The Ultimate Guide to Google’s Performance Max

The Ultimate Guide to Google’s Performance Max

15 September 2023 |

Media and Advertising Industry

In this exciting interview, ADMATICian & Performance Specialist, Tatiana Fernanadez, chats to an industry expert from Google; Digital Strategist, Lucy Whitehouse, about the nuances of Google’s Performance Max campaigns.

Whether you’re a seasoned marketer or just starting out, you’ll gain valuable knowledge on optimizing your ROI, targeting the right audience, and crafting campaigns that truly resonate.

Discover the advantages Performance Max offers, how it leverages machine learning to the advertiser’s benefit, and actionable insights on how to seamlessly integrate it into your marketing strategy.

Benefits of Performance Max vs. Regular Search Campaigns


TF (Tatiana Fernandez, ADMATIC): Can you outline the primary differences between Performance Max campaigns and regular search campaigns?

LW (Lucy Whitehouse, Google): The primary difference between Performance Max and other campaigns is that we’re able to leverage Google’s machine learning, it’s able to not only find new customers for your business but also those who intend to purchase with you across the entire Google network with an interesting, creative twist!

TF: What specific advantages do advertisers have when using Performance Max over regular search campaigns?

LW: The main advantage I believe advertisers have when using Performance Max is that they’re able to really elevate their creative and branding. As we enter the next generation of consumers, advertisers are shifting more towards capturing their audiences through being visual and captivating which is very different to traditional advertising streams. 

TF: Are there any features in Performance Max that enhance automation and machine learning capabilities compared to regular search campaigns?

LW: There definitely is! We’re able to use many different functions such as working through customer acquisition, if you’re wanting to bid more efficiently for new customers or not. Or even, building out specific custom segments where you can place audience interests and your other competitors to direct traffic towards your brand. As stated before, it’s also across the entire Google networks so instead of building out several campaigns, you can simply do it in one!

TF: Can advertisers expect a significant improvement in ROI with Performance Max compared to regular search campaigns?

LW: Yes, I have seen a significant increase across Performance Max compared to search as you’re able to segment and create intention with our machine learning in the backend. When you’re able to tell the system exactly what you’re intending and build out your product, Google will then be able to favour this and drive further success. 

TF: Are there particular industry sectors or business types that benefit more from Performance Max as opposed to regular search campaigns?

LW: We have seen Performance Max work across both Lead-generation, E-Commerce and Omni-Channel clients and haven’t seen a sector which has been more beneficial than the other. 

TF: If a client doesn’t have any video assets, will you recommend running Performance Max? Or will it be recommended to run Search + Discovery?

LW: Even if a client doesn’t have video assets, there’s actually a tool in Performance Max which allows you to create a video – it’s that easy! Otherwise, Google will automatically create and run ones for you.

Success Metrics For Performance Max

TF: In Performance Max campaigns, advertisers utilize various channels but may not have granular access to each channel’s performance data. Considering this, how can advertisers accurately define and measure success metrics? Are there any specific tools or features within Performance Max that assist advertisers in consolidating and analyzing performance across multiple channels?

LW: Similarly to Search, the best ways to be able to measure success is through your ROAS goals and conversion volume coming through the account. Performance Max can help you recognise that through your asset groups and even products where you can break down the products or features which aren’t working and then choose where to flex budgets more. You’re also able to track when and where your ads performed through the campaign alongside where you’ve been the most viewed or successful.  

Recommendations on Industries for Using Performance Max

TF: How does Performance Max cater to the unique advertising needs of different industries?

LW: It is able to cater to unique advertising needs as you, the user are able to steer the ship in a more targeted way, showing exactly who to target and making sure that they are high intent purchasers or future clients for your business. 

TF:  Can running Performance Max campaigns in tandem with DV360 Display and YouTube lead to cannibalization of advertising activities?

LW: Performance Max interacts with other campaigns, like Display campaigns and YouTube campaigns, based on the logic below. 

  • The efficiency of existing campaigns can drop for certain cases based on the ad rank, however, the total account efficiency may increase since Performance Max will be focused on performance goals.
  • This is the same for both Google ads and DV360 campaigns.

