Optimization tips for Performance Max

Performance Max combines best-in-class automation technologies across bidding, targeting, creatives, and attribution to help you drive growth in conversions and value. It's designed to perform well across a wide range of marketing objectives and media channels. Because of this, we recommend using the following best practices to set up your Performance Max campaigns for success and help further optimize results if needed.

Best practices for all business types

  • Run campaigns for at least 6 weeks to allow the machine learning algorithm to ramp up and have sufficient data to compare performance.
  • Add at least 5 versions of text assets (4 headlines, 5 descriptions) to your asset group.
  • Add at least 5 versions of image assets (including 1200x1200) to your asset group.
  • Use as many assets as possible.
  • Use relevant audience lists as signals to speed up machine learning ramp-up.
  • Utilize Google Ads conversion tracking rather than Google Analytics conversion import to track video views or cross-device conversions.

Best practices for online sales (non-shopping)

Campaign set up

  • Performance Max is powered by machine learning. Provide as much data as possible to help enhance the machine learning and your campaign’s results. Use remarketing lists, custom intent, Customer Match, and similar audiences as signals.

Creative

  • Refresh your creative. Creative is your most powerful tool to drive performance and allows you to customize the campaign to promote new products or new offers. For the best results, focus on providing unique content.
  • For weekend sales, start the campaign 2-3 weeks in advance, then refresh your creative frequently to move from more generic store creative to sales-focused creative. This strategy will allow you to do time-based promotions without compromising performance.
  • Customers look to visual sources online for inspiration about what to buy. Use visual inventory to target new customers.

Reporting

  • Ad strength can be found during ad creation and in a new column in Google Ads. The metric ranges from “Poor” to “Excellent”.

Best practices for lead generation

Campaign set up

  • Performance Max is powered by machine learning. Provide as much data as possible to help enhance the machine learning and your campaign’s results. Use remarketing lists, custom intent, Customer Match, and similar audiences as signals.
  • For lead generation, use offline conversion import or enhanced conversions to correctly value conversions.

Bidding and conversion goals

  • Import offline conversions regularly.
  • Use value-based bidding strategies to correctly value offline and online conversions.
  • If you're using Maximize conversions or tCPA bid strategies, select the deepest funnel conversion action that has sufficient frequency, such as qualified or converted leads, and set the tCPA accordingly. Mark other lead conversions (goals) as “Observation only”.

Creative

Follow the asset group creation best practices:

  • Use the “Ad Strength” indicator to determine if an asset group is set up for success.
  • Add more assets as your marketing message evolves or new assets to continue to capture additional users. More assets means more potential ad formats that can be created for different channels and users.
  • Make sure your image assets meet our highest quality guidelines (for example, Discovery, image extensions, video ads) to enable serving on as many surfaces as possible to optimize performance.
  • Refresh your creative. Creative is your most powerful tool to drive performance and allows you to customize the campaign to relevant audiences. Add another asset group if you want to tailor ads for a different audience. You may notice audience signals don't limit targeting and the asset group serves beyond the audience. For best results, make sure to provide unique content that engages your audiences and tie assets to the right audience signals.

Follow lead form best practices

  • Only ask for strictly necessary information. Additional questions decrease the completion rate and, therefore, increase CPA.
  • The call-to-action (CTA) should either direct people to the website to fill out the form or have people fill out the form directly from the ad format (Discovery, YouTube, Search Extension).
  • Use qualifying questions and friction (such as reCAPTCHA) within lead forms. If you’re using the Google lead form, select qualifying questions to help further qualify your lead before they submit the form.
    • Note: This will help improve downstream lead quality but may cause an increased CPL.

Reporting

  • Ad strength can be found during ad creation and in a new column in Google Ads. The metric ranges from “Poor” to “Excellent”.

Provide insights about your customers

  • Use existing leads and ramp up automation faster with Customer Match and first-party audience data. These lists give the algorithm a strong signal on who your existing customers are and how to reach them along with similar customers. You can also use Customer Match lists to automatically build similar audiences to find customers similar to your existing ones.
  • Conversion value rules help enhance your conversion value reporting and optimization. Conversion value rules enable you to better express the value of conversions as they relate to your business and allow you to adjust values for conversion events based on conditions like geographic location, device, and audiences at auction time bidding in real time.

Measurement best practices

  • Better measurement is the fastest way to improve lead quality. We recommended using offline conversion import (OCI), also known as offline conversion tracking. Using OCI improves lead quality by importing accurate conversion data from offline events into your account that can drive better optimization through automation.
  • Set up your campaign goal for as far into the conversion funnel as possible, ideally to the final conversion. If leads have a very long cycle (months, for example) or are sparse (which may make measuring ROI difficult), consider a more frequent upper funnel goal.

Automation best practices

If you value leads equally, use conversion-based Smart Bidding to maximize lead volume.

  • Maximize conversions drives as many conversions as possible within your specified budget.
  • Maximize conversions with target attains as many conversions as possible while maintaining a target CPA.

If you’re tracking lead values, use value-based Smart Bidding to maximize lead value.

  • Maximize conversion value drives as much conversion value with your budget. Maximize conversion value bidding with a set target ROAS helps get the most ROI. It factors in the data you share about what different conversions and leads are worth to you as well as optimizes your campaign to find more high-value customers.
  • Maximize conversion value with target ROAS drives the highest conversion value while maintaining a target return on ad spend (tROAS). As a best practice, we recommend using this bid strategy when you have at least 15 conversions in the last 30 days.
    • Note: When using OCI, make sure to import conversions with values assigned and use tROAS accordingly.

Best practices for store goals

Campaign set up

  • Campaign duration: 30 days minimum.
  • Store visits: The campaign must be set up within an account that's already active and eligible for store visits regardless of Google channel.
  • Local actions: Advertisers who are not eligible for store visits can optimize towards Local Actions, which includes calls and direction clicks.
  • Number of business locations per account: 10 business locations minimum in campaigns with store visits and 5 business locations minimum in campaigns with Local actions.

Account ID or campaign setup

The requirements and recommendations are at an account level. If required, you can create multiple campaigns as long as the requirements are met at an account level.

  • Example: You can create 5 individual Performance Max campaigns with each assigned a $200 USD budget per day, 2 stores, and a 30-day campaign duration.

Reporting

  • Visits will be reported by individual store location and provided in per store performance insights to your customers.
  • When assessing the success of the campaign, compare against other performance-oriented campaigns with the same conversion action. If a competitive benchmark is required, compare other offline media (for example, print, radio, flyers, TV) with offline objectives.

Best practices for retail advertisers with online sales goals using a Merchant Center feed

Testing Performance Max campaigns

  • Performance Max campaigns will be prioritized over existing Smart Shopping campaigns that run the same products in the same account. When your Performance Max campaign starts to run, the spend in those shopping campaigns will significantly decrease (regardless of budget breakdown) and Performance Max will ramp up in its place.
  • To minimize performance ramifications, we recommend setting similar budgets for your Performance Max campaigns to those of your existing Smart Shopping campaigns to ensure Performance Max can ramp up to capture previous shopping inventory.
  • Once your Performance Max campaign is up and running, we recommend pausing your Smart Shopping campaign to ensure Performance Max can successfully take it over completely.
  • Your Performance Max campaign may take 2-3 days to ramp up and take over the Smart Shopping Campaign inventory entirely.

Listing group overlap

  • We recommend that each asset group target different products (for example, Products A-L in Asset Group 1 and Products M-Z in Asset Group 2).

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