The Ultimate Guide to Google Performance Max Campaigns [2024]

  • 23 min read

Are you looking to increase your return on investment and drive more sales with your Google Ads campaigns? If so, you should consider using Performance Max campaigns, also known as Pmax campaigns. It’s Google’s machine learning (AI) and presence across all Google Network’s channels that make this campaign a unique and powerful tool to achieve better Google ads results.

In this ultimate guide, we will break down everything you need to know about Google Pmax campaigns, including what they are, how they work, and how to set them up and optimize them for maximum performance. We will also cover best practices and strategies for creating effective Performance Max campaigns. Whether you're new to Google Pmax campaigns or a seasoned pro, this guide will provide you with the knowledge and tools you need to take your Google Ads to the next level.

What are Performance Max campaigns? 

Performance Max campaigns from Google Ads are a campaign type that allows advertisers to maximize their reach and performance. What distinguishes it from the others is that it combines smart bidding and targeting features into one single goal-based campaign across the entire Google Network.

It uses machine learning to automatically distribute your PMax ads across various channels. They are presented in many different formats depending on what works best at a particular time and place.

The main goal of Performance Max is to help advertisers increase their presence and conversions across Google Network. The campaign type optimizes ad performance in real-time leveraging Google's powerful algorithms and using AI-driven automated bidding technology called Smart bidding

Where do Performance Max ads show?

Performance Max ads can reach the full range of Google’s advertising channels: 


Google Network’s channels | Google

How does Performance Max work and what can it do?

Wondering how a Performance Max Google ads campaign works? Here you can find out exactly what a Performance Max campaign can do for your business.

Performance Max optimizes your ads

Your task is to upload various assets that would fit each advertising channel, like images, videos, logos, and ad copy for your brand or products. Based on that, Performance Max (Google’s machine learning) dynamically and automatically creates ads using the assets that you provide. It tests which combinations work best for a certain campaign and can help you achieve your set goals. The more assets you provide, the wider range of ad formats the campaign can generate to appear in more locations within Google’s network.

Below you can see what a Performance Max ad looks like on Display, Search and Gmail. It differs a lot.


Performance Max allows you to advertise cross-channel

Google’s machine learning technology allows Performance Max to determine when and where to show your PMax ads across Google’s advertising Network. Google shows your Performance Max ads wherever your ideal audience tends to be most engaged. 

Performance Max automates bidding and budget strategy

Performance Max uses machine learning and automation to increase your conversions and get the most value out of your budget. Manual bidding is not an option with Performance Max. If you choose this campaign type, please be aware that you do not have control over your bids. However, you can optionally direct Google to the preferred bidding strategy and set the target CPA (or target ROAS) for your campaign.

You can choose the campaign’s focus

  • Conversion Value (where you can set the target ROAS) - if you have multiple goals with different conversion values.
  • Maximize Conversions (you can set target CPA) - if all your goals have the same value.

    Pro tip:

    If your account has a lot of past data, you can immediately focus on achieving target CPA or ROAS. However, if your account is new, begin with the "Maximize Conversions" setting to allow the system to collect data. Once you are consistently receiving conversions, you can set tCPA or tROAS to reach your desired outcomes.

Performance Max automatically identifies campaign issues

Performance Max provides you with a diagnostic insights tool. You get automatic alerts every time a potential issue occurs. It can be related to your account, billing or campaign status, some policy violations, ad strength, budget, and more. The tool also gives you recommendations to troubleshoot any kind of errors. 


Performance Max vs. Smart Shopping - what is the difference? 

Since the beginning of April 2022, all advertisers who previously ran Smart Shopping campaigns have been able to upgrade them to Performance Max with a single click in Google Ads. But already at the end of Q3 2022, all old Smart campaigns were automatically converted to Performance Max campaigns.

The Performance Max campaigns are based on advertisers’ existing Smart Shopping and Local campaigns. Therefore many of the settings are exactly the same. The foundational features of both these campaign types are also quite the same

What is different about the Performance Max Google ads campaign is that it is a combination of smart bidding and targeting features which makes it a single goal-driven campaign. Google PMax also gives your ads more visibility than Smart Shopping did. Apart from regular channels, it covers Google Maps and Google Discover as well.  

The Performance Max campaign structure is a bit different. There will be no ad groups, only asset groups.

