Multiply conversions with Performance Max

Official guide to creating and optimizing Performance Max campaigns.

Animation of Performance Max on different channels

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Performance Max campaigns allow advertisers to access all Google Ads channels and inventory from a single campaign across Search, YouTube, Display, Discover, Gmail, and Maps. Together, AI-powered Search and Performance Max help you maximize conversions across all of Google and supercharge your Search campaigns by combining broad match keywords with Smart Bidding. Performance Max expands on this to help you drive incremental conversions across all Google advertising channels—including Search. Advertisers who use Performance Max achieve on average over 18% more conversions at a similar cost per action.1
 

Google Ads Tutorials: Creating a Performance Max campaign

On this page

For all advertisers and goal types:

  1. Pick conversion goals that matter to your business.
  • In general, choose the same conversion goals as your other existing performance campaigns (like Search campaigns). This helps you stay consistent in what you’re optimizing for, and helps our bidding systems better optimize toward the same goal across campaigns.
  • Setting up a new customer acquisition goal allows you to value and prioritize bidding for new customers, while still maximizing sales from existing ones. You can also choose to focus exclusively on new customers. 
    • We strongly recommend using New Customer Value Mode if you want to grow overall online sales while also growing your new customer base. 
    • Advertisers who highly value new customer acquisitions and use New Customer Value Mode improved their ROAS by 9%, improved their new customer ratio by 5%, and reduced acquisition cost for new customers by 7%.2
  • Set up accurate conversion measurement that reflects what conversions are truly worth to your business. Conversion goals and actions y will directly guide Google AI to deliver results against those goals. Set conversion values to represent the relative importance and value of different conversions to your business. By assigning higher values to more important conversions, the campaign can automatically prioritize those to help you maximize value from your budget. 
  • Use conversion value rules to further customize how you optimize performance. Adjust conversion values and apply a multiplication factor for higher-value audiences, devices, or geographic locations.
  1. Choose the right bidding strategy.
  • Use value-based bidding if you’re tracking values with your conversions. Select “Maximize conversion value” as your bid strategy to drive as much conversion value as possible within your budget. If you have specific ROI goals, you can also add a ROAS target
  • If you can’t use value-based bidding because you’re not tracking values and care about all your conversions equally, use “Maximize conversions” to drive as many conversions as possible within your budget. You can also add a CPA target
  • If you’re unsure of which ROAS or CPA target is right for your Performance Max campaign, you can use the targets that you have set for your other performance campaigns (like Search campaigns) as a reference point. Once the campaign has ramped up and gotten more traffic, you can adjust your target up or down accordingly.
  1. Keep automatically created assets and Final URL expansion on.
  • Automatically created assets (enabled by default) allow your Performance Max campaign to use content from your landing pages and automatically generate new and additional text assets for your Search ads. This helps you build more assets to better match customers’ unique context and intent, while staying true to your business and offerings. It also helps keep your text assets fresh over time.
  • If you have automatically created assets enabled, you should also use the Final URL expansion feature, which is turned on by default) This helps you find more converting search queries that are likely to perform well based on customers’ intent and their relevance to your landing pages. This feature will enable your ads to show up on additional searches that have a strong likelihood of leading to conversions. Final URL Expansion uses landing pages on your website to match your ads to more relevant queries.
    • Advertisers who use Final URL expansion with Performance Max campaigns see an average increase of over 9% in conversions/conversion value at a similar Cost Per Action (CPA)/Return on Ad Spend (ROAS).3
  • Exclude specific parts of your website from being targeted with the final URL Exclusion feature, as needed. For example, exclude your company blog or FAQ pages if these aren’t meant to drive conversions. 
  • If you have automatically created assets enabled and there is a specific category of web pages on your website you would like to target, you can use “URL contains” rules to target traffic based on those categories. This rule targets all webpages that have a URL containing specific text. For instance, you can target your campaign specifically to all web pages that have “dogfood” in the URL. 
    • When final URL expansion is ON, these rules help inform and guide Google AI to understand these categories are important (but does not restrict its matching to them). With final URL expansion OFF, “URL contains” rules restrict matching to pages within those categories. 
  • Add page feeds to Performance Max to further refine your results from Search inventory. When final URL expansion is ON, this additional feed helps inform and guide Google AI to understand that these URLs are important (but does not restrict its matching to them).
    • With final URL expansion OFF, page feeds make it easier to add more specific URLs to your Performance Max campaign at scale and to restrict matching to just these URLs. Page feeds also require automatically created assets to be enabled. 

