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Performance Max for Google Ads: Marketers & AI

Digital Marketing
March 29, 2023
12 min

For over a year now, performance Max AI for Google Ads has successfully replaced Google Smart Shopping campaigns. The universal means of digital advertising solves a vast array of business tasks across Google placements. 

So, what is Performance Max for Google Ads?

Performance Max is a new AI-generated ad type to boost Google products. AI Google ads management now embraces multiple ads within a single campaign across Google placements: organic search, Discovery, YouTube, GDN, and Gmail. This means that advertisers can showcase products beyond search results. Google Ads AI tool is feasible to promote standard search ads as well as the products from Google Merchant Center.

Can Performance Max Make Your Ad Campaign Successful? 

Performance Max AI for Google Ads entails maximum effectiveness and ultimate achievement of ad campaign goals. The tool is also about an in-depth analysis and penetration into your target audience. 

While Google Performance Max campaign optimization is about Google Ads automation based on machine learning. Still, there is no 100% guarantee. 

There is no single tool or advertising platform so far that would promise you ultimate ad campaign success. There are too many issues involved, like competition, market conditions, user behavior, and niche-specific tendencies.

The success and effectiveness of an ad campaign always depend on the right setting, opted strategy, and the quality of actual ads (both textual and creatives), as well as feed products. Just like other Google tools, Performance Max is subject to optimization. The initial setup of an ad campaign is only one step toward effectiveness. Following a setup and data mining on initial dynamics, it is vital to enhance the campaign’s effectiveness. Vadyslav Platonov, Senior PPC Specialist

Does Performance Max for Google Ads entail maximum AI potential?  And, whether the tool assumes minimum intervention by marketers?

Ad campaign structure in Google Performance Max AI embraces groups of objects, including creatives, hypotheses, a variety of categories, and other supplementary factors. 

Is this campaign fully automated and can deliver the best-fit results without a marketer’s intervention?

Right, though, you’ll receive even better outcomes whenever a marketing expert intervenes.

At the setup stage of the groups of objects, we chose the creatives, textual ads, and a group of products we will show to our users. Along with strategy development and budget allocation, the management and optimization of the groups of objects will most impact the effectiveness of your ad campaign. 

‍This may come as a decision to alter creatives or texts once they get into “low effectiveness status,” switching off certain items or groups of products, or in case of structural changes and adding certain groups of objects into a new ad campaign. These are the decisions that cannot be automated and necessitate human expertise. 

PMax optimization takes place on multiple levels and frequencies to reach the best-fit indicators and positive dynamics. We will further consider an example of an effective ad campaign optimization that assumes quality setup and the right choice of PMax strategy.

Ad Campaign Level


This ad campaign type assumes four strategy types: 

  • Maximum conversion value;
  • Targeted return on ad spend (ROAS);
  • Maximum conversions; 
  • Targeted cost per conversion (CPC). 

As you can see, two of these strategies are unlimited, while the other two are limited by ROAS and CPC. 

In case we apply unlimited strategy types, i.e. Maximum conversion value or Maximum conversions, and we are not satisfied with ad campaign effectiveness, it is high time we pursued it as a strategy where we may optimize it by impacting its targeted KPIs: “We may change optimization target of an ad campaign by setting targeted KPIs in case of (1) return on ad spend (ROAS) or (2) cost per conversion (CPC). This way, we enhance the overall effectiveness of an ad campaign. Vadyslav Platonov, Senior PPC Specialist


We have two optimization options on this strategic level — either to cut or increase the budget. If your ad campaign proves effective, you should grow your budget, or cut it the other way around. This will all work well in case you do not pursue additional targets beyond the direct effects of your ad campaign, such as market share. This means that the most effective ad campaigns will embrace most of your budget, which will have a positive impact on your entire ad account.

GEO Targets

You must split your geo targets at least by regions or even better - districts. This is important for better understanding which locations will prove most effective and deciding on further optimization.

While the scope of optimization in automated strategies is insignificant, you’d better change your geo targets only in case of a substantial skewing of a certain region. For instance, you may group the best-performing regions into an individual ad campaign, and spend more on them or apply other strategic settings. And vice versa, once some region shows poor performance - you are free to exclude it from PMax and use alternative tools. Vadyslav Platonov, Senior PPC Specialist


We may use stats as a strategic function to analyze: 

Stats on Search Queries 

This involves all data on lead categories of search queries, i.e. “What are the search preferences among your customers and what are their major queries?” This data will also show the categories that are trending and those that are not.