Ad groups

Asset groups

Ad groups consist of keywords and ads.

Asset groups consist of a collection of “creatives” that are concentrated on a theme or related to target users. They are made up of images, videos, headlines, long headlines, and descriptions - all bundled into single group.

Listing groups will in turn replace product groups.

Product groups

Listing groups

Product groups are subsets of your campaign inventory that you define.

Listing groups consist of listings which include both products and collections (product groups, assets, retail data representing a category landing page on your site).

Listing groups are actually the lists of products from your pre-existing Smart Shopping campaigns.

Smart Shopping campaigns focus only on maximizing sales conversions. Setting up a Performance Max campaign you can select multiple conversion goals and give them different priorities (conversion values). 


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AI in Performance Max

AI has revolutionized digital marketing with its innovative solutions, and its impact is especially visible in the Google Performance Max campaigns. 

By harnessing the power of artificial intelligence, Perfformance Max optimizes ad performance across different Google properties, enabling you to reach your target audiences effectively and maximize conversions.

With AI at the core of Performance Max, you can benefit from real-time data analytics, automated bidding strategies and dynamic ad creative, leading to improved campaign performance and increased ROI.


PMax ai-generated assets | Google’s blog


The integration of generative AI in Performance Max allows you to swiftly generate and scale new assets, enabling you to experiment with fresh creative ideas. The introduction of generative AI facilitates the creation of new headlines, descriptions, and images, empowering you to diversify your campaigns effectively. Plus, image editing tools in Performance Max make it easier to explore different image variations, increasing impact and insight.

Google's focus on secure and transparent asset generation ensures that you retain full control over the assets created for your campaigns. 

Additionally, the incorporation of generative AI models like Gemini into Performance Max underlines Google's commitment to providing innovative tools to streamline asset creation processes and increase campaign efficiency across different Google channels.

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Who should run Performance Max campaigns?

The Performance Max campaign is not for everyone. It’s not the best choice if you don’t have any prior campaign history. This type of campaign is only effective if it has data to rely on. Only then the algorithm is able to adjust bids and target the right audience. 

Google also needs time to get to know your campaign and audience. You need to be ready to invest some money in your Performance Max Google Ads campaign if you want to see results.

The Performance Max campaign is for you if:

  • You want to reach new customer segments

In short, more channels = higher purchase rate. Performance Max ads appear across Google's network without you having to create additional campaign setups. It's easy to run it.

  • You want to get lots of data

When you run a Performance Max campaign, you can take advantage of advanced machine learning. This allows you to gather all types of data from the campaign, Performance Max audience signals, and performance metrics taken from your previous Google campaigns. Based on this data, the algorithm can determine the right bids and boost your conversions.

Check out our guide How to Optimize Ads for AI Search to learn more

  • You want to achieve more than one goal with your advertising

Performance Max is ideal for you if you have multiple advertising goals, such as lead generation, sales, and brand awareness. Instead of having 3 different campaigns, this new campaign type allows you to combine these goals into a single goal-based campaign.

  • You don’t want to put much effort into strategy

It can be a great option for smaller businesses and in-house advertisers, looking for an easy way to run an effective campaign.

performance_max_automation Source

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Pros & Cons of using Google Pmax

Performance Max can be a powerful tool for businesses looking to improve the performance of their PMax ads, but it also has its drawbacks. In this paragraph, we will discuss the pros and cons of using Pmax to help you decide if it is the right fit for your business.

Benefits of Performance Max

Easier to optimize your ad campaign

Performance Max ads can boost the online leads and conversions by adjusting budget and bids automatically across all Google's advertising platforms, this allows you to achieve your campaign goals at a faster rate than a standard Search or Shopping campaign. You only need to set your budget, goals and conversions to measure, and Google’s machine learning technology will take care of the rest.

Potential of increased reach

Although increased reach does not always mean better performance, PMax certainly offers greater potential. Your PMax ads will be shown across the entire Google’s Network.

Finding new audience segments

Performance Max enables access to new audience segments by utilizing the search engine's real-time understanding of consumer intent, preferences, and other behavioral characteristics across all its channels. This allows you to target your PMax ads to the right people at the right time, when they are searching for products or services similar to yours.

Time saved

Since Google basically runs the campaigns itself, the advertiser/marketer doesn't have much work to do.

