At its own Performance Max conference, Google Ads recently presented the upcoming changes for this year for its own campaign format. Performance Max has become the “flagship” among AI-driven Google Ads campaigns. That’s why some of the features focused on AI control are long-awaited innovations. The most important updates at a glance:

#1 Negative keywords at account level

Negative account-level keywords give back some control over keyword-based playout. Certain search queries can thus be excluded across all campaigns. Experienced account managers can thus put the AI on the profitable track more quickly. With data from the past, you save yourself an experiment or two. In addition, Performance Max in Google Search can thus be directed quite precisely to certain keyword segments.

#2 Brand exclusions at campaign level

This extension provides control over brand traffic within Performance Max campaigns. Brand exclusions can be used so that Performance Max campaigns no longer intervene existing Brand campaigns.

Because quite quickly, an artificial intelligence in bidding notices that brand terms lead to conversions relatively easily. The result was concealing brand conversions that “saved” the results of a performance-max campaign when results were poor. This mixed up the traffic shares that were supposed to be targeted, to the disadvantage of advertisers.

The clear separation of brand traffic thus becomes possible again in a simple way for most accounts in the search and shopping network.


#3 Page Feeds for Performance Max

So far, Performance Max campaigns on the search network offer only two ways to drive traffic to landing pages. Full control or (almost) free hand for Google. Free selection for Google means the AI itself selects the most relevant landing pages in conjunction with the website inventory. If the “Extend final URL” feature is not used, you get full control based on the landing pages entered for the asset groups. Exclusions of individual URLs round off the current setting options.

What is new now is that page feeds (formerly also: business data feeds) can be submitted. These relate to the DSA function of Performance Max campaigns. It is already known from large DSA campaigns that page feeds with hundreds or thousands of URLs enable the machine input of target pages. However, for lead campaigns that target large assortments (for example, for B2B campaigns or industries), the new feature is worth its weight in gold.

By the way, the feeds are not to be confused with shopping feeds, which transmit the target pages for e-commerce Performance Max anyway.

#4 Re-engagement target projects

If the focus of a Performance Max campaign is not necessarily only on new customers, the new function should be interesting. Many online stores generate parts of their sales through returning buyers. If these are part of the Google Ads strategy, they can now be targeted more specifically. This provides more control over retention and investment in owned customers in a Google Ads strategy.

In addition, the function could be interesting for advertisers who have set “retention” – i.e. repeated contacts with brands and products – as a goal.

Important: Re-engagement target projects require input from first-party data in the form of customer list uploads to the AI. So these distinctions can be made based on data.

#5 Performance Max experiments

Most recently, A/B testing was only available as a beta and to select advertisers. Also, features tended to be limited to highlighting the value of a Performance Max campaign over other campaign types. It wasn’t always a really clean A/B test.

It could be helpful to roll out the testing feature now. Advanced features can now enable advertisers to run tests that can boost performance in the long run. So regular artificial intelligence testing should be part of any campaign strategy.


#6 Asset creation using generative AI

One or the other Google Ads user may already have known the harbingers of these functions through the machine suggestions of ad texts. With Performance Max campaigns, Google Ads now goes “all-in”.

Texts, images and videos will soon be able to be created with the help of generative AI. Be it a chatbot that writes ad texts or the machine processing of conversion-optimized videos. People will soon be able to use an assistant in the form of artificial intelligence.

Tip: This does not yet represent full automation of creative processes, but it is nevertheless a massive relief. Nevertheless, you should avoid waving through overly generic ad components. Standing out from the competition and following an asset strategy can thus become much more valuable.

#7 Performance and Value Insights

Or also: Google allows a look into the initial black box of the Performance Max campaign. The new insights allow more conclusions to be drawn about the best-performing targets, keyword sets or high-revenue segments. This now allows customized strategies and allocation of budgets between multiple Performance Max campaigns or in the overall setup.

#8 Improved search term analysis

Another look into the initial black box, you might say. Search queries that lead to traffic from a Performance Max campaign will soon be easier to view and export. Thus, an analysis, also for “feeding” the negative keywords at account level will soon be better possible. One’s CPA or ROAS can benefit greatly from this.

#9 Smart Bidding for store visits

Soon, Performance Max campaigns will also be available in isolated form for store visits. Conversions and goals of a Performance Max campaign are then linked to local campaigns and Google MyBusiness events (e.g. route planner on Google Maps). The feature is interesting for advertisers with many stores and high sales at the store checkout. However, it runs as a separate campaign from the e-commerce Performance Max campaigns.


The innovations still announced by Google for 2023 primarily bring more insights and control options. The development is therefore moving away from the “black box” that many advertisers complained about at the beginning. The fact that Google responds to specific requests for more control by making appropriate adjustments is by no means such a common phenomenon. It’s worth mentioning, however, that Performance Max campaigns continue to work best as part of larger setups. The basis for success with Performance Max is a powerful tracking setup, clear target definition, and a campaign strategy that precisely allocates the advertising budget to specific goals.

In the near future, the subfield of generative AI is likely to become particularly interesting. Assets such as text, images and videos created using artificial intelligence can save a lot of time and open up new opportunities for some advertisers.

The most important innovations from Google’s Performance Max conference presented here in the video:

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