We know there’s a lot of interest right now around Google Ads’ Performance Max (PMax) campaigns now that they’re available in the new Search Ads 360 (SA360). You have Performance Max questions, and we have answers! Here are ten commonly asked questions we field from our clients, along with our responses, advice and recommendations.
Top Q&A on Performance Max
1) What is Performance Max?
Performance Max is a new campaign type that maximizes performance across all channels in Google Ads. It includes elements of traditional keyword-driven search, display via GDN, video via YouTube and shopping campaigns (if applicable) to connect your content with customers at the right moment across all ad formats more efficiently than you could realistically achieve manually.
2) Are PMax Campaigns Included in Google’s SA360 Billing Policies?
Beginning April 01, 2023, Google will start updating its billing policies to include new Campaign types like Performance Max. If you are running PMax campaigns that are synced to SA360 and you have migrated your advertiser to the new SA360 UI, then you can expect any spend for Performance Max Campaigns to be automatically rolled into your total billable spend in SA360 for May 2023 invoices and onward.
3) How quickly should I adopt this new feature?
Being at the forefront of Google Ads automation and machine learning algorithms has historically proven to be very fruitful for search marketers, and Performance Max looks to be continuously evolving and improving. Ultimately, the speed at which you adopt it comes down to opportunity cost. Waiting until next month, next quarter or next year to test this campaign will likely mean missing out on increased performance during that period.
4) What happened to Smart Shopping Campaigns?
As of Q3 2022, Performance Max has now absorbed all Smart Shopping Campaigns (SSC) as PMax campaign inventory has taken priority over other campaign types. You will not be able to use SSCs. However, PMax will continue to give you the same Smart Shopping and Local campaign base features with additional access to new inventory, formats and bidding controls.
5) Will this update actually improve my performance?
We have been given every reason to believe that Performance Max campaigns will improve the overall performance of your account. While this feature is still fairly new, Google has run extensive alpha and beta tests to ensure the machine learning algorithms will benefit clients when used correctly. Based on those tests, using Performance Max yielded an increase in conversion volume and a higher return on ad spend (ROAS). The Adswerve team has seen similar results. The biggest concession is that you will not have as much visibility and control over Performance Max campaigns and reporting as you might be accustomed to.
One caveat is that some clients have noticed decreased performance if they are converting an SSC to a Performance Max campaign and adding no additional assets. While there is a forced migration looming, it is important to remember to add all available assets to your Performance Max campaign in order to get the best performance.
6) What assets are required and in what format/specs?
- At least 3 x 30 character headlines
- At least 2 x 90 character descriptions
- At least 1 x 90 character long headline
- At least 1 x 600×316 landscape
- At least 1 x 300×300 square
- At least 1 x 128×128 logo
- Recommended: 1200 x 628
- Max file size: 5,120KB
- At least one file >10 seconds in length is recommended
- While you are not required to provide a video, we recommend it, as not including one will result in Google auto-creating a slideshow based on static image assets, which will not be optimal for converting.
- You will need to upload videos to YouTube for inclusion in the campaign; they cannot currently be uploaded directly into the Google Ads account
- You do not have to include audiences, but we highly recommend it as Google will use them to enhance bidding.
7) Can you report on the overlap in delivery on audiences/creative for campaigns that are running through PMax and DV360?
Google explicitly maintains that there isn’t a competition between channels. If you want to take some additional steps to see more granularity, options are available by comparing specs between different channel types:
- The Display Specs are different for PMax than DV360
- 300×300, 314×314, 600×314 for PMax
- 300×250. 300×600, 728×90, 160×600, 320×50, 300×250 for DV360 (standard)
- The Video Specs are slightly different and can be worked around
- Must be > 10 seconds for PMax (YouTube)
- :06s bumpers are available for DV360 (YouTube)
- DV360 also has pre-roll and CTV inventory for Video
- Performance Max campaigns are audience based only
- Targeting different audiences in each platform will ensure no overlap
- Build durable GA360 audiences built from engagement from each platform to exclude from the alternate
For more information, please check out these recent articles by Google:
Have other Performance Max questions? Check out my recent webinar, Performance Max Campaigns in SA360: What You Need to Know or reach out to our experts for more information.