Performance Max and Advantage+ Shopping Campaigns: How Machine Learning Changes Advertising
Machine Learning is assuming control over the advertising world. Advertisers globally are embracing Machine Learning products as they help them save time and generate better results.
Some of the most popular products that have been shaking the advertising world since 2021/2022 are Google Performance Max and Meta’s Advantage+ Shopping campaigns.
Google fully replaced the Smart Shopping and Local campaigns with Performance Max by the end of Q3 2022.
Meta has recently launched its own Advantage+ Shopping campaigns that are based on Machine Learning to help you reach valuable audiences with less time spent on setup and implementation.
It’s only a matter of time before these products become more widely adopted. The best thing advertisers can do is get educated on the inner workings and benefits these campaigns offer in order to keep up with the rapidly changing times and technology.
What Are Google Performance Max Campaigns?
The most recent innovation that has caused a stir in the advertising world is the Performance Max campaigns. Offered by Google Ads, these campaigns are tailored to help businesses improve the effectiveness of their advertising through the use of Machine Learning algorithms for optimised ad targeting and delivery.
Performance Max campaigns are empowered by your specific advertising objectives, such as CPA or ROAS targets, and by the creative assets, audience signals, and data feeds you provide. In other words, they combine Google’s automation technologies across bidding, audiences, budget optimisation, creatives, and more.
These campaigns work similarly to Smart Shopping campaigns. First, businesses must provide assets that can be in the form of logos, images, videos, or ad copy for their product or brand. Then, based on their campaign’s data and the target audience, Google will automatically create ads that will help businesses reach their campaign goals most effectively.
And here’s something else important to remember: it’s Google’s algorithm that decides when and where your ads will be displayed. For instance, they may appear on channels like YouTube, Search, Gmail, Display, and Maps, depending on which channel or channels Google’s algorithm believes your target audience is most active.
Google Performance Max campaigns can be used for a variety of advertising goals, including driving sales, generating leads, and increasing website traffic; you can even select several objectives.
Campaigns can be set up for different types of ads, including search ads, display ads, and shopping ads.
Overall, Performance Max campaigns are designed to help businesses get the most value from their advertising by using Machine Learning to optimise ad delivery and targeting to meet specific performance goals.
And what are some benefits we can expect from Performance Max Campaigns? We’ll answer this question in the following section.
Benefits of Performance Max Campaigns
Although the benefits of Performance Max Campaigns are multiple, let’s look at the top five that might be the most important to businesses:
1. Improved performance.
One of the main benefits of Performance Max campaigns is that they are designed to help businesses maximise their advertising performance. By using Machine Learning to optimise ad delivery and targeting, businesses can potentially achieve better results than they would by managing their campaigns manually.
2. Efficient use of resources.
Performance Max campaigns can help businesses get more value from their advertising spend by finding the most effective combination of bids and targeting to meet their performance goals.
3. Simplified campaign management.
Performance Max campaigns take some of the guesswork out of campaign management by using Machine Learning algorithms to optimise ad delivery and targeting. This can save businesses time and resources that would otherwise be spent on manual optimisation.
4. Easier performance goals achievement.
With Performance Max campaigns, businesses can set specific performance goals and then let the Machine Learning algorithms do the work of finding the most effective combination of bids and targeting to meet those goals. This can give businesses greater control over their advertising performance.
5. Increased flexibility.
Performance Max campaigns can be used for a variety of advertising goals, including driving sales, generating leads, and increasing website traffic. This allows businesses to choose the performance goals that are most important to them and use the campaigns to achieve those goals.
Performance Max vs. Smart Shopping Campaigns
Performance Max was always planned to take over Smart Shopping campaigns. Smart Shopping campaign users began transitioning to Performance Max in April 2022. The upgrade could be done by using a simple one-click tool in Google Ads. For users who didn’t get to upgrade to Performance Max by July, Google automatically upgraded their business to the Performance Max platform.
There are a few reasons why Performance Max is better than Smart Shopping campaigns. One of those reasons is that, unlike Smart Shopping campaigns that focus on boosting sales conversions, Performance Max campaigns let advertisers choose multiple conversion goals. For instance, you can set up a campaign with the goal of increasing both website traffic and customer leads. You’ll then be able to set the conversion values for each goal to let the algorithm know the importance of each conversion.
While Smart Shopping could only run on Search, 3P Display, Gmail, and Youtube, Performance Max can also run on Discover, YouTube In-stream, and Maps.
In the following section, we’ll be diving into another popular digital advertising type that was introduced earlier this year by Meta, called Advantage+ Shopping campaigns.
What Are Facebook Advantage+ Shopping Campaigns?
All automated ad products by Meta are now unified under the name Meta Advantage. There are two separate groups of Meta Advantage products called Advantage and Advantage+. Both options let you choose between a manual journey with additional automated features or a completely automated campaign creation journey.
Advantage+ products automate the entire campaign creation or automate one of the five steps for manual Ads Manager campaign creation. They’re designed to deliver high-performing creative variations to more relevant audiences on more effective placements. Some of the products in the Advantage+ group include Advantage+ Catalogue Ads and Advantage+ Creative.
A few months ago, Meta released Advantage+ Shopping campaigns, a product in the Advantage+ group, as a rival to Google’s Performance Max. This move was in response to the increasing trend of automation in the advertising industry. Advantage+ Shopping campaigns utilise Machine Learning to assist businesses in reaching targeted audiences more efficiently and with less setup time.
