Achieve your goals across Google’s ad channels with Performance Max

Official guide to creating and optimizing Performance Max campaigns.

 

Important

Upgrade to Performance Max using the “one-click” upgrade tool before your Smart Shopping and Local campaigns are automatically upgraded. For more details, see our additional best practices for advertisers with online sales and offline goals.

 

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Performance Max campaigns are a new way for advertisers to access all Google Ads inventory from a single campaign across YouTube, Display, Search, Discover, Gmail and Maps. This new automated campaign should be used together with your existing campaigns. With the help of automation and Smart Bidding, it helps you maximize performance and deliver results against the goals that matter most to you across Google’s full range of channels, inventory, and formats.

Google Ads Tutorials: Creating a Performance Max campaign

1. Pick the conversion goals that matter to your business and set values for your conversions 

  • Select your main objective and conversion goals.

Why: Get the most out of your campaign by adding all the goals you want to optimize performance towards. 

Tip

Conversion goals make it easier to define and manage which conversion actions you want to measure for each goal. Then, you can decide which goals to use directly in your campaign for Smart Bidding to optimize towards. Make sure to use conversion tracking and measure the value of all your conversions.

Tip

If you’re focused on acquiring new customers, you can set up a new customer acquisition goal by going to “Tools and Settings” and clicking “Conversions”. The new customer acquisition goal allows you to value and then bid for new customers compared to existing customers, or to focus on new customers only while maximizing conversions. You have flexible ways to identify new customers, such as by providing your own first-party data through Customer Match lists, setting up conversion tags, and using Google’s auto-detection method. Once you have set up this goal, make sure to enable it in your Performance Max campaign settings.

  • Set up accurate conversion measurement.

Why: Having a robust conversion measurement strategy is one of the most important things you can do to improve your campaign performance and help automation maximize value for you. The conversion actions and goals you use will directly guide Smart Bidding and automation to deliver on those goals. You should aim to measure and report on the conversions that truly matter to your business. For example, if your objective is lead generation, then you may want to optimize for qualified or converted leads that are as close to the final sale as possible. 

Tip

Depending on the conversion type, you can use transaction-specific conversion values–also known as “dynamic” values–or you can set a default conversion value yourself. To edit conversion values, navigate to “Tools & Settings” > “Conversions”.

Tip

Sometimes, an ad doesn't lead directly to an online sale, but instead starts a customer down a path that ultimately leads to a sale in the offline world, such as in your store or over the phone. Conversion reporting for store visits and call reporting is available in Google Ads, but you can also use offline conversion importsto share information about store sales or final sales with Google Ads and better optimize for these valuable business outcomes. If you’re a lead gen advertiser, providing this data about which leads actually result in sales will help Performance Max drive higher lead quality across channels.

  • Set conversion values to represent the relative importance of your goals.

Why: By assigning higher values to more important conversions, the campaign can automatically prioritize the types of conversions that are most important to your business. For example, if a phone call conversion is three times more valuable than a lead form conversion on your website, you might set its value to $30 compared to $10 for the form submission.

Tip

In conversion settings, you can also set up conversion value rules if needed. Use these to adjust your conversion values and apply a multiplication factor for higher-value audiences, devices, or geographic locations.

Learn more about conversion goals, and see our additional best practices for advertisers with online sales and/or offline goals.

2. Choose the right budget and bid strategy

  • Choose the bid strategy that best fits your goals.

Why: Based on your goals, Performance Max uses Smart Bidding to set the right bids in real time for every auction and help you drive better results from your marketing budget. 

Tip

If you’re tracking values with your conversions, select “Maximize conversion value” as your bid strategy to drive as much conversion value as possible within your budget. If you have specific ROI goals, you can also add a ROAS target. On the other hand, if you’re not tracking values and care about all your conversions equally, use “Maximize conversions” to drive as many conversions as possible within your budget. You can add a CPA target if you have specific ROI goals. The campaign may autofill a suggested ROAS or CPA target for you based on your historical performance data; you can choose to use this autofilled target, or change it as needed.

Tip

Performance Max campaigns automatically account for predicted seasonal events. However, if you foresee sudden or major conversion rate changes, you can use seasonality adjustments. Seasonality adjustments help inform your bid strategy of upcoming changes in conversion rates, due to unexpected or new events like promotions or sales. Seasonality adjustments are ideal for short events, usually ranging from 1-7 days, and may not work as well when used for extended periods beyond 14 days.

  • Use existing campaigns in your account as a guide to set the budget for Performance Max.

Why: Although Performance Max does not have a minimum budget, using a budget that’s too low may lengthen the time it takes to see results. 

