Google Performance Max: What Marketers Need to Know : Social Media Examiner

by Samuel Pordengerg Nov 24, 2022 News
Google Performance Max: What Marketers Need to Know : Social Media Examiner

Do you need to advertise more online? Is there a way to reach more people with the entireecosystem of GOOGLE?

In this article, you will learn how to start using the solution.

Google Performance Max: What Marketers Need to Know-Social Media Marketing
This article was co-created by Brett Curry and Michael Stelzner. For more about Brett, scroll to Other Notes From This Episode at the end of this article.

What Is Google Performance Max?

There is a new type of ads from the internet. It combines machine learning with ad types.

Search ads, shopping ads, display ads, discovery ads, and local ads are just some of the different campaign types that used to be part of the advertising channel. It is possible that Performance Max can work with all of those formats. It uses machine learning to find the best placement for your campaign.


You can see how much Performance Max covers by breaking it down.

  • Search and shopping ads include text ads and ad banners in search results.
  • Display ads appear all over the internet for users who don’t have ad blockers.
  • Discovery ads include high-traffic placements such as YouTube, the Google mobile app, and Gmail.
  • Local ads include placements such as Google Maps, which can be invaluable for businesses with a physical presence that run local campaigns. 

It is obvious that the ad network is huge. Most of the internet is covered by the display network.

The ad system is complex, confusing and not user-friendly.

Performance Max would like to change that. It is very simple and offers a wide range of places. Setting up the bidding, creative assets, and audience signals is all you need to do.

So far, it's been great. Why is performance max coming out now?

There is some pressure on the ad giant.

Meta has become a serious contender. A lot of online real estate is covered by Meta. It's a simpler user interface for marketers. The aim of Performance Max is to make it easier for marketers to set up campaigns.

There is unsold ad inventory that the company would like to use. Even though there is a lot of traffic on YouTube and in the Display network, ad spaces are not being used. It's easier for marketers to use that opportunity if they know where to find it.

Performance Max is a chance for the company to train its machines. You help educate the system on what makes an effective ad when you use this option. The more you use it the better.

What Google Performance Max Campaigns Mean for Social Marketers

Why are we talking about this on Social Media Examiner? Since the launch of Google+, has the company been social?

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You might think that there is a difference between the two, but it isn't. The formats have become more similar in style, for example, you can now make display ads with photo carousels.

The buyer's journey is connected to search and social ads. You might see a product advertised on the photo sharing site. The brand name stays in your mind even though you don't touch it. Where do you go when you decide to buy that product?

Most of the time, the answer is Google. When it comes to the buyer's journey, social media is often the first point of contact.

As part of aholistic ad mix, social marketers need to useGoogle. You only have to set up a single ad campaign to cover the entire network with Performance Max.

One of the main selling points of Performance Max is that it is good at discovering new customers. Performance Max has been found to attract more first-time customers to direct-to-consumer brands.


If you are a brand, the performance max campaigns won't be the perfect fit.

  • Market to customers across multiple social networks and platforms…
  • Are focused on making eCommerce sales…
  • And/or want to be able to scale ad campaigns up and down quickly…

If you give Performance Max a try, you can maximize campaign performance.

How to Use Google Performance Max

It's easy to get started with performance max. All of the other campaign types are listed with it when you create a new campaign.


There are a few things you need to know before diving in.

The basics of working with Performance Max will be covered in this section.

  • Bidding
  • Creative assets
  • Audience signals
  • Conversion tracking
  • Insights

#1: Bidding

Smart bidding is used by Performance Max. You can set a budget and goals with the platform. You don't have much control over your ad bids.

There are four bid goals you can choose from.

