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4 tips on using Performance Max for ecommerce success in 2024

“Performance Max [campaigns] are more algorithmic in nature,” Menachem Ani, founder of online ad management company JXT Group, said during a recent Paid Search Association webinar. “Don’t force it to behave like a [traditional] campaign. My recommendation is to put in the work and make the most out of it.”

Here are four pieces of advice Ani shared for ecommerce brands looking to master Performance Max in the new year.

1. Start manual, then work your way up

Before experimenting with Performance Max, marketers should conduct a few manual campaigns, layering on smart bidding as more campaign data becomes available.

“The efficiency [of] more manual campaigns [happens] where you [have] the data,” said Ani. “You can push toward specific search impression share, click share, and so on.”

Once there’s a solid foundation of data, marketers can add Performance Max campaigns to the mix for a full-funnel effect.

“A true Performance Max campaign is a full-funnel campaign that combines that search and shopping with display,” said Ani. “Performance Max should bring your traffic from the bottom of the funnel and it will also bring generic search terms and more upper-funnel prospecting through display and video components of the campaign.”

Pro tip: If you’re running Performance Max side by side with Shopping campaigns, consider using custom labels to segment products. This allows marketers to exclude under-performing products from a Performance Max campaign and instead create a standard shopping campaign.

2. Keep campaigns focused

As new campaigns are created, it’s important to build them around specific goals, whether that be cost, KPIs, locations targeted, or the reporting data you’re interested in.

“If you have different products that you want to allocate to a different budget or maybe a seasonal campaign, a specific sub brand or collection of your products, and you want to give that more firepower, that’s how you should think about building new campaigns,” said Ani.

3. Data is essential for success

In Performance Max, marketers can use audience signals, which use demographics, interests, or search behavior information to target specific groups of consumers.

But to make sure that you’re most effectively targeting the right audience, marketers should enter as much data as they can into their business data and data feeds section of their Google Ads account.

This means making sure the product data you’re synchronizing to Google Merchant Center contains strong product titles that have the right keywords and search terms in their descriptions, as well as the right product identifiers and CPC codes.

“Data is like coffee [to Google Ads],” said Ani. “You feed the system, and it can do [its job] better.”

4. Use reporting tools across Google Ads to measure and optimize

Reporting options for Performance Max are somewhat limited, said Ani. To get access to more campaign data, there are several other places marketers can look on the Google Ads platform.

  • In the segment performance tab, you can segment by device, conversion, and day/time to get insights on where and when conversions are happening.
  • You can also look at the traffic type to see if ads created from the data feed or ads created from creative assets are performing better.
  • To focus solely on customer acquisition, connect your customer list to exclude existing customers from campaigns.


This was originally featured in the Retail Daily newsletter. For more retail insights, statistics, and trends, subscribe here.