Google has launched a new PPC product called the Performance Max campaign in Q3 2022. If you’re a business that uses paid ads on Google, you may have already heard about it. However, you may still be wondering what it is and how to optimize it. Essentially, the Performance Max campaign is a type of campaign that displays ads on all Google Platforms, such as Search, Display, Shopping (if applicable), YouTube, Gmail, etc. The algorithm used in these campaigns is fully automated and optimized based on audience targeting rather than keyword targeting. Due to data limitations, this campaign type may raise questions and concerns for advertisers. Nonetheless, this post provides the best practices for creating a successful Performance Max (PMAX) campaign.
Although every Performance Max (PMAX) campaign type provides an option to select a marketing objective, it’s crucial to establish your account’s optimization goals to create a strong foundation. For example, an eCommerce client may choose the “Sales” objective, whereas a lead generation client may opt for “Leads.” After selecting an objective, it’s important to test PMAX in conjunction with existing campaigns. Existing campaigns frequently offer additional features such as keyword-based search, which can assist in preserving brand presence and conversion volume while Performance Max captures additional conversion opportunities.
Establishing appropriate campaign objectives and regularly assessing their performance is essential. The Performance Max algorithm is designed to capture the most qualified conversions at the designated ROI target. The campaign solely aims to optimize for this performance, so for measurement and optimization purposes, select low-funnel conversions with adequate volume that closely align with the final business outcome to achieve the best outcomes. It’s recommended to evaluate results based on the campaign’s objectives and goals four to six weeks after launch. A lead generation-focused account might utilize a Maximize Conversion strategy and track cost per acquisition (CPA), whereas an eCommerce client could use a Maximize Conversion Value strategy and track Return On Ad Spend (ROAS).
Creatives & Assets
To ensure robust engagement and improved conversion rates, it’s crucial to use ads and assets that are suitable for all inventory options, as PMAX serves ads across numerous Google channels and media inventory.
A) Text Best Practices
Similar to best practices for Responsive Search Ads (RSA), the text component of a PMAX ad should consist of headlines with a maximum character limit of 30, a 90-character description, and another 90-character headline. In addition, a sub-15-character headline and a sub-60-character description may be written to experiment with new messaging within a PMAX campaign. The content should emphasize the main features of your product or service, such as promotions. Promotions and discounts generate interest and motivate leads to complete their purchases. It’s also important to capitalize the first letter of each word in your ads to create a more authentic and organic experience. Each headline and description should be distinct and coherent when combined, avoiding repetitive phrases and irrelevant information.
B) Image Best Practices
Including images is crucial when targeting the Display Network and first-party audiences. Here are some steps you can take:
1)Utilize as many images as possible from your inventory.
2)Use authentic and high-quality images to enhance brand engagement. High-quality visuals convey a more compelling story about an advertiser’s product or service and encourage customers to take action.
Don’t hesitate to experiment with different image dimensions, such as:
- 600×314 pixels (landscape)
- 300×300 pixels (square)
- 314×314 pixels (square)
For logos, try using dimensions of 128×128 pixels and 1200×628 pixels. You can find additional best practices for specific assets here.
C) Videos are utilized for the Display and YouTube components of a PMAX ad. When creating videos, use assets that align with your brand guidelines and messaging. These videos should have multiple frames/scenes, consistent branding elements (such as your logo or brand name), and a clear call-to-action button at the end. If you are unable to create a video, consider contacting Google to request access to the YouTube Video Builder tool.
PMAX campaigns may automatically generate videos using image and text assets. Therefore, it is advisable to upload your own videos to ensure control over your messaging. You can learn how to use videos with different orientations here.
If you’re an eCommerce client, you can promote shopping ads via product feeds created on Google Merchant Center using PMAX campaigns. However, implementing best practices for shopping ads is done through Google Merchant Center and the advertiser’s website.
After uploading your assets, it’s important to ensure that your ad strength has an “excellent” rating to set up your campaign for success. Ads with a strong rating have a lower cost-per-click (CPC) and a higher impression share/ad ranking. It’s recommended to refresh these ads every 2-3 weeks. Creativity is a powerful tool to drive performance. Once your ad has garnered 1,500 impressions, you can assess which assets perform well. If any “Low” assets are identified, you should replace them with other assets.
As previously mentioned, PMAX campaigns rely on audience targeting rather than keyword targeting. To optimize the campaign’s learning phase and leverage Google’s advanced targeting technology, it’s crucial to adhere to the Audience Best Practices.
First-party data is highly recommended for PMAX campaigns, and remarketing audiences are particularly effective since they have already engaged with your website in the past.
Customer Match Lists are also a powerful tool for PMAX campaigns. By uploading this audience, the campaign can target users with similar search intent to your previous customers. To create a Customer Match List, you’ll need to have your customers’ Name, Email, Phone Number, Zip Code, and Country information available.
The use of Custom Audiences enables advertisers to target users based on specific websites and keywords they have previously searched for. This type of audience is recommended to optimize your PMAX campaign quickly. In addition, In-Market, Detail Demographics, and Affinity audiences are also suggested.
Previously, managing different campaigns for various assets and audiences was necessary. A Search campaign here, a Smart Shopping Campaign there, and then ToF Display and Video Remarketing were added to improve performance. With PMAX, advertisers can use all of Google’s advertising tools in a single campaign. This allows them to access audience targeting and assets for all channels and media inventories. Despite some uncertainties about PMAX, mainly due to a lack of reporting, it appears to be the future of paid advertising on Google.
By implementing these best practices, we have achieved outstanding results for our clients. Are you interested in learning more? Schedule an audit with one of our sales representatives and discover how you can apply these Performance Max practices to your business.