Performance Max Campaigns: All the Features and Benefits
Jan 26, 2022

Performance Max Campaigns: All the Features and Benefits

Google’s Performance Max campaigns rolled out in November 2021, after a time of beta testing and monitoring the change in online consumer behaviour.

Google noted an increase in Image searches; for example, interest for “yard landscaping ideas” grew by over 80% YoY globally, while searches for “best-all-inclusive resorts” grew by over 200% YoY.

That confirmed a definitive shift in consumer behaviour online and their shopping expectations.

Our Director John Cave, who's a member of the Google CSS board, shares his knowledge on Performance Max, the features and the benefits.

What is Performance Max? 

Performance Max is a campaign type in Google Ads that allows advertisers to access new or additional advertising channels and inventory across Google's full range like Search, Shopping, Display, YouTube, Gmail, and Discovery campaigns.

What are the benefits?


Performance Max makes your marketing goals the primary focus, with the aim of maximizing the campaign’s performance. Advertisers need to ensure they specify the correct goals as Google’s machine learning will find your customers wherever they are across Google properties. 

Better Performance

Google Ads machine learning and attribution technology find your customers at the right time with the right ad for even stronger performance. It is still the only solution that can do this in real-time within the auction, users search action or browsing.


Performance Max campaigns utilise Google’s new Audience Signals to accelerate and boost the campaign learning period to deliver better results quicker.

More time to focus on strategy and feed optimisation

Google’s automation means that as an advertiser, you get more time to be strategic and focus on other areas such as feed optimisation or improving ad assets. These are all elements that can further improve performance.

What are some of the Performance Max features?

Custom Segments

You can create Custom Segments based on search terms or related interests to improve the relevancy and reach of your campaigns.

Customer and Audience Data

You can combine or exclusively use your own Customer or Audience data that you created within Google Ads or Google Analytics.

Affinity Categories

You'll have to select your relevant Affinity or In-Marker categories and tailor your demographics to male or female products whilst grouping by Age Range.

Tracking Goals

Make sure you set the correct tracking goals for your campaign. If you’re focused solely on revenue, just select ‘Purchases’. If you include Phone Calls or Downloads, your Performance Max performance will be diminished and less focused.

Also, make sure you’re not double-tracking like the below example which is pulling in revenue from both Analytics and Google Ads tracking.

Google Audience Signals

Google Audience Signals is exclusive to Performance Max and it's the first time Google Ads uses this feature to reach your most valuable audiences. You are now able to provide signals about who’s most relevant to your business, by directly indicating the audiences that are most likely to convert, speeding up the campaign learning period.

Combine or exclusively use your own Customer or Audience data that you have created within Google Ads or Google Analytics.

Does Performance Max cannibalise Smart Shopping campaigns?

In short, yes.

Your Performance Max campaign will take priority over your Smart Shopping campaigns. Once the Performance Max campaign budget has been used up, Google Ads will start spending your Smart Shopping budget. This can lead to Smart Shopping consuming your entire budget in as little as 30 minutes.

Make sure you split and segment products, categories or brands when testing. Alternatively, you can use an additional CSS Merchant Center to test all products without cannibalising your Smart Shopping Campaigns. 

If you do, remember that your Performance Max campaigns are starting with zero Campaign or Merchant data. So be prepared to give the campaign longer to learn.

Case study - Performance Max Campaigns

1. The below reports some results we've achieved utilising Performance Max campaigns for one of our fashion & apparel retailers. As the figures show, the Performance Max campaigns have generated better performance when compared to the previous smart shopping campaigns.