How to Win with Google’s New Performance Max

December 15, 2022

Digital Marketing By ChannelAdvisor

Have you heard? Google Performance Max is the new Google Shopping — and it’s the easiest, smartest way to optimize your campaigns ever. 

But despite the advanced nature of this machine learning tool, it still requires human inputs that tell it what to optimize for

If you’re unsure how to take advantage of this next generation of Google campaigns, our recent webinar, Winning Strategies for Performance Max, with Link Walls, VP of Digital Marketing Strategy at ChannelAdvisor, provides the tactics to get it right.

What Is Performance Max?

Performance Max is a goals-based campaign type in Google Ads that leverages automation. It’s like “Smart Shopping 2.0,” replacing the previous solution and extending its reach. (Note that all Smart Shopping campaigns will be migrated to Performance Max.)

Google has designed a robust machine that takes marketers’ inputs and decides which ads to “serve up” to produce the most preferred outcomes. These inputs include your:

  • Budget
  • Goals
  • Product data feed
  • Audience signals
  • Creative assets
  • Geo targets

Once Google has this information, machine learning prompts multiple real-time decisions like ad placement, format (such as video or text) or potential appearance on the Shopping tab. Machine learning is good at taking each product’s various signals (e.g., price, available quantity, margin, brand name vs. generic or new vs. clearance), recognizing patterns and acting on them to achieve your desired outcomes. 

Under a dynamic catalog approach, different product types have varied goals — kind of like a diversified investment portfolio. For instance, you may want to aim for higher return on ad spend (ROAS) for low-priced products, while keeping clearance items to a smaller return. 

If products perform well under your set strategy, they can “graduate” to a different campaign, feeding the dynamic approach mindset. Just remember: Machine learning requires data to learn from. If your selected segments are too niche, they may deprive the machine from necessary data.

Optimize and Maintain Control Over Your Google Ads

An algorithm built for accuracy and efficiency is ultra-convenient for the busy marketer. But that doesn’t mean you want to hand over the reins completely. There are still ways you can exercise control and influence over your campaigns with tweaks to your manual inputs. 

Practice patience. 

Smart machines need time to learn. Don’t make brash changes just because you don’t get the desired results right away. Let the algorithm “simmer.”

Set correct goals. 

Performance Max will optimize for the goals you set. There’s no right or wrong answer — your ad goals should reflect your company goals. Just be sure to balance the desire for growth with profitability. 

Prioritize creative assets. 

Google Ads have gone from three lines of text to advanced graphics and video. To stand out, you must be able to compete with other brands’ creative assets. Improve click-through rates with fresh creative content you regularly assess and rotate.

Monitor ad strength.

With the launch of Performance Max comes a new metric in Google Ads called ad strength. This is essentially the new “quality score” indicating the overall strength of your ads. Optimize against it, identifying gaps and using additional creative assets to drive improvement. 

Focus on the right metrics.

You can optimize for a number of metrics from leads to click-through rate to cost per click. Ensure you know exactly what your program is set to optimize and aim for overarching goals like topline performance and ROAS instead of getting hung up on the little things.

ChannelAdvisor Helps You Win with Performance Max

ChannelAdvisor is a long-time Google partner. Our Managed Services team understands the latest Google Ads products and enhancements to help you maximize your ROAS. With Performance Max, you can finally maximize your reach and make changes that drive big results. 

Watch the on-demand webinar, Winning Strategies for Performance Max, to learn five more best practices and understand the ChannelAdvisor-recommended strategies for campaign success.

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