Performance Max campaigns have been the talk of the industry for the last 12 months, and despite many valid questions being raised about the functionality and ethics of this campaign type, it would appear they are here to stay for the foreseeable future. Here at Algebra, we’ve been playing around with Pmax campaign structure and assets, but one aspect of this campaign type which garners less attention is how to approach Performance Max audience signals.

How audience signals affect campaign performance is something which will never be fully measurable, but as this is one of the few levers we have within Pmax, it is worthy of some due care and attention, and our approach is outlined below.

It’s worth noting that audience signals are only a guide to Google’s machine learning models. Performance Max ads are eligible to show outside of your audience signals if they have a strong likelihood of converting.

Audience Signal #1 – Your Data

This is by far the most important audience lever that you have in Pmax campaigns – the chance to tell Google exactly which users are valuable to your business. The granularity of these lists is dependent on the size of the business. For a large retailer, you can go with an All Converters list for the product type which the asset group is pushing, however for a small retailer, it’s worth including All Converters lists, as well as All Visitors if you’re confident that your overall marketing efforts are generally reaching relevant users.

Audience Signal #2 – Custom Segments

This allows you to reach users based on search activity, downloaded apps or visited sites. Top performing keywords, best sellers and competitors are imperative as lists here, but this is also a chance to think outside the box. Most of our clients have performed some level of customer analysis where the average customer’s interests (outside the product itself) are defined, so we always recommend including some of these interests or websites/apps in a separate custom segment.

Audience Signal #3 – Interests and Detailed Demographics

This element offers much less room for manoeuvre than Custom Segments as in-market and affinity segments are pre-defined by Google. Make sure all the obvious ones are covered off, but again, we’d recommend thinking outside of the box here to envisage what your ideal customer may also be in market for. For example, if your client sells electric bikes, why not include the affinity lists for ‘Green Living Enthusiasts’ and ‘Prefers Organic Food’?

Audience Signal #4 – Demographics

You can also narrow your campaign down by demographics, but we’d recommend keeping this open to give the algorithm as much room to find the perfect user as possible.

As you can see, although choosing an audience signal may seem like a 10 minute job, putting some serious time and thought into the process can really benefit your Performance Max campaigns in the long run. If you’d like some advice on how best to use audience signals in your Performance Max campaigns, get in touch.