What Is a Performance Max Campaign?

what is a performance max campaign

If you have been in the marketing game for a while, you have probably heard about Performance Max, even if you don’t know the details. What is a Performance Max campaign? And is it a good strategy for your business? 

As an automated targeted ad campaign, Performance Max uses the information that you provide to gain the attention of your ideal audience. Similar to a Smart campaign, Performance Max creates responsive ads across all areas of Google, including Search, Gmail, Youtube, and even Maps. The similarity to other campaigns gives PMax a familiar feeling, but its unique features garner a fresh feel to inspire and enhance your marketing efforts.

In this post, Bear North Digital, an e-commerce PPC agency based in Oxford, MS, explains how and when you might want to use Performance Max in your future marketing campaigns. We’ve helped clients worldwide increase ROI by improving their digital marketing strategies. Why not let us help you build that dominant growth your operation needs over a free strategy call?

Providing Assets for Your Performance Max Campaign

Performance Max needs a considerable amount of information in order to create effective ads for a target audience. The more data you can provide, the better the automated targeting result these campaigns will churn out. However, if there are information gaps when PMax creates your ads, it will fill in the blanks itself, and that’s the last thing you want.

Here are a handful of the components you need to submit for a successful campaign:

  • Preferred budget
  • Audience signals (first-party lists)
  • CTAs, images, and video assets 
  • Conversion goals
  • Target locations

If you have trouble with any of these assets, don’t let it worry you to the point of immobilization. Working alongside a professional marketing company like Bear North Digital will lessen your workload. It will also take the guesswork out of launching a winning Performance Max campaign for the first time.

Using Performance Max As Your Only Campaign Type

Even though Performance Max is an in-depth campaign type, it should not be your only method of advertising for the best results. PMax works best as a supplement to other successful efforts. 

Scenarios in which Performance Max might be a good choice for you include the following:

  • Budget. You have the budget to invest in a per-day campaign that reaches new clients outside of your typical demographic and builds brand awareness.
  • Scope. You have many avenues to explore but no fleshed-out marketing team or time to invest in optimizing a marketing campaign for each one individually.
  • Growth. Your business has outgrown its current geo market and wants to expand its horizons within your state, country, or even globally. 

What is a Performance Max campaign key takeaway? It is a great option for generating leads and driving more interested parties through your online sales funnel. However, this only works when used in conjunction with an existing marketing strategy.

Controlling URL Expansion with Exclusions

If you are familiar with dynamic ad group campaigns, you know that leveraging URL expansion can send different landing pages to your target audience. The result is that a prospective customer may end up seeing a landing page that is not your final URL. You can also choose ad targets so that an audience views the specific landing page you want them to see.

If you decide to use Performance Max, take everything you know about setting ad targets and throw it out of the window! PMax works in the opposite way—excluding those landing pages that you don’t want to appear in your campaign. For example, you can enter individual URLs to prevent specific pages from showing up during your campaign.

Elevating Your Campaign with Assets

Google Ads needs a deep well of creative assets in order to create ads that convert. One major way Performance Max differs from other Display campaigns is that it requires a video asset. And if you don’t provide one, the platform will create one from its collection of templates.

An automatically generated video will not have the personal touch that motivates your audience to begin their buying journey. But you don’t have to spend hundreds on creating a video asset if it’s not within your budget right now. Websites like Canva offer free templates to help you create seamless video assets with your own copy and images.

If this is your first time using a video asset, you may not realize that you have to upload a video asset to YouTube in order for Google to use it in your campaign. If you don’t have a business YouTube account, just set it to “unlisted” so that it never appears outside of the campaign.

Choosing the Correct Location Settings

If you are still asking yourself, “What is a Performance Max campaign?” you may be surprised to learn that your campaign won’t succeed without the ideal location setting. Performance Max allows you to choose interest or presence, or both. 

  • If you choose presence, your campaign will appear in your specified location. 
  • If you choose interest, interested buyers all over the world could see your campaign. 
  • If you choose both, people who have been to your specified location or have done internet searches for the area will see your campaign.

