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Everything You Need To Know About Google Performance Max Campaigns

The first question people ask about Google performance max is…

What is it?

Is it search? Display? Youtube?

The answer is yes, yes, and yes. Google performance max is all the different advertising options Google has all wrapped into one ball of machine learning magic.


If you’re an OG, you might be thinking this sounds stupid.

Why would anyone want to wrap all those great campaigns into one and have less control over them all. And… uhmmm… I’m sort of with you there. ::scratches head::

But only sort of…

The true genius of Google performance max comes out when you think of it a a giant split tester or as an insight spewing machine. What I mean is, Google performance max lets you put the entire breadth of the Google ecosystem under the entire weight of the Google machine learning behemoth for $1,000.

Aka big machine tests many things fast for cheap.

Imagine you could rent the worlds greatest machine learning computer for a week for $1,000, would you do it? If you said yes, then you are the person google performance max is made for. 

Let’s dive in shall we…

How Do I Actually Setup a Google Performance Max Campaign?

For starters, it’s inside your Google ads manager account. 

So you’ll need one of those. You probably already have one though if you’re reading this, so I’ll get on with it. 

You’ll find it under New Campaign > Sales (goal type) > Performance Max (campaign type). If you wanted to run this for leads objective, stay tuned to the end of the article because I have some words to say about that.

For ease of conversation, let’s just say that it really only works for sales/purchase objective type. 

Once you select those options, you’re going to be presented with your first new or newish experience. You may be familiar with adding multiple headlines and descriptions from search or display. Well, the newish part is called “asset groups.”

Since performance max is a miss mash of all the campaign types, you’re going to be creating a ton of creative assets, 40 to be exact.

You’re going to need 15 images, 5 logos (rectangle and square), 5 videos, 5 short headlines, 5 long headlines, and 5 descriptions. Make sure you include horizontal, square, and vertical images. As well as vertical videos and a couple of your short headlines 15 characters or less.

Do all of that and your ad score will be excellent, which gives the Google machine learning hive mind all the assets it needs to go split test everything 999 ways to Sunday.

Seriously…

Do all of that.

Trust me.

Who Should Use Google Performance Max Campaign Type?

First of all, if you don’t have at least $1,000 to test it with, then it’s not for you.

You’ll want to spend at least $50/day for 7-10 days just to see if it even worked, and you may want to run it longer after pruning low performing assets. Which is why I say, if you don’t have at least $1,000 to SAFELY spend, then just skip it.

If $1,000 is not a big deal to you, or at least not going to kill your business, then continue reading.

The next thing you must have is an established funnel.

Performance max is not for new business owners or testing new funnels. You want to run this on something that’s already proven. Ideally, even something that has over 200 conversions in Google ads already. The more the better. You’ll see why later.

If you have an established funnel, let me tell you why this might be the best thing you try all year.

The insights you’ll gain from running $1,000 ($100/day x 10 days) is going to be worth a fortune to you. You’re going to find out new countries that work and you never knew it. You’ll find new search keywords that work that you never even thought to try. You’ll even find new placements that you never thought to try.

The one major benefit of GPM campaigns is that it’s a mass split tester helping you find new angles, keywords, and placements that you might have never had the confidence or idea to try.

Finally, the other person performance max is great for is the “Just give me an easy button” person. You know who I mean, the person who doesn’t want to mess with lots of campaigns and get all sciency with his account structure.

If you want a “one and done” type of campaign, then GPM is great for you. 

It’ll take about about 90 minutes to set it up, but then your ads are running literally all over the globe - literally everywhere. Well… Not on Facebook, but just about everywhere else. Well not on Snapchat… OK whatever you know what I mean.

Your ads will run on 2 million websites.

Gmail, search, Youtube, maps, discovery, and websites all over the world.

I’m not saying you’ll win every time.

You might have to try 2 or 3, or maybe even 10 times. However, the juice is worth the squeeze. Even if you are the worst advertiser ever and it takes you all 10 tries at $1,000 each try, that’s $10,000 for what could be a million dollar campaign.

Not even Tesla stocks have that good of a return.

Google Performance Max Pro Tip #1

While machine learning, especially Google’s machine learning, technically IS capable of optimizing towards multiple targets - it’s really not. What I mean is, it’s a difference between can and should. Yes technically the Google brain can optimize towards two targets, but no where near as good as it can with a single goal.

That said, make sure you have one conversion goal.

Ideally, purchases.

Sorry, it’s just not really designed for lead gen or fancier conversion objectives yet. It’s close, and technically it can, but everyone I know running these says to stick to one conversion goal. You’ll get much better performance if you give it one goal to optimize towards.

And honestly, the cost/coversions have been looking good. Some of the best I’ve seen in years. I wish this was available back in my Agora days, I would have CRUSHED it with GPM and Agora offers. Hello affiliates! #GITSUM

Google Performance Max Pro Tip #2

When you are setting up your Google performance max campaigns, there’s going to be a setting that asks you about URLs. You want to let Google use whatever URLs it thinks it should on your site - BUT - you want to exclude URLs like contact page and terms page etc.

