In 2021, Performance Max (PMax) was launched as a new automated campaign type along with many new updates to Google Ads since then. The campaigns are designed to improve your advertising strategy through the power of automation and machine learning. Performance Max primarily aims to help you drive conversions efficiently than traditional campaign types..
So, What are Performance Max Campaigns?
Performance Max is the first fully automated campaign type that promises to streamline advertising, especially for newbie advertisers. Performance Max campaigns are automated through fees to Google and allows you to access to all of Google’s ad inventory within one campaign and very little effort. Google will run and test creatives on every channel to meet your goals, whether it’s YouTube, Shopping, Search, Maps, or Gmail.
When should you use Performance Max Campaigns?
Performance Max is great for a set it and forget situation because it streamlines campaign creation, media, copy, etc. and allows full optimization through Google’s algorithms and AI tools. It’s easy to use, easy to launch and easy to manage. But, all of that comes at a cost, meaning, you have to give up the control you previously had. And, that might not be a bad thing, especially if you are an SMB and don’t really have the time or teams to to build out campaigns. That said, if you feel like you are generating better metrics and results with a more hands on approach you might skip PMAX campaigns. Our Google Ads Management team has seen a mixture of both positive and negative results when switching over to to PMAX.
According to Google, advertisers using Performance Max campaigns can see an average increase of 13% in conversions at the same or lower cost per conversion. And, they have case studies to back up the claims like MoneyMe’s test of Performance Max to reach potential customers across a variety of channels and after six weeks they saw the following results:
- A 22% boost in conversions
- A growth of more than $800K in revenue from newly funded loans
- A 20% reduction in the overall Credit Processing and Audits across the account.
And, they also released a case study around Vodafone using performance max to increase customer leads that you can see on their website. So, it’s obvious that there are cases where it does work and we have seen similar successes with some of the clients we’ve worked with. Again though, every product, brand, services is different and you need to test to really understand if it will or won’t work for your business.
The verdict is truly still out on this and I would advise to test and figure out if it works for your company/brand, your audience, and your product or service. It might be wise to run Performance Max side-by-side with your core campaigns and operate with a test budget to find which is performance best. They do not utilize keywords and only relying on them will jeopardize the reach of your campaigns and how they perform.
Should I use Performance Max Campaigns:
You might not see results right away, just like any other PPC marketing campaign, you have to test and iterate to see whether or not Performance Max and leveraging Google’s machine learning to drive your search marketing is the way to go.
Plan to test and explore the automated advertising campaign to see if it works with your company’s goals and objectives.
If you are small business owner and you don’t really have time to build out campaign types and manage bids, it might be a really quick and easy way to run advertising.
Advantages of Performance Max:
- Easy to launch and easy to manage/maintain.
- Easily upload all your creative assets, copy, and media in one place and it’s algorithm and AI will do all the heavy lifting for you.
- You are short on time and don’t have the know-how to optimize Google Ads campaigns.
- You can’t afford and agency or are too small for an agency to manage your ad budget.
- You want to improve the performance of your campaigns without worrying about the channels
- You plan to make your PPC advertising strategy simpler with a single campaign and access all of Google’s ad inventory in one campaign that is easy to manage.
All these reasons make Performance Max Campaigns a strong suit for certain types of advertisers. Performance Max can offer success to pretty much any industry if specific goals are set when launching a campaign. Focusing on a specific product or offer, rather than your brand as a whole will show positive results.
Disadvantages of Performance Max:
- It is heavily weighted on the creative, so if you don’t have good creative, you are leveraging Google’s ad inventory in the wrong way and should focus on search/text ads.
- Lack of control can lead to inefficient ad spend through Google’s AI. There really is no bid management here and you are leaving it completely up to Google.
- While it has gotten better over time, there is a lack of reporting and transparency into what is being advertised, where, how, etc. and I find that not knowing really reduces the feedback loop to be able to provide better creative or needs for Google’s AI to optimize better.
If you are a seasoned performance marketer and you have a lot of experience with Google Ads, you might not find the campaign type to be appealing because of the reasons above. Again, testing and trying out these campaigns is the only way to really know.
Performance Max is a game changer if Google can work out all the keeps and truly leverage their AI and machine learning capabilities to drive better performance for advertisers. This is especially true for SMBs who rarely have the time or ability to optimize all sorts of campaigns, come up with new creative, edit copy, and do day-to-day bid management. By making sure you are tracking and testing Google campaigns on a regular basis you can see how Performance Max campaigns perform relative to traditional campaign types and then make your judgement and figure out how to move forward.