Home Management Performance Max: the only guide to read (includes all best practices)

Performance Max: the only guide to read (includes all best practices)

by Sorbaioli
Performance Max: the only guide to read

Table of Contents

Since this summer, Performance Max (pMax) campaigns are definitely replacing Smart Shopping campaigns.

Performance Max foreshadows what Google Ads can become in the medium term. “Intelligent” campaigns, fully automated, which are based on a business objective indicated by the advertiser.

But this new type of campaign is confusing for SEA experts. Indeed, it looks nothing like the campaigns that Google Ads specialists have managed for more than a decade now…

This guide will give you all the keys to succeeding with your Performance Max campaigns. All of the key success factors are summarized in the following graph:

The guide will first begin by introducing Performance Max campaigns and its implications for Google Ads specialists. Then, he will give several good practices drawn from the “state of the art”:

Performance Max: what is this new type of Google Ads campaign?

Performance Max is powered by artificial intelligence, and serves your ads on all Google channels

Google’s “all-in-1” formula

Performance Max is a new goal-based campaign type. It allows advertisers to set a goal and then let Google Ads “automatically” serve your ads across all Google channels (YouTube, Display Network, Search Network, Discover, Gmail, Maps, etc.).

Performance Max est « Full Automation«

Performance Max campaigns are boosted with artificial intelligence. Everything is optimized according to the dictates of the Google Ads algorithm:

  • your auctions,
  • the composition of your creative ads
  • the places where your advertisements are displayed,
  • and the audiences reached.

Performance Max leverages the conversion goals you specify to help drive more conversions and value by optimizing your performance in real time and across all channels through Smart Bidding strategies.

The elements that make up a Performance Max campaign

This new advertising product from Google was created around the following pillars:

  • The advertiser’s objectives
  • Element groups
  • Hearing Signals
  • Google Ads automation (bidding & inventory)

If you want a complete recap, I recommend this video edited by Google which presents its product in a few minutes.

How does Performance Max change the game compared to the types of campaigns that already exist?

Focus shifts from targeting to business objective

Historically, Google Ads is an advertising whose performance is built on targeting.

Finding your audience on the right network, with the right keyword, with the right audience. That was the challenge! The formula for success looked like this:

  1. Target your audience
  2. See if people are reaching your business goal.

With pMax, Google “bundles” all the distribution networks for you into a single entity: the Google ecosystem. Performance Max therefore reverses the logic:

  1. Provide a goal
  2. Indicate audiences that you think will achieve this goal and let Google expand this audience in order to achieve the goal

Performance Max is not intended to supplant your existing campaigns (not all)

Note that Performance Max does not replace everything either… It is advisable to keep the campaigns in your account active.

Instead, think of pMax as a jar that you fill with rocks and sand.

  • for many advertisers, campaigns on the search network drive the bulk of Google Ads activity. Even with the arrival of Performance Max, these Search campaigns should remain your first concern.
  • And then there are your awareness and remarketing campaigns, on YouTube and the Google Display Network… Keep them active. And yes, even your dynamic remarketing campaigns; they will have a greater reach on Google’s vast Display Network than on pMax inventory.
  • In the end, Performance Max is like the sand that fills the bottle… This type of campaign comes “in addition”, to fill in the holes and beat down those additional conversions that are within your reach.

The strengths of Performance Max

A growth-oriented product, with all Google channels grouped into a single campaign type

Performance Max embodies a change of mindset, “pro automation”

Usually, SEA experts seek to “control” the diffusion as much as possible. To do this, they segment and individually choose the distribution networks, add constraints, such as negative keywords for example.

These principles are not available in Performance Max, and this corresponds to the spirit of the product. With the development of artificial intelligence in online advertising, it is time to adopt another approach, one where we leave more freedom to the algorithms (as long as they meet our business objectives).

The promise ? More conversions, less operations…

Often, letting go of the bridle of the system allows you to get more volume. After all, what does it matter to us that a sale comes from YouTube rather than the search engine as long as it’s profitable?

