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Google Ads: Increase your conversions with the Performance Planner

by Sorbaioli
Google Ads: Increase your conversions with the Performance Planner

If you are an advertiser who already uses Google Ads, you may have seen it appear a while ago in your account: the “ Performance Planner”.

It’s a useful tool to help you best plan your Google Ads budgets, based on your marketing goals. Unfortunately, it still seems to me to be little used by paid search professionals, which inspired me to write this post.

In this article, we will review:

  • what is this new planning tool that has enriched your Google Ads account,
  • how to use it to optimize your investments in Google paid referencing,
  • and some best practices to get the most out of it.

What is the Google Ads Performance Planner?

What is it for and why should it interest you?

The Performance Planner is a forecasting tool that uses  machine learning  to reveal the possibilities offered by your Google Ads campaigns.

With this tool, you can get  monthly, quarterly, and yearly forecasts for your ongoing campaigns, while improving your ROI.

By planning your Google Ads budgets in advance, you can:

  1. Anticipate the future spend potential of  the campaigns you have in your account.
  2. Take advantage of seasonality  to garner additional conversions.
  3. Set optimal bids and budgets  for all your campaigns, with the aim of improving performance and/or your return on investment.
  4. Find new opportunities to  increase your conversion volumes at a constant budget.

Imagine that you manage campaigns and that you have a monthly budget of €10,000 to be spread over 100 campaigns. The Google Ads Performance Planner will provide you with recommendations on how best to use this budget so you can maximize your conversions and generate a better return on investment.

Forecasts that combine  machine learning  and analysis of your history

The tool combines both your account history and  machine learning  to model its predictions.  The Adwords Performance Planner determines the optimal bids and average daily budget allocations across  all of your campaigns. The goal, of course, is to increase the number of conversions you can achieve for any future spending scenario.

It may be that all your campaigns are not taken into account, because the forecasts made by the tool must reach a certain level of precision. Therefore, the required confidence interval may not be met for your low volume campaigns, which will then be excluded from the plan.

How does the performance planner work?

Smart, the tool works as follows:

  1. It  generates a forecast of your future campaign activity, assuming you don’t change anything in your account.
  2. Using data and seasonality information from Google, the  performance planner  will predict the results you will get with  optimally re-allocated bids & budgets.
  3. When you  choose a spend point on the blue line  of the graph, the  performance planner  can reallocate spend between campaigns by adjusting bids and average daily budgets.
  4. You can see the changes in question in the table below the graph, or by  downloading in CSV or Editor format.

Another “Compare” tab is also available to you. You then access graphs that compare:

  • your historical performance,
  • expected performance with your existing settings
  • and expected performance based on the recommended plan.

At a glance, you can easily see the expected expenses and the estimated returns if you follow the tool’s plan to the letter.

4 characteristics of the forecasts made by the  performance planner

  • Estimation: Google Search ad auctions, consisting of billions of searches per week, feed the prediction engine.
  • Simulation: The model simulates relevant auctions by taking into account variables at the level of each of your keywords (seasonality, click-through rate, competition, landing page, time of day, etc.).
  • Machine Learning: It is used to refine forecasts and achieve a higher level of accuracy.
  • Verification: Google performs accuracy measurements on thousands of campaign samples – over periods of 1, 7, 30 and 90 days – to ensure that the tool makes valid recommendations.

How do I use the Google Ads Performance Planner?

Ideally, make your investment forecasts on a monthly basis

Because paid search is influenced by seasonality, fluctuating bids and competitors, consider  planning & optimizing your campaigns with the tool at least once a month.

Thus, using the Google Ads Performance Planner monthly allows you to optimize your budgets and bids on a regular basis  to get the most results from your budget.

Moreover, if your forecast period is long and/or distant, you run the risk of losing accuracy because, inevitably, some variables will change by then, and thus make the tool’s forecasts rather inaccurate.

Use the tool with a “business scenario” in mind

Here’s how the tool can show you how to drive more conversions under  different spending scenarios.

  1. While keeping the same level of spend, check if you can fetch more conversions
  2. Calculate the maximum budget amount  you can spend while maintaining  the same CPA
  3. Set yourself a target CPA, and the tool will tell you how much budget & conversions you can expect
  4. Simulate a budget increase and estimate the number of additional conversions you will gain, and how much your CPA will deteriorate

Here is an example of plans you could get using Performance Planner, based on different scenarios (remember that the ultimate goal is to maximize your profits, not necessarily to have the best CPA):

Expenses Conversions CPA Efficiency
Current $7.7M 96K $81
Option 1 $11.2M 142K $79 Improve CPA by $2
Option 2 $7.7M 128K $60 Improve CPA by $21
Option 3 $13.2M 160K $82 CPA increase by $1

Prerequisites for using the performance planner

Note that your campaigns will need to meet a few criteria to be eligible for the Google Ads Performance Planner.

Search Network Campaign

  • They must have run for at least 72 hours
  • They must have recorded at least one conversion over the last 7 days
  • They must have recorded at least 3 clicks over the last 7 days

Shopping Ads Campaigns

  • They must have recorded at least 100 conversions (or conversion value) over the last 7 days
  • They must be active every day of the week, with a minimum spend of €10 per day over the last 10 days
  • They must not be limited by the budget over the last 10 days (if you use the target ROAS strategy for your Shopping Ads campaigns)

Display Campaigns

  • The bid strategy of your campaigns must not have changed in the last 7 days
  • They must have turned for at least 7 days
  • They should not be limited by the budget
  • They must register at least 5 conversions.

