We chatted with one of our paid media specialists about their view on Google Performance Max. We find that the best way to learn about anything is through experience, so we thought it would be a good idea to extend the experience to you. Here’s what her findings were.

At a glance, Performance Max allows advertisers to run one single campaign combining all of Google’s channels: 

  • YouTube
  • Display
  • Search
  • Search Partners
  • Shopping
  • Discover
  • Gmail
  • And Maps. 

Ultimately, it is a goal-based campaign type, centered around allowing users to grow conversions across Google’s various advertising platforms. This offers retailers the opportunity to build on their presence over the vast range of ad formats. Advertisers set their own conversion goals, which are then automated in Performance Max. 

Performance Max – The Execution

Campaign set-up is very simple overall. All assets from text (search ads), images, and video assets can be uploaded into one single campaign that is optimised towards your pre-determined conversion goal.  

By the end of 2022, we know that Smart Shopping and Local campaigns will also be automatically upgraded to Performance Max campaigns. At the time of writing this, our paid media specialist hadn’t yet run any Shopping Campaigns on Performance Max so we will have to update you on that once we’ve put it to the test. 

Overall Observations 


Currently, Performance Max doesn’t allow you to dive deep into your results in the same way a classic search campaign does. Because of this, it would be our recommendation that it should not completely replace your existing search campaigns but rather be used to supplement existing campaigns. This campaign type is also best suited to campaigns that are optimised towards a specific conversion goal. 

Campaign Management

On the plus side, it really does make campaign management easier. You can have one campaign where you can achieve the marketing goals of multiple campaigns. You also achieve the same results within that convenience. 

Creative Optimisation

Creative optimisation is a lot simpler on Performance Max, and with this campaign type, you can test a multitude of creative types all from one place.

It is definitely ideal for advertisers (clients) who aren’t limited by the channel their ads appear on but also don’t necessarily have the time or resources to fully optimise for each channel. Again, much easier to manage.


Where the budget is limited and the advertiser (client) wants to make use of Google’s full inventory, Performance Max would be an ideal option. We also think it would be well suited for clients that are wanting to explore new geo territories.

Performance Max Drawbacks 

Since it is but a fledgling in the world of digital marketing, there will be some drawbacks. Some of the drawbacks we have noticed are as follows:

  • The learning period is typically longer than Google alludes to. On average, we are typically seeing campaigns taking up to 6 weeks to complete learning and start driving efficient results. In these initial weeks, we have seen particularly high CPLs, which have reduced significantly once campaigns have exited the initial learning phase. It’s important for the client to understand this and be patient over this period.
  • You also aren’t able to dive into your results in the same way that you can with traditional search campaigns. Instead, you now have access to a new tab, which is called “Insights”, which only gives you different search categories with metrics such as Clicks, Impressions, and Conversions.  
  • When it comes to placements, you also aren’t able to see your exact placement performance, so you aren’t really able to optimise towards specific placements. Performance Max also doesn’t allow you to exclude search terms yourself in the same way that you can with traditional search campaigns. This means there may be the risk of some wasted spend.

Did You Know?

Here are some interesting consumer facts that we think you’ll be surprised to know. 

  • 70% of consumers make purchases online now than before Covid-19 – Source: Google Mobility Trends (2020); Digital Commerce 360,Klaviyo covid-19 poll (Mar 2020); US Department of Commerce (2019)
  • In some cases, buyers have 500+ digital touchpoints before purchase – Source: Think with Google: How intent is redefining the marketing funnel

This elaborate consumer journey has, in turn, spiked the average cost for digital marketing. This is where Performance Max’s use of machine learning comes into play. 


Stipulate your marketing goals as the primary target and let the machine do its thing, locating potential customers across Google properties.  

Prime Machine Learning To Bring About Optimal Performance

Google Ads machine learning and acknowledgement technology to pinpoint consumers at an optimal time with the relevant ads. 

Audience Signals Inputs To Guide Automation

This kick-starts the campaign ramp-up time frame, producing better results much faster. 

More Time To Focus On Strategic Performance Drivers

Automation means more time to tweak and improve your strategy, geared towards high impact planning and optimisation. 

General Conclusions

Overall, we think it’s an incredibly exciting move on the part of Google towards full optimisation. We’re excited about the potential and are using it to supplement our campaigns, specifically for those optimised towards lead generation. 

It is probably worth noting that you may want to make use of first-party data instead of relying entirely on Google’s AI to learn who your target audience is. All things considered, Performance Max is extremely beneficial and worth looking into, and it gets the seal of approval from our paid media specialists in alignment with the above recommendations. 

If you’d like to see how Google Performance Max can streamline your campaign management, drop us a line and we can implement it on your account. Got questions? Feel free to ask.