Optimization tips for Performance Max

Performance Max combines best-in-class automation technologies across bidding, targeting, creatives, and attribution to help you drive growth in conversions and value, and is designed to perform well across a wide range of marketing objectives and media channels. Because of this, we recommend utilizing the following best practices to properly set up Performance Max campaigns to achieve success and help further optimize results if needed.

Best practices for all business types

  • Run campaigns for at least 6 weeks to allow the machine learning algorithm to ramp up and have sufficient data to compare performance.
  • Add at least 5 versions of text assets (4 headlines, 5 descriptions) to your asset group.
  • Add at least 5 versions of image assets (including 1200x1200) to your asset group.
  • Use as many assets as possible.
  • Use relevant audience lists as Signals to speed up machine learning ramp-up.
  • Utilize Google Ads Conversion Tracking rather than Google Analytics conversion import to track video views or cross-device conversions.

Best practices for online sales (non-shopping)

  • Campaign set up
    • Performance Max is powered by machine learning. Enhance machine learning by giving as much data as you can to help it drive results for your business. Use remarketing lists, custom intent, customer match and customer match similar audiences as Signals.
  • Creative
    • Refresh your creatives. Creative is your most powerful tool to drive performance, and allows you to customize the campaign to promote new products or new offers. For the best results, focus on providing unique content.
    • For weekend sales, start the campaign 2-3 weeks in advance, then refresh your creative frequently to move from more generic store creative to sales-focused creative. This strategy will allow you to do time-based promotions without compromising performance.
    • Customers look to visual sources online for inspiration about what to buy. Use visual inventory to target new customers.
  • Reporting
    • Ad strength can be found during ad creation and in a new column in Google Ads. The metric ranges from “Poor” to “Excellent”.

Best practices for lead generation

  • Campaign set up
    • Performance Max is powered by machine learning. Enhance machine learning by giving as much data as you can to help it drive results for your business. Use remarketing lists, custom intent, customer match and customer match similar audiences as Signals.
    • For Lead Gen, use offline conversion import or enhanced conversions to correctly value conversions.
  • Bidding and conversion goals
    • Import offline conversions regularly.
    • Use value-based bidding strategies to correctly value offline and online conversions.
    • If using Maximize-conversions or tCPA bid strategies, select the deepest funnel conversion action that has sufficient frequency and set the tCPA accordingly. Mark other lead conversions (goals) as “Observation only”.
  • Creative
    • Follow the asset group creation best practices:
      • Use the “Ad Strength” indicator to determine if an asset group is set up for success.
      • Add more assets as your marketing message evolves, or new assets to continue to capture additional users. More assets means more potential ad formats that can be created for different channels and users.
      • Make sure your image assets meet our highest quality guidelines (e.g., Discovery, image extensions, video ads) to enable serving on as many surfaces as possible to achieve better performance.
    • A lead form best practice would be to ask only for information that is strictly necessary. Additional questions will decrease completion rate and hence increase CPA.
    • Refresh your creative. Creative is your most powerful tool to drive performance, and allows you to customize the campaign to relevant audiences. Add another asset group if you want to tailor ads for a different audience. Audience signals don't work as targeting and the asset group serves beyond the audience, but still it’s important to have the right assets tried to the right audience signals. For best results, focus on providing unique content.
  • Reporting
    • Ad strength can be found during ad creation and in a new column in Google Ads. The metric ranges from “Poor” to “Excellent”.

Best practices for store visits or offline sales

  • Campaign set up
    • Campaign duration: 30 days minimum
    • Store visits: The campaign must be set up within an account, which is already active and eligible for store visits (regardless of Google channel)
    • Number of business locations per account: 10 business locations minimum
  • Account ID or campaign setup: The requirements and recommendations are at an account level. If required, you can create multiple campaigns as long as the requirements are met at an account level.
    • Example: You can create 5 individual Performance Max campaigns with each assigned $200 budget per day, 2 stores each, and 30 day campaign duration.
  • Reporting
    • Visits will be reported by individual store location and provided per store performance insights to your customers.
    • When assessing the success of the campaign, compare against other performance-oriented campaigns with the same conversion action. If a competitive benchmark is required, compare to other offline media (print, radio, flyers, TV, etc.) with offline objectives.

Best practices for retail advertisers with a Google Merchant Center feed

  • Testing Performance Max campaigns
    • Performance Max campaigns will be prioritized over existing Smart Shopping campaigns that run the same products in the same account. When your Performance Max campaign starts to run, the spend in those shopping campaigns will significantly decrease (regardless of budget breakdown) and Performance Max will ramp up in its place.
    • To minimize performance ramifications, you should set similar budgets for your Performance Max as that of your existing Smart Shopping campaigns to ensure Performance Max can ramp up to capture previous shopping inventory.
    • Once your Performance Max campaign is up and running, you should ideally pause your Smart Shopping campaign to ensure Performance Max can successfully take it over completely.
    • Your Performance Max campaign may take 2-3 days to ramp up and take over the Smart Shopping Campaign inventory entirely.
  • Listing group overlap
    • We recommend that each asset group target different products (i.e., Products A-L in Asset Group 1 and Products M-Z in Asset Group 2).
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