Performance Max Tips, FAQs, and How-Tos


There are no longer any unbreakable laws with Performance Max.

However, there are a few recommended practices that you should be aware of.

Fun fact: Performance Max is currently receiving a terrible reputation and global thought leaders criticize it.

In this blog, we shall help you answer FAQs related to Performance Max campaigns, the best practices to follow and solutions to the common HOW TOs with respect to this Google campaign type.

Best Practices

Run Dynamic Remarketing Campaigns

Performance Max on its own won’t have the remarketing reach Smart Shopping had—or even traditional display remarketing for that matter.

So, we recommend running dynamic remarketing campaigns with the feed enabled at 20-25% of the remarketing budget.

Let Google Use Data from Other Campaigns to Feed Your Performance Max Campaign(s)

One of the things advertisers dislike about Performance Max is that it steals from other campaigns (this has even been referred to as cannibalization).

This is not necessarily a bad thing.

However, because some advertisers are concerned about Performance Max stealing traffic from a well-functioning campaign, Google is also introducing New Customer Acquisition, which allows you to instruct Performance Max to only go after new customers.

You Still Need to Bid on Your Brand with Performance Max

One of the most important campaigns we run for all of our clients is brand campaigns. It's also an excellent campaign for generating high-quality leads in competitive markets.

We've heard all of the standard arguments. "I'm going to get those people anyway—they're my existing customers—why should I pay for them?" is a common response.

Bidding on your brand while running Performance Max campaigns, on the other hand, can help increase brand awareness and new customer revenue.

Here's an example:

If you have a maxed-out brand campaign and a maxed-out Performance Max campaign, there is proof that the click on Performance Max came from your brand.

In other words, by showing ads everywhere within the Google Ecosystem, Performance Max is essentially "warming up" the traffic.

Performance Max is Best Run Alongside Other Campaigns

Consider trying to fill a jar with both small pebbles and large rocks at the same time.

If you place the smaller pebbles first, there will be no room for the larger rocks.

However, if you fill it with large rocks first, the smaller rocks can fill in the gaps and maximise the use of the jar's space.

Your Search campaigns are the big rocks—the most important and foundational components of your advertisements.

Your Performance Max are the pebbles that contribute to the overall value of your campaigns.

In other words, Performance Max fills in all the gaps left by other customer acquisition campaigns. As a result, it is advised to run Performance Max alongside search and other campaigns.

Don’t Use Google Analytics Conversions

Google Ads and Google Analytics handle the same data very differently. 

One of the reasons we don’t recommend using Google Analytics’ conversions is because its method of storing data can often cause about a 15-25% decrease in conversion value compared to Google Ads.

In other words, Google Analytics drops data. 

Focus On Your Creatives

Performance Max favours creatives (i.e. images and copy) over Google. When it comes to ad copy, Google has always been more sterile and direct than Facebook. As a result, effective Google Ads copy is typically made up of "benefits, keywords, and USP" rather than creative media and storytelling.

While this is still true in general, Performance Max will favour massive media creation.

This means that people who frequently create more media and assets will fare better with Performance Max.

Don't be concerned if you're not comfortable creating content. You are not required to create insane Hollywood-level content. Simply distribute a large number of creatives (images and videos) and let Performance Max choose the best.

Follow the Minimum Asset Requirements

To get the most out of Performance Max, you need to give Google as many assets as possible.

Here’s the complete list.

According to Google, video assets are optional. If you don't have any videos, Google will create them for you based on the text/images you provide.

It's better to not let them.

Nine times out of ten, any content you create will be superior to Google's.

And here’s a quick overview of size requirements for images:

(The maximum file size for any image is 5120 KB)

Landscape image (1.91:1)

Recommended size: 1200 x 628

Minimum size: 600 x 314

Square image (1:1)

Recommended size: 1200 x 1200

Minimum size: 300 x 300

Portrait image (4:5)

Recommended size: 960 x 1200

Minimum size: 480 x 600

Upload Your Lists to Performance Max

Whether it’s first-party data, remarketing lists, or customer audience lists, make sure you upload them into Performance Max.


Is there a "best practise" for segmenting Asset Groups? (Keywords, Market, and Affinity)

Nope! It all depends on your company and the campaign at hand. Performance Max has effectively eliminated "golden rule" strategies.

Does your campaign re-enter the learning phase when you add a new asset group?

Nope! The campaign as a whole does not reenter the learning phase; rather, your new asset group does (welcome, friend!).

Why would you create another asset group for an audience that has already been targeted by another asset group?

Each asset class will always have a unique audience signal.

This is to test multiple audiences at the same time to see which ones work and which ones don't.

As the campaign learns, we can turn off non-performing asset groups and use that knowledge to build only high-performing asset groups.

