In November 2021, Google introduced its new campaign type - Performance Max. Advertisers are always looking for the next big thing, and Google’s Performance Max seems to be just that.

But what are Performance Max campaigns, exactly?

What are Performance Max Campaigns?

In short, Performance Max is a fully automated goal-based campaign that brings individual campaign types together in one place. Advertisers can combine YouTube, Display, Search, Discover, Gmail, and Maps.

For example, if you have a target CPA set, then Performance Max will automate towards achieving that target CPA by leveraging all the tools at Google's disposal; bidding strategy, budget optimisation, audience, creative, and attribution.

There are also plans to include smart shopping and local campaigns in the future. The creation of this campaign is another indication of the direction Google is going in, making smart and automated campaigns for the future.

What Are the Benefits of Performance Max?

There are several benefits for digital marketers that come as part of the Performance Max campaigns option:

  • Free your time to focus on strategy – Now that monitoring can be done from one place, time saved can be used elsewhere.
  • Better performance – Performance Max uses machine learning, which will allow you to find optimal audiences at the perfect time with the best combination of ads.
  • Goal-focused campaigns – Marketing goals are put at the forefront of the campaign. This means that Google’s machine learning will identify the best customers at the right time.
  • Complement your keyword-based search campaigns – As consumer behaviour is constantly changing, Performance Max will collect data on new audiences, which can then be implemented into your search ad campaigns. These audiences will be determined by goals, objectives, and audience signals within the campaign.

How to Run an Effective Performance Max Ad Campaign

If you want your Performance Max campaign to be successful, then there are a few key components you need in place before it goes live. Below are the three main components you will need.

Marketing Objectives & Conversion Goals

Performance Max is a goal-based campaign type that has machine learning at the forefront of its function. To allow this machine learning campaign type to thrive, marketing objectives and conversion goals must be outlined at the beginning of campaign creation.

This process will be familiar to those of you who have used smart campaign types in the past, and therefore should be straightforward to create. After this step, the advertisers will go onto budget and bidding requirements.


Performance Max requires users to make an asset group. An asset group is a cluster of creatives based on a theme or target audience. These creatives are then used to create ads. Creatives should include images, logos, videos, headlines, descriptions, call to action, and your business name.

Google’s machine learning will then have this ammunition when putting together a combination for the consumer. Filling in the final URL will be required, which will include the chance to opt into the final URL expansion.

This will allow Google to send the user to the most relevant landing page on the site based on the network, audience, search keyword, or video on YouTube that was being watched. You can see previews of how your ad might look before finalising your asset group.

Audience Signals

Audience signals can be added to the asset group and provide signals to inform which audiences will resonate with the asset group. These selected audiences will work as a signal to guide the automation to positions of high performance.

Audience signals work best when you add your data and custom segments.

Best Practices for Performance Max Campaigns

Performance Max uses automation across bidding, targeting, creatives, and attribution to improve your conversion rate. To achieve this, you should keep in mind the best practices below:

  • It is important to use the maximum amount of assets available. This will give Google the best opportunity to combine assets for each customer. Ultimately, this should lead to a better conversion rate.
  • Another best practice would be to allow the campaign to run for at least 6 weeks before comparing data. This will give Google time to put together better combinations and get to grips with the learning needed.
  • You should use Google Ads Conversion Tracking instead of Google Analytics conversion import to track video views or cross-device conversions.

How to Evaluate Your Results

Once your campaign is up and running, give it a few weeks before evaluating results, while the machine learning gets to grip with the campaign’s data. You must review your asset performance and understand where improvement is needed if you want the best results.

Analysing spend against potential conversions is also important regularly is also important. However, when analysing performance through the platform you are restricted by the number of metrics you can monitor, unlike past Google campaign types.

Final Thoughts

This new campaign type is an interesting moment within PPC. It is another step towards Google having control over all bidding and audience search.

However, rather than pushing paid media managers out of a job, it opens the door to the importance that strategy will have in the future of the industry.

The campaign will offer a new asset group, which means creatives will have to be distributed carefully to maximise performance from certain performance max campaigns.