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It’s been a while since Performance Max waltzed into our lives and made us question its intention (almost a year, would you believe?). We as digital marketers are battle-hardened when it comes to change and adaptation. However, let’s assume that you’ve yet to delve into the depths of algorithmic glory and first recap on what Google promised us with the launch of this all-in-one, amped-up campaign, before we analyse those promises and compare them to real world data.


The benefits of Performance Max according to Google are:  
1. Find more converting customers for your goals 
2. Drive more value from your budget 
3. Get rich and transparent insights 
4. Multiply your expertise and impact 

Of course, as I write this, Google has just wrapped up the migration of Smart Shopping campaigns to Performance Max, so now that it’s being imposed on us – how has the campaign type lived up to the promises? Here is my experience:  

1. Find more converting customers for your goals  

From me, it’s a big yes with regard to finding additional customers. I’ve found Performance Max to have increased conversions incrementally alongside existing search campaigns.  

I hopped on to the Performance Max bandwagon very early and launched my first campaign during the Beta stage. Initially, I worried that my existing campaigns would be cannibalised by the mighty tooth of automation, but this didn’t happen – instead, I saw a volume increase. That has remained largely true this entire year.

2. Drive more value from your budget

Performance Max seems to consistently deliver conversions at a lower cost per acquisition. In the case of lead-gen campaigns, this is also achieved without compromising lead quality. It’s 2 out of 2 so far. Next question.

3. Get rich and transparent insights

There is an argument that says no, we don’t get rich and transparent insights. After all, you can’t see a full list of search terms that trigger your ads. In fact, when compared to other campaign types you get much less data and insight.

In my experience, I have seen more frustration with the data that Performance Max provides than I’ve seen benefit because, despite providing us with insights, we cannot act on them by adding negatives and exclusions, etc. (Though of course this can inform other strategies where things like ‘Top Combinations’ are concerned).

However, I do believe that this will improve over time as we, as users, ask for these features. We’ve also already seen the introduction of new tools and features such as Optimisation Score, Seasonality Adjustments, Data Exclusions, Performance Max A/B Experiments & Diagnostic Insights. (I also hear that account level negatives are coming to Performance Max soon!).

4. Multiply your expertise and impact

We can only agree with this, right? I mean, not as people who have managed digital campaigns over the last decade, but for those who haven’t. These new campaign types are making Google Ads more accessible and easier to manage for everyone.

What does Google say?

Google recommends using Performance Max alongside existing search campaigns as it respects existing keyword targeting and will not be chosen over search (unless search budget runs out).  

Advertisers using Performance Max see an average of 13% increase to total incremental conversion at a similar cost per action.  

Using your data and Google’s signals, Google is able to identify whether a prospect is a new or existing customer. This makes it possible to differentiate Performance Max campaigns to go after new or existing business.  

Key takeaways  
All in all, this change is positive. The new evolution of campaign management is ushering in the data privacy era and futureproofing businesses. In the 12 months that Performance Max has been with us, we have already seen huge progression and significant omnichannel integration, which is a big step for offline conversions.  
For those of us who have been mildly frustrated with limited features, we can rest assured that there is no subterfuge at play. Google has our back; more goodness is to follow!  

Got a specific growth challenge?

Tell us what you are looking to achieve so that we can help you find your way there.

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