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Everything we know about Google’s maximum effectiveness campaigns

Everything we know about Google's maximum effectiveness campaigns

With Google announcing that the Performance Max campaign would receive a broader rollout, there have been many questions about what Performance Max is, how it compares to other campaigns, and how it works. The goal of this post is to answer the frequently asked questions and help advertisers prepare.

What is Performance Max?

The main difference between Performance Max and other campaigns is that Google automates the targeting and delivery of the campaign based on the information provided by the advertiser.

Performance Max is an automated type of campaign that is reminiscent of (but still slightly different from) a smart campaign.

Google automates the creation of ads, but only based on the assets provided, similar to the way responsive display ads work.

You can also find some similarities between Performance Max and social campaigns in the sense that it runs across multiple placements using dynamic ad formats and in the fact that audience and placement performance reporting is limited.


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Which network is running maximum performance?

Performance Max campaigns are eligible to run across the entire Google inventory, which is very different from other Google campaign types. Performance Max campaigns can work on any of the placements filled by search, display, YouTube, Gmail, and Discovery campaigns.

What options and controls do I have with Performance Max?

When you create a Performance Max campaign, you choose your goal. Depending on your goals, it is possible to link product feeds and store locations.

Budget and bidding

Then you set your budget and choose how your bidding strategy. Note that the bidding strategy options include maximum conversions and maximum values, but you can also set a maximum CPA or a target value / conversion so you can leverage target CPA and target ROAS strategies.

Location, language, ad scheduling

Next, you choose your locations. Currently, Performance Max is not supported by the Google Ads editor, so targeting is more tedious than most campaigns. If you have many locations to include, you can select “enter another location”, which is then expanded to include a blank space and an “advanced search” link. Click the “Advanced Search” link to import bulk placements.


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You can then choose your language, ad schedule, campaign dates,

Advanced URL settings

The URL settings are important. By default, Google defines its own final URLs unless you disable this option. If you allow Google to send traffic to the links it deems appropriate, you also have the option to exclude links.

You can also add tracking templates.

Setting up “asset groups” AKA ads

You will then be instructed to create an “asset group”, which is actually an ad that corresponds to a responsive display asset. This “asset group” is called an asset group because it acts as an asset for all platforms. Advertisers can create multiple “asset groups”.

Inform the automated targeting

Each campaign has only one set of targeting (so no ad groups). You can select audiences to help provide insight into who Google should target. Google notes, “Your ads will automatically show to people who are most likely to convert to your goals. You can speed up the optimization by giving the audience signals. “What this means is that your campaigns may not only be delivered to these audiences. Rather, Google looks at the audience you are signaling. They use this data to identify similar consumers who are likely to exhibit the same behaviors and interests.

Setting up ad extensions

Finally, you add your extensions. You can choose to use existing account-level sub-page link extensions or select and create specific sub-page links for Performance Max campaigns. The campaign will suggest extension formats based on your goals. For example, if your primary goal includes lead generation, the campaign will suggest you create a lead form extension. You can also add structured snippets, price extensions, promotion extensions, info extensions, and call extensions.


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What do Performance Max reports include?

Performance reporting has been recognized as a shortcoming. At Google Marketing Livestream, it was announced that advertisers’ feedback had been heard regarding transparency reporting and that Google would take steps to improve transparency within Google Max campaigns.

It is not clear exactly what reporting will look like in the future, so I share my experience with reporting in its current format.

Reporting in its current form is limited. Advertisers can report on campaign performance as a whole, just like any other campaign. The division is where it loses transparency.

First, the things you can do:

Advertisers can report on top-level campaign performance Ads can report on placement performance (and if a chain is advertised, the store report is available based on address extensions) Advertisers can report performance by day of the week, day of the week and day and hour combined.

Now for the things you can not report on.

Although you can add multiple asset groups (ads), it is not possible to report performance by asset group. So, for example, currently on the display, you can report performance after responsive display ad, but you can not divide this performance by individual asset in a meaningful way. With Performance Max, you can not even take the first step in dividing performance by asset group (ad).


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There is also no information regarding targeting. Keep in mind that the targeted parameters provided are used as indicators to identify other potential consumers in the market, so the delivered target groups will not necessarily be used as targets, but rather used as a means of identifying qualifiers and indicators to help. to find other probable prospects. At the end of the day, there is no way to tell who saw your ad – no audience reporting, no keyword reporting, no demographic reporting, etc. This also means that it is not possible to add exclusions for these things.

Advertisers cannot report or exclude device performance.

Since I did not associate a product feed, I am unable to comment on product-level performance reporting.

How does Performance Max perform?

Let me start by saying that I have been one of the beta testers for Performance Max, so I share insights from my own experience. Mileage may vary.

In my experience, the Performance Max campaigns maintained a CPL 21.4% less than our non-brand search campaigns, which were completely maximized with unlimited budgets. CPL was also approx. 22% less than display, which tends to work really well for this particular account. We eventually increased their total month conversions by approx. 5% using Performance Max and it was with limited budgets so there is still some room to push more volume.


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It doesn’t seem to cannibalize search, but neither the Performance Max nor the Display campaigns were maximized, so I do not have a good sense of how the inventory switched between these two channels.

I would qualify these results by saying that this is an account that drives a lot of volume. Automation works really well here, presumably because of the amount of data that comes through. Still, performance ultimately seems positive.

Because it takes a while for leads to close for this account, we’re still waiting to see how lead quality compares to other channels.

In addition to the results of my own accounts, Google shared a MoneyMe case study on ThinkWithGoogle, citing a 22% increase in conversions, more than $ 800,000 in revenue from refinanced loans, and a 20% reduction in total cross-account CPA.

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