Making the most of Performance Max this Holiday Shopping Season
Welcome to ppc.zone August, 2022. I'm your host, Jyll Saskin Gales, and I created this event to elevate new perspectives and insights in our industry.
Our final speaker in the zone. This month is a digital advertising expert with over a decade of success, developing high impact marketing strategies for online retailers and services clients. He's here to share his perspective on one of the hottest topics in PPC right now, making the most of performance max, this holiday season.
If you've spent any time on PPC chat Twitter, his name will be familiar to you. Please join me in welcoming Menachem Ani.
Thank you so much for having me today. As Jyll mentioned, my name is Menachem. I'm the founder of JXT group. We're a digital advertising agency based on the Jersey Shore here in the USA. And I'm excited to present seven tips on performance max for this holiday season.
As Jyll mentioned, I've been advertising with Google for a really long time and Performance Max is probably the largest shift we've ever seen from Google. For me, change is typically exciting because it brings opportunity. And so we'll share our best practices on the campaign type today. If you've been reliant on smart shopping, historically, it's a really good idea to get ahead and start testing Performance Max, this is the official timeline that Google has released. Starting in July, they've been doing automatic upgrades and your campaigns will be fully migrated by the end of September. Even if you don't take any action on your end. So you definitely wanna get ahead of that. And now we'll dive into some tips.
So first and foremost, as with anything, using an automated system is really important to give the system the right input. And so with performance max campaigns, you cannot target specific audiences, but you can provide audience signals. And so some really good ideas for the right audience signals for this holiday season is to use your first party data, upload your customer list, your high value customer.
Last year's best customers, email subscribers, as well as that, you can create custom intent audiences, which are based on like high level, top keywords that have performed well. In other areas of your account. Basically give the system a head, start on kind of what's important and who's the right customer to target it.
The second tip for today is just structuring your ads, your asset groups correctly. Typically we recommend building asset groups around product themes or categories. It's a good idea to create an asset group for promotional items around the holiday season. And you'll wanna upload all the, the correct creative images to, to match the underlying products within the group or any promotional assets.
Something important to keep in mind with performance max, that a lot of people have mentioned is Google will create a video for you if you don't have one. So it's a really good idea to get a good video in place and take advantage of that. You can use the video builder tool, which is releasing Google Ads under the asset library.
It's definitely a good tool to get something started. If you don't have anything better.
With anything related to shopping and especially performance max, it's really important to make sure you get your data feed down. Specifically, focusing on areas that may not come through automatically. If you're using a default setup from Shopify or anything like that, you wanna make sure you have all your identifiers in place in merchant center, which is typically comprised of the brand, the MPN and the UPC code.
Additionally, you wanna make sure that your titles are keyword rich or descriptions are really fully fleshed. And then categorizing your products in the Google taxonomy and the product type really helps Google understand what the products that you're advertising are and when they should surface it again, performance max is really reliant on the system, understanding the product that you're selling.
So this is super important to get right. And then lastly, custom labels are really important in performance max, especially so you can segment products into different asset groups or by campaign type.
Additionally for the holiday season, especially you wanna really take advantage of the promotional nature of the campaigns. So typically that can be done in, in a couple of different ways. One is just drop the price in the data feed. The system will recognize if you use that in the sales price column, as opposed to just the standard price column, it'll notice a price drop and it will notate the product as such in the search results. Additionally, you can use price extensions on the Google ad side and promotion extensions with your coupon codes. Set them up in both Google ads and in merchant center performance, max, which displays ads on search and shopping. It's a good idea to get those ad extensions set up on both sides, both in Google ads as a promotion extension and in merchant center as a promotion.
Lastly. When it comes to bids and budgets, you want to make sure that you're providing really good inputs for the system, but you don't ever wanna shock the system. Anything that's using automation. It takes time for the system to understand what's working. What's not working. And so this means changing things slowly.
And typically we recommend increasing budgets incrementally over time, as opposed to large increases. So the system doesn't have to suddenly start to try to find new audiences or new search terms to, to bring customers in. And when you launch a new campaign with performance max, it's a good idea to make sure the system has enough data.
So we typically start out with maximize conversions as your bid strategy so that the system can gather information. See what's converting, what's not. And then slowly move to those performance KPIs using either target CPA or target ROAS. So the system can really start to hit your goals and incrementally make adjustments don't change anything too heavy, too hard, too fast, cause it'll just throw the system off.
Something that a lot of folks have been talking about in the Twitter PPC chat community is setting up a smart shopping style campaign. This can work really well, especially if you've seen a lot of success with smart shopping and are being forced to migrate to performance Max. What this means is you're basically setting up performance max without any assets, so that it it's forced to run as a smart shopping campaign. It's not exactly the same in everything we've seen, but it's pretty similar. And you'll need to likely create a new asset group because editing and existing asset group won't allow you to save it without the image in the headline.
So you'll want to create a new asset group and it'll allow you to save it without any of those assets. This is something that we've seen a lot of success in across a lot of our clients and just kind of flipping to the other side of that. For some of our clients, we have not seen success in like a smart shopping style.
We've seen success almost on the other end, which is the paid social style. So using performance max more of a Facebook or TikTok type of ad where you give it all the assets, the images, the videos, but without your product feed, and just allow it to run ads on YouTube, Gmail, discover, GDN, using everything except for your data feed.
And typically we see a lot of success with these types of campaigns. If you've got a product that's more of an impulse purchase anything that is a quick and easy purchase, this can definitely work well for. That's definitely something worth testing. And again, with all this stuff, it's a really good idea to start testing now.
So you have time to really figure out what works and what doesn't for your brand, for your store before the holiday season. Ultimately like I mentioned, performance max is probably the largest shift we've ever seen from Google and change brings opportunities. So I like to try to get ahead of it, start testing and really see what works for your company.
As Jyll mentioned earlier the past couple of years, the holiday season has been unprecedented. Shopping has been definitely starting earlier and earlier every year. And it seems that we'll likely follow similar patterns this year with shopping starting even earlier than usual. Thanks again for joining me today.
I appreciate the time to present and share what's been working for us. Thank you.
Thank you Menachem for sharing your unique perspective and insights with us in the zone. If you'd like to connect with Menachem, you can find him on Twitter at @menachemani.
To learn more about ppc.zone and our speakers, or apply to speak at an upcoming event. Visit ppc.zone. I'm your host, Jyll Saskin Gales. You can find me on Twitter at @jyllsaskingales. I look forward to seeing you next time in the zone.