Performance Max Sets Up Google (and Potentially Online Advertisers) for Growth

Why Google – and you – should be investing in PMX

In Nov 2021, shortly after Apple made ATT a mandatory feature, Google announced Performance Max (PMX) campaigns would be available to all advertisers.

Google, aware that ATT would leave a void in the digital advertising space, responded by leveraging its entire digital real estate to marketers with this new automated campaign structure. PMX is Google’s answer to more robust tracking, targeting, and audience integration – and we’ve seen encouraging performance for clients who are taking advantage of all the new testing features and audience reach the new campaign type has to offer.

Google Grows as Meta Declines

While Meta showed its first-ever annual decline in revenue (July 2022),1 the launch of PMX positioned Google as an important part of the advertiser’s strategy to combat Apple’s tracking restrictions. Even fast-growing Snap admits “the impact of Apple’s tracking policy was more severe than expected,2” while Google’s ad revenue has remained stronger than ever (+43% POP)3.

Google’s ownership of so many channels within a conversion path (e.g., Search, YouTube, Display, Gmail, Discover) restores an advertiser’s visibility and confidence in ROAS. Marketing performance planning and investment decisions are much more actionable when campaign data is insulated from major tracking changes. Simply put, Meta does not have that type of reach or control, resulting in declining measurement and targeting capabilities.

Unlike Meta, which we see driven by broad audiences and automated Dynamic Product Ads (DPAs), PMX still allows advertisers to be ultra-specific in audience strategy with responsive, immersive, and automatically optimized ad placements within multiple stages of the decision-journey or acquisition funnel. Truly, an advertiser can educate, cultivate, and then capture audiences at the bottom of the funnel—all with integrated methodology and reporting.

PMX is addressing three major trends we see within digital media:

  1. Cross-Channel overlap and dynamic placement is guaranteed
  2. Video fuels reach and engagement
  3. Keywords alone are not enough for robust targeting

Channel Overlap is Guaranteed:

Regardless of a brand’s marketing or channel strategy – the consumer is now guaranteed to be multi-channel and interacting in a variety of channels. According to Google:

  • For any decision journey there are between 20+ to 500+ touchpoints within a user’s clickstream4
  • 93% of people who used mobile to research go on to make a purchase, but only 17% end up making that purchase on mobile5
  • Omni buyers (people that used at least five channels in their journey) also spent 3X as much this past year6

In essence, the customer journey is more complex than ever which has made execution and strategy around all touchpoints in the journey arguably the most challenging theme of post-ATT digital marketing. Google’s tools are aimed at solving and refining the implementation of campaigns that are multichannel, multidevice, and multimedium. Complexity is reduced with automated placements across the entire digital ecosystem with Google tying insights and actions (although sometimes blindly to the advertiser) across their own platforms.

Video Fuels Reach and Engagement

Video is already a driver in paid social (e.g., Meta, TikTok, Pinterest, YouTube) but with PMX, Google is directly tying video into the prospecting and remarketing aspects of a user’s position in the marketing funnel. Instead of relying on YouTube-specific campaigns, Google is clearly signaling video will be critical to long-term search success:

  • Google is placing ads in YouTube shorts, which has 30 billion views a day7
  • “On average, YouTube advertisers using a full funnel strategy experienced 80% unique reach across brand and action campaigns”8
  • Google announced a partnership with Shopify to “let viewers purchase products without leaving YouTube” making purchases seamless and fully attributable9

Keywords Alone are not Enough

Previously, if an advertiser wanted to run a multichannel campaign across search, display, and YouTube, the advertiser had to build specific inputs, targeting, and nuanced KPIs across each campaign.

PMX campaigns not only accurately track users across their blended engagement paths (devices, channels) and funnel position, but also provide entirely new reporting on creative combinations—reporting that can be used at the highest level of marketing cross-channel business intelligence.

Keywords alone are not enough – now advertisers can take the cross-platform insights Google provides through PMX to marry keyword intent, cross-platform behavior, creative tests, and targeting to more complex (but automated campaigns).

While it’s critical to capture your audience’s intent with search, don’t be satisfied with this one-dimensional approach. Harness machine learning and leverage PMX’s uniquely new insights features to predict your audience needs and show up for them in the right places, the right number of times, no matter how complex their user journey has become.

Top three tips for successful PMX:

  1. Be patient. PMX takes 4-6 weeks to fully ramp since its testing so many placements.
  2. Make major campaign adjustments every 4-6 weeks and group optimizations so that PMX has time to run and optimize based on campaign changes
  3. Build campaigns around creative, product feeds, and assortment – you will need consistent assets across a campaign and if you combine too many product types (e.g., kids vs. women’s apparel) it will be challenging to create assets that speak to the entire product set.

Happy marketing! If you have any questions about how Performance Max could drive results for your specific goals or as a supplement to other strategies, reach out to adunn@belardiwong.com.


Sources

[1] https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-07-28/meta-losses-amid-inflation-and-competition/101276588

[2] https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/26/technology/google-profit-third-quarter.html

[3] https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/26/technology/google-profit-third-quarter.html

[4] https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/intl/en-cee/consumer-insights/consumer-journey/study-reveals-complexity-modern-consumer-paths-purchase-and-how-brands-can-make-inroads/

[5] https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/marketing-strategies/app-and-mobile/mobile-search-consumer-behavior-data/

[6] https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/marketing-strategies/app-and-mobile/mobile-search-consumer-behavior-data/

[7] https://io.google/2022/program/8e80903f-955f-4a5b-9118-b0ce4acdb0e6/

[8] https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/26/technology/google-profit-third-quarter.html#:~:text=Alphabet%20said%20on%20Tuesday%20that,to%20data%20provided%20by%20FactSet

[9] https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/26/technology/google-profit-third-quarter.html#:~:text=Alphabet%20said%20on%20Tuesday%20that,to%20data%20provided%20by%20FactSet

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