These campaigns are designed with e-commerce advertisers in mind to speed up the ad creation process. They take care of the audience targeting and ad creative elements for you; the only thing you’ll be required to do is choose the campaign dates and budget and upload your creative assets. Then sit back and wait for Meta’s Machine Learning program to work its magic.
Here’s something incredibly fascinating: based on the creative assets you upload on the platform, the system will generate up to 150 creative options. Then, it will determine which of those creative options will perform best on different channels and display them there.
According to studies by Meta, companies using Advantage+ Shopping campaigns have experienced a 12% reduction in cost per action and a 15% increase in their return on ad spend.
Let’s now look at the most important benefits you can expect from running Advantage+ Shopping campaigns.
Benefits of Advantage+ Shopping Campaigns
Advantage+ Shopping campaigns offer a number of benefits, including:
- Quick and easy setup;
- Utilisation of Machine Learning to create effective ad combinations;
- Testing of up to 150 creative combinations to determine the best-performing ads;
- The ability to target both new and existing customers with personalised product offerings;
- Delivery of the highest performing ad variation to valuable shoppers.
- Doing an outstanding job at finding the right audiences;
What Do These Campaigns Have in Common?
Meta and Google are pioneers in the field of Machine Learning in advertising. Both Performance Max and Advantage+ Shopping campaigns rely heavily on Machine Learning and automation to help advertisers run more profitable and targeted campaigns.
They both simplify the ad creation process. Users must only choose the campaign dates and budget range and upload their creative assets. After that, Meta’s or Google’s Machine Learning algorithms will do the rest. There’s no need to manually test different elements like visuals, budget, or audience to find the combination that will perform the best. The ML will show each user a personalised ad that is most likely to attract their attention.
To sum up, both types of campaigns help you achieve your business goals, simplify the ad creation process, and improve the performance of your ads through automation.
One downside is that users will have less control over the campaign and will have to trust Meta’s or Google’s ML algorithms to create the best possible campaigns that will be distributed to the right audience at the right time. There’s also a lack of analytics or creative insights for advertisers. In a way, Google and Meta are hoping that users will opt for ROAS over transparency and control.
Overall, the use of Machine Learning in advertising is likely to continue to grow in the future as advertisers seek to improve the effectiveness of their campaigns and deliver a more personalised experience to consumers.
Now, it’s time to look at a study and see how the SegmentStream platform can help enhance Performance Max campaigns. Let’s quickly jump to the next section!
How SegmentStream Enhances Performance Max Campaigns: A Case Study
SegmentStream is a Conversion Modelling Platform that provides a next-generation solution to outdated attribution and conversion tracking tools. Unlike other analytics systems that look at the last direct traffic source as the most valuable, SegmentStream evaluates each website visit and predicts the user’s probability of converting in the future.
When the likelihood of a user converting is increased, the platform generates a Modelled Conversion that is attributed to the traffic source. This ensures that each traffic source receives proper credit, even if a conversion ultimately occurs on a different device, browser, or through the use of a different cookie.
Recently, our company was approached by a client who had begun using Performance Max campaigns but needed help feeding these campaigns with high-quality data as they rely heavily on conversions for effective optimisation. If the ad click doesn’t result in a conversion, no feedback signal will be sent to the Google Ads platform. Consequently, Google Ads won’t be able to learn and optimise its bidding algorithms. The lack of conversion signals prevents Performance Max from showing its best performance and limits opportunities for efficient scaling.
Here’s how SegmentStream solved the client’s problem:
- Step #1: Using SegmentStream’s platform’s “Data Sources” functionality, the client started to collect real-time data about the users’ behaviour from Google Analytics into their own BigQuery data warehouse.
- Step #2: SegmentStream Conversion Modelling Platform assessed visits and began measuring the users’ probability to convert in the future. When the probability was high enough, the platform created a Modelled conversion. These conversions were sent to the ad platform as a feedback signal.
- Step #3: Now, the client was able to understand which traffic sources generated the most valuable traffic to the website. For example, the client discovered that they should put aside a higher budget for Google Search and Google Performance Max as they were bringing many valuable visits with a high chance of converting.
- Step #4: The imported Modelled conversions were used by ad platforms as feedback signals. Since the client determined that Performance Max campaigns were producing a significant number of valuable visits, it was logical to increase the budget for those campaigns.
Thanks to the platform, the client saw a 23% decrease in CPA of Performance Max campaigns in Google Ads and a 202% increase in users with high intent to convert.
Read the full case study here.
To Sum Up
Performance Max and Advantage+ Shopping campaigns are designed to help businesses maximise the performance of their advertising by using Machine Learning algorithms to optimise ad delivery and targeting.
Some benefits you can expect from these campaigns include improved performance, more efficient use of resources, and a simplified ad creation process, among other things.
Overall, using Machine Learning in advertising allows companies like Google and Meta to understand users and target ads more effectively, which can help drive revenue and improve the user experience.
And by using platforms like SegmentStream, you can further optimise your Performance Max campaigns and achieve greater efficiency.
It’s difficult to say whether Performance Max and Advantage+ Shopping campaigns represent the future of advertising, as the field is constantly evolving, and it’s hard to predict what direction it will take. However, the use of automation and Machine Learning in advertising is becoming increasingly common, and these campaigns will likely continue to play a significant role in the industry.
Do you want to see SegmentStream in action? Request a free trial of the Conversion Modelling Platform here.
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