Tick, tock, tick...

Are you ready to move from your Smart Shopping campaigns to Performance Max ?

You must have noticed: Google is looking to push more and more campaign automation (not for the altruistic side, but the trend is there!).

If some of you have already migrated to Performance Max, or have maintained a hybrid management of your campaigns until then, the coming months will see a change for all advertisers.

What is Performance Max?

Google presents it this way: it is a”a new type of goal-based campaign that allows performance-based advertising advertisers to access all of their Google Ads inventory from a single campaign”.

Les Pmax campaigns will be broadcast across the Google network (YouTube, Maps, Gmail, Discover, Discover, Search, Display, etc.) based on what the Mountain View giant believes is most effective in achieving the goals you have set for yourself.

Put simply, a Performance Max campaign is a single campaign that gives you access to all Google Ads inventory without multiplying efforts. Simply load up to 15 images, 5 titles, 5 titles, 5 descriptions, 5 logos, etc. and Google will take care of the rest by triggering its machine learning systems to automatically deliver scalable ads across its channels. So you won't need to design ads that are specific to each channel.

Clearly, it's a bit like the spirit of The Lord of the Rings: a type of campaign to rule them all.

To do this, Performance Max will rely on various elements that it will be up to YOU to provide in the most complete, coherent and diversified way possible:

  • conversion goals
  • creative assets (dedicated resources, we'll come back to that)
  • audience signals
  • data feeds (optional)

First important point: while Performance Max can be scary with its “black box” and 100% automated aspect of its distribution and learning, the reality is that the bulk of the work of acquisition managers (etc.) will be concentrated upstream... which will not exempt you from carefully monitoring what is happening!

By the way: why are you interested in Google Performance Max?

... apart from the fact that everyone will have to go through it in the end;)

Google's observation is as follows: consumers are consulting an increasing number of sites, videos, videos, blogs, networks, shops, etc. to get inspired, explore, compare and buy what they need.

Over the past holiday season, more than half of customers used more than five channels to make their purchases (evaluation period: 48 hours). This makes sense, if you take a closer look at how you or your loved ones shop online. Finding inspiration and validation has become key!

Based on the first post-adoption figures, rely on Performance Max to be everywhere (or almost) where the customers are would have allowed advertisers who upgraded their Smart Shopping campaigns to PMax to achieve an average increase of 12% in conversion for the same or better ROAS.

Performance Max = moving away from “keyword centric” to refocus on goals and audience

Google has long been associated with keywords, the famous Keywords who are obsessed with SEO as well as when it comes to creating search campaigns that perform without weighing down acquisition budgets.

Except that just as the name “AdWords” is now a thing of the past, Google is above all one of The world's most comprehensive ecosystems for advertisers, far from being limited to searches by phrases or keywords.

And he is in expansion !

Adwords → Ads —> Performance Max: the DNA of Google advertising is becoming clearer.

A small overview of the possibilities outside of “pure search” today:

  • youtube
  • gmail
  • Google Maps
  • android
  • Discovery
  • Apps (Calendar, etc.)
  • The Display network
  • GAY...

Different moments, different uses, different formats: it is by thinking global and diversified that the question of Performance Max becomes interesting.

So far, as an advertiser, you select the types of campaigns that you think are most effective for your strategy and create ads. specifically for each channel : Smart Shopping, Display, YouTube, Search..

But that's almost over: Google will choose for you what are the formats, times and places to push Internet users for your campaigns to convert.

Ok, but how?

Via the Machine learning.

Automation is based on this approach, based on what Google “knows” about its visitors and what you bring from your side to give it signals: goals of course, budget data, conversions to measure, but also interesting data on your audiences, etc.

He then broadcasts the ad that he feels is the most appropriate to maximize campaign performance.

Can you see the paradigm shift?

Rather than being focused on a specific keyword or channel, a Performance Max campaign is focused on the audience and your objective.

Important note, and we'll come back to it in the next part: The audience is only one signal of exploration for Google, which goes behind the fundamental purpose, achieving a particular objective. 

What is the difference between a Performance Max campaign and other smart campaigns?

