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Google Performance Max Campaigns Draining Your Budget?

What are Performance Max campaigns?

Performance Max are Google’s preferred campaign type – they are mostly automated and after goal setup will automatically optimize to improve your ROAS or CPA. Most Google reps will focus on setting up performance max campaigns, and then enable auto applied recommendations to push a fully hands off model.

In this way Performance Max are striving towards an “all-in-one” campaign type where you can reach customers via video (smart tv, YouTube), search, display and partner experiences. The only inputs besides creatives you need are conversion tracking and a target return on your ad spend.

So why does this go wrong? Well first because performance max campaigns are THIRSTY – they attempt to spend as quickly as you allow them to gain data on conversions. The most common cause of advertisers giving up and not finding customers in Google ads is they simply spend hundreds of dollars without any sort of measurable engagement.

The other issue that comes up a lot is that Performance Max campaigns are not transparent at all, and it can be hard to understand where the conversions are coming from.

Google’s “All-in-one” campaign cannibalizes

One of the first things a Performance Max campaign does is to find all the people who have interacted with your brand and put ads in front of them. This is smart but may conflict with how advertisers had segmented remarketing campaigns in prior account structures.

You should still use performance max campaigns

With all these issues – why should you even bother with Performance Max?

  1. Reach – if you put your best foot (assets like video forward) Performance Max campaigns can get scale and conversions across hundreds of websites fast.
  2. Machine learning – by using Performance Max campaigns you benefit from feedback learning on your goals and its possible you get a lower CPA than any other campaign type.
  3. Time savings- it takes substantially less time to configure Performance Max campaigns than doing all the different ad types separately.

Tip 1: Bring down budgets for performance max campaigns

Calculate your monthly budget as Google suggests but then consider what you want to spend on advertising for the full quarter. Make sure that when you set your monthly budget low enough that you would be comfortable spending it for 30 days without seeing much revenue as you slowly accumulate data and optimize the campaign’s initial settings.

Tip 2: Maximize your assets for evergreen campaigns

Once you have a profitable Performance Max campaign, absolutely go spend money getting better assets made with particular focus on video. Do this before you try to scale the campaign to its “breaking point”.

Tip 3: Use other campaign types in your account

Machine learning like what Performance Max uses is fairly undirected, adding some traditional campaigns with tight audience targeting can go along way to helping your account get to a healthy place.