How to use Google Performance Max campaigns to improve your profits

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What are the benefits of Google's new Performance Max campaign type? Head of DPM, Sarah Clarke, tells us how you can use it to automate your campaigns and reach more users than ever before.

The world has changed incredibly quickly since the pandemic and consumers are becoming more demanding, more impatient and continuing to be mobile-first. 70% of consumers now buy more online than pre-COVID and, despite this originally coming out of necessity, even with stores opening up, we haven’t seen a return to same level of pre-pandemic footfall and in-store focus since shops have reopened.

This complicated consumer journey, that sees consumers engaging with more digital touchpoints online than ever before, has naturally led to a higher cost for advertisers, with customer acquisition becoming more and more expensive. This means that, even when results are coming in within targets, this increased cost is cutting into profit margins, making the activity run less efficiently. In this new digital economy, we need to be sure that we’re continuing to drive optimal performance through Google Ads and this is where our newest campaign type comes in – Performance Max.

What is Google Performance Max?

Performance Max is a brand new campaign type in Google Ads which came out of beta at the end of 2021. This campaign uses all of the available Google Ads inventory across Search, the Google Display Network (GDN), Discover, Gmail and YouTube to maximise your paid performance. The campaign uses machine learning, ultimately saving time and driving towards the goals that are most valuable for your business.

Performance Max does this by using four key campaign elements:

  • Find more converting customers: as your customers have a longer path-to-purchase and are engaging across more channels, diversifying the portfolio means find customers across platforms that you haven’t advertised on before, based on those who are most likely to convert.
  • Drive more value for your budget: by using separate campaigns, the budgets are usually siloed in the same way, with less investment going towards the upper-funnel channels like YouTube and GDN. By spreading this across inventory, it means you’ll be investing into those areas that are most likely to convert.
  • Providing rich and transparent insights: through the campaign, you can see the audiences that are working and the assets that are working, ensuring that you can optimise, refresh and go all-in on those creatives to produce more of the same in terms of performance and conversion.
  • Steering automation through Audience inputs: by knowing which audiences are most important to you, you can input these into the campaign to speed up the learning process. Not only does this make the campaign work more effectively, but also speeds up the learning period, ensuring the campaign reaches its goals more quickly.

Is Performance Max right for me?

All of this is based on the conversion goal that is most important to you, using a goal-based campaign experience to unlock maximum performance. When you combine this with your existing PPC structure across Search, Shopping and DSA, it takes your activity to the next level, with a focus on attribution and path-to-purchase, whilst maximising on the best inventory, reaching customers on the right platform, with the right message, at the right time.

We’ve put Performance Max to use ourselves, here at ClickThrough, by using it to refresh our approach to Renault Retail Group’s PPC activity. In an increasingly competitive market, faced with changing consumer habits when it comes to car-purchases, we were consistently meeting our KPI target, but knew we could improve profit margins further. We turned to Performance Max to broaden our audience and ensure we were reaching users in the best ways possible. As a result, we achieved a CPA of 65% lower than our KPI.

What conversion goals can I use with Performance Max?

The conversion goals that are supported are across online sales, lead generation and offline sales, so whether you’re an online retailer where sales are important or a service-based business where lead form completions are the focus, this can be the objective for the campaign. We can also layer this with omni-channel data, using things like store visits and directions to link up the entire marketing piece.

On top of this, the campaign is layered with a new level of dynamic creative optimisation (DCO), which historically has only been seen within Display and Programmatic advertising. For Performance Max, you are required to build an asset group – a collection of images, videos, headlines and description lines which the Google machine learning uses to produce the right asset not only for each inventory source, but also for the consumer, based on the things that are important to them based on their behaviour.


Ultimately, Google has been testing this technology for years and has just bought this together into the Performance Max campaign. The inventory algorithm has been used successfully within Smart Shopping, combined with auction time bidding which leads to an uplift in conversion value. The automated creative mirrors what Google have been using in Responsive Search Ads, alongside the full-funnel awareness which is similar to the Data Driven attribution model. All of this unlocks performance, supporting users across the consumer journey and making your PPC activity work more effectively.

Want to talk to someone about what Performance Max could do for your campaigns? Get in touch to speak to one of our experts!

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