Performance Max – Google’s new campaign type

In January 2022, Google announced their latest campaign type for Google Ads, Performance Max. As the name suggests, it is a campaign that can give your account a proper boost on Google by using the same algorithm, first-party data and good creators.

By combining these three elements, your advertising from Google Ads will have the best conditions to get the best results.

Performance Max is a campaign type that gives the advertiser access to the full range of tools in Google Ads through a single campaign.

Performance Max is designed to compliment your search campaigns by finding converting customers across all Google channels: YouTube, Display, Search, Discover, G-mail, and Maps.

Performance Max

Performance Max helps you achieve more conversions and more value by combining Google’s algorithms with data that complements machine learning.

The idea behind this type of campaign is that it should be easy for you as an advertiser to get started.

Google needs to know who the target audience is. This must be combined with the data that is available as well as the creatives that suit the target groups. If Google gets the information, machine learning will do the rest. That way, you can potentially achieve better results than before.

Is that really true?

Performance Max is relatively new and the initial results look promising. The type of campaign has its advantages and disadvantages, which this article will highlight.

Performance Max has an impact on your advertising. If you currently use Smart Shopping campaigns and / or Local campaigns, these will be phased out and upgraded to Performance Max between April and September 2022.

The official end date for Smart Shopping and Local Campaigns is at the time of writing until September 2022, but it is expected to take effect earlier on your Google Ads account as Google rolls out these updates on an ongoing basis.

Initially, it will be possible to use Google’s one-click-upgrade ‘tool, which will help you transform your existing smart shopping and local campaigns into Performance Max with a single click.

This process will take about 24 hours. Once this is over, you will have access to your historical data. If you do not start using this tool yourself, Google will automatically update during September 2022.

At present, only two campaign types are being taken over by Performance Max.

But who knows what the future will bring?

We recommend that you gradually start testing the various options in Performance Max right now.

Do you have a question about changes to standard Google Shopping? The answer is short for now: This type of campaign remains unchanged.


If you are already familiar with the Google Ads platform, and have recently created a new campaign, you will not be greeted by many surprises. As usual, you choose a goal for your campaign and what type of campaign you want to create. Here you will now have the option to select Performance Max.

Performance Max - Setup

The new thing in this process is that you now have to add Audience Signals. Here you can create different audiences that you want to hit with your campaigns. These can be broken down in many different ways based on the needs you have for your campaign. Going forward, Google will use machine learning to better reach your chosen audiences.

Once you’ve created your audiences, it’s time to create your ads. It’s very similar to setting up responsive ads you know. You can read more about the required requirements from Google here.

performance max-asset-groups

NOTE: If you have a Performance Max campaign, a Smart Shopping or a Local Campaign running at the same time and there is an overlap in the products or creatives, then Performance Max will be prioritized by Google. As long as there is no overlap, there is no problem.

Examples of target groups:

  • Remarketing audience: All visitors without conversions
  • New customers men: Demographic setting: Men + relevant interest
  • New customers women: Demographic setting: Women + relevant interest

Here are a few tips for you:

  • Customize your creative elements (images, video, and text) to fit your audience. If you want to advertise to women interested in women’s clothing, there is no need to show menswear etc.
  • If your audiences have different goals (lead vs. sales), you can create a new Performance Max campaign so that one campaign focuses on sales and the other on leads with appropriate messages for each.
  • Have as many creative elements ready in advance as possible. If you have three audiences that you would like to advertise to, make sure you have unique elements for each audience; texts, pictures and possibly video. Google can automatically create a video based on your images, but the result is not always optimal.

What can you expect from Performance Max?

Be aware that Performance Max is not necessarily a miraculous solution that will get your ad account to give you the best performance that will easily give your campaigns new revenue records.

Automation and machine learning are the primary factors here. Google’s massive amount of data and Performance Max make it easier to reach the right audiences with the right ad types. Whether they’re on G-mail, YouTube, Maps, or search ads, Performance Max makes sure your target audience is exposed to your messages.