Creative ads

With Performance Max creating different combinations of your assets each time, your Google Performance Max Ad campaigns will likely never be the same.

Great results possible

An italian agency WMR - Studio Cappello saw a 80% increase in revenue after implementing Performance Max into their eCommerce strategy and optimizing it using DataFeedWatch. Read the whole PMax case study

Currently, the cost remains stable following the Pmax optimization, while there is a growth in revenue.


Drawbacks of Performance Max

Little insight into what is going on within the campaign

Currently, there is limited visibility into how the budget is distributed among different channels or types of visitors (prospecting vs remarketing). Additionally, there is little understanding of where cannibalization is occurring (see next paragraph). These factors create an uncertain situation for advertisers, where they may achieve great results without understanding why, or experience a sudden decline in performance without any explanation.

Ad cannibalization

As Performance Max covers a broader range of ads, launching it can significantly affect the existing campaigns. Without proper monitoring, it can cannibalize some of your other campaigns and claim credit for their good results. It makes it difficult to measure the actual value that Performance Max brings.

Poor visibility on search terms and locations (as of today)

Performance Max provides more detailed information on which "search themes" are being triggered by the campaigns, compared to Smart Shopping. But the level of detail it offers is still limited when compared to the level of insights provided by Standard Shopping campaigns. However, at the end of October 2023, PMax introduced a new feature called Search Themes to fill this gap - let's see how it will help.

The same goes for locations. Performance Max gives you some information but according to most experienced advertisers, that’s not enough.


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How to set up your Google Performance Max campaign?

We've prepared a guide on how to go through the setup process for Performance Max campaigns if your primary goal is online sales. 

1. Prepare your Google Merchant Center feed

In terms of product feeds, Performance Max works in exactly the same way as Google Shopping. You need to submit your feed to the Google Merchant Center and link it to your Performance Max campaign. The system will use all the product data in your feed to create Performance Max ads.

Your data feed can have the largest impact on the performance of your Performance Max campaign. Therefore, optimizing shopping listings should be your first priority. Include as many attributes in your feed as possible: Titles, Brand, Price, Images, MPN/ SKU, Product_Category, Product_type, Custom Labels, and more.


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2. Choose your advertising objective

  • Sign in to your account in Google Ads.
  • In the menu on the left, click on Campaigns.
  • Create a New Campaign by clicking the blue PLUS button
  • Choose an advertising goal (or multiple goals) for your campaign.


3. Choose your conversion goals

Your conversion goals will be pre-populated based on your default settings.

  • Confirm your goals or delete the ones you don't want or add new goals.


Choosing conversion goals | Google Ads

  • Select Performance Max as your campaign type.


Choosing campaign type | Google Ads

  • Select your Merchant Center account.
  • Select the country/feed label where you sell your products.
  • Name your campaign and click Continue.

4. Set up your budget and bidding strategy

Now you are in the “Budget and bidding” section of the Performance Max campaign’s setup. 

  • Enter the average amount you are willing to spend for an individual campaign each day.
  • Choose your preferred bidding strategy: Maximize Conversions (set up your target CPA) or Maximize Conversion Value (set up your target ROAS). More about it here
  • Click Next


Setting up budget | Google Ads

Based on your chosen performance goals, Performance Max will help to adjust bids for every auction, optimize creatives, and target the right audience.

Different bids on new customers

Following that, you can choose to bid in a different way for acquiring new customers.

By default, the setting is configured to bid more for new customer acquisition. This implies that the campaign will continue to target all potential customers but will give preference to acquiring new customers by bidding higher.

To utilize the new customer acquisition approach, you need to:

  • Ensure the bidding strategy type is set to "Maximize Conversion Value."
  • Have an audience segment consisting of a minimum of 1,000 active members to assist in recognizing existing customers.


Setting up customer acquisition bids | Google Ads

5. Set up location and languages

You set up locations and languages you want to target on the “Campaign Settings” page. 

  • Select your preferred location under Locations.


Setting up locations | Google Ads

  • Click on Enter another location, enter the name of the location you want to target. Select Target or Exclude locations

You can also target specific places within a specific location. To do it select Nearby and again select Target or Exclude.

  • Under Languages, select the language you want your Performance Max ads to appear in. You can choose different languages for different sets of customers.