Here are the main developments:

  • ‍ The campaign structure is different : Instead of using an Ad Group and Ad Level, Performance Max deploys a Campaign and Asset Group structure.
  • Bidding strategies are limited to goal-based strategies.
  • Audience targeting is different : Google automates targeting and optimizes delivery according to the audience provided by the advertiser based on an inspirational model (signal) and not an absolute target.

Concretely, how is it going?

You arrive on Google Ads with a clearly defined objective in mind.

Then you create a unique campaign for a unique audience, by combining it with a varied set of “creatives” (CTAs, titles, descriptions, photographs, videos, illustrations...).

The ads are then created automatically by Google and delivered across the ecosystem.

We come back to the point previously mentioned: your audience is then used as a lead suggestion by Google, a starting point to start in the right direction if you prefer.

But that's just information, because Google will potentially end up looking for other audiences that are more likely to meet your goals if it detects that this is the case.

This point is essential to perform over time: if when you consult your reports, you notice that some of your “internal” audiences have performed but that 5 or 6 new ones have worked, you can create new audiences on this basis, with their own assets, to start the operation again and wait for Google to send you “fresh” performance on this market extension.

Are you following us? :)

How you get started with Performance Max (and what's changing)

As we have seen, PMax campaigns condense several things at the same time. This will surely evoke some kind of fusion between dynamic search ads and Smart Shopping ads. The result? A combination of Display, Shopping, YouTube, Search ads...

But for Google to do that, you need to provide it with a set of basic components: product, feed, creative assets like images, titles, and videos. Google will play with these elements, mix them and create a different ad for each placement, on any device or channel.

  • Choose a campaign objective

You have the choice between lead generation, sales, traffic, traffic, reputation, store visits, local promotion... Think carefully about what you want to achieve per campaign, it's an essential element in Performance Max!

Of course, up until now, you could already specify conversion goals. But with PMax, that becomes the number one focus.

Important clarification: within the main Sales objective, you have access to two additional objectives (purchases via Google Shopping App and transactions). These secondary goals don't count as conversions.

If you want to analyze the sales path more precisely (additions to the cart, possible abandonments, etc.), you can leave them activated; but this can distort the analysis of the value of all conversions. The alternative option is either to cut off these secondary goals altogether or to take away their value..

  • Set up your budget

Is this the impact of the Pareto law? Several experts already recommend allocating 80% of your Smart Shopping budget at Max Performance, and 20% for dynamic retargeting/YouTube.

You can also try an average daily budget of at least 3 times your CPA or cost/conversion for the conversion actions selected at the level of your campaign.

The smart bidding strategies available include Maximize conversions or Maximize conversion value (with the possibility in both cases to define a target CPA and a target ROAS).

  • Charge a creative asset group

This is probably one of the most disconcerting elements for people used to managing “classic” advertising campaigns.

With Performance Max, there's no need to create ads by yourself; you submit a collection of assets and Google creates the ads for you by combining the Creatives submissive.

These creative assets include:

  • logos
  • videos
  • pictures
  • titles
  • descriptions

© Google

You can find the specificities and formats on Google's helpe.

  • Indicate your audience signals

Audience signals are your way of telling Google that X or Y audience is the one you were initially aiming for (the one you think of when creating your assets, so the one you think they should see your ads).

Note the importance of the word “signal”: what you are going to indicate is only an orientation for Google, which will work on this basis but potentially go elsewhere.

It can be:

  • of custom segments
  • Demographic data
  • data of interest
  • of analytical data
  • of retargeting data
  • customer lists...

You can divide your audiences based on their affinity with a topic (interest) or their current propensity to buy (currently being researched).

  • Take your pick on final URL extensions

With Performance Max, Google is now pushing a feature called The URL extension. When it is active, it is not the advertiser who chooses the landing page on which the user will arrive when he clicks on an advertisement.

Google can decide which page to send the user to based on their own characteristics and their journey... and Spoiler Alert, it does not have to be a product page !

The best thing is to start by letting PMax do it, but taking care to exclude pages on your site that you do not want users to arrive at.

Why is it an interesting choice on the part of Google (and therefore worth testing)?

Simply because according to the analyses of the Web giant, on average, you need 500 touch/interaction points between a brand and a consumer to promote conversion.

This may explain why the algorithm chooses at some point to send your user to a blog page rather than a product, because it believes that this increases your chances of leading them to reach your goals.

We welcome your feedback on this in the comments a

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