Performance Max Structure

My Winning Performance Max Account Structure

Feb 06, 2023

If you want 2024 to be the year where you successfully scale your eCommerce business with Google Ads, you need to make sure that you are using the correct Performance Max structure.

Since, Google Ads threw away smart shopping and pushed everyone to Performance Max there Youtube has been a melting pot of people throwing around different ideas and strategies for what works and what doesn’t work. 

But like every type of Google Ads campaign type success is not found in some secret strategies that no-one else is using.

Success is found by FIRSTLY understanding how the campaign works and THEN using the correct structure and optimisations to increase the performance of your account every month.

Because, like the account I just showed you, they did not go from a ROAS of 2.2 to 7 in 30 days. It took month-on-month improvements to build up to 7x plus results.

So in this video, I am going to take you through the data-driven account structure that works for Performance Max campaigns.

And the good news is that this structure works regardless of your budget. The example I am showing you today is of a smaller brand that started with a budget of $1,500 per month and now spends $5k a month. However, this is the structure that I also use for my larger clients with budgets of up to $200k a month.

For success with Performance Max you need to understand not only how this campaign works but the different elements within the campaign.  

Before we dive into the details, for those of you who are new, let’s start with a little overview.

What is Performance Max?

Performance Max is a new campaign type that allows advertisers to access all of Google’s inventory from one place. It uses Google's machine learning to automatically optimise ad placement and bidding across all of Google's channels to help achieve the advertiser's specified conversion goals.

The Evolution from Smart Shopping

Google's transition from Smart Shopping to Performance Max is part of its broader strategy to simplify and streamline its advertising offerings. While Smart Shopping focused primarily on e-commerce and conversion goals, Performance Max expands this scope, offering a more flexible and comprehensive approach to reaching potential customers across various platforms.

Benefits of Performance Max

  • Enhanced Reach and Efficiency: Performance Max campaigns offer a wider reach by combining various Google channels. This ensures ads are shown to potential customers at different stages of their online journey.
  • Improved Targeting Capabilities: Leveraging Google's machine learning, Performance Max can more effectively target audiences, including those who may not have explicitly searched for the product but are likely interested.
  • AI and Machine Learning Optimization: The campaigns use AI to optimise bids and placements for the best possible performance, taking much of the guesswork out of ad campaign management.

Performance Max vs. Traditional Campaigns

  • Intent-Based vs. Holistic Targeting: Traditional campaigns like Search and Shopping are more intent-based, triggered by specific search terms. In contrast, Performance Max looks beyond intent, targeting users based on a variety of signals, including past browsing behaviour and other predictive data.
  • Automation and Flexibility: Performance Max offers more automation in terms of ad placements and bidding strategies, which can be more efficient but might require a relinquishment of some control that traditional campaigns offer.

Because Performance Max is NOT only intent based as it also:

  • Targets people who have never heard of your brand or are not even currently looking for your product
  • And then also will remarket and target them after an initial contact point with one of your ads or website.
  • This is why your acquisition windows for Performance Max are a lot longer, with some products having an acquisition window of up to 3-4 weeks.

So remember, with Performance Max that you may not see any conversions for the first 30 days, which is different to Search & Shopping campaigns as they are only targeting people who are currently searching for your products. 

So now that you understand how Performance Max is different to search & shopping campaigns, the next important step is to make sure that you are using the correct campaign structure.

Effective Campaign Structure for Performance Max

Setting up a Performance Max campaign requires a strategic approach that differs significantly from traditional Google Ads campaigns. The key to success lies in understanding and effectively utilising its unique features to maximise your campaign's potential.

Campaign Set-Up and Optimization

First 30 Days - Setting Expectations: Performance Max campaigns may not show immediate results. Unlike Search & Shopping campaigns that target users actively searching for your products, Performance Max has a broader reach, targeting users based on various signals. Therefore, conversions might take longer to materialise, and it's essential to set realistic expectations for the initial period.

Asset Groups - Focused on Product Categories 

A critical aspect of Performance Max campaigns is the use of asset groups. Unlike traditional campaigns where you might target specific audiences or keywords, Performance Max campaigns should be structured around product categories. This approach allows the AI to more effectively target potential customers across Google's networks.

  • Why Product Categories Over Audiences: Focusing on product categories instead of audiences allows the algorithm to identify and reach potential customers who are likely to be interested in your products, even if they are not actively searching for them. This broadens the scope of your campaign and can lead to more conversions.
  • Setting Up Asset Groups: When setting up asset groups, each should focus on a specific product group within your main product category. This allows for more targeted ad copy and images, which can improve the relevance and performance of your ads.

Creating Effective Asset Groups

  • Targeted Ad Copy & Images: For each asset group, develop ad copy and images that are specifically tailored to the product group it represents. This targeted approach ensures that your ads resonate more with the audience likely to be interested in those specific products.
  • Leveraging Performance Max’s Reach: By using targeted asset groups, you can leverage Performance Max's ability to find potential customers across Google's entire network. This includes users who may not be actively searching for your products but have shown related interests or behaviours.
  • Continuous Optimization: Regularly review and update your asset groups based on performance data. This might include updating ad copy, images, or even re-evaluating the product groups within each category to ensure they align with current market trends and consumer behaviours.

Using the correct structure for your Performance Max campaign is the starting point, BUT to make sure that you have continued success, you need to optimise your campaign in the right way.

To help you with this, I want to give you access to my Google Ads eCommerce optimisation checklist. This checklist lets you know what you need to optimise in your Performance Max campaign and can be accessed in the video description below.


Can Performance Max campaigns be used for any type of business or industry?

Yes, Performance Max campaigns are designed to be versatile and can be used for almost any type of business or industry. They are particularly effective for businesses looking to maximise their reach across various Google networks like Search, YouTube, and the Google Display Network. Performance Max utilises advanced machine learning to target potential customers, making it suitable for a wide range of industries, from e-commerce and retail to services and B2B.

How should I structure my asset groups in Performance Max for optimal performance?

To structure your asset groups in Performance Max for optimal performance, follow these guidelines:

  • Product Category Focus: Organise your asset groups based on product categories rather than audiences. This allows the Performance Max algorithm to more effectively target potential customers interested in those categories.
  • Targeted Assets: Within each asset group, use targeted ad copy and visuals that are specifically tailored to the products in that category. This ensures your ads resonate with the intended audience.
  • Diverse Content: Include a variety of content types in your assets, such as high-quality images, videos, and unique selling points, to engage different segments of your audience.
  • Consistent Branding: Ensure that all assets reflect your brand's voice and style for consistency across all touchpoints.
  • Regular Updates: Continuously test and update your assets based on performance data, market trends, and consumer behaviour changes.

By carefully structuring your asset groups around product categories with targeted and diverse content, you can effectively leverage Performance Max's capabilities for better campaign performance.

How frequently should I review and adjust my Performance Max campaigns?

You should review and adjust your Performance Max campaigns at least once a month. However, for more dynamic markets or during key business periods (like holiday seasons), a bi-weekly or even weekly review might be more appropriate. Regular monitoring allows for timely adjustments in response to performance data, market trends, and changes in consumer behaviour, ensuring the campaign remains effective and aligned with your business goals.