By bringing together its entire ecosystem in a single type of campaign, Google simplifies the work of the advertiser and invites him to leave as wide a scope of action as possible to his algorithms (which, in the long term, are generally more efficient than any human).

A “full funnel” solution par excellence

A campaign that learns with every interaction

The Performance Max campaign algorithm learns directly from each conversion. Each time, it identifies the audiences that are most likely to convert, and this, at different stages of purchase.

Performance Max relies on its ability to “go up” the purchase funnel

At startup, Performance Max will understand which audiences are converting the best. And over the course of expenditure, the campaign will “trace” the interests & successive behaviors that led an Internet user to convert to your site.

Thus, to generate additional conversions, Performance Max will “up” the sales funnel as it learns.

Continuous double A/B testing between ads & audiences

Performance Max : un AB Test²

Performance Max allows you to perform an “A/B squared test” at the same time:

  • with the creative elements added to the element groups, Google will continuously test several ad combinations (A/B test #1),
  • in front of different variants of audiences who share the same signal at the start (A/B test #2).

Industrial creative optimization

Thus, the system will learn on its own, over the expenses, for example that:

  • “Images and titles resonate well with people who look like the XX audience list,
  • but for those who look like the YY audience list, it’s those other images and titles that work best”.

How to succeed with Performance Max?

If your business strategy is flawed, Performance Max can’t do anything for you…

Performance Max is not a “let it run” campaign

With what has been discussed previously, the mistake would be to believe that you can just indicate an objective to the system and let your campaign run… No, that is not the case.

It’s just that the nature of work has changed; we spend more time thinking about the big picture rather than manipulating the buttons of our Google Ads account.

Google Ads remains an advertising medium, not a business strategy

And as always, all success starts with a solid business strategy. This has always been true in paid search, and it still is in a Max Performance world.

After all, artificial intelligence cannot fix a failing business.

That’s why, before jumping into Performance Max, make sure you have:

  • an excellent knowledge of your customers,
  • an economic model that works,
  • an offer capable of converting
  • and a site with quality content.

Investing in your brand, over the long term, always creates synergies with pMax

Even more than before, building your brand makes you even more successful on Google Ads. Indeed, a strong brand brings many benefits to Performance Max advertisers:

  • This better differentiates the audience (clearer for the algorithm to target the right Internet users)
  • This generates higher brand traffic, which is efficient and cheap (and therefore allows pMax to learn faster, and capture more intentional traffic)
  • This allows you to be more recognizable, on all formats (your text, visual and video ads will perform better)
  • This helps to inspire confidence regardless of the advertising distribution network (who has never found it odd to see an advertisement from an unknown brand in their Gmail box?)

The key success factors of Google Ads, in a pMax world

Focusing on the big picture, this is what a successful organization looks like in a Google Ads world “with” Performance Max:

  • It has a solid business strategy, based on good fundamentals, which allows it to define the right objectives for its campaigns.
  • It relies on “hubs of excellence” which are specialists in different fields, and which can contribute in an agile way to the success of the campaigns. Their combined actions make it possible to make the Performance Max campaigns more reliable, optimized and profitable. Organizational processes must exist between these hubs of excellence and the entity that defines & executes the strategy on Google Ads.
  • It has optimized all of its action levers :
    • Bidding strategy
    • Structure and configuration of campaigns
    • Asset group (which groups the creative assets of ads)
    • Audience signals (which feed the algorithm to target the right people)
    • The post-click experience (to ensure fast, rich and optimized web pages that convert more)

Good practices for “strategizing” your Performance Max campaigns

A mindset shift in operations

With pMax, spend 60% of your time working on strategy, not managing your campaigns

Normally, on Google Ads, account managers do a lot of “little things,” fine-tuning, to improve and maintain account performance. Performance Max, on purpose, wants you to reverse your logic:

  • instead of spending 60% of the time making adjustments that have limited impact,
  • the idea is to spend 60% on your strategy rather than keeping your hands in the account (setting your objectives, defining strategies to reach the right people, accentuating your differentiation via your creative strategy, etc.)