Would you divide product categories into separate Performance Max campaigns?

Yes, depending on factors such as budget, goals, and content.

Is there a way to see which asset group is performing better if Shopping is not being used?

No, but if necessary, separate campaigns for lead generation can be created.

Performance Max How To's

How to Set Up a Performance Max Campaign for eCommerce

Step 1 - Inside your Google Ads Campaigns dashboard, click “+ New campaign”

Step 2 -  Choose your objective: Sales.
Conversions Actions: eCommerce

Step 3 - Choose “Purchases (account default)” as your conversion goal, then click Continue

Inside the Purchases conversion goal, there are two types of conversion actions. 

The primary conversion action is Google Shopping App Purchase.

The secondary goal is Transactions (All Website Data).

Secondary goals aren’t counted as conversions. 

But when you look at your listing groups later, it will report all conversion value data. 

So, you need to pause your secondary conversion actions if you want to only track true conversions. 

However, secondary conversions can be useful to track the path to purchase (and make note of when prospects “drop off” in the pipeline), without asking Google to chase after those conversion goals.

TEAL TIP: Instead of completely pausing these secondary conversion actions, you can remove the conversion value. For example, "view a product page" may still be a valuable conversion action, but if you remove that conversion value, it will no longer count as an actual conversion. This allows you to monitor important activity in your campaigns (such as add-to-cart), but count only the actual conversion value within your listing group for faster reporting of deposits and withdrawals. 

Step 4-  Select a campaign type. Choose Performance Max

Step 5-  Connect your Google Merchant Center account

Step 6- Select the country where your products are sold

Step 7- Name your campaign, then click Continue

Budget and Bidding: eCommerce

Step 1- Add a budget. We recommend running Performance Max at 80% of your Smart Shopping budget.

Then run the other 20% with a YouTube and/or Dynamic Remarketing Display campaign. 

Step 2- Bidding: Select Conversions

Campaign Settings: eCommerce

Step 1- Select the locations you want to target 

Step 2- Select English

Typically, we use “All languages” when we run Search campaigns because we bid on keywords. 

However, for Performance Max, it’s important to use English because you’re running it everywhere—YouTube, Display, Search, etc. 

Be sure to use whatever language settings are applicable to you (English, most likely). 

Step 3- Select “Send traffic to the most relevant URLs on your site”

Step 4- Add the URLs you want to exclude (if applicable)

How to Remarket Effectively

Google Performance Max Ads- Effective Remarketing Graphic

Assume you had two separate Performance Max campaigns.

Campaign A has a listing group that is pursuing ten products.

Campaign B has a listing group pursuing ten distinct products.

Who remarkets if someone clicks, adds a product from Campaign A to their cart, views a product from Campaign B, and then leaves the site?

We asked two different teams, and each had a different answer.

According to the first team, the product from Campaign B will be remarketed to the customer. According to the second team, product A remarkets from the original click.

If a customer clicks on an ad but adds a different item to their shopping cart, the original campaign will remarket the same product. (Even if the customer is no longer likely to be interested.)

Both responses make sense. We, on the other hand, prefer the second team (Campaign A remarkets).

That's because their team is working on one of our accounts with ad spend of over a million dollars per month. Furthermore, it's a team we know and trust.

So, what does this have to do with listing groups?

If you run a single large Performance Max campaign, you must run all of the products in your listing group.

Don't exclude anything unless you have a good reason to (for example, the item is out of stock, you don't want people to buy it, etc.).

Whether you use an asset group or not, you must keep all of those products enabled. People are likely to purchase those items.

This will keep your income flowing. Otherwise, your remarketing will be ineffective because you are paying for interest but not remarketing your campaign.

How To Fix Inaccurate Data Inside Your Listing Groups

You'll see all conversion, all conversion value, and conversion value by cost within your listing groups. What is lacking? Conversions.

fix inaccurate data in performance max listing groups

This was one of the issues we discovered within the listing groups. As a result, it's impossible to see what your true conversions are.

Because there is no way to segment by conversion action, we'll assume that everything is considered a conversion. In that case, you're getting incorrect information.

Fortunately, this is a simple fix.

If you're using Performance Max, go into your conversions and disable any conversions that aren't being used as a primary.

Make sure that only purchases are counted as primary conversions in eCommerce. Everything else—newsletter signups, contact form fills, and so on—should only be counted as secondary conversions (which will not appear as a normal "Conversion"). or you can count them as a conversion without a conversion value (you will have a "conversion" but it will be for $0, so you will have no effect on the ROAS).

This is because the data you see will be much more accurate if the only conversion value you're measuring is the actual sale.

Another factor that affects the data you see is the attribution model you’re using. 

So, which attribution model should you go with?

