Google Ads Performance Max Campaigns

Getting the most out of your Google Ads Performance Max campaigns

Did you know that Google Ads Performance Max campaigns can help you drive better results by automatically pausing and activating ads based on their performance? 

This is perfect for marketers who are finding it increasingly difficult to find new ways to improve their advertising campaigns’ performance. By focusing campaign efforts on the ads that produce the best results and reducing wasted budget on underperformance ads, Google’s Performance Max can help you get the most out of your advertising. 

Read on to learn more about Performance Max campaigns, how they can boost your Google Ads performance, and why they should form part of your advertising strategy. 

How does Google Performance Max differ from other types of Google Ads campaigns?

The main difference between Performance Max and other types of Google Ads campaigns lies in automation of the ad creation process across the Google Network based on inputs you provide during the setup process. This makes it much easier to manage and adapt your campaigns.

Google will then use its machine-learning algorithms to adjust your campaign bids based on location, device, past behaviour, and other factors. As a result, you’re likely to see a conversion increase due to the campaign’s ability to target a particular niche market.

If you already used Smart Shopping campaigns, you might see similarities. However, Smart Shopping campaigns focused on maximising sales conversions, whereas Performance Max campaigns now let you select multiple conversion goals with different priorities, making them much more customisable to the advertiser.

Ultimately, Performance Max campaigns allow you to tailor your ads to specific goals, making it easier and quicker to get the results you want from Google Ads.

How does Google Performance Max differ from other types of Google Ads campaigns_

Why use Google Ads Performance Max, and what are the key features?

With Google Ads, there are so many different campaign types, ad formats and bidding strategies to choose from that it can be daunting for advertisers to get started. This is where Google Performance Max campaigns can be extremely useful because you simply define the goal, provide the assets and then let Google’s automation take on the rest, creating ads that can run across the entire network (such as Search, Display, YouTube and Gmail) all from one campaign. 

Some of the key features include:

Conversion goals

Optimise your campaigns by setting conversion goals with Google Performance Max campaigns that align with specific marketing objectives. By focusing on goals, Google will then use automated bidding and targeting to ensure the budget is spent where the highest returns can be found.

Priority campaigns

Google allows you to select campaign types based on brand objectives and marketing goals to suit your target audience, including display ads, video ads, app campaigns, local campaigns and smart campaigns. Performance Max is also a campaign type, and these campaigns take priority over Shopping ads for the same product advert, reducing spend on the latter and increasing spend for the Performance Max campaigns. Note that you will need to set your advertising objective to ‘Sales’, ‘Leads’ or ‘Local shop visits and promotions’ for Performance Max to show up as a campaign type.

Ad formats

As with standard Google Ads, when it comes to Google Performance Max campaigns, you can use text, image, or video ads, depending on what will be most effective for reaching your target audience.

Smart bidding strategies

Performance Max uses automation and Smart Bidding to maximise performance and reach your set advertising goals across all channels and campaign types. By setting conversion goals, you can then decide how to direct the bidding process to optimise for those goals. Performance Max then allocates the bids for each auction in real time to deliver against those objectives.

The pros and cons of using Google Ads Performance Max campaigns

When it comes to advertising online, there are pros and cons to every approach; the same is true of Performance Max campaigns. Google designed these campaigns to maximise performance, but there are some caveats you should be aware of before starting. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of using Google Ads Performance Max Campaigns:

The Pros

You can reach a large number of people with your ads.

On the plus side, the biggest advantage of these campaigns is that they’re designed to help you get the most out of your Google Ads spend. They're also great for increasing brand awareness and reaching new audiences because they can deliver relevant ads based on customer behaviour and intent.

Google Ads Performance Max campaigns are automatically adaptable.

Unlike regular Google Ads campaigns, this campaign type is designed to automatically adapt to changes in traffic and budget without you having to lift a finger. The algorithm determines which ad is served and how often; it constantly learns and changes based on user behaviour. An adaptive algorithm will ensure your ad has a better chance of being seen by potential customers. To help the learning process, Google recommends running the campaign for a minimum of one month.

Customise your campaign to target specific demographics.

With Performance Max campaigns, you can customise your targeting to include age, gender, interests, and more. Although you can do this with other campaign types, the Performance Max campaigns are set up once and then optimised automatically with your selected demographics to deliver the best performance possible in terms of conversion and budget.

The Cons

There are a few areas that advertisers need to be aware of before going ahead with Google Ads Performance Max campaigns. Although they sound ideal for novice users as everything is automated, they can create problems if mistakes are made:

You need clear goals.

If you are not clear in setting your advertising goals, then Performance Max campaigns will not be able to optimise correctly, with the potential to deliver results that are not aligned with your overall objectives.

They can be expensive when targeting competitive markets.

Similarly to goals, if you are not clear in your targeting versus your competitors, then the system will not know where to optimise. In addition, if your assets are weak in terms of creativity or messaging, then Performance Max campaigns will be unable to outperform your competitors. So, if you're not careful with your budget and planning, you could quickly blow through your entire ad spend with little to show.

There's no guarantee that your ads will perform well.

As mentioned, these campaigns require clarity and knowledge regarding your campaign setup - machine learning is different from total automation. High customisation options during the setup process increase the probability of expensive mistakes, so you might only be able to get the most out of a Performance Max campaign if you're an experienced Google Ads user.

Limited control and visibility

Automation is both an advantage and a disadvantage. Busy marketers and novices will no doubt favour the advantages, but advertisers who like to be in control of their campaigns will likely find Performance Max frustrating. This is further compounded by the lack of visibility into individual campaign insights or asset combinations.