Ad scheduling

You have the option to check your calendar view to identify particular times or days when your Performance Max campaign is generating a low return on ad spend.

After identifying a consistent pattern, you can adjust the ad schedule to display ads only during profitable periods. This method can assist in effectively managing your ad budget.


Scheduling PMax ads | Google Ads

6. Consider switching OFF automatically created assets

Now it’s a turn for Automatically created assets. Normally, this box is ticked for text assets and final URL, and it's important to consider whether it should remain that way.

If you keep these options selected, you are giving Google permission to generate new text assets for PMax ads using information from your website, domain, and other ads.

It also allows Google to adjust the final URL to direct visitors to what it considers the best landing page, even if you had a different choice.

If unsure, it's advisable to switch off these settings to maintain more control over your campaign.


Setting up automatically created assets | Google Ads

You can also add URL exclusions to prevent certain pages on your website from displaying in ads.

7. Choose your assets 

If you use a product feed, uploading creatives is OPTIONAL. Performance Max can automatically generate assets on your behalf, although you can start a campaign without uploading any assets to the asset group. In that case, you will launch a PMax campaign based on the feed only

According to Google's news (August 2023), however, there will be changes to feed-only campaigns, as Google plans to start automatically generating PMax ads on platforms such as YouTube and even Display, based on images placed in the product feed. And this is likely to happen whether you want it to or not. This could potentially mean the end of feed-only based PMax Google campaigns possible scenarios here).

Coming back to choosing assets, creating listing groups is required. By default, a listing group includes all products submitted to your Merchant Center account.

An asset group is made of images, logos, videos, headlines, descriptions, audience signals you provide. You can use the ad preview to see possible creative asset combinations.


Adding assets to Performance Max | Google Ads

  • Enter the name for your asset group on the “Asset group” page.
  • Confirm Listing groups for your campaign. They allow you to select which items will appear in your Performance Max campaigns's ads. 

You can select all products from your Google Merchant Center, which is the default setting, or you can use only selected products. If you choose the second option:

  • Next to All products, click the pencil icon.
  • Select Use a selection of products in your ads.

You can filter products by Category, Brand, Product type, Item ID, Condition, Channel or Custom labels from the dropdown menu. You can also add selected products manually.

  • The product you’ve selected will appear in the column to the right. At this point, you will be able to remove some products by clicking X next to the product group.
  • Click Save.

You can find more information about building your asset group on this Google’s helppage

8. Review the setup of your new Performance Max campaign

In the end, you will be able to see a review summary with the details of your new Performance Max campaign.

  • Select Publish campaign

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Useful PMax Google features

Ad extensions

Ad extensions expand your PMax ads and make them more engaging. They add more useful and interesting information about your products below your ad. Examples of ad extensions include locations, additional links, prices, a phone number to call you, and more. To explain some of them:

Sitelinks: links to specific pages on a website

Location extensions: show users the location of a business

Call extensions: Displays your phone number or a call button next to your ad


Adding ad extensions | Google Ads

How to set them up?

  • Go to the “Extensions” page in Performance Max. There you will see a recommendation of ad extensions related to your chosen goals. Here, you can read more about specific extensions.

In Performance Max campaigns, ad extensions are associated with specific goals. Therefore, they will appear more prominently based on the campaign's goals.

Using ad extensions can help increase the visibility and engagement of an ad, and can also improve the quality score of an ad. This can lead to a higher ad rank, which can result in higher ad placement and lower cost per click.

Performance Max audience signals

Audience signals are a perfect feature to use if you have insights on which audiences are most likely to convert for the particular asset group in your Performance Max campaign. They help you steer the automation more quickly towards the right customers.

In practice, Performance Max audience signals are audience suggestions that you communicate to Google. You directly indicate the audiences that are the most suitable for your business, and have the highest conversion probability.

Adding audience signals is fully optional but highly recommended as they are a great way to guide the machine-learning models on the ideal way to run your automated campaign.

With audience signals, you can target audiences based on their demographics, interests, browsing history, and search history. The following audience segments are compatible with Performance Max:

  • Fully custom segments 
  • Your data from Remarketing or Customer Match lists)
  • Google Audiences e.g. based on Interests (Affinity & In-Market segments)
  • Demographics
  • Additional audience segments


Creating an audience signal | Google Ads


Adding a specific audience signal to your asset group doesn’t mean that it will be the only targeting criterion. Your Performance Max campaign will target users beyond the selected signals if it believes that will help you achieve your campaign's objectives.

