Some advertising trends come and go, but one has held steady since its debut: PPC advertising. If you're new to the PPC scene or just wondering how to amp up your paid search results via Google Performance Max, we've got the insights you need. Straight from our media agency to your creative team, here's the inside scoop on how to boost your paid advertising results and take advantage of all that the new features the Google Ads platform has to offer.

PPC Advertising Basics: How It Works + Why It Matters in 2024

Every time shoppers search the internet, an instant bidding war takes place behind the scenes. Companies want target customers to see their ads, and customers want to find quick solutions to their problems. The digital space where those two goals meet is PPC advertising.

PPC, or pay-per-click, advertising is a time-tested method of internet marketing that lets brands buy targeted web visits. Driving customers to your website and social channels through SEO and organic search is still the top traffic driver of any digital sales strategy, but coupling those unpaid efforts with paid search opportunities can lead to faster, more effective results – and we have the stats to prove it.

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Here's how PPC advertising works: Brands (or media agencies) create highly targeted ads and then pay for each consumer click that ad receives. PPC ads often appear above or next to organic search results on popular search engines like Google because they use competitive keywords – the same keywords that a brand's intended audience would use as they search for products or services. Online shoppers see the ads, visit the website or social media channel, and make a purchase.

How Does Google Performance Max Figure In?

Google Ads hit the marketing scene in October 2000, and since then it has grown into the world's largest and most illustrious PPC advertising platform. Outpacing fierce competitors like Facebook Ads Manager and Microsoft Advertising, brands trust Google Ads resources to launch campaigns, promote new products, and scale their businesses.

In November 2021, Google introduced Performance Max, and PPC advertising became even more targeted than ever before. But these changes happened three years ago…so why are we discussing them now? Because many brands are still sleeping on Performance Max's capabilities, and we don't want you to be one of them.

Google has already reported incredible PMax success stories: Rothy's saw a 60% increase in conversions and a 59% increase in revenue thanks to Performance Max insights, and ManyPets experienced a 27% increase in sales and double their return on ad spend. In fact, businesses that use Google Ads can already earn an average of $8 for every $1 they spend in PPC advertising, so imagine how much higher that ROI could be if your company leveraged Performance Max.

Google Performance Max: Your Brand's Not-So-Secret Weapon

Even though Google Performance Max – or PMax, as it's affectionately known in the marketing arena – rolled out in 2021, it's still a relatively new offering. This new ad technology utilizes AI to optimize paid search conversions across all its channels. If that sentence makes it sound like Google Performance Max is some type of advertising sorcery, then good, because it very nearly is. PMax brings multiple undeniable benefits to the table:
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Yes, you read benefit #5 correctly: PMax allows brands to buy ads across all of Google’s ad spaces, including YouTube, Gmail and Maps, from a single campaign. It also serves as the next generation of Google’s earlier SmartShopping and Local campaigns.

Designed to optimize conversions, PMax also uses Smart Bidding, an AI-based technology, to enhance campaign performance across channels in real time. It’s a goal-based campaign type, so it’s ideal for brands that have a specific advertising objective in mind, such as a CPA or ROAS target. This new Google Ads technology also offers more robust reporting that can give you richer insights into your audience and ad performance, and its use of AI technologies can better predict which ads will perform best on which channels.

How to Develop a High-Performing PMax Campaign

It's one thing to learn about PMax and its PPC advertising capabilities, but it's a whole other beast trying to implement those lessons and leverage the results for yourself. Whether you go it alone or partner with a media agency like (amp) for support, you'll need to follow these key factors to develop a solid PPC advertising campaign, maximize your PMax campaign results, and see up to 18% more conversions at a similar cost per action:

  • Leverage your most relevant short- and long-tail keywords in ad content
  • Expand your PPC budget to maximize your reach and campaign results
  • Revamp your bidding strategy, choosing the most appropriate method for your target CPA and target ROAS
  • Use PMax only for conversion campaigns, and choose a conversion goal that truly matters to your brand
  • Create an audience signal so Google will extend your ad to those most likely to convert
  • Include at least one video in your campaign
  • Maximize the variety of your creative to optimize engagement
  • Utilize the “search categories” and “audience segments” sections on the Insights tab to gauge which portions of your campaign are
  • performing the best
  • Pay attention to your campaign's Quality Score: The higher your score, the more relevant and useful your ads are to consumers

Trust (amp) to Revamp Your PMax Campaign Now more than ever, consumers are moving directly from an online search to making a purchase online, so making sure your brand ranks high on your target search result pages is vital to getting those conversions. Leveraging PMax capabilities can help brands get found more easily and unlock new consumer segments, but anytime your brand is trying out a new campaign type or Google service, the ins-and-outs can be tricky to navigate on your own.

The media experts at (amp) have years of experience crafting and optimizing winning paid search and digital advertising campaigns for clients at the local, regional and national level. With our “always on, always optimizing philosophy,” you can be sure you’re getting the most out of every media dollar. Explore all our capabilities on our website, then tell us how an (amp) partnership could help your brand turn Google PMax insights into an effective media strategy.