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TPE #1: Master Performance Max now to drive maximum growth

Jun 27, 2022

The PPC Edge #1: Master Performance Max now to drive maximum growth

Welcome to The PPC Edge! Every Monday morning, you’ll get 1 actionable tip to scale your e-commerce Google Ads campaigns to the next level.

In today’s issue, I’m showing you how to master Performance Max (PMax) to drive maximum growth for your (clients’) e-commerce brand. 

I think PMax is the future and here to stay. Therefore I’m urging you to master it now, so you’re always one step ahead of your competitors.

Quick note: ALL Smart Shopping campaigns will be migrated to PMax campaigns in Q3, so time is ticking!

Let’s dive in.

A brief intro on Performance Max: one campaign type to rule them all?

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If you’re reading this, chances are you are familiar with PMax. As a refresher, PMax is Google’s newest, almost fully automated all-in-one solution.

This new campaign type allows you to advertise on almost all of Google’s ad inventory - all through one single campaign.

Just add your product feed, a URL, a few headlines, descriptions, logos, images and videos, audience segments and you’re ready to advertise on all of Google’s advertising channels.

Sounds great, right?

Well… It can be. But it can also… Not be.

Let me explain.

The advantages and disadvantages of Performance Max

There are some apparent advantages of PMax:

  1. Action-driven: PMax always tries to look for the best way to get conversions
  2. Easy to set up: just create a campaign, add some assets and you’re live
  3. Easy to manage: there aren’t a lot of insights or things to optimize

Which brings me to the most apparent disadvantages of PMax:

  1. Lack of insights 1: you can’t clearly see how much you’ve spent on each channel
  2. Lack of insights 2: individual asset performance insights are very limited
  3. Lack of control: you can’t control on which channels you spend (most)

Lack of control and insights is problematic, here’s what to do about it

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 5+ years in PPC is that Google does what it wants.

When Smart Shopping was announced in 2018, everybody went crazy. A new, almost fully automated campaign type? And you can’t even see on which search terms your ads show?


And let me tell you: in the beginning, results were poor.

But Google kept pushing it, and kept investing resources to make Smart Shopping its flagship product.

And they made it work. As much as I hated Smart Shopping in the beginning, there’s no denying it became a very efficient campaign type for almost all my clients.

I expect the same to happen to Performance Max: I suspect Google will continue to invest a ton of resources to improve the engine which will ultimately improve performance.

And if history repeats itself (which I think it will), I don’t think Google is going to give a lot of additional insights to advertisers.

So here’s what to do about it:

Step 1: stop complaining about how your lack of insights and control are harming your performance. 

I get it. We all want more insights and control. But complaining about it isn’t going to do anything. Do this instead:

Step 2: understand how Google’s algorithms work

Ok, so nobody REALLY knows how the algorithms work. But… Just understand the following: the algorithm will always look for the best way to get conversions. 

With Performance Max, this means your budget may be spent anywhere across Search, Shopping, Display, Discovery or YouTube, Gmail or Maps ads inventory.

Step 3: deeply understand all the individual campaign types

The more you know about all of Google’s campaign types, the better you will be able to scale Performance Max. 

If you truly master Search, Shopping, Display, Discovery and YouTube ads, it will be easier for you to master PMax.

Step 4: decide how you want to use Performance Max in your campaign structure

As of now, there are basically two options:

  1. Add all assets and show ads on all of Google’s ad inventory
  2. Add only a product feed and only show Shopping ads

Option 2 basically creates a similar version of Smart Shopping.

Step 5: create a winning campaign structure

This is arguably the most important step. Again, a few options:

  1. Add 1 PMax campaign with all products
  2. Add multiple PMax campaigns split up by margins, ROAS targets, categories etc.

There is not one ‘best practice’ here. Your winning campaign structure depends on your business, your goals, your products, and available time to manage the campaigns.

In a future edition of the PPC Edge, I’ll dive deeper into how you can create your winning campaign structure. I’ll also go more in-depth on analysis and optimization.

So what’s next?

There’s a lot of uncertainty around PMax and I’m sure you have a lot of questions like:

  • How do I optimize PMax in general?
  • What is my ideal campaign structure?
  • How do I optimize my product feed for Shopping?
  • How do I optimize my other creative assets (images/videos)?
  • How do I fit Performance Max into my broader marketing mix?

I plan on answering all of these questions and more in future editions of The PPC Edge. We'll go much more in-depth on future, actionable issues!

If you found this newsletter helpful, I’d greatly appreciate it if you subscribed and shared it with a friend/colleague.

So… That’s it for today.

Thanks for reading this first edition of The PPC Edge.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment or shoot me a DM. I’m here to help.

See you next week!




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