Stats on Audiences 

This involves data on lead audiences, including information about users that convert into your customers. You may reveal individual interests among your target audience through further segmentation and by measuring their effectiveness.

Stats on Objects 

This involves information about objects that best resonates with your customers and helps to receive more feedback. The information will help you make effective creatives and objects. Also, these numbers graphically show the overall dynamics of your ad campaign as well as needed data for further optimization: costs, revenue, conversions, and ROAS.

Stats on Auctions

This allows us to track traffic shares in the auction per individual requests. This way, we better understand our competitors who are scaling up and take relevant decisions.

Group Level


Standard optimization of products is similar to that in the case of Shopping-campaigns. We structure and exclude the worst-performing items and bet on the most effective instead. 

As far as it is reasonable, do not exclude all items save as top-10. 


On this level, we have a wide field of maneuver. We may combine and alter the data to boost our campaigns with ad rotations. 

Let’s work out further signals:

Custom segments




Owing to the ‘Stats’ function on the campaign level, we may correlate signals depending on their effectiveness.

Ad Level

Textual Ads

We may alter Call to Action (CTA) and ad extensions, and verify A/B tests so that Google can operate a larger amount of unique texts to diversify an ad.


Beyond standard creatives, we may additionally download thematic creatives for more relevant ads. The same approach is also appropriate for getting better feedback.


The scripts will help you understand how traffic is shared among Search / GDN, Youtube, and shopping. 

In case of a considerable overflowing of traffic towards Youtube, while our goal is to ensure direct sales, the best advice here is to temporarily delete video ads from the objects. That way, we will shape our ad campaign to generate more traffic for search/GDN or shopping until Google automatically creates a video from creatives; once all’s set, we will substitute it with our video. Vadyslav Platonov, Senior PPC Specialist

While the share of video impressions is falling down, all the creatives remain intact. 

Hence, you can ultimately increase your ad campaign revenue by aligning it with the automatic settings of Google Performance Max and their further correlation by marketers. A success story in this vein is our case study of

The process requires an expert to arrange an initial setup of an ad campaign, as well as to correlate and optimize it depending on indicators. Google’s part is to search for the most relevant audience for the arranged settings. Namely, the synergy of Google, Strategy, and a marketing expert drives the best possible effect. Vadyslav Platonov, Senior PPC Specialist

The Way Performance Max Ads Works with Search Campaigns or Keywords in Your Account 

Whenever we focus on search campaigns or keywords in a user account, Performance Max Ads works dynamically by aligning textual, graphic, and video ads to benefit target audiences throughout Google Ads.

Here is how Performance Max ads work with search campaigns and keywords in your account:

1. The tool applies machine learning to designate the best-fit ad format and a targeted network for each display. If a user looks for a particular keyword, Performance Max will show a textual ad on a search results page, as well as media or video ads throughout Google.

2. The tool dynamically generates headlines and descriptions based on a main search query or a user context.  This means that Performance Max adapts the ad text in line with a particular search query or user intent.

3. The tool uses signals voiced by an audience as well as conversion data to optimize the most valuable conversions. This involves actions like purchases, registrations, and filling in forms.

4. Performance Max may use current search campaigns or keywords in your account to target them to relevant users across various networks. This means that owing to Performance Max Ads, you do not have to start ad campaigns from scratch.

Benefit from Performance Max to: 

- Optimize your ad campaign as per several ad formats and networks. This will work best in case you pursue multiple conversions you would like to track and optimize;

- Embrace a diverse audience with various channels and formats, like search, video, and social networks. 

- Automize ad creatives, choose an optimal format for your ad and networks, and optimize the most valuable conversions.

Once you look for an ad campaign type that will help you embrace users throughout a customer path, use Google Performance Max campaign optimization as your most reliable solution.

This tool has a wide range of settings and resources for more precise coverage of your target audience. At this point, Performance Max is your best tool in Google Ads.

However, it is worth noting that this tool is not a ‘magic bullet’ that works wonders overnight. A one-time setting cannot bring you a long-term effect. To target strategic outcomes, you need to optimize, control and analyze your ad campaigns continuously. So, foremost, take Performance Max as your result-oriented tool. Vadyslav Platonov, Senior PPC Specialist

Owing to Google Performance Max, tech experts are now able to align various platforms (GDN, Search, Shopping, Video, and Local) to obtain the desired outcome. All these platforms are focused on a sole KPI result. Until recently, marketers were not able to align all these platforms within a single campaign. Now Google has made it possible in the most effective way. 

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Written by
Maria Kashina

Content Marketing Manager at Promodo

March 29, 2023
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