Another advantage of selecting both is being able to evaluate Google Analytics and see what countries visit your site most. Whatever you prefer, the best choice for your business depends on your specific campaign goals. For example, if you don’t have an online shop, it doesn’t benefit you for people outside your location to see your campaign ads.

Setting Additional Specifications

When you set your preferred locations, you also have the opportunity to set up additional preferences. For example, you might select your desired language or your ad schedule (including the start and end dates).

Creating Effective Audience Signals

With other campaigns, a business will let Google know exactly who should see their ads. It means full control over the entire audience spectrum but also limitations and potential blind spots. 

Performance Max takes audience signals to the next level. It starts the same way—you tell Google Ads who should see your ads—but once the campaign begins, PMax analyzes the audience data to form a new ideal client. It branches out from your original client base and brings in new leads who may not have otherwise known about your brand.

An audience signal feature by Performance Max is a great starting point for expanding into other marketing campaigns. Learning how to wield it now could help your business thrive as the current technology improves.

Optimizing Your Image Assets

Do you plan to use the same images in your Performance Max campaign that you already use in your Google Merchant Center? Think again before you ruin your own strategy.

If you have used the Shopping campaign, you understand that it uses your Merchant Center’s data along with the product information you provide to create ads. But seeing duplicate information across multiple campaigns spells trouble.

So, what is a Performance Max campaign tip not to miss? Always take the time to collect high-quality images, not just in terms of photo quality but in terms of visual appeal. Everyone can spot stock photos from a mile away, so do your best to use real-world photos that help your audience put themselves into the frame along with your product.

For example, try the following:

  • Add authenticity: A genuine background will hold a person’s attention longer than the generic, gray background of a stock photo. They’ll create their own narrative for what’s happening in the photo.
  • Add people: When possible, use images with real people instead of illustrations or scenery. Humans constantly seek to connect, whether we realize it or not, and photos that contain a real person consistently convert better.
  • Avoid text: Text on top images detracts from the overall impact. If you feel like you absolutely need text, edit it down to as few words as possible. 
  • Focus: Closely examine each photo to identify its focal point. If there is more than one or the focal point takes up more than half the image, move on to other options. Ideally, you want one focal point near the center of the photo taking up less than half of the composition.

Finding high-quality photos with the perfect components is challenging. But as you gain experience, you will sharpen your skills and have an easier time finding photos that fit your campaign perfectly.

Honoring Established Customer Acquisition Rules

Best Practices advise you to honor the customer acquisition rules put in place by Smart Shopping. Performance Max helps keep these rules in place by only allowing bidding for new customers. New customer acquisition may take longer than you expect, but you will see better long-term results.

Utilizing Enhanced Conversion Tracking 

Other types of campaigns, like Smart Display and App, use targeting and a bidding strategy. Performance Max is no different, with quality conversion tracking a key component in a successful campaign. If you aren’t well-versed in tracking conversions, now is the time to enlist help from an expert so you don’t fall behind as automation streamlines things in your niche.

It may surprise you to discover the lack of a landing page and geographic reports when you use Performance Max. However, it’s still possible to glean that information through Google Analytics. So, if you create an audience segment for a landing page report, you can examine the information and identify which ads drive the audience to which page during your campaign.

When you look at Google Analytics data, you can also determine if you should expand or exclude URLs.

Realize Your Business’s Full Potential With Bear North Digital

A Performance Max campaign uses audience signals, conversion goals, and target locations to reach your ideal customer. It works best in conjunction with other marketing strategies but requires at least one video asset to maximize your conversion rates. You can also streamline who sees your campaign by selecting people in specific locations or whose internet activity indicates interest in your brand. 

What is a Performance Max campaign feature that stands out above the rest? This nifty tool will analyze your user data in ways that expand to audiences beyond your initial parameters! If you want to increase brand awareness, this might be the next step for your business.

Bear North Digital is based in Oxford, MS, and provides comprehensive digital marketing solutions for businesses worldwide. Why not start by optimizing your search results using our free Google My Business Guide? Chat with us online or call our marketing experts at 218-216-8692 today to schedule a consultation!