Performance Max Campaigns in Google Ads

There’s a new campaign type available in Google Ads and after testing it across multiple accounts and different industries, here’s our take on performance max and how we leveraged its power to target potential customers at all levels of the sales funnel.

Introduced at Google Live 2021, Performance Max campaigns are Google’s solution to full funnel marketing. The advertiser provides brand assets that allows testing of different ad combinations to improve your campaign metrics.

Types of assets 

  • Audience signals 
  • High quality ad copy
  • Images
  • Videos 


Using Google’s automation and artificial intelligence to recognize potential customers, this campaign is based on your targeting signals. These campaign signals are defined by the marketer and used to optimize ad performance, delivery, and channel. Unlike traditional search ads, there is no need for a keyword list. P.  Max campaigns use pre-defined goals and audience signals to determine when and where to show your ad.  

Performance Max Image

The Performance Max campaign type is adaptive and responsive. The campaigns will automatically optimize bids and placements. Google’s machine learning and automation helps advertisers meet campaign goals and uses Google’s Network to reach customers on multiple platforms. Your ads may show up on the following channels:

  • Display
  • Search
  • Maps
  • Discover Feed
  • YouTube
  • Gmail
  • Shopping Ad Inventory

Interestingly, the two most commonly observed websites in Google’s placement report for PMax campaigns are and


Prior to the introduction of P.  Max campaigns, advertisers had to manually build out their sales funnel using different assets and signals to tell Google what type of search user you are targeting. If you wanted to drive brand awareness, Display and Youtube were part of your marketing mix. Now we are able to use messaging and creative assets that Google will rotate around to find the best combination for each platform and user. 

This campaign type is not a replacement to your existing campaigns but rather an extension of them. In fact, Google prioritizes Search campaigns over P. Max on the Search Network. However, it uses historical account data to optimize performance with your existing campaigns. This enables Google to serve your ads to the most relevant audiences on the channel it expects to have the highest conversion. 


It is recommended to keep your existing Search campaigns enabled to help the new campaigns learn faster. 

  • Google will prioritize Search campaigns over P. Max. 
  • Although P. Max includes Youtube and Discovery, it does not show desktop ads on these channels. If you want to have ads that show to desktop users on Youtube, a separate Youtube campaign will need to be created.
  • If you are currently running Shopping campaigns in tandem, Google will prioritize P. Max before Shopping ads. Once Performance Max has met its daily budget, Standard Shopping ads will show the product listing.


“Performance Max campaigns puts your business goals front and center and allows our automation to target your business goals above all else. This is crucial in order to maximize performance from Google Ads!”


Performance Max campaigns provide many benefits to the advertiser however there are some limitations. Most noticeably, there is minimal reporting data available. There is no way to see what channel the ads were shown, no search term data, and no channel metrics. The only channel specific metric available is the number of impressions. This requires a lot of trust in Google’s algorithm, which can seem dubious for those used to having complete control over all aspects of a campaign. 


In conclusion, I have seen tremendous success when implementing Performance Max campaigns, particularly on Google Shopping. This campaign type works best with captivating copy, quality creatives, and targeted audience segments. It may take some time but when optimal, Performance Max campaigns can take your account performance to the next level. Whether the goal is more conversions, higher ROAS, or increase in new users, performance max has the option to completely define your success. 


If you’re ready to take your Google Ads to the next level or have questions about campaign performance, reach out to us at Hive Digital. One of our PPC experts are happy to perform an audit on your account and come up with a custom marketing plan designed for your business goals.