What Are The New Performance Max Updates

Since the arrival of Performance Max back in November 2021, which replaced Smart Shopping campaigns and relies more on Google’s Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, advertisers have lost levels of transparency into performance data. Sceptical or not, Performance Max campaigns were a huge update in the PPC calendar.

Recently Google announced brand new updates and features for Performance Max campaigns, enabling users to improve campaign performance with (slightly) more data granularity and transparency.

So, what is on the horizon for Performance Max in 2023? Here are the highlights:


  • The introduction of asset-level reporting
  • New video creation tools, available at a campaign level
  • Ability to add campaign level negatives, to strip out brand traffic from search and shopping
  • The introduction of Page Feeds
  • Performance Max Experiments, including Standard Shopping Campaigns vs. Performance Max split testing


1. Asset Group Reporting

We are finally seeing the digital marketing giant giving us, the advertiser, more transparency on Performance Max data – about time! The new announcement will enable users to view metrics like conversions, costs, conversion value etc. at asset group level.

This has been a missing piece in the campaign type since its introduction, where you were only able to access this information at a campaign level. If you utilise more than 1 asset group within your campaign set-up, there was no means of separating performance data for each. The core takeaway from this update will be the ability to analyse and better test different asset group setups, enabling clearer analysis, in turn meaning better-informed optimisation decisions and creative insight.


2. Video Creation Tools 

Many brands place a great emphasis on video content for ads, which for many digital marketers and brands alike, is not always accessible due to resource or time constraints. The recent development from Google will help to combat this issue, whilst (hopefully) eradicating poorly structured YouTube videos.

This update has been integrated directly within Performance Max campaign setup and will make video assets much more widely available to the masses. The core benefit here is efficiency.


3. Campaign Level Negatives

Another update that many advertisers will wonder, is why wasn’t it implemented within Performance Max from the start. In the coming months, Google will add the ability to add brand exclusions at campaign level without contacting a Google Representative. This could include your own brand keywords or a list of keywords that have underperformed historically. A useful development that will help strip out branded traffic from Search and Shopping ads within Performance Max campaigns.


4. Page Feeds

Rolling out the ability to allow advertisers to direct traffic to specific website landing page URLs, also enabling the grouping of URLs by ‘theme’ via labels making them more accessible for particular campaigns and asset groups.

This feature, in combination with URL expansion, relies on Google’s AI capabilities to structure targeting and optimisation based on the landing page information, reaching audiences from keywords that weren’t necessarily planned or anticipated.

This sounds somewhat familiar... an early indication Dynamic Search Ads may be phased out and replaced?


4. Performance Max Experiments

Google has also recently released the ability to run experiments within Performance Max campaigns, meaning you can now run tests between asset groups and campaigns. It has also been announced that testing Performance Max against Standard Shopping via the Experiments function will no longer cannibalise the performance of Standard Shopping. An interesting announcement considering Performance Max is still relatively new and largely replaced Smart Shopping.


Final Thoughts

For those who use Performance Max, these are some substantial updates. But we ask ourselves why is Google rolling out these changes now? Is it because there is lower adoption of Pmax than Google anticipated? Is it in line with user response that we need more transparency into the data generated via the campaign type?

Google has stated that Performance Max campaigns resulted in an 18% performance improvement, however, there was never a way to distinguish if that was including brand traffic, likelihood is it probably was.

Despite these updates, we still do not have transparency into where Google is spending our / our client's budgets. But, it is important to note that these updates are actionable! More data means better informed performance insights, in turn informing optimisation and strategic decisions.

Interested to hear how our team can help you navigate these Pmax updates, get in touch to speak to our team directly.

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