Overall, when it comes to the advantages and disadvantages, only you can decide if Google Ads Performance Max campaigns are right for you and your business. So weigh the pros and cons carefully to make the best decision for your needs.

How to set up a Performance Max campaign – what you need to know

Google Ads can be an excellent way to promote your business and reach new customers. However, campaigns can be tricky to set up if you’re unfamiliar with the platform. That’s where Performance Max comes in; it helps keep your campaigns organised and caps your spending at a set amount each day. The cap means you won’t have to worry about overspending and can focus on making the most of your Google Ads budget and getting the best results for your business.

Before getting started, you need to:

  1. Identify your audience signals – signals that indicate that someone is interested in what you have to offer.
  2. Choose a suitable ad format. The ad format will vary depending on your audience and your goals.
  3. Establish your campaign by selecting the right campaign type and setting your budget.

Once you’re ready, here’s how to set up a performance max campaign: 

  1. Firstly, log in to your Google Ads account and create a new campaign. Choose Performance Max as your campaign type.
  2. Create your Asset Groups. Performance Max allows you to have multiple asset groups within a single campaign; take advantage of this by creating groups based on product lines or services.
  3. Choose your objectives. You can adjust targeting options according to location, language, purchases, and phone calls.
  4. Set your daily budget. Google will automatically optimise your bids based on your objectives. Make sure you’re comfortable with the amount you’re spending, as this can quickly get out of hand.
  5. Finally, you’ll need to add your payment information and submit your campaign for review. Once approved, your campaign will start running, and you’ll be able to track your results in the “Campaigns” tab.
How to set up a Performance Max campaign - what you need to know

How to track results and measure success

When tracking your campaigns, there’s plenty of data to track and analyse. But with so many numbers to consider, it may take time to decide where to start. 

  1. First, make sure you’re tracking the right metrics. Depending on your goals, you should focus on click-through rate (CTR), cost per click (CPC), or conversions. For most Performance Max campaigns, the conversion rate is the most vital metric to track.
  2. You also want to set goals and benchmarks for your campaign. For example, what performance levels are you trying to achieve? How much do you want to spend on clicks? Having specific goals will help you track your progress and identify areas for improvement.
  3.  Performance Max campaigns automatically add final URL expansions to your ads to include more relevant landing pages based on the user search query and intent. These then deliver a dynamic ad header to match the landing page content. Adding final URL expansions can help you improve your results in several ways. First, it can help you deliver relevant ads to users, leading to higher click-through rates and a lower cost-per-click. Second, it can help you track the performance of your ads more efficiently since you’ll be able to see how each expansion is performing. Also, it enables you to troubleshoot issues with your campaigns in a streamlined manner, as you’ll be able to pinpoint and narrow down the cause of any problems quickly.
  4. Last but not least, don’t forget to A/B test your ads. Try changing your headlines, descriptions, and images to see what works best with your audience. By constantly testing and tweaking your ads, you’ll be able to maximise conversions and get the most out of your Google Performance Max campaigns.


Performance Max best practices: tips for getting the most out of your campaigns

Whether you’re just starting or have used Performance Max for a while, there are several tips to help you boost your results. Follow these practices to ensure that your campaigns run as efficiently as possible and achieve the desired outcomes.

Make sure you optimise your landing page for conversion.

This ensures your page is structured to encourage visitors to take the desired action - in this case, converting into paying customers. Areas to consider include optimising the messaging and layout, analysing visitor data and user experience and benchmarking against your competitors.

Create an asset group for each campaign.

An asset group is a collection of all the assets (ads, landing pages, etc.) associated with a particular campaign. An asset group makes it much easier to keep track of performance and results and make changes if necessary.

Use custom intent audiences.

Custom intent audiences are groups of people interested in something related to your product or service. Narrowing your targeting to these audiences with your Google Performance Max campaigns will reduce budget and lead wastage.

Finally, don't be afraid to experiment.

Try different ad types to see what works best for your business, such as different platforms across the Google network or display versus video. Audiences will react differently to the way content is served, depending not just on their profile but where they are in the buyer journey and what they are doing at that point in time.

Final words

As we’ve seen, Performance Max is a campaign type that can help you get the most out of your Google Ads budget. However, it’s essential to understand how it works, the pros as well as the cons, to determine if it’s suitable for your business. 

The key to success lies in detailed and extensive planning for goals and conversions, being clear about your messaging and creative in your assets versus your competitors. Due diligence during the setup process will reward you with the ability to let automation and Smart Bidding do all the work. Then, by tracking results and measuring performance, you can continue to improve your campaigns to deliver the best possible results.

Are you ready to start using Performance Max? Get in touch with our team at


Google Ads Performance Max campaigns are a great way to improve your ad performance and get more from your budget. But what are they exactly? Here are some frequently asked questions:

Performance Max is a campaign that allows you to optimise your ads for maximum performance automatically. Google will use automation to constantly test different versions of your ads and then select the ones that perform the best.

When you enable Performance Max campaigns, Google will automatically allocate your ad budget between different versions of your ads. Then, based on how well each version performs, Google will adjust the budget accordingly. Your ad campaign will become more effective as the best-performing ads receive more funding.

While it’s possible to learn the ins and outs on your own, it’s generally a good idea to leave the setup and management of your campaigns to a professional. A Google Ads expert will have the experience and knowledge necessary to get the most out of your budget and maximise your chances of success.

Performance Max campaigns are incredibly effective because they use machine learning to evolve and continuously improve the campaign. As a result, you’ll get the most out of your ad spend through more efficient targeting and performance.

Chester Yang is the Microsoft Program Manager at Diginius with a background in economics and quantitative research.  

At Diginius, Chester focuses on nurturing partnerships with PPC agencies and integrating marketing and sales solutions.