Whilst we have been busy behind the scenes getting to grips with Google’s latest technology rollout, we thought it was about time we introduced ‘Google Performance Max’. Performance Max is a completely new breed of Google Ads campaign, which team MUV have been busy educating ourselves on. In some ways, Google has forced our hands by replacing Smart Shopping with Performance Max but as Google will prioritise Pmax ads over Standard Shopping we needed to take the plunge!
Our previous interactions with Google’s AI have mostly involved “hey Google, play radio 2” or “hey google volume down”, which often takes longer than swapping tracks on a vinyl record. We approach this algorithmic change by Google with great trepidation, and with a hope that the Google AI doesn’t hold offence for over 1,000 instances of “Google STOP!!!” over the past few years.
As PPC specialists, with years of experience & knowledge in setting up and managing most types of campaigns, the rule book has been thrown out of the window. Initially, the reaction is to keep as much control as possible but ultimately we have to relinquish some control to embrace the future and take advantage of the possibilities that this new campaign type offers.
Let’s start at the beginning, Performance Max (Pmax) uses machine learning to push out ads across all of its Google properties; Youtube, Gmail, Search, Maps, Discover, Shopping and Display. We then tell Google what your goals are and Google uses its automation to serve up ads that make the most sense for your goals.
Creative assets play an important role, different headlines, descriptions, videos, and images can be tested to continuously improve & sculpt campaign performance. The only drawback is that you need enough data to allow those decisions to be made. We have identified on some of our smaller campaigns that the performance can hang on “Pending” or “Learning” for a few weeks before and conversion data appears within performance insights.
As well as creative assets, each campaign needs feeding with data in the form of audience signals. These can be your previous visitors to the site, In-Market or Affinity audiences (we try to stick to In-Market unless there is a strong Affinity audience as these can be too broad) or proven keywords from previous search campaigns.
As automation takes hold, this presents new challenges in reading the data
Currently this is the data we can see:
Campaign stats – this is just a general overview of how the campaign is performing but can be segmented by device, time or location.
Insights – Conversions & Clicks by Search Term data, although this would be useful by asset group. Top performing audience segments along with their conversion share.
Landing Page stats – so we can see how individual landing pages are performing, useful to potentially exclude those which aren’t performing.
Asset performance – keep assets rated as “best” and swap out those rated as “low” or “good”
Pmax does not allow us to add negative keywords, this highlights a problem in that it will be useful to be able to add all your brand terms as negatives (as well as others). There are two ways around this, either add a Brand campaign with exact match keyword and hope this takes priority over Pmax or contact your Google rep and ask for the Brand terms to be added as negative keywords.
Google identifies four key ways that Pmax will help you achieve your goals;
- Increasing conversions & value
- Finding new customers
- Gaining richer insights
- Working together with automation
Out of the above we think finding new audiences (customers) is the most exciting, which should lead to more conversions! Pmax opens the door to a much more diverse audience to capture new opportunities outside of standard search or remarketing campaigns. This isn’t necessarily always going to perform, but as PPC specialists we would not be doing our job if we weren’t attempting to understand and run with the automation that Google offers as the rewards are worth it. Get in touch if you are intrigued by this new campaign type and think they would work well in your marketing portfolio.
We continue to monitor Pmax developments closely, but the early signs are positive, and we hope to be able to establish some solid improvements for our clients by leveraging Google’s AI!