Tip

The campaign may also provide a target/budget simulator that estimates performance metrics, such as cost, conversions and conversion values, based on the bid strategy target and budget you input.

Note

If you are creating a new Performance Max campaign with offline-only goals, set campaign budgets based on your performance goals for your business locations.

3. Keep Final URL expansion on to drive more conversions on relevant search queries

  • Utilize the Final URL expansion feature, which is turned on by default.

Why: This helps you find more converting search queries that are likely to perform well based on customer intent and their relevance to your landing pages. This feature will enable your ads to show up on additional searches that have a strong likelihood of leading to conversions. Final URL expansion uses landing pages on your website to match you to relevant queries and to dynamically customize headlines for your ads.

Note

If you have existing Search campaigns with keywords that exactly match a user’s search query (regardless of match type), ads from those Search campaigns will be prioritized over Performance Max. If you have multiple accounts and would like this behavior to apply to Search campaigns in those other accounts as well, please reach out to your Google team. Keep in mind that you may see existing search terms showing in Performance Max’s Insights page (such as in consumer interest insights) instead of your Search campaigns if they’re ineligible to serve due to factors such as being limited by budget. If the query is not identical to an eligible Search keyword but can trigger a Performance Max ad, the campaign or ad with the highest Ad Rank will be selected in order to maximize your ROI. Learn more.

Tip

You can exclude specific parts of your website from being targeted, as needed. For example, exclude your company blog or FAQ pages if these aren’t meant to drive conversions. In addition, if you need more control over where your ads appear, Performance Max campaigns use the same brand safety settings you’ve applied at the account level. These account settings allow you to add certain exclusions you might need, such as content, placement, or inventory type exclusions. Account-level negative keywords will soon be available and can be used to exclude certain search terms from your Performance Max campaigns.

Note

Final URL expansion does not apply to campaigns that have offline-only goals at this time.

Goal

Action

Get additional conversions from search queries that are likely to perform well

Leave Final URL expansion on

Find additional search queries that are likely to perform well, but exclude some landing pages on your website

Leave Final URL expansion on and use URL exclusions

Find additional search queries, but exclude certain searches 

Leave Final URL expansion on and use account-level negative keywords to exclude the search queries you don’t want to appear on (coming soon). 

I don't want to drive additional conversions from other landing pages on my website. I'm only able to send customers to a single landing page (e.g. due to policy reasons) and it's the only path to conversion

Turn Final URL expansion off (not recommended)

Learn more about Final URL expansion

4. Upload a variety of creative assets to your asset group

Why: You can create multiple asset groups per campaign if needed and each asset group should relate to a unified theme (i.e. a product or service category). This allows automation to assemble your assets into all relevant ad formats and show more meaningful creatives to your audience. 

  • Add as many versions of text, image, and video assets as possible (including different image sizes).

Why: The more assets you provide, the more ad formats the campaign can create and the more inventory your ads can appear on. Use authentic, high-quality images that inspire people to engage with your brand. Also make sure your text assets differ meaningfully from each other and will make sense when combined together.

Why: Include a video asset that’s at least ten seconds long. This helps you show your business in action. If you don’t have a video, Performance Max will automatically generate a high-quality one for you using your other assets. You can also easily create your own video using the video creation tool in the Asset Library.

Note

If you are creating a campaign with offline goals you must upload creative assets, including headlines, descriptions, call-to-actions, and a final URL.  Please see here for more details on offline creative assets requirements.

Note

Assets can take some time to be approved, and some assets–such as video assets–may take a few days. If you have a specific start date in mind, you can make the campaign ahead of time and upload the assets a few days early.  Set a start date and make sure the campaign and all assets are “Enabled".

  • Use as many additional assets as possible

Why: Additional assets help your ads show up more prominently and provide more details to your customers–including different ways they can contact you. There are a variety of additional assets you can use, such as sitelinks, callouts, lead forms, phone calls, and more.

Note

Additional assets will not appear for Performance Max campaigns with store-only goals.

Learn more about how asset groups work and creative best practices.

5. Add audience signals to indicate which audiences are more likely to convert

  • Input audience signals to guide automated targeting.

Why: Audience signals provide important information to help your campaign ramp up and optimize performance faster. At the same time, automation also helps you uncover new converting customer segments that you may not have known about before. 

  • Include lower-funnel audience segments.

Why: Your data (which includes Customer Match and website visitors lists), and custom segments are the most helpful audience information to provide since they provide a strong signal about which audiences have a higher chance of converting. To use Customer Match, you’ll want to create a customer list, upload it to Google Ads, and update the customer list regularly.

