users of this channel.
So what is Performance Max?
To make it short, Performance Max campaign is a gathering of all other types of campaigns that Google offers: Display, Youtube, Shopping, Search, Discovery and Local campaigns. They are thus eligible to run on all placements of Google’s inventory. Whilst other Google’s are usually built like this: campaign > ad groups > ads, Performance max campaigns are not built that way, as ad groups and ads have been removed from that structure. Instead, asset groups were added, and they are assembling all of the different assets needed to run the campaign such as images, videos, headlines or descriptions. In this article, you can find the details to start setting up the campaign.
Although increasingly used, Performance Max campaigns are still a big black box. Google does not share most of the insights we used to have for other types of campaigns. Which creatives are performing the best? Which placement are we appearing the most on, Display or Search? What audience is converting the most? Those are all questions that you cannot have an answer to anymore, and it is likely that some of those will stay unanswered. Nonetheless, it is important to empower this black box, and give it sufficient signal to be able to perform. In this article, you can find more information about how to empower and nourish the algorithm.
Targeting has grown to another level
Another feature that appeared with Performance max are Audience Signals. As mentioned before, automation is becoming the norm, and with that comes automated targeting. Audience signals are not an audience target, but they could be defined more as a suggestion from the advertiser to Google, to indicate who could be the right target. The algorithm will then take this into account when looking for the best fitted viewers.
How to use them? Google suggests regrouping your audience signal into the same asset group, but as mentioned above, little to no insight is given for those campaigns. If you want to be able to analyse which audience signal is performing the best, it is suggested to divide them into separate asset groups.
What are the pro’s and con’s of Pmax campaigns?
- The pros of using Performance Max, as stated in the naming, is mainly to increase the performance of our campaign.
- Google states that by switching to Pmax campaigns, impressive results and an increase in conversion value can be achieved. That is, if the campaign is set-up properly.
- It is also very easy to use for novice users.
There is one main one, and it is that the control we have over the campaign, as well as the insights are really limited. Although the control can be understandable, as letting the algorithm run without interfering is the main point of this new type of campaign, the lack of insights has been quite criticised. Google has stated that they have heard the feedback of the advertisers and that this will be ameliorate. It has already improved and we see new features appearing, but in the meantime it is still quite narrow.
What insight do we have?
- Reporting is available at campaign level, but not at asset group or assets level.
- In the “Insight” level of your campaign, you can see different observations that are shared such as some search terms or the performances of some targeting groups.
- For the search terms, we currently have a view on the search volume, as well as the conversion value.
- For the targeting group, we have a view on the share of conversions.
Important to know that those observations are only available for the last 7 or 28 days, it is thus not possible to look back at them more than 28 days after the campaign has ended.
Should you use Performance Max?
After knowing a bit more about what Performance Max campaigns are, the pros, the cons and what it entails, should you test this new type of campaign? We believe that yes, you should, but use it properly, to benefit from the pros and don’t let the algorithm dictate everything, to minimise the cons. Although not yet officially stated, we are heading towards a unification of types of campaigns. There’s a possibility that we will soon only have one type of campaign, that would be regrouping all of the different types of ads and placement, and we won’t have the choice to run only Search or Video campaigns for example. So our advice would be to jump on the wagon sooner than later, to get familiar with those.