Also, if you don’t have any insights regarding the right audience, don’t worry. Performance Max will use machine learning to find the right audience segments for your business.

Performance Max reporting: Insights tab

Yes, we all know that the reporting capabilities of Performance Max campaigns leave a lot to be desired. But it doesn’t mean that all available reports are useless. 

You should check out the Insights tab where you can find relevant information about your campaign. Of course, you should only start paying attention after your campaign has been running for a few days (or weeks). Then the best performing "Search categories" and "Audience segments" will start to show up. 

Search category - a group of similar search terms. This report will give two important pieces of information:

  • Whether your Google PMax is focusing on brand or non-brand searches
  • Whether your PMax is finding new searches or targeting the very same searches you already have in your search campaigns.

Audience segments - this report gives you information about which Google audience your leads (converted customers) belong to. Thanks to this data, you know which specific audience segments are driving your conversions and whether the specific part of your PMax campaigns (e.g. videos) is reaching the right audience.


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Performance Max optimization areas

Performance Max is an automated campaign and it does most of the work for you. Still, you can help the system get the most out of your campaign setups, product data, and assets you deliver by optimizing all of these areas. This way, you can ensure great results from your PMax campaign.

Feed optimization

Although a Performance Max campaign does all the shopping ad optimization itself and doesn't give you much control, you still have a lot of say in what you put in your data feed and how you optimize it. 

So, as with Standard Shopping campaigns, optimizing a product feed is a very important step when launching a Performance Max campaign.

Feed optimization means including key attributes in the feed and considering adding additional attributes that will improve it even more. It also involves fine-tuning certain attributes such as titles or product types.

Various feed management tactics are available:

  • Using recommended title structures

Google considers the first keywords in the product title as the most crucial when determining which ads are best matched to the search query. The order of the words is also important. Some recommended title structures exist as templates for use.

  • Extracting data from other fields

If the values for some important feed attributes are blank, you can extract the missing information from other fields and then fill in the gaps. All this can be done with a simple rule.

  • A/B testing

You can run ads for the same product for a certain time, but with different titles. This way you will see which version performs better and improve the results of your campaigns in the future.

  • Creating custom labels

With custom labels, you can segment your products within your PMax campaign based on criteria that you specify. This will allow you to control your ad spend better. 

  • And more…

You can optimize your data feed without interfering with your input file if you integrate with use a Google Shopping feed solution. By creating feed rules, you can quickly manipulate your product data and achieve your optimization goals. You can also ensure that your ads always contain up-to-date information.


Recommended further reading:

What is a product feed and why is it important in eCommerce?

3 Methods of Uploading a Product Feed to Google Merchant Center

8 Must-Try Google Shopping Feed Optimization Tips: Expert Level

Account structure

Optimizing your Performance Max campaign can be a challenge if you want to run more than one campaign at the same time. But it's often worth the effort. 

Having specific campaigns for specific products or product categories gives you more control. It allows you to allocate dedicated budgets and targets for specific product segments.

However, Performance Max is still an automated campaign and you need to find a balance between control and data consolidation within the campaign. As a general guideline, the fewer conversions you have, the fewer campaigns you should have. Google recommends a minimum of 20-30 conversions per PMax campaign per month.

Campaign structure

The structure of your PMax campaign important. Performance Max allows you to create multiple asset groups (up to 100) per campaign, which is what differentiates this campaign type from Smart Shopping. Building out multiple asset groups is a great way to optimize your Performance Max campaign.


Creating multiple asset groups for Google PMax | Google Ads

Assets groups are similar to Ad groups. You can run a single Performance Max campaign, but create many Assets groups to target different segments of your product catalog - a different category, or a different audience.

Each asset group can be customized with different images, videos, Final URL, text, and different products.

A good tip from Google itself is to minimize overlap between listing groups. Therefore, it is recommended that each of your asset groups is targeted at different products. Your items can be divided alphabetically or according to your strategy and needs.