Allow it to use your whole site, but exclude obvious URLs that would be no good. Such as your privacy policy page etc.

Remember, the main benefit of this is the insights.

Let the Google brain testing as much as it can.

You’ll be thankful 10 days from now when you have a flood of new insights to deploy against.

Google Performance Max Pro Tip #3

The key to making GPM campaigns work is your “audience signals.”

This is how you set your targeting and demographics.

You have three options…

  1. Custom Segment
    People who visit certain types of pages

  2. Your Data
    Your own email lists or conversion data

  3. Interests (IMA)
    Topics and in-market audience

Frankly, I think the 3rd option is best. They are all good, but Google’s in-market audiences have gotten very good over the years. If you’re in a niche where they have a solid I-market like auto sales, home repair, travel, business, then use the 3rd targeting type.

However, the next best or maybe the best, is if you already have lots of conversion data from previous campaigns. That’s where GPM really shines. 

Google Performance Max Pro Tip #4

If you’ve never used Google search before, then you might not be familiar with “extensions.” 

These are going to be key for your GPM campaign. You get 3 different types of extensions, which are add on copy elements to help the search ads get a better CTR.

You have site link extensions which allow you to link to different pages of your site like your pricing page, free demo page, reviews page, etc. Plus you have callout extensions which are additional benefits like free shipping or 24 hour support. 

Finally a new comer to extensions is lead form extensions. Which are exactly what they sound like they are, the ability to capture a lead from right within the ad and not having to click a link first.

Make sure you use whatever extensions make the most sense for you and make sure you use plenty of variations. Remember this is all about a big giant split test. 

Google Performance Max Pro Tip #5

After 4-5 days you’ll begin to see some of your ads in your asset group performing best or low. You’ll find this in your insights tab and you should start pruning off your low performing assets.

You can add additional new assets to replace them, but for this first round, I would just prune off the low performers. Let the best of the best continue to optimize for conversions.

Google Performance Max Pro Tip #6

Due to the nature of this being a massive split test, GPM is also going to test multiple device types.

Do not turn off mobile.

Instead, make sure your pages work on mobile and add mobile optimized assets like vertical videos. For some people mobile ends up performing the best so don’t sleep on this. Make sure you spend some time creating pages and assets that will work great on mobile.

Google Performance Max Pro Tip #7

You’ll be tempted to choose your country only.

If you’re in e-commerce or supplements and you really must, then sure set the location to your country only. However, if you can, let your GPM target all countries. The entire world. Yes, even Nigeria.

Don’t smack talk Nigeria, some of our BEST customers have come from Nigeria. I know they get a hard time on the Internet for old email scams, but they are some of the hardest working most God-fearing people I’ve ever met. 

You’ll be surprised at the click costs and conversion cost you can get from other countries. This is because most advertisers are too scared and so some of these countries are like starving blue oceans waiting for us to offer our products to them.

The Internet is a global world.

Embrace it.

What If Google Performance Max Doesn’t Show Up In My Account?

GPM is still pretty new and rolling out to accounts. As of November 2021, it should be rolled out to mostly everyone but I’ve heard of some accounts not having the option.

Google Ads has a robust customer support department unlike some other ad networks that rhyme with FACEBOOK.

You can actually get on a call with a Google rep or live chat with them pretty easily. Then you can inform them about how much you want to use GPM and how you already know everything there is to know about GPM, maybe they’ll turn it on in your account for you.

What If I Want To Use Google Performance Max For Leads Not Sales?

I know a lot of you reading this sell a higher priced item and you need leads, not sales.

However, due to the current way Google performance max works, it’s not great for lead objective campaigns. Has to do with the way their shopping ads works and such. I don’t know much about why, just that it doesn’t. Or I should say works less good.

What you can do is just have a low ticket product, for example a sticker or mug. Every niche has some sort of sticker or mug design that will attract customers. Then once you have the customer in your database you can follow up with emails. It’s a life hack for making the sales objective work for you for lead gen.

Hey…

Don’t laugh at stickers bro! The Salt Life guys are crushing it with stickers and built a multi-million dollar brand from it.

Books are another great low priced front end for lead gen. Books are great at helping to sell high priced consulting programs or software too. Has been done for decades. I myself did it for 2-3 years and made $2.4 million off my book funnel.

If you need help, give us a holler at support@adskills.com.

See you next week.

Justin Brooke,
Founder of AdSkills.com

P.S. Recently, I got together with two of my expert friends, Ed Dale a copywriting legend and Tom Breeze one of the worlds leading Youtube ad creators. We spent four hours breaking down the scripts, editing choices, and ad strategies behind 25 of the highest performing YouTube ads. You can watch that series here > Decoded: The Top 25 Youtube Ads Revealed

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