7 updates coming to Google Performance Max campaigns

Google is bringing new insights, recommendations and in-store goals to Performance Max. Here's everything advertisers need to know.

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Seven new updates – the most interesting being the ability to optimize for in-store sales – are coming to Performance Max (PMax) campaigns.

Performance Max, Google’s newest campaign type, is a major focus of this year’s Google Marketing Live. Here’s a recap of all the announcements related to Performance Max from Google’s event, as well as one update Google shared exclusively with Search Engine Land.

In-Store Goals. Google has been steadily rolling out Performance Max changes for online optimization since inception, and now it’s time for a local add-on.

PMax campaigns will have the ability to optimize toward store sales goals to drive more in-store sales, store visits and local actions.

These additions will now give brick-and-mortar businesses a reason to test Performance Max campaigns in their accounts.

Optimization score for Performance Max. This addition has Google doubling down on automation by placing automated optimization tips in their most automated campaign type.

Performance Max Optimization Score

The example provided gives advertisers the helpful recommendation of optimizing for new customer acquisition. This is rolling out now globally.

Burst Campaigns. A new “burst” feature within Performance Max campaigns will work in conjunction with in-store goals and will allow advertisers to advertise for a set timeframe to hit in-store goals. If users have in-store goals configured, they’ll be able to boost seasonal in-person traffic.

Additional Insights and explanations. Advertisers will be receiving more intelligence on their Performance Max campaigns thanks to expanded insights.

Performance Max Insights Page

These include consumer, audience and auction insights within Performance Max campaigns. While this data may not be able to be acted upon due to the nature of the campaign type, it will show users what is driving performance.

Performance Max experiment tools. Yes, at the event “Performance Max” and “experiment” were used in the same sentence. But, no, experiments are not coming to Performance Max campaigns.

These are “Experimentation tools” to show how PMax can drive incremental conversions from your existing Google Ads campaigns.

PMax Experiments 1

While this may sound ideal, advertisers should proceed with caution. Instead of an apples-to-apples comparison, these tools will take existing “comparable campaigns” and layer Performance Max on top with the goal of showing how much lift could be seen.

The comparable campaigns are currently fixed, so advertisers cannot control the ‘control’ in this experiment. PMax campaigns can include branded/competitor/remarketing audiences which many times have favorable CPA/ROAS.

Knowing that there is no meaningful data provided by Performance Max campaigns, one should be diligent in measuring where the additional volume is coming from and if it is incremental.

Finally, these experiments are for non-retail campaigns and are in open beta for advertisers globally.

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More availability and access. Advertisers using the Google Ads app or Search Ads 360 will now be able to manage Performance Max campaigns. PMax campaigns have had less access reporting availability since rollout, but Google has been quickly patching these holes. This patch will allow for Google Ads App users and Search 360 to test as well.

Performance Max for Hotels
Another update will be hitting Performance Max campaigns in the second half of 2022, is the addition of hotel advertising. The expansion will allow hotels to leverage Performance Max to promote properties across all Google channels including property-specific queries on Search.

Hotel implementation in PMax will feature pre-populated asset groups for all hotel properties and the images, descriptions and videos will be auto-generated. Advertisers will have the ability to review and edit these property assets as well.

Why we care. These new additions should give advertisers a bit more data and options for these automated campaigns. Heading into the holiday season, these in-store goal enhancements mixed with burst campaigns may give stores a temporary way to boost volume.

It should be noted that the experiment tools are unlike traditional experiments in Google Ads. They will not allow Performance Max campaigns to be tested against each other, but rather as an additive to “comparable campaigns” in your account, so use with caution. These experiments may look more like a Performance Max sales tool than a true A/B test, but we’ll all know more once we are able to evaluate hands-on.

More from Google Marketing Live 2022:

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

About the author

Greg Finn
Greg Finn is the Director of Marketing for Cypress North, a company that provides digital marketing and web development. He is a co-host of Marketing O'Clock and has been in the digital marketing industry for nearly 20 years. You can also find Greg on Twitter (@gregfinn) or LinkedIn.

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