Note that campaigns that are deleted or that use a shared budget are not eligible in the performance planner.

And in the event that you have enough clicks for a campaign to be eligible, but too few conversions, the performance planner gives you the option of manually entering a conversion rate to complete your forecasts.

Implement the performance planner plan

Once your plan is finalized, the performance planner gives you concrete action recommendations for each of your campaigns added to the plan. You can download a summary of the plan in a spreadsheet if you wish (“Download” icon in the top right)

You can also download a file to implement the plan via Google Ads Editor.

  • In the upper right corner, click the download icon
  • Choose the Ads Editor (.csv) file.
  • Import a CSV file into Google Ads Editor to review and implement the performance planner plan.

Some best practices for getting the most out   of Google ‘s Performance Planner

Use an attribution model other than  last click

In particular, if you want to use the performance planner to find out how to reallocate your budgets in order to generate additional conversions, it is in your best interest not to use a  last click attribution model.

The latter will  naturally “limit” the field of possibilities  by focusing mainly on campaigns that have the best conversion rates, and  abandoning those that can act further upstream in the purchase process  (and which precisely help you recruit new clients)

Your attribution model can be changed in the Tools > Conversions section.

Create multiple plans for campaigns that share a common marketing objective or budget

It is recommended that you  separate campaigns with different marketing objectives into different plans in the Performance Planner, so that your budgets are not reallocated between two different marketing objectives. Instead, consider grouping campaigns by marketing objective.

  • For example, you can split the  generic campaigns, rather cut to make you known (for example, a campaign containing the keyword “best camera ”)
  • and brand campaigns, whose main missions are to convert Internet users who are ready to make a purchase (such as a campaign containing the keyword “buy Canon camera ”).
  • and have two different plans, with different goals, in  Performance Planner.

Adjust performance by campaign for plans that fit your business challenges

Certain unpredictable factors (competition, change of content / landing pages, changes to keywords, etc.) can impact the bids and of course the performance planner’s forecasts.

Therefore, it is important to continuously monitor and optimize your plan based on the performance you  actually see. If necessary,  adjust your plans campaign by campaign  to better anticipate the impact on your business results.

Add secondary metrics to your plan

By default, the Performance Planner will give you key forecasts for your plan: spend, conversion volume or conversion value, CPA or ROAS (return on ad spend), and conversion rate.

However, it is possible to go further by exploring secondary metrics such as CPC, or the impression rate (general or in 1st position). You will therefore be able to analyze more finely the impacts that the plan of the performance planner will have on your levels of presence and visibility, or on your unit costs (CPC).


Planning marketing expenses is an obvious need for advertisers, to better manage their projected budget and predict their financial results.

For companies that use paid search as a marketing lever, Google now provides a tool that accurately simulates future expenses & results, while automatically optimizing the distribution of your investment by campaign and your bids.

It’s up to you to act by implementing these valuable recommendations!

And if you still don’t feel comfortable with this tool, you can always request a quote from a google ads agency available here. Indeed, an agency can always inform you about the optimal budget that you should plan on Google Ads to achieve your marketing objectives.


Google Ads Performance Planner FAQ


It’s a useful tool used by paid search professionals to help them best plan their Google Ads budgets, based on their marketing goals. It allows you to plan advertising expenses. The Performance Planner uses machine learning to reveal the possibilities offered by Google Ads campaigns.


To use the performance planner and run a simulation, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to your Google Ads account.
  2. Go to “Tools and Settings”.
  3. In the “Planning” section, click on “Performance Planner”.
  4. Click on the “+” button to create a new plan.
  5. Select the campaigns you want to include in your plan.
  6. Enter the dates on which you want to make your forecast.
  7. Fill in the precise metric on which you want to base your simulation.
  8. View your plan on the ‘Explore Forecasts’ and ‘Compare Performance’ tab.


  • View your campaign forecasts
  • Review possible results by adjusting campaign settings
  • Determine the opportunities to seize during the seasonal period
  • Manage budgets in different accounts and campaigns


  1. Anticipate potential future  campaign spend.
  2. Take advantage of seasonality  to garner additional conversions.
  3. Set optimal bids and budgets  for all your campaigns, with the aim of improving performance and/or your return on investment.
  4. Find new opportunities to  increase your conversion volumes on a constant budget.

Thus, the Google Ads performance planner helps you better distribute your advertising expenditure to maximize the returns of your campaigns. It is also a tool that allows you to predict the impact of an increase / decrease in your budget.


  • Plan & optimize your campaigns with the tool at least once a month.
  • Use the tool by imagining various spending scenarios.
  • Separate campaigns with different marketing objectives into different Performance Planner plans.
  • Adjust performance by campaign for plans that fit your business challenges.


The Google Ads Performance Planner generates a forecast of your future campaign activity. Using data and seasonality information from Google, the performance planner will predict the results you will get with optimally reallocated bids & budgets.


It is recommended to use the Performance Planner on a monthly basis. This way, you regularly ensure that you have optimal budgets and bids. It is also a way to limit the risk of tool error, which can make inaccurate forecasts if they are too far off.

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