Our Guide to Google Performance Max Campaigns

Lauren Hall 04/04/2022 4 minutes

Back in 2020, Google introduced a new way to approach online marketing activity, via a campaign known as Performance Max. By the end of Q3 2022, it will replace Smart Shopping and Local campaigns, which begs the question: should you be adopting this new type of campaign now and what are the benefits of Performance Max for your business? 

Read on to find out how Performance Max campaigns work for our Paid Media team and what kind of clients and businesses they work best for. 

What Is Performance Max?

Google’s Performance Max campaigns offer a new approach to paid advertising, allowing businesses to adopt a holistic and end-to-end approach in which machine learning complements keyword-based search campaigns. It can also help you grow performance across a range of channels, including Search, Display, YouTube, Discover, Gmail, Maps and Shopping. These campaigns are automated and based on historical data within your account. By uploading a range of media assets to suit all channels, Performance Max then creates ads automatically, similar to responsive display ads. 

How does Performance Max work?

Through optimising bids and placements through machine learning, P Max campaigns are able to drive conversions based on your overall goals. All you need to do is upload high quality assets in the form of text, image and video, then let Google Ads do the work for you, automatically creating ad variations, which are then shown across the Google network. Combined, all of this can help drive more actions towards your desired goal, and potentially do so in a more cost-effective way. 

Pros and Cons of Performance Max

Like any significant Google update, there are benefits to incorporating this new type of campaign into your strategy sooner rather than later. However, with the launch still in its early stages, there are also some initial drawbacks you should be aware of.

Google Performance Max benefits

  • Increase conversions and their value through optimised automation of bids, your campaigns will be able to capture new conversion opportunities
  • Reach new customers through utilising new audience segmentation, using real time audience signals
  • Gain insights into asset performance through analysing the insights page and combination reports to highlight which are your top performing assets and help you to understand if any need to be switched out and tested. You can now also view which search terms are triggering your ads, a feature which has yet to be expanded upon.

Google Performance Max drawbacks

  • Reporting is relatively limited at this stage, since the campaign is still in its early phase. For example, there is currently no accessibility to analyse performance for specific channels i.e. Display performance vs Search
  • There are few options for optimisation due to not having access to channel breakdowns
  • Service line crossovers could be an issue for larger brands with more segmented accounts/campaigns, causing relevance to suffer slightly.

Which Types of Businesses Do Performance Max Google Ads Campaigns Work Best For?

Although they are a good option for all types of companies, there are some industries where Performance Max could be of particular value. 


Since P Max takes a holistic approach, ecommerce sites can use it to incorporate the whole funnel. This allows Shopping campaigns to perform much more efficiently than they currently do, due to the use of more cohesive bidding strategies. 

Established businesses

If your business already has a strong brand presence with equally strong creatives, you could have a winning combination for Performance Max, as no matter how they are combined, your assets will be more likely to create a strong ad that resonates. 

Start ups

If you’re new to the ever changing world of PPC, then it may feel overwhelming to manage your business and your online marketing activity at the same time. Performance Max campaigns can help you take out the guesswork and not worry about optimising your account on a daily basis. 

One final thing to note is that P Max campaigns are set to replace both Local and Smart Shopping campaigns by the end of Q3, with ‘one button’ upgrades being made available from April 2022. If you haven’t updated your campaigns by July, this will be done automatically, so we would recommend getting ahead of the curve and starting to test different campaigns now.

How Are Our Performance Max Google Ads Campaigns Performing?

Let’s gain insight into how these new campaigns have been working for our very own Paid Media team

PPC Account Manager, Freddie

“I’ve recently launched a Performance Max Google Ads campaign and have seen positive results so far. I’ve been able to drive a lot more traffic with much lower CPCs compared to other campaign types. I like the way it’s essentially combining brand awareness alongside data-driven conversions using custom built converting audience signals. 

One concern of mine though is a lack of control, especially consuming Brand campaigns on the Search platform. Hopefully in the not too distant future, we will be able to have more influence on what ads we can show, and where.”

Paid Media Executive, Demi

“As we had very specific conversion goals in mind, we wanted to trial a Performance Max campaign to identify any areas where we could enhance performance. Since launching the campaign, we’ve already seen a large uplift in traffic coming to the site as well as a 20% increase in our conversion rate for this month to date. Another benefit is having the ability to target across Google’s networks such as YouTube.”

The world of PPC is an ever changing landscape, but one that is shifting towards heightened automation. As such, we believe that advertisers should look to adopt these new strategies in a way which allows them to retain a level of control. 

By including your top performing audience signals and providing high quality assets alongside effective budgets and bidding strategies, you’ll be able to maximise the potential of Performance Max campaigns from the get go. Alternatively, if you’d prefer to leave this in the hands of the experts, drop us a line to discuss how we can help.