Setting up a Google Performance Max Campaign

Google Performance Max Contextual advertising

Google Performance Max is a new contextual product advertising format recently introduced by Google. According to the announcement of the service, it should become an alternative, and subsequently completely replace smart shopping campaigns.


A tool driven by artificial intelligence and requiring minimal involvement of a marketer opens a new page in the history of automated campaigns. But it is not yet necessary to give product promotion exclusively to him and refuse to use other contextual advertising tools.

What is Google Performance Max?

Google Performance Max is a type of advertising campaign that allows you to use all possible channels as ad platforms: from classic search, GMS and YouTube to Google Maps, Discover and Gmail. Funds allocated for product promotion are dynamically redistributed between the selected channels, eliminating the need for the advertiser to constantly monitor budgets for individual sites.

Performance Max Automated Campaigns

Performance Max automated campaigns differ from the formats that have been around for a long time with a high level of automation. To launch such advertising, the marketer needs to make a minimum of effort.


However, it is too early to consider GPM as a panacea for all occasions. Despite the obvious convenience, this type of campaign is not yet able to show the performance that classic search advertising usually demonstrates.

What are the benefits of Performance Max Google Ads?


Among the large number of advantages that Performance Max Google Ads has, we highlight the main ones:

  1. Ads of different formats in one ad. All existing channels and types of ads can be used when promoting a product using Performance Max campaigns. Such a campaign allows you to reach the widest possible audience without a significant increase in the budget. And if earlier advertisers were forced to set up, for example, shopping and search campaigns separately, distributing funds between them manually, now GPM takes over the entire routine, and the process of setting up advertising has become unified.
  2. Automate most operations. It is enough for a marketer to specify the characteristics that the target audience should have, as well as set the target parameters for performance evaluation, after which Google will analyze all the information provided using a special intelligent mechanism, group users into segments, set up targeting and display ads. The system will also help you create creatives, but on the condition that you upload the appropriate images, videos and text fragments.
  3. Bidding strategies. In addition to the types of strategies that exist in product campaigns (target return on investment in promotion and the highest number of conversions), an additional one has appeared – the target cost per conversion. The new strategy is attractive for businesses with a low profit margin per unit of product, because with the right settings, such a campaign will always show a positive result.
  4. High efficiency rates. When developing the Performance Max format, Google directed maximum efforts to training new artificial intelligence that is more efficient than all previous algorithms. A significant contribution to the success of the application of the new technology is made by the ability to publish ads on any site of the Google advertising network, as well as intelligent processing of behavioral signals, automated bidding and target audience formation.

The methodology of Google Performance Max campaigns does not include the use of keywords – the algorithm selects the audience itself. Therefore, there is a risk of exclusion from impressions of those whose interest in the product is momentary, who are trying to find your product right now.

Advice! Don’t limit yourself to Performance Max campaigns and run them alongside your existing search campaigns.

We recommend allocating only a small part of the investment for the test period for the new format, and only after making sure that the launch of GPM had a positive impact on the overall promotion results, gradually increase its share in the total advertising budget.

Who is Performance Max suitable for?

You should start testing the Performance Max format if you have:

  • Certain marketing goals have been formulated – you plan to increase online sales, attract potential customers to the site, etc. The system independently optimizes the campaign, taking your goals as a basis, so only those who are highly likely to perform the specified action will see ads.
  • There is a need to use multiple Google promotion channels for one campaign. The ability to run ads on all platforms at once is provided in the Performance Max settings. You can promote your product on YouTube, Search, Display Network, Gmail or Discover without having to create independent campaigns for all of these channels.
  • There is already up-to-date information about audience targeting, accumulated earlier. Then, in the process of setting up advertising, you can specify the characteristics of your target audience, and the system will select a segment of users that will be as similar as possible to it.
  • Steady traffic generated by standard campaigns has already been formed, and there is a desire to increase coverage. Artificial intelligence Google Performance Max constantly analyzes user actions and, using its results, shows ads to those who have not yet searched for the promoted product, but most likely will show interest in it, and such interaction will end with a conversion.

How do I set up a Google Performance Max ad campaign?


In order to run a Performance Max ad campaign, an advertiser will need access to AdWords and GMC, which already has active SKUs. Before starting a campaign, it is important to have previously set conversions with accumulated data for a weekly interval.

Attention! Performance Max campaigns are prioritized by the system over Smart Shopping campaigns.

At the initial stage, the user flow will be redirected to the updated ad format. To avoid traffic drops generated by old campaigns, you need to create duplicate product items by assigning them ID different from the previously existing ones.

Setting up Google Performance Max starts with creating a new campaign. This can be done using the corresponding button in AdWords. In the list that opens, click on the goal that best suits your task. If you have an online store, then your choice is “Sales”:

Select the goal of the advertising campaign

Next, the system will provide an opportunity to determine those conversions that will subsequently be used in the learning process.

Important! Among the conversions selected for the online store, there should be an option that conveys value. A good example of such a conversion is “Transaction”.

In the module that opens, specify the type of campaign. In our case, this is “Maximum Efficiency” (this is how “Performance Max” is translated from English):

Campaign Type Performance Max

Setting up a Google Merchant Center account and thinking about what our advertising campaign will be called. At the next step, we determine the daily limit and set the bidding strategy that most fully reflects the business objectives.

Setting up geography and language settings:

Selecting a location to display ads

In the module that opens, you must specify groups of product items and create an adaptive display ad. To create a high-performing ad, follow Google’s guidelines:

Setting up creatives for the Performance Max format

After this step is completed, the advanced settings window will appear.

Advice! Do not leave fields of additional links and phone numbers empty. This way you can maximize the reach of your campaign.

After publication, the campaign will be ready for moderation. You will see the first impressions and traffic from new ads in about a day.

Сергей Шевченко
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