Data-driven attribution would be the most practical.

It assists in splitting up your conversions and provides attribution to the brand in addition to a search category split.

Because data is more disaggregated in the new Insights Tab, you can see how attribution models affect your search categories.

You'll be able to identify what earned a click and what earned a remarket by using a data-driven, position-based, or linear attribution model.

How To Use the Insights Tab to create an effective Campaign Strategy

The new Insights Tab functions as a "cheat sheet," allowing you to identify who your target audiences are based on market data.

This is significant because, while some audiences make perfect sense, others may appear to be irrelevant to your product or services.

For example, relevant audience segments for a company selling cooking sauces include BBQs & Grills, Restaurant Delivery & Takeout, and Condiments & Sauces.

However, the Insights Tab listed Men's Apparel as one of the top five segments.

That doesn't make sense, does it?

The truth is that it makes no difference.

They don't have to look for a link between "Men's Apparel" and their products because one clearly exists!

What matters is that Google is now providing additional audiences in addition to the ones we've chosen to target.

What matters in the end is knowing more about who your audiences are gives you more information on how to optimize your campaigns. 

Affinity Segments are something that definitely makes it a boon. According to Google Ads Help, the Affinity segment works by reaching users based on what they’re passionate about and their habits and interests.

How To Optimize Your Campaigns Using Data from the Insights Tab

The Insights tab is there to give you an overview of the audiences and themes around your products or services. 

"Shouldn't we be tailoring the assets to that audience?" you might ask.

That is, indeed, the best practice.

However, there are times when you may want to use the same assets, particularly if you don't have enough assets to work with.

Just remember to always test your assets in front of an audience. Whatever the outcome is, it will determine your next best strategy.

If the campaign doesn't take off right away, for example, you can try swapping out assets.

How To Use Asset Groups to Increase ROAS and Conversions

If you use asset groups correctly and get granular with your audience signals, you can gain more control and transparency over the performance of your campaigns.

This can increase engagement and even double your ROAS and conversion rate (like it has for our Performance Max campaigns).

Allowing your campaigns to run and then monitoring how each asset group performs will allow you to optimise them accordingly.

Click View Details to see statistics on how your assets are performing. Then you’ll see how each asset is performing, labeled as Best, Good, or Low Performance.

Furthermore, when you click on Combinations, you will be presented with your:

Top image combinations

Top text-only combinations 

Top video combinations

You can also look at the listing groups to see which asset groups are performing the best.

This will display the metrics (impressions, clicks, and conversions) so you can make an informed decision about which asset group to keep or change.

How to Build Your Asset Groups for eCommerce

Asset group is all the creative material needed to create any type of ad across Google’s network, including: 

  • Photos
  • Logos
  • Videos
  • Headlines
  • Descriptions

Step 1- Name your asset group

Step 2- Select “all products” or; Click the Pencil Icon

Step 3- Select “Use a selection of products”

Step 4- Find your products and select them. When you’re done, click Save.

Step 5- Add a final URL

Step 6- Add Images, logos and videos

Google will create videos for you if you don’t upload your own videos. (But you can remove them). Our recommendation is to always create your videos.

Teal Tip - You can use your or someone else’s YouTube videos. You don’t need permission (Google will approve those videos.) However, just be cautious and make sure that you aren’t violating any of your or your clients’ agreements and policies.

Step 7- Add headlines

The way “suggestions” work is Google will create headlines based on your site. 

Whether you’re using suggestions or not, make sure that your headlines are really good and can capture your users’ interest.  

Step 8 - Add long headlines

Step 9-  Add a call to action. We highly recommend choosing automation as your call to action. Since we are in the world of machine learning, it is best to follow Google's decisions, at least in this section. 

How to Build Your Audience Signal: eCommerce

Generally, we always create one asset group per audience signal category like “Interests & detailed demographics,” “Your data,” and “Custom segments.” 

To create asset groups faster, you can easily duplicate an existing asset group and simply change the audience signal. 

Just remember to reselect all the products to avoid messing up the entire campaign. We’ll cover this in the “Duplicating an Asset Group” section.

Step 1- Name your audience

Step 2 - Skip to Interests & Detailed demographics

Step 3- Type your product (or relevant keywords for your product) to search for segments that might be applicable to your audience’s interests, life events, or demographics. For example, if you’re selling wallets, type “wallets.” 

You should now see the list of in-market segments, life events, or detailed demographics you added.

How to Add Sitelink Extensions: eCommerce

Just like adding extensions when creating search, you can add extensions in Performance Max to show pieces of information about your business that you can tack onto your ad, including your address, phone number, direct page links, coupons, or even additional websites. 

You can Book an introduction Call with us to discuss the optimization of your performance max strategy as well.

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