What Is Performance Max, and Should You Be Using It?

08 March 2022

Anyone experienced in Google Ads will know, there is an endless stream of Google innovations and beta tools designed to help optimise your campaigns. A big topic of the moment is automation, and Google’s latest addition to the automation family is Performance Max.

So, what is Performance Max and should you be using it?

Well, it’s best to be using and testing it now, because by Q3, 2022 it will replace Local Campaigns and Smart Shopping Ads. Based on recent testing within Loud Mouth Media though, all signs are pointing to Performance Max being a positive additional to PPC campaigns.

Let’s take you through the basics:

What is Performance Max?

Performance Max campaigns are a new way to buy Google ads across YouTube, Display, Search, Discover, Gmail and Maps from a single campaign. They complement your keyword-based Search campaigns to help you grow performance across Google’s full range of advertising channels and inventory.

When it comes to Lead Generation, being able to be seen across more platforms on the Google Display Network is a pro. But what will show more in time is whether the introduction of Performance Max can compromise other campaign types at play. Our award-winning team are doing what they do best and testing, learning, and optimising as we speak. So, watch this space on that.

What does Performance Max do? (In the words of Google…)

  1. Increase conversions and value:Automation optimizes your budget and bids across channels to help you capture new conversion opportunities in real time.
  2. Find new customers:Unlock new audience segments by using Google’s real-time understanding of user intent, behaviour and context to show up in the right moments with more relevant ads.
  3. Gain richer insights: Performance Max campaigns are now part of the Insights page to help you understand how automation is working and how you can improve your campaign. Using the Combinations report, you can also see how your top-performing assets are being combined to build creatives.
  4. Work together with automation:Steer automation by providing high-quality creative assets and sharing your expertise about which audiences are most likely to convert.

This is very much just the beginning for Performance Max too. Through 2022, Google will be releasing new additions to this automation feature, including features for retailers and businesses with store locations to help improve new customer acquisition through digital channels. 

Okay we get it, but should you be using it?

In our experience to date, we’ve seen strong performance paired with more valuable CPCs. See some results below:

Image 1, Performance Max Test 1: Home Decoration / Home Improvement Brand

Performance Max

[Image 1] Results: Strong CTR, low CPC and low Cost per Conversion.

Image 2, Performance Max Comparison

Performance Max

[Image 2] Compared to these search campaigns. There is a difference in budget, but generally they offer the same Cost per Conversion as Performance Max. And Performance Max has only been running for 1.5months and it’s gained these results. Some context, for the same period across Smart Display, the Cost per Conversion = £19.81, YouTube = £36.37. So the difference is pretty significant.

Other results have included:

  • Smart Shopping Campaign: The campaign previously had a conversion rate of 3.06% and ROAS of 5.83. Switched to Performance Max and within a week the conversion rate had doubled to 6.71% and ROAS of 6.51.
  • Low Performing Campaign: The campaign was previously generating 0 conversions, in week 1 alone, we had ROAS up to 9.71.
  • Retail / Ecommerce Campaigns: For one client in the B2C fitness space, ROAS increased from 3.9 to 6.8, seeing online revenue from PPC activity increasing 100% too – aka, doubling! Another client also saw their ROAS increase from 1.7 to 5.5.

Ultimately, it’s a train we’d recommend boarding sooner rather than later and considering it won’t be a choice come Q3 2022, it’s the ideal time to test, learn, optimise, and know the toolkit available. Then come Q3, you’ll be first off the blocks.

For advice on Performance Max and PPC campaign optimisation, reach out to our award-winning team. As a 2022 Google Premier Partner, we’re in the Top 3% of Agencies in the UK and have access to all the latest Google beta tools for campaign optimisation. Want to know more? Get in touch here.