Creating an asset group for gloves only | Google Ads


You can also optimize individual assets that sit inside an asset group. In Performance Max, you get access to the Asset detail report, where you can see the performance results of each asset (in the Performance column).

In fact, all of your assets: including text, images, and more will be reviewed and given a performance score. Performance Max wants you to get rid of low-performing assets and have more than a few “Best” assets for each asset type.

Low: asset low performing compared to all other assets of the same type across properties.

Good: asset performs on a good level

Best: one of the best-performing assets compared to other assets

Pending: not enough data to review (you need more than 5000 impressions per asset)


Asset review - Performance Max | Google Ads


You should not confuse specific asset type performance with “Ad Strength”. Google gives the specific Ad Strength score based on the amount and variety of assets that you’ve provided in your asset group. Bad ad strength doesn’t necessarily mean poor results.


You can add videos to your asset groups but you don’t have to. However, if you don’t do it, Google will automatically generate videos for you. 

The quality of these auto-generated videos might be doubtful and the bad thing in Performance Max is that you cannot stop them to show unless you add a YouTube video that can be displayed instead.

If you don’t trust Google in creating a video that shows your products and brand well, you should try to create your own video content. A good solution might be Google’s free tool called Director Mix or Canva to animate your image assets into a simple video.

Negative keywords

Performance Max gives you quite a big insight into which search queries are triggering your campaigns. You can check them under Insights -> Top search themes. By clicking on the chosen theme, you can see the actual keywords.

Unfortunately, these search terms are a pretty random selection as you don't know what they exactly are (all of the search terms? Most popular ones?) and there are not a lot of them in general. Standard Shopping or Search Ads provides you with much more specific data on that front.

If you manage to identify poor search terms in the report, you cannot actually add them as negative keywords to your campaign. BUT you can add them through Google support the same way you did it with Smart campaigns

As of today, you can add negative keywords to your Google PMax campaign by contacting Google support. Google is currently working on a way to allow advertisers to manually add negative keywords at the account level (not the campaign level)m so stay tuned! Here you can find a step-by-step description of how to add negative keywords to your PMax campaigns.


Adding negative keywords at account level (available for PMax soon)  | Google Ads

Advanced URL Options - Final URL Expansion ON/OFF

Final URL Expansion is another feature that can boost your Performance Max campaign. You can take advantage of it and replace your Final URL with URLs of more relevant landing pages. This can be useful once you've done the research and you know what your users' search query and intent is. You can customize your dynamic ad headline to match the content on your landing page.

If you run a Performance Max campaign with a data feed attached in the Merchant Center, your PMax ads can send users to the final URL (URL specified in the campaign) or to the landing page for the product included in the data feed submitted in Google Merchant Center .

You’ve got 2 main options when deciding on Final URL Expansion:

Send traffic to the most relevant URLs on your site

If you select this option, your Performance Max will maximize its reach and the system will automatically direct traffic to the most relevant pages on your website based on the keywords, ad groups, and campaigns that are generating the traffic.

The ads will possibly be served to additional URLs on the provided Final URL domain and to product URLs included in listing groups (GMC feed) in the Google Merchant Center.

When choosing this option you can exclude some URLs you don’t want to send traffic to. This could include e.g. non-commercial pages on the site like about us, FAQ, shipping details, etc. You should do it for every URL that you don’t want to be the main URLs of your ads.

Only send traffic to the URLs you’ve provided

If you don’t want Google to automatically send traffic to other landing pages on the provided Final URL domain, you can turn off the final URL extension feature.

Then the system will only direct traffic to the specific URLs that you have specified in your ad campaigns. This also means that it will never redirect traffic to other pages on your website, even if they may be more relevant to the user.

Your Performance Max ads will be served only to the Final URL that you’ve provided in the campaign and of course to product URLs included in listing groups (GMC feed) in the Google Merchant Center.

More about Final URL expansion.

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Performance Max specialized advertising strategies

Google Ads offers also two specialized advertising strategies for PMax to help businesses in the retail and hospitality industries maximize their online presence and drive relevant traffic to physical locations or hotel bookings, respectively.

Performance Max for store goals

Performance Max campaigns for store goals are designed to help businesses share important details with potential customers about when and how to visit their stores. 

  • To set up a Performance Max campaign for store objectives, you must specify the store locations you wish to highlight. This can be done by either connecting your Business Profile or choosing affiliate locations.

