Stay ahead of the changing digital landscape.

Why You Should Test Google's Performance Max Campaign

BY: Lindsay Moura | 9/28/22

Google is constantly updating its interface, introducing new products, and sunsetting old ones. The most recent of these changes that you should know about is the Performance Max campaign.  

What Is It?

This goal-based campaign type allows advertisers to deliver ads across the entire Google network, all within a single campaign. It uses audience segments that you identify either from your own lists or through contextual keywords in order to find the right customers and then serve them ads across all available inventory including Google’s Display Network, YouTube, the Search Engine Results Page (SERP), Gmail, Maps, and Discover.  

Why It Matters 

Because this campaign utilizes all available ad placements, it extends your reach far beyond what you would get traditionally. And more importantly, it does this in a highly efficient, data-driven way. Prior to this campaign being introduced, you would need to build separate campaigns for each one of the ad placements that you wanted to deliver ads to. And because the campaigns were built separately, there wasn’t much synergy between the data. Now, Google can make real-time decisions about which ad placement is performing better than others and shift its focus to those placements.  

You might even be surprised by the results you get from channels you may not have even considered before. For example, Discovery ads appear within Google’s feeds on the YouTube app, Google app, and Gmail app. These placements can be highly effective but are somewhat underestimated and get overshadowed by traditional Google Display and remarketing tactics.  

How to Test It 

In our experience, Performance Max is really meant for lead generation-focused campaigns. While you can still utilize it for higher funnel brand awareness, it’s not as effective. This is because Google’s algorithm needs well-defined and actionable conversion data such as a form fill or phone call in order to effectively optimize the campaign.  

To get started, you’ll need to supply Google with several ad assets including ad copy and images. You do not, however, necessarily need to provide video. Although ideal if you have it, if you don’t, Google will automatically generate a video (much like it would do to create a responsive display ad). This might seem like a lot of upfront work and a bit daunting to get a campaign up and running, but once launched, you’ll save time in the overall management and decision-making with a much higher return.  

Don’t abandon or neglect your standard search campaigns! While Performance Max delivers text ads, they should simply complement rather than replace an existing standard search campaign. This is because the keywords implemented for Performance Max are created from your audience so you can’t get quite as granular as you would with a traditional search campaign.  

The Results 

A wastewater service client of ours was looking to combat steep market competition in Massachusetts, so we launched a Performance Max campaign with the goal of generating more phone calls. This was a situation where they did not have video assets, but Google generated one for us that allowed us to capitalize on that available placement. In just over a month, we increased leads by over 2,500% and cut the cost per lead by 95% compared to the same timeframe the prior year.  

For another organization in Nevada, we used Performance Max to generate memberships for an exclusive club for people 65 and older. Much like the case of the sewer company, we had used traditional Google campaigns prior to this format being released, but Performance Max far exceeded those results, delivering more leads at a lower cost per lead. By simultaneously running a separate search campaign, we saw a spike in searches and lead volume through that campaign in addition to the results generated from Performance Max. This is why it’s important to have holistic reporting because it helps you understand the full impact of your efforts rather than looking at each campaign individually. 

While Google’s ever-changing interface and policies can seem daunting, the changes can deliver very real benefits to you and your business. Feeling overwhelmed? Contact our marketing team for a free consultation!  


Lindsay Moura



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