Google’s approach: putting business issues back at the heart of the system

Although for some Google Ads experts, Performance Max is a synonym for “giving Google the keys”, the fact remains that the product was not designed with this in mind by the Mountain View firm.

Behind the name Performance Max, Google wanted to send a message that puts business thinking back at the center of the issues : “give us your strategy, feed our systems with examples, and let us find for you the best paths & audiences to reach your goals”.

Support execution with “hubs of excellence”

When it came to primarily managing campaigns on the search network, SEA specialists were relatively autonomous. Indeed, they managed the targeting by themselves and could easily improve the text ads.

With the multiplication of distribution channels, pMax brings new challenges in terms of execution. It is therefore recommended that the Google Ads account manager can easily benefit from the help of 4 types of skill hubs:

Web Analytics & Conversion Tracking

The goals you set for Performance Max campaigns are the starting point for all of your delivery. It is crucial, as we will see later, that your conversion tracking is technically impeccable and fair, otherwise you risk feeding the algorithms with poor quality conversion data (false or partial).

Creative Factory

With the proliferation of channels, ads now use all possible types of formats. A bit like Facebook Ads, you will therefore need to continually feed your ads with new images, videos, new titles and descriptions. So it is better to have a capable team / service provider on hand Quickly deliver new creative when you ask for it.

Proprietary data (1st party data)

The use of your proprietary data (your customer list, audience lists of visitors to your site, etc.) becomes strategic for Performance Max campaigns. They use the unique data you provide to determine which audiences are most likely to convert. However, if you feed it with poor quality data, it is obvious that the results will not be up to par. It can therefore be smart to appoint a team responsible for collecting, cleaning, organizing, and activating your proprietary data.

CRO & A/B Testing

The click on an advertisement is only a starting point. It’s your site and your offer that converts the user, not your pMax campaigns (which only redirect qualified traffic to you). It is therefore important that you appoint a team responsible for conducting continuous testing and increasing your conversion rates over time. This will have an immediate impact on the profitability of your campaigns.

Define organizational processes for more agile execution

Having the right skills (internal or external), gathered in “hubs of excellence” is a good start. However, you also need to think about structuring how you will work with them:

  • Define roles and responsibilities for each hub
  • Make it clear how each hub contributes to campaign performance, and encourage them to proactively suggest improvements.
  • Tell them at which stage of your campaigns their skills will certainly be mobilized
  • Discuss the expected completion times with them: as much as the CRO team can launch a test every month, a creative team that would take a month to deliver a new visual can be problematic for the optimization of your campaigns.

Best practices for defining the objective and the conversion actions taken into account by your Performance Max campaign

Specifying the right objective for your campaign becomes crucial

Don’t forget to give the campaign a goal

For a long time now, it has been possible to add a “marketing objective” to your Google Ads campaign.

Until then, this had little interest, except to access certain specific types of campaigns / formats (ex: Video Action Campaign on YouTube which is only eligible if the objective of the campaign is “to sell” or “prospects”).

With Performance Max, establishing a goal is essential, because it is this goal that will tell the system how the campaign should measure its success.

In general, it’s a good idea to align your goals in Performance Max with those of your other Google Ads campaigns. This will make it easier to compare performance with each other.

Carefully select the conversions taken into account by your pMax campaign

It is also important to carefully select the conversion actions for which you want the campaign to be optimized.

Also, I advise you to create different pMax campaigns for each type of objective you have (for example, if you have a “purchases” objective on your site and another “subscription” to your newsletter, do two campaigns pMax separated)

The technical implementation of your conversion tracking must be flawless

Make a meticulous recipe for your conversion tracking

Since your goal is the starting point of Performance Max, measuring & setting your conversions correctly is more important than ever.

I advise you to check several times that your tracking is working as expected, and that the conversions and values ​​reported to Google Ads are correct.

Set up your conversions correctly in Google Ads

Also, spend some time setting up your conversion actions properly ( Tools & Settings > Conversions ). In particular, review which conversions should be considered “Primary” and “Secondary”.

  • The “main conversions” are those that will be taken into account by Google in the bidding strategy in particular.
  • “Secondary conversions” are for reporting purposes, but are not counted as conversions.

