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Understanding Performance Max – The Future of Google Ads

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2022
Written by Content Team

Performance Max is replacing smart shopping by the end of the 3rd quarter of this year. Digital Advertisers have had access to this new campaign type and have been implementing and experimenting with it since January. So many advertisers already know what’s what with these campaigns but for those still unsure, Performance Max is Google’s new fully automated goal-based campaign type. What this means is that once you have provided it with the assets it requires it will use AI to show responsive ads across Google’s ad inventory.

In essence, Google has taken everything they have learnt from smart shopping and responsive search ads and combined it with the latest innovations in technology to create Performance Max. But this forthcoming mandatory update has left many marketers sceptical. In this post we will go through the advantages and disadvantages of Performance Max. 

What Are the Potential Benefits of Performance Max?

The expanded reach across google is a particular advantage of Performance Max, in one campaign advertisers will be able to serve on search, maps, display, Gmail, discover, and YouTube. This will simplify advertising on Google, especially for those that want to run a small number of campaigns but have maximum exposure.

By promoting engagement across Google’s channels, Performance Max unlocks avenues to new customers. While overall transparency will be decreased, Google is launching new insight elements for Performance Max. ‘Asset insights’ will allow marketers to see which of their assets are and are not performing while consumer interest insights will show the themes in search queries. New customer acquisition goals have also been added and will allow for the prioritising of targeting new customers.  

The AI Performance Max utilises to optimise ads is tuned in to signals across the google network and leverages machine learning to target potential customers at the right time and with the message most likely to get them to convert. Put this together and Performance Max has the potential to generate impressive results.

What Are The Potential Pitfalls and Problems with Performance Max?

A lot of the concerns around Performance Max stem from the larger worries about automation in the digital marketing space, as well as the perceived lack of control this brings. It doesn’t help that this change is ‘Google Imposed’ and soon becomes permanent.

Advertisers undoubtedly do have less control over the details when running a Performance Max campaign, they can’t control where the ads will show or the variation of the copy shown. Advertisers also won’t be able to add keywords, see the search terms they are showing for or add negatives (currently to add negatives you need to speak to your Google rep and have them implement them on your behalf). This may lead to search cannibalisation in your accounts with your other search campaigns and brand campaigns.

The fact that Performance Max is another black box campaign type much like smart shopping has frustrated many and it appears this is the direction google intends to continue in. Reduced control and visibility for some comes with the advantage of less management of the minutia of campaigns.  However, while on the surface automation may seem simpler to run, advertisers will have to be wary not to take their eyes off the ball. It is important to recognise where the limits of AI are and not to consider Performance Max the kind of campaign that can be made and forgotten about.  


All in all, Performance Max has the capacity to fully unlock the potential of your ads across Google properties and yield higher results with the advantage of more easily managed campaigns. Performance Max is coming whether we like it or not so why spend time considering its advantages and disadvantages when it’s already on its way? Because advertisers need to know what is being brought to the table, the good and the bad, so they can get ahead of the curb as they consider new strategies.

It should be noted that at the time of writing (22nd June 2022), our PPC teams have on the whole reported positive uplifts in performance when applying Performance Max.