How much of a black box are Performance Max campaigns and can we optimise them at all? In this short article, I’ll share some useful reports and how to find out what’s happening inside Google Ads’ new flagship campaign type. Read on to find where to view asset group performance and search term reports in Performance Max campaigns.
Before we dive in, it’s important to note that Performance max campaigns are evolving and new reports and features are supposed to be rolled the end of the year. At the time of writing, reporting is limited but it still exists. Some users might get access to certain reports before others.
Asset groups are a bit like responsive search and display ads mashed together. An asset group gets attached to an audience signal, which is how you target your ads. You can use them to send different messages to different audiences. So they’re very similar in function to ad groups. But what use are they if you can’t see their individual performance? The good news is that you can view asset group performance if you’ve added a product feed to your campaign.
To view asset group performance, go to the Listing group tab. Here, besides seeing your different product groupings you can also see asset group performance.
If your Performance Max campaign doesn’t have a product feed you won’t have a Listing group tab and you won’t be able to access this report.
From the Listing group tab, you can also derive where your spend is going and where conversions are coming from in your Performance Max campaigns. Admittedly, it’s a roundabout way of gathering data but we have to pick whatever crumbs of data Google Ads has kindly left us.
Budget not spent on products must have been spent on the general ads created with the images and text you’ve added to the asset group. This can also help us understand if our brand terms are spending on search or shopping ads.
Inside the insights tab you can view search terms your campaign as shown for. The search queries are bunched into themes and you can expand each theme to view in more detailed.. I’ve found this report useful. I helps me see if brand terms are a big factor in the campaigns budget and revenue. Since Performance Max campaigns also show on search, I don’t want them to compete with brand campaigns, which usually have a very low CPA.
I’ve found brand terms percentages on Performance Max campaigns to vary greatly from one account to another. Most accounts have had a low percentage of brand terms but for one client, the brand terms are the biggest cause of conversions (not good!)
There are rumours about this report being available but I can’t see it in any of my accounts. I suspect it’s been rolled out in the US first and can only hope to get access to it soon. If you have access to placement reporting please let me know.
I’ve been using Performance Max campaigns for around 3 months now. I've found them to do well in some accounts and less so in others. For example, a positive surprise was a lead generation account with no products. The CPAs were lower than what we had before but I was worried about lead quality. Luckily, I had access to the leads through Hubspot and can confirm the leads generated were actually really good. The landing pages and website for that account have good copy and I suspect this helps the automated targeting understand what we're trying to advertise.
With shopping, I’ve found Performance Max to be hit and miss. Sometimes they outperformed smart shopping, other times smart shopping won. This has happened in the same in the same account I now use a mix of shopping and pMax campaigns but I target different countries with each. They’re definitely worth trying but I hope we'll get more insights and control as they're hard to scale a large account with.
I'm a Google Ads consultant and digital marketer. Together with the team at Effectivemarketing.uk we help companies increase revenue and improve ad performance. I hope you've found this article useful. If you have any comment or if you need any help with Google Ads, fill the form and get in touch.