E-commerce: taking your micro-conversions into account without “distorting” the turnover

Add your micro-conversions without assigning value to them

If you are an e-merchant, you can add micro-conversions as a “main conversion” (ex: add to cart), in order to better educate the system to generate highly qualified traffic.

However, remember to set the values ​​of these conversions to zero so as not to “pollute” the conversion value, which should only correspond to your actual turnover.

This will allow you to use strategies based on conversion value (Maximize Conversion Value or Target ROAS) without disturbing the smartbidding algorithm (which otherwise would start counting values ​​for transactions, but also for micro- conversions which would artificially “inflate” your conversion value).

Choosing the right micro-conversions is an art

Be careful, however, not to choose your micro-conversions at random. You only need to select those that are correlated to your main objective, the sale. I show step-by-step how to do this in my online Google Ads training.

Best practices for structuring and setting up your Performance Max campaigns

In general: 1 campaign = 1 audience signal

1 campaign = 1 audience signal

As a general rule, I recommend that you create a campaign for each audience signal you use. This will allow you to know the individual performance of each group of elements (Google Ads does not offer you a detailed performance report).

1 group of elements = 1 creative angle

In each pMax campaign, then create a group of different elements per creative angle (eg: a “product” angle with adapted texts / images / videos, then another “lifestyle” angle with other adapted creative elements).

More freedom in campaign structure if you are an online store

Sheet groups already give you detailed statistics

If you are an e-merchant, then more possibilities are available to you. Through association with your Google Merchant Center, listing groups” will be available. They will give you details that will allow you to know the precise performance of your different groups of elements.

The possibility of adopting a campaign structure that takes into account your business logic

Therefore, you don’t necessarily have to create a campaign by audience signal to understand the performance of each targeting. You can therefore imagine campaign structures more aligned with your business:

  • by product category,
  • by margin level,
  • by best sellers vs long tail,
  • etc.

You can then segment your groups of elements either by audience signal or by type of advertising creative.

Final URL extensions: let Google search for additional qualified visits by scanning your site

Dynamic Search Ads feature in Performance Max

Performance Max campaigns natively include a “dynamic ads on the search network” brick. That is to say that the system explores your site, and gives itself the possibility of displaying an advertisement if the user’s request is very relevant to your content, and of redirecting it to another destination page (other than the one you indicate by default in your advertisement).

It is recommended to use it systematically

I advise you to keep this setting on “Send traffic to the most relevant URLs on your site”.

Based on my personal experience with dynamic ads on the search network, it can earn you up to 10% more conversions at a similar acquisition cost.

Take care to exclude “non-commercial” URLs, which are not intended to attract traffic: legal notices, return policy, event pages, etc.

Regarding the other parameters of Performance Max

Link your Google Merchant Center account if you are an e-merchant

As for the remaining parameters that we have not mentioned yet, they are more a matter of common sense…

For example, if you sell online, be sure to link your Google Merchant Center account to the campaign to fully exploit the potential of Performance Max (which replaces smart shopping campaigns).

Be specific about your language settings

A note is worth making regarding the language settings: keep them in “Language” only.

Indeed, on pMax, Google no longer allows you to target only people who are physically in a geographical area ; targeting also includes by default Internet users who are interested in a particular geographical area (eg: I live in Spain and I am looking for restaurants in Paris).

To minimize unqualified traffic, keep this setting on the specific languages ​​of your potential customers.

Best practices for selecting the bid strategy for your Performance Max campaigns

Should you choose a bidding strategy aligned with conversions or conversion value?

Lead gen: align with conversions (unless using scoring)

In general, a lead gen advertiser will favor the lead, and therefore opt for a bidding strategy aligned with conversions ( maximize conversions or target CPA ).

Those who are more advanced use scoring to differentiate “good leads” from “poor leads”. In this case, it may be a good idea to test a strategy like “Maximize conversion value”.

E-commerce: prefer strategies that take conversion value into account (unless…)

In e-commerce, we obviously think that strategies aligned with conversion value are the most interesting. And this is absolutely true, especially for a well-established e-commerce, whose average basket is fairly constant and predictable.