These campaigns allow you to easily promote stores on Google Search, Maps, YouTube, Gmail, and the Display Network. By providing some basic information like budget and creative assets, Performance Max takes care of the rest to help customers discover your stores. With these campaigns, Google's AI helps optimize where and when your ads appear to attract more foot traffic and sales at your physical locations.

Performance Max campaigns for store goals leverage advanced features like radius targeting based on factors such as location preferences and market dynamics to precisely target audiences and maximize campaign impact. 


Performance Max for Store Goals | Google Search

Performance Max for travel goals

Performance Max for travel goals is another Google’s smart tool that helps hotels advertise better on Google. It uses AI to make it easy for hotels to show their ads on Google Search, Display, and across Google’s full range of advertising channels. 

This tool simplifies how ads are made and helps hotels reach more people who are looking to book a room. With Performance Max for travel goals, hotels can create different kinds of ads and reach a larger audience online.

  • To start a Performance Max campaign for travel goals, you should first connect your Google Ads account to Hotel Center or set up a feed with hotel properties in Google Ads.


PMax for travel goals | Google Ads

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Google Performance Max ad specs

For every Performance Max campaign you need to have a minimum set of assets and you can achieve it by either submitting completely new assets or using the existing ones from other campaigns. 

However, if you want to focus only on Google Shopping and you submit an optimized data feed to Google Merchant Center, the system automatically generates the minimum number of assets needed. This is a good solution, but you can improve your retail Performance Max campaign even more by uploading additional assets.

Assets dedicated to a Performance Max campaign must meet certain requirements, such as following the PMax specs for images and text as well as Performance Max video specs. Read about that and more below.



Performance max asset specs

Text specs

When it comes to headline, you need to submit between 3 and 5 of them, preferably 15-30 characters long. Additionally, you must prepare at least one (up to 5)  long_headline of maximum 90 characters. Between 2 and 5 descriptions (max. 90 characters) and one business_name (max. 25 characters) are also required.

Image specs

The image resolution for marketing_image must be at least 600 x 314 but 1200 x 628 is recommended. It should be Landscape (1.91:1) with an aspect ratio of 1.91:1. You can submit from 1 up to 20 of them. It is also required to add at least one square_marketing_image (up to 20 of them) with a recommended resolution 1200 x 1200, but at minimum 300 x 300. At least one logo with an aspect ratio of 1:1 and a recommended resolution of 1200 x 1200 (min. 128 x 128) is also mandatory but you can add up to 5 of them.

Optional images:

Portrait_marketing_image:Up to 20 of them, recommended resolution: 960 x 1200; min. 480 x 600, Aspect Ratio: 4:5

Landskape_logo: Up to 5, recommended resolution: 1200 x 300; min. 512 x 128, Aspect Ratio: 4:1

Video specs: Youtube_video

It’s optional but you can add up to 5 of them. It should be vertical, horizontal or square. The length of the Youtube video should be equal or longer than 10 seconds.


It’s also optional but if you want you can add one of them. You can select it from the available list or it can be automated by default.


It must not exceed 15 KB

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Performance Max campaigns best practices: What TO DO and what TO AVOID  

As with all campaigns, there are some best practices you should follow if you want to get the most out of your Performance Max campaign.

Take care of accurate conversion tracking

Performance Max is about automated bidding and targeting, and a very important thing is systematic tracking of your results. 

No matter what kind of Google campaign you run, keeping a constant eye on conversions should be a principle, but when it comes to Performance Max, it's really crucial. The system does most of the work for you, and you don't have full control over the quality of your leads.

With Performance Max, you should consider taking advantage of tools like CRM systems, enhanced conversions or offline conversion tracking.

Automation is the future of eCommerce and PPC, and there's no going back to the old way of working with online marketing. You need to face your tracking challenges and address them. Conversion tracking of your Performance Max campaign needs to work accurately and seamlessly and needs to cover the full-funnel.

Use your campaign for conversion objectives only

When it comes to bidding, Performance Max allows you to choose only between two campaign’s focuses: Conversion or Conversion Value. If you reach for the “Awareness” goal, it’s unfortunately not possible as of today.

But if you’re still interested in a mid-funnel or upper-funnel objective for Performance Max, there is a smart workaround. To make it happen, set conversion actions at the campaign level.