Goal 

Action

Get additional conversions from search queries that are likely to perform well and maximize reach.

Leave Final URL expansion ON.

Find additional search queries that are likely to perform well and maximize reach, but exclude some landing pages on your website, such as Careers or FAQ pages that aren’t optimized to drive conversions. You can also exclude entire categories of your site that you don't want to present in your ads (for example, if you’re discontinuing a brand and no longer want to advertise it).

Use URL Exclusions or URL parameter rules while leaving Final URL expansion ON. 

Find additional search queries, but exclude certain ones you don’t want to appear on even if they perform well, for example, due to your corporate guidelines.

Use account-level negative keywords while leaving Final URL expansion ON.

Find additional search queries, but exclude certain branded terms you don’t want to appear on, for example, due to local regulations.

Use campaign-level brand exclusions while leaving Final URL expansion ON.

Get traffic only for a specific category of pages you want to drive conversions from, even if other categories could also drive performance. For example, you might have a dedicated budget for “running shoes” that can’t be used to sell “basketball shoes”.

Turn Final URL expansion OFF and use “URL contains” rules to target a specific category of web pages. Your web pages should be structured around a type of categorization for this feature to work effectively. (For example, www.domain.com/brand, www.domain.com/brand/category1, www.domain.com/brand/category2.)

Get traffic only for a set of specific pages you want to drive conversions from, even if other pages for the same category could also drive performance. For example, your legal team may need to approve the use of every landing page used in advertising.

Turn Final URL expansion OFF and use page feeds to restrict matching to those specific URLs. 

I don't want to drive additional conversions from other landing pages on my website. I'm only able to send customers to a single landing page (e.g. due to policy reasons) and it's the only path to conversion.

Turn Final URL expansion OFF (not recommended).

Note

Monitor how exclusions impact your reach and performance to make sure you’re not missing out on valuable conversion opportunities.

Learn more about Final URL expansion.

  1. Maximize the variety of your creative assets to engage consumers more effectively.
  • Create asset groups related to a single theme. You can create multiple asset groups per campaign if needed, and each asset group should relate to a unified theme (like a product or service category).
  • Add as many versions of text, image, and video assets as possible (including different image sizes). This helps you reach consumers in more relevant ways depending on their context and mindset, and allows you to promote your business in more places. The more assets you provide, the more ad formats the campaign can create, and the more inventory your ads can appear on. Use Ad Strength to help you understand if you have the optimal asset mix, where you can improve, and to ensure you can run on all available inventory. 
    • Make sure your text assets differ meaningfully from each other and make sense when combined together.
    • Use authentic, high-quality images that inspire people to engage with your brand. We also provide free stock images during campaign construction.
    • Include a video asset that’s at least 10 seconds long. Based on internal data, advertisers that included at least one video in their Performance Max campaigns saw an average increase of 12% total additional conversions.4 This is from advertisers uploading their own video or having Google AI auto-generate one for them. 
    • If you don’t have a video, Performance Max will automatically generate one for you using your other assets. You can also easily create your own video using the video creation tool in the asset library. You can access the tool during campaign creation or after, in the Assets section.
    • Upload videos in different orientations. Based on internal data, advertisers that included at least one video of each orientation (horizontal, vertical, and square) to their Performance Max Campaigns delivered 20% more conversions in YouTube compared to horizontal videos alone.5
  • Utilize Performance Max’s asset generation capabilities to create new assets, including text and images, at scale with the power of generative AI (US only). 
    • When creating a new Performance Max campaign or asset group, enter your URL and click “Generate assets” in the asset generation step to get suggested headlines, descriptions, and images automatically.
    • You can combine your creativity with Google AI to easily create new text and image assets. Use text prompts to provide details on the types of assets you would like to generate. 
      • When generating images, make the prompt as clear as possible when describing the image you want and be specific about what you’d like to generate. You can provide details about an item, the background, the lighting, specific colors, and more. You can even indicate the type of image style you’d like, such as something that’s photo-realistic or an illustrated representation. 
      • While you can generate a variety of images in different styles, we recommend using this feature to generate lifestyle imagery, or generic product imagery if you sell many products.
    • Once you’ve generated your assets, you can select the ones you’d like to serve in the campaign. You can even steer Google AI by asking it to generate more assets similar to ones you've just made.
  • Use additional assets like sitelinks, callouts, lead forms, and phone calls to help your ads show up more prominently and provide extra details to your customers—including different ways they can contact you. 