However, if you sell products at low prices, with average baskets that vary a lot, and in which there is a lot of repeat business, aligning on conversions (and not on conversion value) is a good idea… Otherwise, you risk training the algorithm to only look at large customers, those who spend a lot at once. But with products at low prices, and a lot of repeat purchases, it is above all the customer lifetime value that must take precedence. Wanting to bid on conversion value at all costs could lead to a rapid drop in volume for your pMax campaign.

Pro Tip: Get Started Without Adding CPA or Target ROAS Constraints

This leaves more spaces for Performance Max algorithms

I recommend starting a Performance Max campaign with the “Maximize conversion value / conversions” strategy, without adding target CPA or ROAS. This will give more freedom to the algorithm, which will learn more easily and faster which audiences and groups of items perform best.

Be aware, however, that the system will seek to spend your entire daily budget, and this can lead to some cannibalization with your current campaigns.

When to set a target CPA or ROAS from the start?

However, there are cases in which it makes more sense to indicate a CPA or ROAS target from the outset.

For example, if you sell products with different margin rates, and you have split your campaigns into high/medium/low margin. In such a scenario, it is of course necessary to add different ROAS constraints to each campaign, which must be modeled on the expected gains of each campaign…

Add a “value boost” for new customers

Give the right signal to Performance Max to hunt new customers

Very often, advertisers do not value a new customer (who drives growth) and a repeat customer (who improves profitability) in the same way. Indeed, companies generally agree to pay more for a new customer. This makes sense since over their lifetime as a customer, that customer is likely to repurchase in the future.

Be aware that to account for this future customer lifetime value, you can add a conversion value “boost” for new customers in Google Ads. This will help the algorithm understand who your new customers are, what their true value is, and therefore generate many more for you!

It is important to share these signals when running Performance Max, which is a fully automated type of campaign.

How to configure the “value boost” for new customers?

In the “  Tools and Settings > Conversions ” section, you have the option of configuring this feature.

You need to start by adding a list of your customers (via customer match upload, or via a remarketing audience built with your Google Ads tag).

You then add an additional amount in € that the system will apply to your new customers (ex: if a sale of €100 is generated by a new customer, and you add a “boost” of €50, then the system will count such a sale 150€).

Max Performance Best Practices: groups of elements

1 element group = 1 creative kit for a specific audience

An asset group houses the creative elements of your Auto ads

Asset groups are all the creative assets needed to create any kind of ads on Google’s network (search, shopping, display, video, Discovery, Gmail):

  • Photos
  • Logos
  • Videos
  • Securities
  • Descriptions
  • Product feed

Google itself provides the combinations of these elements to deliver the final ad that will appear to the user.

Viewing the details of these item groups helps diagnose the performance of each item individually. Directly optimize those for which the performance is not considered “Excellent” or “Good”

Each audience signal deserves its own creative elements

The idea is to create a group of creative elements, for a particular audience signal. For example, a t-shirt site can create a group of elements “Women”, and another “Men”, which would correspond behind a demographically segmented audience. The creative elements would be tailored for each target demographic.

For your groups of elements, regarding the 20 images that you can add, prefer lifestyle images rather than product images.

Additionally, if you are an e-merchant, you can associate specific products from your Merchant Center feed to your item groups, via the “List Groups” tab. Enough to ensure maximum relevance between the target audience, the ad elements (texts, images, videos) and the products promoted.

The importance of producing a lot of creative elements, regularly

Several creative elements are necessary for the “full funnel” magic to take place

It is important to provide Google with as many creative elements as possible in element groups. In order for the algorithm to learn which are the most efficient creative elements, it must de facto be given several to test.

Also, by providing several creative elements adapted to different stages of purchases, Performance Max has the means to define a sequence that will gradually move the Internet user through the conversion tunnel (full funnel logic).