For the best conditions for successful Performance Max campaigns, a well-crafted well spent: proper setup of tracking, conversion and business goals, audiences, budgets, well-crafted landing pages with clear call-to-actions.

These factors will play a significant role in the initial setup of your Performance Max campaign. It’s the kind of basic work that will make it possible to get the most out of your advertising dollars. Of course, this advice also applies to all other campaigns.

In addition, be aware of limitations that may play a role such as; CPA goals, ROAS goals, geographic location, audience, demographics and budgets. A limitation is not always a negative thing, but typically Google’s machine learning requires some freedom in order to learn the right combinations to use to hit the right people.

Therefore, it is also important that you do not conclude on the results of your Performance Max campaign too soon – even if the result looks positive.
The longer your campaign is active, the more data it can collect. Subsequently, you can make optimizations to achieve your goals and thus you can make a better assessment of its results.

Typical Errors – Performance Max Traps

  • You provide automation incomplete goals

You have to imagine that automation in PPC is the newest member of your team. When you have a new employee, it is important to inform those concerned about the most important goals and how this is to be achieved. The same goes for Google.

If you tell Google you want leads, you’ll probably get a lot of leads. But that in itself is not the ultimate goal. You want leads that convert, so it’s important to pass on the correct information. The more information, the better the results.

  • Your product feed is not properly optimized

You sell a lot of things and your stores are in a lot of different locations. You can choose to upload this data to Google. Subsequently, Google uses information from your feed to match it up against a search.

This may mean that if you have a deficient product feed with irrelevant texts and poor quality images, then Google chooses to show your competitors’ ads instead.

If, on the other hand, you have a feed that is informative to Google machine learning and relevant to those who perform the search, then you will be able to see a boost in your advertising.

  • You do not use first-party data

We live in a time where third-party cookies are coming out and it is becoming even harder to identify points in the customer journey. Thus, first-party data will play a greater role in the future. If you have a list of existing customers, you can choose to upload this to Google to optimize your existing targeting.

Among other things, this list can be used for re+marketing, but also for finding similar people, i.e potential new customers. These lists can also be used on other platforms to find a better match between ad and customer.

  • Your texts do not capture the user’s attention

If you have previously worked with advertising on social media, then a good rule of thumb is to create content that captures the attention of your target audience. You can do this by using creative texts or a picture / video. Here, the goal is to create a need for a product or service.

However, Google works a little differently. When people use Google, their search arises based on an existing need and the more information you can offer in your ad about your product / service, the more relevant clicks you will get from your users. Relevant clicks will typically also mean a higher conversion rate.

Optimization of Performance Max

If you say yes to this campaign, there are automatically some things you say no to as well. Some of the things you say no to, among other things, are data insights that have previously been available.

At the moment, Performance Max is a bit of a lack black box and it’s complicated to judge what has worked well or badly in this campaign.

The only optimization options available now are an indication from Google, which marks your headline as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ for your image, headline or video. If your item has a bad status, replace it with another, such as. could fit better. You may already know this from the responsive search ads.

It’s a very “hands-free” type of campaign where all you have to do is switch your creatives and keep scaling it up if ROI / ROAS allows it.

Machine vs. human being

We are in a situation where Google offers some unique automation options for the advertiser that can improve one’s performance and help a business achieve the set business goals.

This means that we are partly letting go of some of the control we have had in the past to end up with a better result. To achieve the good result, it still requires that man and machine work together.

Google cannot magically give you good results. Here, the machines are still limited, as they can not know what the company’s business goals are and also not only make the most optimal creative elements. They are getting better and better, but have not taken over yet.

As time changes in Google Ads, we see a trend that Google Ads specialists no longer need to be as technical as before. The work will be more visual and creative in the future, as Google takes care of most technical things.

We therefore recommend that it is better to be at the forefront of the upcoming change and start testing as soon as possible with the Performance Max campaigns, as the changes will happen sooner or later.

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