Learn more about how asset groups work. 

  1. Steer Google AI with audience signals and search themes.
  • Audience signals provide inputs to help your campaign ramp up and optimize performance faster. Input audience signals to guide Google AI and include lower-funnel audience segments, such as your data (which includes Customer Match lists of existing customers who’ve engaged with your business in the past, and website visitors). To use Customer Match, you’ll want to create a customer list, upload it to Google Ads, and update it regularly. 

Note

A major benefit of AI is its ability to help you unlock new converting audience segments—even ones you might not have expected or known about. Performance Max campaigns don’t limit your ads to a selected set of audiences and help you find new, valuable customers.

Google Ads Tutorials: Audience signals in Performance Max campaigns

  • Search themes (beta) let you provide inputs about your business, such as queries that you know your customers are looking for. They are additive to what Performance Max would match you to using your URLs, assets, and more. Search themes also help you find audiences across all Google Ads channels based on users’ search behavior. 
    • Search themes can be helpful if you have knowledge about your business or customers that AI can’t easily or quickly learn. For example, if your landing page doesn’t have complete details or the latest updates about the products and services you offer, you can use search themes to help fill in the gaps.
    • Search themes have the same prioritization as your phrase match and broad match keywords in your Search campaigns. Exact match keywords that are identical to the search queries are prioritized over search themes and other keywords. 
    • Search themes will respect brand exclusions in Performance Max and account-level negative keywords.
    • Results driven from search themes will bring your customers to the landing pages you’ve indicated via your Final URL expansion, page feeds, and URL contains settings.
  1. Use experiments to A/B test uplift.

There are two types of experiments you can run today:

  • Measure the uplift of adding Performance Max as a complement to your existing campaign mix.

Google Ads Tutorials: Experiments to test uplift of Performance Max campaigns

Google Ads Tutorials: Experiments to test Performance Max vs. Standard Shopping campaigns

Goal-specific best practices

For online sales with a Merchant Center feed:

Check out our guide for retail advertisers.

For store goals:

  • Measure local actions, store visits and store sales in Google Ads, and there are multiple ways to upload store data to Google Ads. If you don’t measure store visits or if you'd like a higher volume of offline conversions, use local actions conversions, such as “Get directions” clicks or “Clicks to call”.
  • Set your initial campaign budgets based on the performance goals for your business locations. For your existing campaigns, use Performance Planner to fine tune your budgets and help you maximize seasonal periods, increase campaign efficiency, and incorporate the most up-to-date Google auction data and signals to improve your media planning.
  • You must upload creative assets, including headlines, descriptions, call-to-actions, and a final URL. When creating assets for your store goals campaign, focus on what makes your store unique, like exclusive in-store promotions and showcasing in-store products to get shoppers excited. Additional assets will not appear for Performance Max campaigns with store-only goals.
  • Final URL expansion and page feeds do not apply to campaigns that have store-only goals at this time.
  • Allow for 30 days of data before analyzing results from campaigns with store goals to allow enough time for consumers to visit the business location after engaging with the ad, and for store visit conversions to populate in your reporting. Learn more about store visit conversion windows.
  • Use the per-store report to understand how Performance Max is contributing towards traffic and conversions to each business location. Visits and local actions will also be reported by individual store location. 