Tip

If you launch a new product line to a new customer base, it can be helpful to update and add new audience signals to reflect this, in addition to refreshing your first-party data frequently.

Note

A major benefit of automation is its ability to help you unlock new converting audience segments — even ones you might not have expected or known about before. Performance Max campaigns don’t limit your ads to a selected set of audiences, which helps you find new, valuable customers. If you want to optimize performance for specific audiences and channels beyond Search, use Display, Video action, and/or Discovery campaigns.

Google Ads Tutorials: Audience signals in Performance Max campaigns

6. How to evaluate performance

  • Focus on relevant performance metrics that align with your bid strategy.

Why: Depending on your bid strategy, you may need to evaluate different metrics to measure success and see how your campaign is doing. 

Tip

If you are using a Maximize conversions bid strategy, then you should look at conversions, CPA, and cost. Your CPA will include what you've counted as a conversion to optimize towards, such as a website sale, store visit, customer lead, and more. For example, if you have offline-only goals or previously used Local campaigns, you may be optimizing towards store visits, phone calls, and directions requests as conversions. As a result, these conversions will be counted in your CPA calculation.

If you are using a Maximize conversion value bid strategy, you should look at conversion value, ROAS, and cost. If you have a CPA or ROAS target, then use the bid strategy report to measure performance against the target.

  • Account for conversion delays.

Why: To ensure you have a complete picture of performance, consider conversion delays when you’re assessing results. For example, if it typically takes 7 days for users to convert after engaging with your ads, do not include the most recent week of data when evaluating performance. This is because your data will still be missing conversions from those 7 days.

Note

Please allow for 30 days of data prior to analyzing results of campaigns with offline goals to allow time for consumers to visit the business location after engaging with the ad and for store visit conversions to populate. Learn more about store conversion windows.

  • Compare conversion performance before and after adding Performance Max.

Why: Prior to launching a Performance Max campaign, look at your conversion metrics (e.g. conversion volume or value, and average CPA or ROAS) over a few weeks for campaigns that optimize for the same conversion goals you plan on using in Performance Max. After adding Performance Max to your campaign mix, wait a few weeks before evaluating performance. This is especially important if your business experiences conversion delays as noted above.

Note

Make sure to account for other factors such as creative changes, additional store locations, and seasonality before evaluating performance.

  • Check for campaign alerts.

Why: Look out for any ad disapprovals to make sure your ads are running as intended. Also check your campaign status to see if it’s limited by budget. If this happens, consider raising your daily budget to make sure you’re capturing as many conversions as you can. 

  • Use asset reporting to see which creative assets are performing well.

Why: By selecting “View Details” in your asset group, you can check if your asset quality is “Low”, “Good”, or “Best”, and see whether you need to add new assets for automation to use in your creatives. If you already have the maximum number of assets, you can swap out your lower quality ones for new, higher quality assets. You can also view the “Combinations” tab to see which combinations of assets have performed best, along with the ability to preview your ads by channel. This can provide useful insight into what types of creative assets your customers respond to best and can help inform what future assets to upload, as well as your broader creative strategy. 

  • Check your optimization score to find ways to improve your campaign performance.

Why: By viewing your optimization score, you’ll be able to see where your campaign has room to grow. The higher your score, the more optimized your campaign is. You can find recommendations to improve your campaign, such as optimizing for new customer acquisition, and easily apply them via the Recommendations tab.

  • Utilize other available reports.

Why: You can find additional information on your performance through other reports. You can utilize Performance Max placement reports to see where your ads have served and the associated impressions. These reports give you more transparency and assurance around where your ads are showing. If store visit and local action metrics are important for you to track, you can also use the per store report to understand how Performance Max is contributing towards traffic to each location. Visits and local actions will also be reported by individual store location. Top signals in your bid strategy report is another helpful place where you can see what factors are driving your performance. Top signals may include, but are not limited to: device type, location, day of week, time of day, queries, and Customer Match lists.

Learn more about asset reporting in Performance Max

7. Find new insights to inform your campaign optimizations and overall strategy

  • Explore the Insights page to understand what is driving performance.

Why: The Insights page helps you see what’s influencing performance the most, like your top audiences and search themes. Many of the insights you get from mining raw data or analyzing reports from other Google Ads campaign types can be found on the Insights page for Performance Max. You can also apply this information to broader business and marketing strategies beyond Google Ads. For example, you might identify rising search trends or new converting audiences you may not have expected. You can also identify what creative assets are performing well with which audiences to inform your creative strategy.

Note

Insights won’t always be generated for every account and campaign at all times. Learn more about why you might not see Insights.

Find more best practices for advertisers with online sales and offline goals here.

 

 

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