What is a Performance Max campaign?

The Google Ads Performance Max campaign is a type of campaign created at the beginning of 2022 by Google. The aim is to enable advertisers to maximize their performance on the ad network. It replaces the Smart Shopping Campaign. But what is a Performance Max campaign and how does it work?

Google continues its development strategy based on 3 technologies : Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Automation. The idea is to enable its products to benefit from its latest technologies, including Google Ads. The combination of these 3 technologies developed by Google enables the Performance Max campaign to target your customers more effectively. Let’s discover together what is a Performance Max campaign!


How does a Google Ads Performance Max campaign work?
What are the benefits of a Google Ads Performance Max campaign?
How do I set up a Performance Max campaign?
What are the best practices for a Performance Max campaign?

How does a Google Ads Performance Max campaign work?

Performance Max campaigns use channels such as Search and Display. The Performance Max campaign also uses channels such as YouTube, Discover, Gmail and Google Maps. This campaign combines all these channels in a single campaign.

They optimize performance for you, based on the objectives you define when setting up the campaign. To achieve this, Performance Max campaigns use smart-bidding. They use automation technologies to optimize bids, budgets, audiences, creatives and attribution. And these campaigns are always following your specific campaign objective.

The change with Performance Max campaigns is that asset groups now replace ad or product groups. It’s now a combination of several assets. These assets include graphic assets comprising up to 20 images in different formats, plus brand logos.

It means textual content as in classic search ads and, finally, Youtube videos. Performance max campaigns combine all this content and distribute it across all Google Ads acquisition channels. All you need to do is define your campaign objectives: conversion or conversion value. It’s also possible to add a target CPA at this stage.

What are the benefits of a Google Ads Performance Max campaign?

Faster campaign deployment

Performance Max campaigns offer a number of advantages, including faster campaign deployment. Indeed, when setting up campaigns, you can select the various assets. These assets may already be present in existing campaigns, or may be suggested based on the content of your site. What’s more, it’s no longer necessary to have different ad groups. It’s one asset group that works for the whole campaign, across all Google acquisition channels.

Reaching new, high-performance audiences

Talking of different acquisition channels, these are also optimized to maximize the performance encountered on the site. The Performance Max campaign is capable of optimizing itself according to performance, and therefore of finding the audiences that will convert the most. This addition of Performance Max campaigns comes in handy when you need to expand to segments that you wouldn’t necessarily have found with classic campaigns. They analyze the intent, behavior and context of users to appear at the right moment with the most relevant assets.

Simplify management and performance with performance max campaigns

Performance Max campaigns make it easier to drive performance. There’s less need for optimization, since the campaigns themselves follow the objectives defined for them. In the case of Performance Max, campaigns are optimized according to conversion value or maximization of the number of conversions. If a target CPA has been defined, the campaign will automatically optimize it when it is created.

How do I set up a Performance Max campaign?

To set up a Performance Max campaign, simply go to the Google Ads interface and select “Create a new campaign”.

Choose your Performance Max campaign goal

The next step is to select the objective that the campaign will subsequently serve. Performance max campaigns can be used for sales, lead generation, website traffic, and physical traffic at a point of sale.

Select a Performance Max campaign target
Select a Performance Max campaign target

Once you’ve selected your objective, you can now choose your conversion objective in the tab below.

Select your campaign type

Once you’ve selected your campaign objective, you’ll be presented with a selection of options, and of course we’ll select the Performance Max campaign. You can then name the campaign, validate it and configure it.

Select max performance campaign type
Select Performance Max campaign type

Once you’ve passed this stage, you’ll be free to choose how to manage the bids. In our case, if lead generation is selected, you have the option of optimizing the campaign according to the number of conversions or the conversion value. You can also define an acquisition cost target. To find out more on this point, we detail how to optimize a Google Ads campaign.

Performance Max campaign bid management
Performance Max campaign bid management

Set the parameters of your Performance Max campaign

Once you’ve selected your bidding strategy, you’ll be able to select your customers’ locations, the languages spoken by your customers, a delivery schedule and URL extensions / campaign URL options.

Manage Performance Max campaign parameters
Manage Performance Max campaign parameters

Once you’ve reached the campaign setup stage, you’ll have the opportunity to define your asset groups for campaign distribution.

You’ll find an initial space for defining your final URL, and adding graphic assets (images, logos, videos). You can also add titles (short and long), descriptions, your company name, site links and a call to action. When setting up a Performance Max campaign, you’ll also be able to add promotions and prices, which are useful for e-commerce, for example, and forms, which are more practical for lead generation.

When setting up your campaign, you’ll also have the option of using audience signals, indicating a particular audience on which the algorithm should focus. It will then seek out the audiences that will convert best.

The last step is to set up a daily budget, which will give you an estimate of the number of leads expected per week and an estimated cost per lead. Alternatively, you can choose a customized budget. All you have to do is check the summary of your Performance Max campaign and you’re ready to launch your campaign.

What are the best practices for a Performance Max campaign?

In terms of what to look out for, you should be aware that optimizations may take a little longer at first, especially if the Google Ads account is new, to give the algorithm time to learn on its own and then optimize. A good practice at this level might be to let the campaign run for 1 month until you see the CPAs drop.
Note: Performance max campaigns aren’t exactly for the control-hungry.

However, the performance they offer is substantial, and counterbalances the fact that they act like a black box that holds its secrets.

What’s more, assets can fall victim to “fatigue”, so don’t hesitate to refresh visual and text combinations regularly for boosted performance. The recommendations tab can also provide interesting information for improving your campaign’s performance. Finally, an analysis of search terms can help you bid on the best converting keywords. If you’d like in-depth support for your acquisition channels, you can also call on the services of a Google Ads Agency.

If you’ve read this article all the way through, you know what is a Performance Max campaign and its functioning is not a secret for you anymore! And if you want to go even further in mastering Google Ads, you can read our other articles available on our blog, which will give you plenty of tips on how to become the SEA expert!

Dmitry Korolev

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