For leads:

  • Ensure the Goal category in your conversion action settings is set up properly to optimize for lead generation goals. You can choose from Contact, Submit lead form, Book appointment, Sign-up, or Request Quote. If you don’t have one of these conversion categories selected and they’re relevant to your business, we recommend selecting one. 
  • Focus on lead quality rather than just lead volume by optimizing for qualified or converted leads that are as close to the final sale as possible. You should aim to measure and report on the conversions that truly impact business outcomes. 
  • Use dynamic values whenever possible. These values can be uploaded using measurement solutions like the Google tag or enhanced conversions for leads. These let you share information with Google Ads about leads that result in in-store sales or final sales on another channel and better optimize for these valuable business outcomes. Providing this data about which leads actually result in sales helps Performance Max drive higher lead quality across channels.
  • Set your lead generation goals to New Customer Only Mode if you only want to target new customers. This requires adding a Customer Match list to help Google distinguish between new and existing customers.
  • Advertisers that use the New Customer Only mode have improved their new customer ratio by 13% with a reduced acquisition cost for new customers by -19%.6

Learn more about lead gen best practices.

For hotel suppliers looking to drive hotel bookings:

  • Performance Max for travel goals is currently recommended for hotel suppliers. All other travel clients, such as online travel agencies that sell hotel or vacation rental bookings, should utilize Performance Max campaigns optimized for online sales. 
  • Aim to measure and report on final hotel bookings to provide deeper conversions so your campaign knows what types of conversions are most important for your business.
  • Evaluate performance per property and view property-specific metrics in the Hotels tab. 
  • We recommend grouping properties in campaigns based on your KPIs and budgeting. Consolidating your campaign structure helps give Google AI more data to make better optimizations. 
  • Reach users with more generic ads that aren’t property-specific by adding an asset group to an existing Performance Max campaign for travel goals that has more general creative assets. This is strongly recommended rather than running multiple Performance Max campaigns alongside your Performance Max for travel goals campaign.

Learn more about Performance Max for travel goals and check out our onboarding guide.

Evaluating performance

General best practices for evaluating your results.

  • Account for conversion delays to ensure you have a complete picture of performance. 
    • For example, if it typically takes 7 days for users to convert after engaging with your ads, do not include the most recent week of data when evaluating performance. This is because your data will still be missing conversions from those 7 days.
  • Check your optimization score to find ways to improve your campaign performance. You can find recommendations to improve your campaign, such as optimizing for new customer acquisition, and easily apply them via the Recommendations tab. 
  • The Insights page helps you see what’s influencing performance the most, like your top audiences and search themes. 
  • Check your Insights page daily for personalized insights. Insights are refreshed daily and are tailored to you and your business. Consistent monitoring can help you stay on top of changing customer behavior and market conditions. 

Note

Insights won’t always be generated for every account and campaign at all times. Learn more about why you might not see Insights.

How can I understand what is driving changes in performance? 

  • See what factors are driving your performance with.Top signals in your bid strategy report. Top signals may include, but are not limited to: device type, location, day of week, time of day, queries, and Customer Match lists. 
  • Check out Performance shifts on the Insights page to see what assets groups, product groups, and products are driving the campaign’s performance changes. 
  • Change history insights let you see how changes you’ve made to your account may lead to performance fluctuations. 
  • Explore explanations to gain insight into large changes in your campaign performance and recommended actions to fix issues. Unlike Performance Shifts which focus on what asset and product groups are driving performance, explanations focus on why your performance changed and often provide recommendations to improve campaigns. 
  • Use asset group reporting to see conversion and spend data at the asset group level. Use this data to understand how each asset group is contributing to your overall campaign performance. If you're looking to increase conversions for a specific asset group, focus on adding more creative assets. 