Setting tracking conversions - Page Views | Google Ads


You can create a “Page View” conversion action at the campaign level and configure your Performance Max campaign to only optimize for Page Views.

Don’t use images from Merchant Center feed as image assets

If you want to run a Performance Max retail campaign, you need to upload your data feed to the Google Merchant Center. Then Google PMax will use all the information you’ve provided in your feed to create ads. This includes prices, titles, availability, images and more.

In this case, it’s not recommended to add your product images as separate assets in your Performance Max asset group. Since you already have these in your product feed, they would be duplicates.

But you can still add some additional images, e.g. lifestyle images as new image assets as long as they meet Google's requirements. Some additional good tips regarding good images are: avoiding overlaid text, creating images in a real-life context, highlighting one central point of the image (which takes up to 40% of the photo), including real humans in the images. 

Create a Performance Max segment in Google Analytics to get access to more reports

As of today, some important reports that are available in Google Ads in general are still not available in Performance Max. You have no direct access to landing page reports or accurate geographic reports.

Read about available PMax reports and workarounds to track your results.

If you wish to be able to follow some extra reports than Performance Max offers, you can use Google Analytics for it. In GA, you just create a segment of users for whom the specific campaign contains Performance Max. This way you get access to some more advanced insights into users’ behavior.

Example of usage:

You can create a segment on the Landing Page Report for Performance Max to find out where the campaign is actually driving them and get an answer on whether you should keep URL expansion ON.


Creating a custom segment | Google Analytics

Be careful with location settings

There are two location targeting options to choose from when setting up your Performance Max campaign: “Presence or Interest” or “Presence” only.


Setting up locations | Google Ads

By default, Google selects “Presence or interest”, which means your ads may be shown to people outside of the locations you set. You’ll target people in the location as well as people who have interests in your targeted locations. In many cases that’s not beneficial, so remember that if you don't want this to happen, you need to select “Presence” only.

If it’s too late and your campaign is targeting people based on “Presence or interest”, you can use Google Analytics to create a segment for Performance Max users and find out which locations are bringing you traffic.

Always exclude your own branded terms

You never want to be shown your own branded terms in the Performance Max campaign. This is because a campaign for your branded terms requires a different ROAS.

Performance Max will always focus on the search terms and other bid signals that perform best. And that will be your branded terms! In reality, it gives you no marketing value. You get no new customers out of it. 

You need to bid on your branded terms in some other campaigns because your competitors will take over, but doing so in Performance Max would be a mistake.

Unfortunately, as mentioned earlier in this guide, you cannot exclude any terms (including branded terms) manually in Performance Max. You'll need to contact Google representatives so they can set up exclusions for you. 

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Pmax campaigns, short for Performance Maximization campaigns, are a specialized type of campaign that focuses on driving conversions while minimizing costs. In this article, we explore the world of Google Pmax campaigns and provide a comprehensive guide to how this campaign type works, who it is for, and how to optimize it for maximum performance. 2024 is the year of Performance Max, and every online advertiser should try to explore it. 



  • Performance Max is a type of Google advertising campaign that uses AI technology and focuses on increasing conversions across various Google advertising channels such as Search, Display, Discover, Maps, Gmail, and YouTube.

    It enables retailers to expand their reach across different ad formats by using Smart Bidding, an AI-driven automated bidding system that optimizes ad performance in real-time across all channels. This campaign type aims to deliver more conversions through the real-time optimization of ad performance.

  • Google Performance Max can be an effective tool for businesses looking to improve the performance of their ads. However, the effectiveness of the platform can vary depending on the specific goals and needs of the business and the quality of the data provided to train the models. It's always recommended to test and measure the results for your own campaigns and compare it with other platforms before making a decision.

  • Performance Max campaigns use machine learning to optimize performance, which is done by training the models on data provided through audience signals and campaign performance. This process may take 1-2 weeks to complete.

  • According to Google, online retailers saw an average 12% increase in conversion value while maintaining the same or better return on ad spend (ROAS) when switching from Smart Shopping to Performance Max campaigns. 

    Performance Max Campaigns offer the advantage of combining various ad formats for increased reach with minimal effort. However, it also has the disadvantage of limiting control and transparency, even more so than what is already present in Smart Shopping campaigns.

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