Google Ads Performance Max – what it is and best practices

Article overview

Performance Max is a Google Ads campaign that has been available since November 2021, created with the goal of maximizing results. Performance Max combines the most advanced automation technologies in terms of bidding, targeting, and creative. Starting in September 2022, Performance Max will replace Smart Shopping and Local campaigns, and starting in April, a manual transition can be made. 

Do not increase the minimum bid on long term

Both Performance Max and Smart Shopping are fully automated campaigns, with limited reporting, but the new Google Ads campaign comes with improvements that promise to maximize results.

Regarding the bidding strategy, the Performance Max campaign offers the Max Conversions option (with optional CPA). Additionally, with the help of Audience Signals, the Performance Max campaign can reach new audience segments.

Performance Max allows for promotion across the entire Google inventory, unlike Smart Shopping:

Smart Shopping Network Search, Search Partners, the Display Network, YouTube, and Gmail.

Performance Max Network: Dynamic Search Ads, Discovery Ads , YouTube Instream, Maps (with Store Visit Bidding) and new ad formats: Text Ads, Youtube Ads In-Stream Ads, Map Pins

The configuration of the Performance Max campaign

To start the Performance Max campaign, you need to set up Google Ads Conversion Tracking and have a minimum budget of $10k per month and a minimum of 6 weeks for it to run (according to Google).

It is necessary to set up the following:

  • The conversion objective;
  • Assets Groups - text, images, video; 
  • Product Feed from Google Merchant Center; 
  • Audience Signals – Remarketing lists, Google audiences, including custom audiences; 
  • Geographic targeting;
  • The budget.

Objectives in the Performance Max Campaign

Performance Max offers the possibility to optimize for one or multiple objectives for a single campaign. Different conversion values can be assigned for each objective so that the system delivers results based on the highest ROAS. 

Additionally, Performance Max offers priority to the objectives set based on preference, in order to bring maximum performance for those objectives, with a higher chance of reaching the right audience and the ideal buyer type.

Advanced URL options

An important option is URL Expansion, which gives the system the ability to select the most efficient pages from the site. We recommend that this option not be disabled, with the caveat that irrelevant links can be excluded.


The opportunities for reporting and further optimization are still limited, with possibilities for improvement, as stated by Google.

Moreover, recently Placements Reports were launched, which show where the ads appeared and how many impressions they had. Unfortunately, we do not have data for clicks. 

Best practices for marketing objectives

  • Test Performance Max together with the other existing campaigns in the account. 

As this type of campaign is still in beta, it is recommended to use it as a complementary campaign, so as not to lose certain tools and benefits such as keywords in Search. 

  • Set appropriate objectives

Select the most important types of conversion in the funnel, as the Performance Max campaign algorithm is designed to bring qualitative conversions at the given ROI.

  • Evaluate the Performance Max campaign after a minimum of 4 weeks.

Before evaluating the results and making changes, allow the campaign to run for at least 4-6 weeks.

Asset Groups - Best Practices

  • Prepare creatives based on the placement.
  • Focus on the benefits and avoid using a generic language.

Highlight product and offer information in the headline and description. Do not repeat phrases in the headline and description.

  • Optimize the ad group

Test different messages and audiences. After 2-3 weeks, we can identify and replace the elements that have performed poorly with the help of the 'Performance' report. Keep an eye on the Ad Strength indicator.

Audience Signals Best Practices

The most important audiences to add are Remarketing, Custom Audience, Customer Match, and Similar Audiences.

Measurement Best Practices

  • Choose one or more important business objectives such as online sales, leads, or offline sales.
  • Google recommends using Max Conv. Value with tROAS when there are at least 15 conversions in the last 30 days.
  • Use value rules to differentiate conversions based on audience, location, and device. Activate Enhanced Conversions for more accurate measurement of conversions.
  • You can combine Audience Signals with Value Rules to differentiate conversions based on audience, location, and device.

Automation Best Practices 

  •  Avoid setting a very small daily budget;
  •  tROAS campaigns should not be constrained by budget;
  •  Set the tROAS target based on the average of at least the last 30 days;
  •  Activate URL expansion. Dynamic headlines will be generated based on users' searches. It is recommended to use descriptions in ad groups that match these headlines.

Lead Generation Best Practices 

  • Use existing leads to create similar audiences;
  •  Lead Form Ads: Keep the questions that are strictly necessary;
  •  If all leads have the same value, use conversion-based bidding, which will maximize the volume of leads: Maximize Conversions or Maximize Conversions with Target;
  •  If leads have different values, use bidding based on the conversion value, which will maximize the value of leads: Maximize conversion value or Max Conversions Value with target (tROAS).

Online Sales (non-feed) Best Practices 

  • Emphasize visual materials: be present on visual channels to attract sales and new potential buyers;
  •  For time-based promotions, prepare and start the campaign 2-3 weeks in advance, start with generic creatives and gradually change them to specific creatives, with a focus on sales; 
  •  Run Performance Max concurrently with Search campaigns.

Offline Sales Best Practices

  • Have at least 10 business locations; 
  •  Use a variety of creatives; 
  •  Tailor messages based on location;
  •  Promote in-store offers;
  •  Focus on attractive products;
  •  Include CTA in videos: Visit the nearest location; 
  •  Required in Google My Business: hours, ratings, and high-quality images.

We hope these tactics will help you achieve the best results with your Performance Max campaign. Don't hesitate to contact us if you need help in drawing a strategy for your online shop and in increasing sales through pay-per-click channels.

About Optimized

At Optimized we are specialized in e-commerce PPC campaigns (Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, Pinterest Ads, YouTube Ads). Our portfolio includes online stores and our approach is based on clear performance objectives (CPA, ROAS, ROI). Our team consists of PPC specialists and certified Google trainers, as well as people with hands-on experience in e-commerce.