Finally, you should know that the assets you add to your element groups directly induce the networks on which your ads will be distributed :

  • if you only want to appear on the search network, only fill in short titles and descriptions, without adding images or videos.
  • if you only want to appear on Shopping and in dynamic remarketing, add your feed, but no images or videos.
  • If you don’t want to appear on YouTube, don’t add a video…

Frequent creative iterations are necessary

As discussed in the chapter dedicated to hubs of excellence, it is essential with Performance Max that advertisers have a process in place to regularly produce many creative elements. This is necessary to provide as many creative kits as there are target audiences, and also to quickly replace elements deemed non-performing by the system.

Now, these creative elements don’t have to be super high quality. In fact, a simple video taken with your smartphone and photos of your products in action can do the job. It will even give you a touch of authenticity, capable of inspiring more confidence in the audience.

Best Practices Performance Max: audience signals

Please note: an audience signal is not a targeted audience

This is not targeting, just suggestions to the system

Audience signals are NOT audience targets. These are targeting suggestions.

In other words, this feature allows the advertiser to let Google know who they think the ads would be most suitable for. Google uses this as a starting point to optimize your Performance Max campaigns based on your goals.

Next, note that audience signals are related to item groups. This means that you need to create audience signals each time you create an item group. It makes sense:

  • You create a group of elements (a creative kit)
  • intended for a particular audience (audience signals).
  • And combined, they help Google find the best consumers.

Stop thinking “targeting”, think “Persona”

We understand here that our role is only to whisper suggestions in Google’s ear.

We are no longer talking about traditional media targeting: now we are talking about personas!

You should build your element groups and audience signals around a persona, not a single keyword or a single interest…

1 audience signal = 1 group of elements

Take the opposite of official Google recommendations

Google’s “best practice” for creating your audience signal is to group all of your audiences under the same group of elements. Do not do that. On the contrary, create a group of elements for each audience signal: this is a golden rule.

Do this because Google Ads doesn’t directly show you which audiences are converting. It only shows you the performance of the item group.

So associating an audience signal with an item group tells you which audiences are converting the best, so you can keep targeting them. In other words, it allows you to have more control over your campaigns.

The higher your budget, the more you can afford to create item groups

Also note that there is a relationship between your budget and the number of asset groups / audience signals you want to target.

Indeed, no need to create a Performance Max campaign with 1000 groups of elements if you only have 5€ per day to spend. You would do more harm than anything else: Performance Max will never have enough budget to test all the possible combinations you present to it, which will dilute the learning of the algorithm and generate (unsurprisingly) very poor results.

If you want to go deeper into this subject, I recommend the following video (in English) which discusses in a few minutes the best ways to structure your groups of elements and your audience signals:

3 types of audience signals to explore

Your obsession must be to feed the Performance Max optimization algorithm with quality data, which gives it examples of the best Internet users, visitors, prospects and customers that you want to conquer. Much like an animal that you need to train, you first need to teach the system what your ideal prospect and customer looks like.

Whatever your business, there are 3 types of interesting audience signals to explore:

  • Custom segments and keywords
  • Your proprietary data (customers, VIP customers, qualified / intentional traffic, etc.)
  • Demographic and interest targeting

From these 3 families of audience signals, you can imagine different element group strategies:

Custom segments and keywords

Custom segments allow you to target users based on:

  • their search activity (think of it as the replacement for your keyword strategy),
  • downloaded apps
  • or websites they have visited (such as those of your competitors for example).

These keywords, websites, or apps don’t need to be related to your business, just your audience.

Example of audience signals based on custom segments to test:

  • Visited/researched your competitors (While I don’t recommend it on the search network, it’s a “must have” for a Performance Max campaign)
  • Researched the Top Keywords of your search campaigns (take the best performers)
  • Researched your branded keywords
  • Searched for keywords / visited sites typical of your persona’s interests (ex: if you sell ready-to-wear fashion, your customers may be interested in Vogue or Fashion Week)

Your proprietary data

If the custom segments are audiences that have interacted with someone else’s website, your first-party data is the lists of audiences that have interacted with your site. This is basically your remarketing list and customer match. Even a list of users who have visited a particular page on your site could become a segment!

