Google held its annual Marketing Live event on May 27, 2021. This year’s livestream focused on privacy-first policies and new automation tools on Google Ads. Among a flurry of announcements, which included updates to Customer Match, Google launched Performance Max Campaigns, a new automated campaign type.
In this installment of Keeping Up With Google, we’ll discuss what Performance Max Campaigns are and how they will impact retail marketers moving forward.
What It Is:
Performance Max Campaigns automate campaign targeting and delivery based on information the advertiser provides. These campaigns are unique from other Google campaign types like Smart Shopping because they can run across all Google ad inventory, including Display, YouTube, Gmail, Discover, and Search campaigns.
Performance Max Campaigns require advertisers to supply creative assets like images and video. Google will then use these assets as it sees fit to provide the best user experience. Results, like which audiences convert, will now appear on the Insights page.
Advertisers can set their budget and bidding strategy, which can include Target CPA and Target ROAS. Google also allows manual inputs into smart bidding using conversion value rules. Advertisers will be able to adjust values for conversion events based on conditions like location or device. Advertisers can provide Google with audiences to target, though these audiences won’t be the only audiences Google targets. Google will use these audiences to reach users with similar interests.
Performance Max Campaigns reporting is now featured on the Insights page. This includes data on which audiences are converting, auction insights, and previews of ads.
The Insights page now provides more transparency into trending searches, competition, interest predictions, and auction insights specific to advertisers’ accounts. A new feature to the Insights page is Demand Forecasts, which will predict search behavior changes over 90 days.
Google announced Performance Max Campaigns during Advertising Week on October 6, 2020. In its post, the company stated that the beta version would arrive in the coming months. The official beta announcement, along with Customer Match and Insights page updates, came during Marketing Live on May 27, 2021.
What It Means for Your Business:
Performance Max Campaigns give advertisers a new way to track their automated ads — by marketing objectives. Using the Google Insights page, they will be able to measure performance of their automated campaigns all in one place. Ads running across Gmail, YouTube, and standard search campaigns can be measured via the Insights page.
These campaigns take the guesswork out of manual testing and bidding on ads. However, advertisers who want to maintain full control of their ad campaigns may stay clear of Performance Max Campaigns. Because Google automates all ads within these campaigns, advertisers only have control of ad creative. Audiences are also automated; advertisers can select a specific audience to target, but Google will deliver to additional audiences showing similar search behavior.
Advertisers should have enough advertising data to feed Google before starting Performance Max Campaigns. Smaller retailers that are just beginning to advertise on Google may be at risk, as Google will define which ad formats and audiences to target.
There is also limited reporting on the different assets Google is leveraging. This means an advertiser can’t analyze performance data of different creative in their ads. Audience and keyword reporting is also limited, which should make advertisers cautious before starting Performance Max Campaigns. Because of these limitations, advertisers can’t apply learnings from these campaigns to other running campaigns, essentially creating a black box.