Note

When evaluating your asset group metrics, it's important to remember that looking at average CPA or ROAS for individual asset groups within a campaign can be misleading. This is because average values don't reflect the cumulative value of maximizing marginal conversions or conversion value in each and every auction. Even if an asset group has lower overall ROI compared to others on average, it may still be the most performant traffic with the highest marginal ROI in a given auction. Learn more about marginal ROI vs. average ROI.

Which assets are performing well?

  • Use asset reporting to see which creative assets are performing well. Select“View Details” in your asset group to check if your Ad Strength is “Low”, “Good”, or “Best,” and see whether you need to add new assets for Google AI to improve your creatives. If you already have the maximum number of assets, you can swap out lower-quality ones for new, higher-quality assets. 
    • View the “Combinations” tab to see which combinations of assets have performed best, and to preview your ads by channel. This can provide useful insight into what types of creative assets your customers respond to best to help inform what future assets to upload, as well as your broader creative strategy. 
  • Look at Asset audience insights to see which assets are resonating most with different audience segments. Use this insight to help generate new creative assets to attract high-performing audiences.

What have my customers been searching for? 

  • Check out Search terms insights to see which current search categories and search terms are converting at higher rates. See what people are searching for when you show an ad. 

How can I predict consumer trends and demand shifts that impact my business? 

  • Check out Demand forecasts to see future trends relevant to your unique business that are expected to start over the next 180 days. Use this forward-looking insight to see upcoming predicted demand for the products and services you offer, and to identify growth opportunities. 
  • Search trends let you see if you are keeping up with increased demand in current and recommended categories relevant to your business. Use this insight to plan budgets, inventory, promotions, and landing pages based on trending customer search interest. 

How can I better understand my customers? 

  • Look at Audience insights to see which audiences are converting at higher rates. The '”Signals”' label next to an audience segment shows you which segments are converting that you inputted as audience signals yourself. Focus on segments labeled as “Optimized” to learn the new audience segments that Google AI helped discover for you and inform your broader business strategy.

Where have my ads served?

  • Utilize Performance Max placement reports to see where your ads have served and the associated impressions. These reports give you more transparency and assurance around where your ads are showing. If you need more control over where your ads show due to brand restrictions, you can use brand suitability settings

How are competitor ad strategies impacting my business?

  • Check out Auction insights to see how shifts in the visibility of your competitors above or below you on the Search network may have impacted your performance. This insight also shows new competitors entering and leaving the auction. 

Where can I see landing page performance?

  • Check out the landing pages page which can help you identify what pages your customers interact with the most, and find which of your pages aren’t optimized for mobile users. 

Upgrading Dynamic Search Ads (DSA) and Display campaigns to Performance Max 

  • Advertisers who upgrade DSA campaigns to Performance Max see an average increase of over 15% in conversions and conversion value at a similar CPA/ROAS.7 This performance holds even if they have existing Performance Max campaigns.
    • Eligible advertisers can use our tool via the recommendations page to follow an easy and guided process to self-upgrade single-channel DSAs to Performance Max.
  • Advertisers who upgrade Google Display campaigns to Performance Max see an average increase of over 20% in conversions at a similar or lower CPA.8 This performance holds even if they have existing Performance Max campaigns.

Eligible advertisers can now easily self-upgrade Google Display campaigns to Performance Max within Google Ads using the tool and guided process from the recommendations page or account notifications.


Related links

Answering Your Top Questions About Performance Max

 

1. Source: Google Data, Global, Ads, November - December 2022.
2. Average uplift in performance based on internal studies. Individual results may vary according to campaign details. Source: Google Internal Data,Global, All Verticals A/B Test, Oct 2022-April 2023.
3.Source: Google Data, Global, Ads, February 2023 - April 2023.
4.Source: Google data, Global, November 2022.
5.Source: Google data, Global, November 2022.
6. Average uplift in performance based on internal studies. Individual results may vary according to campaign details.
7. Source: Google Data, Global, Ads, December 2022 - January 2023.
8. Source: Google Data, Global, Ads, February - May 2023.

 

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