Your proprietary data may come from:

  • Customer match customer lists (ex: email list of your customers)
  • YouTube users (ex: subscribers to your channel)
  • Remarketing list (collected via Google Ads tag or imported from Google Analytics)

It is highly recommended to upload your customer data into your pMax campaign. This data will be used in particular by Google to create a similar audience, and to hunt Internet users who resemble your existing customers.

Example of audience signals based on custom segments to test:

  • List of all your customers
  • List of VIP clients only (those with the best life value)
  • List of B2B leads with the best scoring
  • List of customers by product category
  • List of buyers with the largest average baskets
  • Traffic with a high conversion rate
  • Traffic with micro-conversions

Demographic and interest targeting

You can also split your audience signals based on Google interest segments and their demographics.

Google offers three types of interest segments:

  1. Affinity : users who are interested in a given topic
  2. Life event : users during an important life stage.
  3. In-Market : users who are about to buy a particular product / service

The system also gives you the possibility to refine the targeting suggestion with demographic criteria (gender, age, parental status, household income). Use it if necessary to stick as closely as possible to your persona.

Use the campaign’s Insight tab to find interest-based audience signals to test.

Examples of Custom Segments to test:

  • In-Market segment of your category (ex: if you are in real estate, you can target the audience in the market for residential real estate)
  • Audience segments that your customers are overweighting (e.g. if you see in the Insights report that your customers have 9x more people in the “Shoppers” category than the average, target this audience segment)
  • In Market Segment + Demographic criteria (e.g. audience in the market for residential real estate that belongs to the 10% of households with the highest income)
  • Affinity + Life event segment (users interested in ecology + who are preparing to renovate their interior).

Good practices: optimize your post click experience to convert more

The conversion rate: a lever 100% in your control (not like on Performance Max…)

Increase your conversion rate = increase the profitability of your campaigns

Even if this goes slightly beyond the subject of Performance Max, it seems important to me to emphasize here that what happens “after the click” is just as important (if not more) than what will ever happen in your pMax campaigns. Advertising on Google Ads is just a call away. It is after the click that everything is played.

Advertisers who continually increase their conversion rate gradually improve the profitability of their Google Ads budget, and can afford to outbid their competitors.

While pMax is 100% automated, your site is 100% under your control

Of course, this is nothing new: marketers have always known that they should always try to increase their conversion rate…

But in a Performance Max context, this is even more important. Remember that everything is automated on the media side: even your targeting options are only suggestions for the algorithm!

So you have de facto less control over what happens on the advertising side. However, the ability of your site to convert is a lever over which you have 100% control.

The key success factors for converting the clicks generated by your campaigns

De A/B tests in continu

It starts with the discipline of perpetually having CRO tests going on. It can be your landing page, your content, your checkout paths… But make sure to constantly challenge your site to grab a few more conversion points.

The best is still to appoint a team / partner responsible for establishing, coordinating, implementing and controlling a test & continuous improvement plan.

Landing pages and a fast site

Not only can better loading rates increase your conversion rate, but it can also improve your Google Ads business. With fast landing pages, Google can award you high marks for relevance and quality. The impact: a direct saving on your CPCs.

Rich and unique content

With its Final URL Extensions feature, remember that Performance Max uses all the pages on your site to try to bring you qualified traffic and additional conversions.

To facilitate the work of Performance Max, it is important that the advertiser’s site is rich in content (to give pMax more opportunity to connect the advertiser with its audience), and unique to make a difference.


The turning point taken by Google with Performance Max is an invitation for SEA experts to step up a level, to be more strategic… But despite appearances, Performance Max is not a magical type of campaign.

However, Performance Max is promising… Even when we think about the disappearance of third-party cookies, and the GDPR constraints, we say to ourselves that Performance Max is perhaps the ultimate solution for effective advertising, and respectful of privacy (it’s is the algorithm that chooses the audience it reaches, rather than an advertiser who will bludgeon a list of people who have visited their site in the last 7 days).

One thing is certain, Google will continue to automate Google Ads advertising more and more, and advertisers will have to get used to gradually losing control. Performance Max therefore embodies a further step into a new era where algorithms are king.

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