7 PPC Community & Google Team Insights

Google has added a number of automated tools over the years including smart bidding, responsive search ads, and close-diversified keywords.

Performance Maximizing campaigns are the latest addition to this growing list of automated PPC tools.

And this may be the most revolutionary campaign type ever in Google Ads.

The Display Maximize campaign lets advertisers promote their products and services from a single campaign across all of Google’s advertising channels – YouTube, Display, Search, Discovery, Gmail and Maps.

Traditionally, to run ads across all of Google’s networks, you need separate campaigns and creatives for each channel.

But Performance Max turns them all into one campaign, simplifying the effort to reach customers.

This is a brand new campaign type, so best practices are still evolving.

To help make the most of this topic, I recently spoke to members of the product team at Google who created Performance Max. (You can watch the full episode of PPC Town Hall below.)

From beginner best practices to their roadmap, they shared a lot and even answered many of the questions I’ve gathered from the PPC community.

Here are some highlights about the Performance Max campaign.

1. Performance maximally takes priority over other Shopping campaign types

If you’re running a performance maximization campaign next to a purchase, or a Smart Shopping campaign for the same product (or group of products), the performance maximization campaign takes precedence.

This means that the Display Max campaign ads will be visible to users instead of the ads in the Smart Shopping campaign.

This is similar to how Smart Shopping campaigns take precedence over standard Shopping campaigns when run together.

When Smart Shopping campaigns upgrade to maximize performance Until the end of the third quarter in 2022, they will continue to be prioritized over standard purchase campaigns.

When you upgrade a Smart Shopping campaign to Performance Max, your ads will appear on other channels like Search, Display, Discover, YouTube and Gmail by default.

So when making the transition, you should definitely review your creative assets and make sure they are all set up correctly.

2. Upgrading Smart Shopping to Performance Max doesn’t mean you have to advertise across channels

If you like the convenience of Smart Shopping campaigns and don’t like the possibility of your ads appearing in more places, you don’t need to add all the assets to the Display Maximize campaign.

If you connect your merchant feed but don’t provide any other assets like videos, images, and text, your Display Maximize campaign will only display Shopping ads.

Ginny Marvin, Google’s advertising liaison, said,

“For Shopping, when you link a GMC feed to a Display Max campaign, but don’t add any other assets, the campaign will be eligible to serve the Shopping formats on Search, Display, YouTube, and Gmail.”

This points to a broader trick: While there’s no way to choose which channels you want to show ads on with Display Max, you can achieve this to some extent by being selective about which properties you want in the campaign. add to.

3. Keyword performance for search campaigns takes precedence over maximizing targeting

While Display Max does reduce traffic from Shopping campaign types, it is intended to run with your existing search, display, and youtube campaign. They are designed to be less cannibalistic in those scenarios.

When running a search campaign with Display Max, Google will first attempt to show ads from the search campaigns.

Ginny Marvin said,

“If the keyword is the same as the query (or the spelling is corrected), the search will take precedence. Otherwise, priority is based on Ad Rank. Keywords must qualify.”

The key here is about “eligibility”.

If an advertiser has tried a keyword without success and removed it or added it as a negative keyword to its search campaign, the Display Maximize campaign may still decide to show an ad for it.

The search campaign was not eligible to show ads, so the display was filled with max campaign incremental traffic.

Whether it decides to take this step depends on whether it believes that incremental impressions can help the advertiser reach their target at a specified rate.

And this leads to our next learning.

4. Reporting accurate conversion data for performance provides maximum high quality conversions

Google says that Performance Max is primarily a performance-driven campaign type aimed at conversion goals. Like all automation, it makes informed decisions by the conversion data you feed into the system.

So when you set up a performance maximization campaign, be sure to report the types of conversions that are important to your business.

Instead of calling a lead a conversion, consider reporting a conversion only when a lead is eligible or when it turns into a sale.

In the case of ecommerce, consider not only reporting sales but using conversion adjustments to account for returns and repeat purchases that can impact a new customer’s lifetime value.

Google recently introduced Advanced Conversions for Leads that makes reporting high-quality conversion data easier than ever.

5. You cannot allocate specific budgets to channels

In a performance maximization campaign, you cannot allocate budgets to specific channels yourself.

But Google’s machine learning takes care of it dynamically in real time across all channels. It tries to optimize for your stated goal and prioritizes the channels that best help achieve that goal.

According to Google, allocating budgets manually hinders Google’s ability to harness the powers of machine learning.

If you manually set monthly budgets for specific channels, you’re basically returning to regular search, exposure, and other campaigns that are already running on your account.

But remember the trick to selectively submit assets in a performance maximization campaign to control which channels it can show ads on. This can restore some control while simultaneously running multiple performance maximization campaigns.

Finally, ask yourself why you want that control.

Andrew Lok said in another episode of PPC Town Hall that when advertisers demand control, what they often mean is that they want actionable insights.

Advertisers are happy when automation produces great results, but they get frustrated when they can’t explain those results to customers and provide strategic advice.

Google Display Max promises to create more detail for campaigns.

6. You can customize to acquire new customers by using the New Customer Acquisition feature

a complaint of the second automated campaign type, smart shoppingThe was that it would sometimes prioritize remarketing and take the conversion credit from someone already in your pipeline, probably because of a non-PPC effort like SEO.

In these cases, the automated campaign may exaggerate its usefulness and do a poor job of growing the business with new customers.

You can avoid this by asking Google to focus on new customers and by sharing your first-party data about your existing customers.

And to help you with that, Google released a new Customer Acquisition Target beta through which you can optimize for new customer acquisition and maximize performance from that audience segment.

To get access now, you can contact your Google Ads representative or wait for the imminent public launch of this new capability.

7. Account Level Negative Targeting Supported

While Google doesn’t want advertisers to micro-manage targeting, DisplayMax campaigns will respect account-level negative keywords and negative placements.

Some advertisers have said that it can be beneficial to exclude unwanted geographic locations or, at least, think very carefully about settings such as whether you target physical locations or places of interest.

Automation can take a lot of guesswork out of finding new pockets of conversions but a lot of money is wasted in the process.

Use exclusion capabilities to prevent automation from re-testing these things at your own expense when you’ve already tried certain keywords, placements, or geographic targets and found them to work.


Display max campaigns show a lot of potential for advertisers, but they’re fundamentally different from the other campaign types we’re more familiar with in Google Ads.

As more advertisers try this new campaign type, a new set of best practices will develop.

But until then, we’re learning by asking Google questions and listening to digital marketers who have already tried their hand at Performance Max.

For more details watch the full episode of PPC Town Hall April 13, 2022:

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Featured Image: sambi/Shutterstock

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