How to Successfully Set Up Performance Max Campaigns on Google Ads

Last updated on July 20th, 2023 by Jason Parks

Performance Max allows you to streamline all your advertising into one campaign, combining different ad formats like Google Shopping, Video Advertising, Display, and Pay-Per-Click.

In this blog post, I walk you through the simple steps of setting up a successful Performance Max campaign in Google Ads.

While Performance Max seems like an ideal solution to save time and efficiency, some drawbacks exist. I’ll help you decide whether or not PMax is the best fit for your eCommerce business.

Before diving into the details, I recorded a video outlining the step-by-step instructions for setting up Performance Max. If you prefer visual learning, I recommend watching the video.

Syncing with Merchant Center

To advertise eCommerce products in the form of shopping advertisements, you will need to link your Performance Max campaign with your Merchant Center account. This allows your Google Shopping ads can run smoothly. 

Related Blog: What You Need To Know About Google Merchant Center

Setting-Up Performance Max Campaigns 

  • To begin, within your Google Ads account you will want to create a new campaign (highlighted below). 

Choose Your Objective

Once you get to the objective section, there are numerous options to select (see bullets below).

For eCommerce, we don’t like having numerous conversion goals. We want to measure revenue and the return on ad spend.  Purchases are the best way to do this.

  • Choose “Sales” for your objective
  • Select “Purchases” as the conversion goal
  • Select “Performance Max” as your objective 
  • Link to Google Merchant Center account 
  • Name Your Campaign


Choosing proper objectives in Performance Max

Related Video: What’s a Good Return on Ad Spend?
Shameless Plug: Subscribe to The Media Captain on YouTube for weekly video updates on Google for small and medium-sized businesses! 

Bidding And Optimization 

  • Within the bidding section, you can select either a target cost per acquisition or a target return on ad spend (ROAS). 
  • I recommend starting with a target ROAS and adjusting it as needed.
  • I also recommend bidding higher for new customers so you aren’t spending money on existing customers, which can artificially inflate ROAS.

Tip: Too often, advertisers get ambitious and set their Target ROAS for 300% or 400%. This leads to hardly any clicks. When you set your Target ROAS lower, you can still outperform the benchmark and you will get enough clicks to analyze the data properly. 

How to properly select target ROAS when setting up PMAX

Campaign Settings 

  • Choose your location along with the proper language
  • Enable automatic asset creation.
  • Adjust the ad schedule so the advertisements are served at the time of day you most desire.
  • Proceed to the next step (you’re getting close to the fun part, the asset creation). 

More campaign settings that are needed with Performance Max

Asset Group & Creative 

  • Before creating assets, you have the option to create an asset group. This allows you only to serve a subset of products. This is something I recommend doing so your ad creative can be unique to the specific products you plan on selecting.
  • Google will automatically default to “All Products.” If you click on the pencil icon, it gives you the option to select a subset of products.

Important Note:  Performance Max will take precedence over your existing shopping campaigns. If you have a strong ROAS in your existing shopping campaigns, don’t set up Performance Max as it can hurt performance. Focus on a subset of products to prove the concept before expanding.

Listing Groups 

  • Within the asset group below, you can see that I selected the brand Park Perfection. You can segment based on how your shopping feed and custom labels are set up within the “Use a Selection of Products.”
  • For Park Perfection, six products are associated with the brand so the assets we’ll be creating will be for this specific brand.

Setting Up The Creative Elements

Now the fun begins. You can start adding creative elements to your Performance Max Campaign, which includes the following: 

  • Destination URL 
  • Images
  • Logos 
  • Videos 
  • Headlines 
  • Long Headlines 
  • Descriptions 
  • Business Name 
  • Sitelinks 
  • Call-to-Action 

Creating your advertisement for Performance Max takes more time than a standard PPC or video advertisement. The reason Google asks for so much information is that it will be serving numerous advertisements across display, YouTube, PPC, Shopping, etc.

Below you can see all of the information I entered for this advertisement. I encourage you to watch my video on setting up a Performance Max campaign for a client.

Finalize Campaign Details

  • Ensure the final URL goes to the appropriate landing page if you are segmenting by specific products. The destination URL above is for the Park Perfection brand page.   
  • Come up with good advertising copy with strong headlines and descriptions. 
  • Make your advertisement pop with strong imagery and memorable videos.
  • Create unique site links to drive users to critical pages on your site 
  • If you sell an eCommerce product, have the call-to-action be “shop now.” Don’t forget a solid call to action! 
  • Set up audience signals to target ads based on specific customer segments.
  • Review your budget and the campaign summary before launching your Performance Max campaign to the world! 


While Performance Max can save time while boosting efficiency, don’t rush to go all in. I recommend starting with a subset of products to prove the concept before scaling. The last thing you want to have to happen is for your strong-performing Shopping campaigns to come to a halt since PMax took precedence.

Additionally, Performance Max does not provide the same level of detail and insight as standard shopping campaigns. Search Terms is one of the most beneficial things within a Shopping campaign. Unfortunately, Performance Max doesn’t provide this granularity.

Hopefully, I could show you how easy it is to set up a Performance Max campaign on Google Ads. While there are benefits to PMax, this sort of campaign isn’t for everyone. Weigh the pros and cons to see whether this consolidated campaign works for your business. 

Jason Parks

Jason Parks started The Media Captain in 2010. He’s grown TMC into one of the largest digital agency’s in Ohio over the past decade.The Media Captain has worked with hundreds of small, medium and enterprise clients on digital marketing and development projects.The Columbus Based Digital Marketing Agency has received numerous accolades. TMC was named a Top 1% Agency in the U.S. by UpCity in 2019 and 2020. They also won the “Best PPC Campaign,” which was a national award from DashThis. They were also the recipient of the Top 10 Social Media Marketing Agencies in Ohio.

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