TF: What would be your advice for advertisers who are considering running Performance Max concurrently with campaigns on DV360 Display and YouTube to maximize results?

LW: Continue to run existing campaigns alongside Performance Max and let Performance Max find users who are likely to convert or deliver high conversion value based on bidding strategy. The total account efficiency will increase since Performance Max will be focused on performance goals.

TF: Given the removal of similar audiences, how has the strategy for distinguishing between remarketing and new customer acquisition evolved in Performance Max campaigns?

LW: Remarketing (red box) is the starting point for the NCA of Performance Max campaign (blue box). If the remarketing function is just feeding the 1st party data to the Google ads for the campaign to find the right benchmark to learn as a higher possibility of conversion, NCA function is assigning the differentiated value to the new customers and maximizing the impact of the marketing campaign.
You can set 3 options as bidding strategy, (1) Bid higher for new customers than existing ones (recommended), (2) Bid higher for high value new customers than regular new customers and existing (beta) and (3) Only bid for new customers, based on the advertiser’s business needs.

TF: How does Performance Max assist advertisers in balancing their focus between remarketing and acquiring new customers?

LW: You can assign the value based on your own needs. Considering the lifetime value of each customer, you can assign the right value for the (1) new customers and (2) existing customers each.

TF: Can you share any best practices for setting up remarketing and new customer acquisition strategies in Performance Max campaigns?

LW: Great question! Some best practices we’d suggest are:

Use high quality first party data (customer match, gTag NvR). First party data is your best and most durable asset and fuels machine learning for new customer acquisition.

Assign accurate economic values to your new customers and high value new customers
to reach the most valuable audience. 

  1. In your Google Ads account, go to Tools and Settings.
  2. Click Conversions.
  3. Click Set Up in the “Customer acquisition” panel within the “Conversion Summary” page.
  4. Define existing customers by choosing one or more audience lists.
  5. Set the value assigned to customer acquisition. This is used only in the New customer value mode. This value is added to a new customer’s first purchase conversion and will reflect in the reporting and help Smart Bidding optimize towards new customers. The higher this value is, the more the campaign will be optimized towards new customers. This value will be used by default in all campaigns that optimize to new customer acquisition.

We see best results when an advertiser specifies the new customer value at or higher than the system recommendation for the new customer value in the Google Ads UI and when this value is at least 66% of the average Purchase conversion value in the account. 

Activate your data by choosing the bid type and budget to reach new customers. Use value based bidding and NC Value mode or NC HVO to bid higher for new customers while still reaching existing customers. 

You should have at least 4 weeks of data before testing. Ensure the campaign has at least 50 to 100 conversions per week. In general:

  • Try not to pick your smallest campaign if you want meaningful results
  • Consider your business priorities to determine your test campaign: Is there a certain product category you care about driving new customers to the most?


If you’re venturing into the world of Performance Max campaigns, keep these pivotal insights in mind:

  • Embrace Google’s machine learning for pinpoint audience targeting.
  • Prioritize creative and captivating branding.
  • Utilize the consolidation of campaigns across the Google network for efficiency.
  • Stay vigilant about your Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) goals.

In this age of digital advancement, the realm of online advertising is witnessing groundbreaking shifts. As illustrated in our interview, Google’s Performance Max campaigns emerge as a game-changer, setting new standards in the advertising sphere. Through a blend of automation, expansive reach, and keen insights into audience behavior, Performance Max empowers advertisers to craft campaigns that resonate.

As the digital advertising canvas unfolds, the call of the hour for marketers is adaptability. Embracing Performance Max allows brands to navigate this digital evolution, fostering genuine connections with audiences, elevating brand presence, and realizing substantial returns on investments.

In essence, success in the contemporary advertising landscape lies in harnessing the prowess of Performance Max, tapping into data-driven insights, and aligning with partners who truly comprehend the digital shift. So, dive into Performance Max and navigate the vanguard of advertising evolution.

Want to find out more? Contact the team at ADMATIC!