Google recently launched its beta test for Performance Max Campaigns in Google Ads. This new campaign type gives users yet another layer of automation so performance can be optimized in real-time. So, what does all this mean? Let’s take a more extensive look at what this means for Pay Per Click Campaigns.
What are Performance Max Campaigns?
The Performance Max Campaigns are designed to complement keyword-based search campaigns. According to Google,
“Performance Max is a new goal-based campaign type that allows performance advertisers to access all of Google Ads inventory from a single campaign. It’s designed to complement your keyword-based Search campaigns to help you find more converting customers across all of Google’s channels–YouTube, Display, Search, Discover, Gmail, and Maps.”
Performance Max helps you meet performance goals by focusing on the conversions that you have deemed important and then streamlining the bidding process to act and react in real-time across channels with Smart Bidding.
It is important to note that if your marketing objective is “Sales”, “Leads”, or “Local store visits and promotions” Performance Max will show as a campaign type selection.
How Will I Benefit?
There are several benefits to using the Performance Max Campaigns. By using Smart Bidding and having the benefit of Google using real-time analytics, we can gather more transparent data. Using this will give better insight into what creatives are working and what creatives aren’t.
Using machine learning models and the input we already gather and enter; Performance Max Campaigns can unlock new customer segments that we may not have tested otherwise.
In addition, automated learning frees up time to focus on future campaigns and strategies while leaving some of the “heavy lifting” to Google’s algorithms. Seeing data-driven results across channels also leads to higher intent conversions because Google can track the most incremental touchpoints that push consumers toward a conversion.
Are There Downsides?
It is no secret in the PPC world that Google has been making a push for automation. That has actively been going on for years, however, Performance Max is the first product that relies entirely on Google and its automation to optimize ad campaigns.
Like any automation, the result is only going to be as good as the data it is being given. On top of that, the Performance Max campaigns do not offer the opportunity to dig into the data and analyze what is going on in the campaign.
Without the traditional ad groups, we are used to seeing, and relying on targeting parameters as indicators only, many advertisers are going to have to take a leap of faith on Google algorithms instead of traditional indicators for campaign success.
Without being able to see those metrics, it will be hard to justify performance to department heads and clients when the answer is basically “Because Google Said So”. Part of the beauty of running PPC campaigns is really getting under the hood and into the data.
This will also make it extremely difficult to improve campaigns when there is no data to base changes on. The “see what sticks” method is rarely (if ever) a good way to spend money, especially money that’s not your own!
So When Should I Use These Campaigns?
With any campaign, there should be clear goals in mind when you define your conversion goals. Performance Max is best fitted for campaigns that have a lower-funnel intent and more defined goals such as driving online sales or lead generation. Performance Max is the best option to use when:
- You have specific advertising and conversion goals (e.g., driving online sales, lead generation, etc.)
- You want to maximize the performance of your campaign and are not limited by which channel your ads appear on
- You want to easily access all of Google’s advertising channels using a single campaign
- To get additional reach and conversion value beyond keyword-based search campaigns
There is no doubt that Google has spent the time and money trying to perfect their machine-based learning, but are the PPC people ready to give up that much control? Should we, maybe the better question.
So far, the results look promising, and with Google making more and more pushes to full automation, it may be worth dipping your toes in the Performance Max pool to get a feel for it.
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