  • Maximize conversions. This is as simple as it sounds: get the most conversions you can from your budget.
  • Maximize conversions at target cost per acquisition/conversion. With this goal, you aim to get maximum conversions while sticking to a target cost. Note that Performance Max will optimize toward your target cost, but it isn’t guaranteed to reach the target. 
  • Maximize conversion value. Instead of the number of conversions, this goal aims for high-value customer acquisition, even if that means fewer conversions overall. This is a strong choice if you’re selling physical goods or have a very clear idea of the value of a lead magnet.
  • Maximize conversion value at target return on ad spend. Like maximizing conversion value, this goal focuses on ultimate value over the number of conversions. But it includes a target return on ad spend to keep your bids within limits. 

#2: Creative Assets

Only creative assets are part of Performance Max. You will need high-quality images, videos, and copy to make the most of your ad placements.

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  • Images. Performance Max requires you to use at least a few images; however, you don’t need to overdo it. Three to five images will be enough for the algorithm to work with while giving you statistically significant results about which images are most successful. Try to include a range of image styles such as showing products in close-up and context. 
  • Video. Optimize your video assets based on where they’re likely to appear. Most of the time, that means YouTube ads. Videos should be 30 seconds or longer and show products in action, as well as social proof and a call to action. If you don’t have flawless videos, it’s still worth uploading something just to prevent Google from auto-generating videos for you.
  • Headline and description copy. You’ll need both long and short versions of the copy to use in search ad placements (which suit longer headlines and descriptions) and display ads (which tend to be very short). 

There are asset groups in Performance Max. You can link specific assets to specific audience signals. All of the visual and text assets should fit each group's theme.


#3: Audience Signals

This is a different place to create ads for social networks.

You can specify who will see your ads on Meta.

The platform usesaudience signals to find similar audiences. Performance Max is able to find new customers because they go beyond a defined audience.

What signals can you give?

Multiple audiences can be created when you set up a campaign. The more data you can give the better.


There are some data signals that you can use as a data signal.

  • At least one data source from existing customers. For example, this could be a list of email subscribers, a list of buyers from Google Ads, or a remarketing list from Google Analytics. 
  • Custom segment sounding, where you use Google searches as audience signals. You can set up a keyword list of searches and Performance Max will target people who use those or similar search terms.
  • If you’re advertising a new brand that doesn’t have much customer data yet, you could add a list of all website visitors. Because your business is small, any website visitors are likely to be direct leads so this data signal is still valuable.

What if you don't have any data at all? It is best not to add any data signals. Performance Max will work better with no data if you don't give any.

You can also target your audience. You have the option of targeting or limiting campaigns by region. If you don't want Performance Max to interfere with your other ad campaigns, you can add negativeKeywords. This is an advanced use case and it is easier to speak to a Google rep than it is to do it on your own.

#4: Conversion Tracking

Performance Max is based on machine learning. It needs data to function. Unless you have a conversion goal, you cannot set up a performance max campaign.

If you want to track conversions and feed in data, you need the conversion code from the internet. A small piece of code sits on your website or app and records conversions.

There is a change in how it collects and processes analytic data. Universal Analytics is going to be replaced by a new system. It is a good idea to set up GA4 on your website and Tag Manager now so you have lots of data recorded before Universal disappears.

#5: Insights

There is no ad campaign that is complete with data. Data is needed to see what works and what doesn't.

There are some weaknesses in Performance Max. You don't get to see how the sausage is made because it's a "Black Box" product.

At a campaign level, you can see conversions, conversion value, clicks, and cost. This is a campaign that has seven different types of ads on the internet. The data can't be separated to see which ad types are performing best for you.

You will be able to find out how well specific assets are doing on the internet. Each one will be rated on a scale of 1 to 10. The data can be used to update assets.

You can get a breakdown of whether the conversions are from new or returning customers. It's a good way to check which assets work for which people. Performance Max is finding new customers more effectively than classic campaigns.

Time will be needed to gather meaningful information for both asset and conversion data. If you run a campaign on a single channel, it will take you longer to collect statistically significant data than if you run it on multiple channels. Between 2 and 6 weeks, you will get useful information.

You can get great results with persistence and time. The campaign will do all the rest for you if you have the right assets.

Other Notes From This Episode

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