Following her talk at this year’s Brighton SEO, Freelance Consultant Cathryn Stormont. shares her top 5 tips on how to make a success of Performance Max for lead generation.

Performance max for lead generation

There are many success stories telling how Performance Max campaigns have helped ecommerce businesses drive sales, especially from Google shopping. For lead generation it can be a completely different story and a real struggle to get working. Driving lead quality and keeping that momentum are just a few of the challenges. These campaigns have a habit of generating several leads one minute and grinding to a halt the next.. The quality of leads can also be particularly poor. This can generate a lot of personal data that companies find hard to deal with.

Why is Performance Max for lead generation more of a challenge than for ecommerce?

The answer is actually fairly simple. As for ecommerce you already have the end conversion point, Google already knows the core objective of the campaign. That means it can strive to achieve your goals. With lead generation, however, your conversion point is set to the start of the process. Your ‘lead’ conversion is just a form fill or a phone call enquiry. Google doesn’t know whether that enquiry turned into a qualified lead; whether you had a meeting from that conversation ,or whether it evolved into an eventual sale.

To make Performance Max for lead generation work it is vital to instruct Google on the outcome. If you don’t it will simply seek to bring in as many submissions as possible – regardless of the quality.

How to make Performance Max for lead generation work:

  1. Link your CRM systems with Google Ads
    The first step in telling Google the outcome of your leads is to add your qualified leads as conversion points. In your conversion tracking you have the option to automatically import data from CRM systems such as Hubspot and Salesforce. Once your CRM is passing information to Google Ads, you can set your qualified leads as the primary conversion point. It is those qualified lead conversions that form part of the Performance Max bid management process. The first enquiry stage could be more of an observational conversion. You should make sure to pass through enough qualified leads to gather sufficient data for bid management to be effective.
  2. Use Cross-Campaign Optimization
    Cross campaign optimization in this instance is where you make use of data from other successful marketing campaigns. This will allow you to optimise your campaigns more effectively. It is especially useful where data is limited – such as in Performance Max campaigns. 

    An example of this would be to use your successful conversion keywords in your Google Search campaigns. Importing these into Performance Max as an asset signal increases the chance of Google understanding what search terms work. It will help your ads to be shown across more of Google’s network for these converting terms. 

    Finally, think beyond paid advertising and talk to the wider sales and marketing teams. They may have some persona studies or campaign success stories that will really benefit you in your Performance Max targeting. It is important to enlist those in the business with a stronger understanding of certain areas, such as the Sales team. They will understand what product or service features people are responding to, which will help you to start crafting compelling creative.
  3. Create the Right Campaign Structure
    Creating the right campaign structure is key to Performance Max for lead generation success. If you put all your assets in one asset group with little or no assets signals it is likely to be limiting your performance. Firstly, we recommend a campaign for each product or service. This gives you much more budget control, especially if you have demanding sales teams that wants to push certain products at specific times of the year. It allows you to easily see which products are not working and make adjustments.

    For an asset group structure a great approach is to set asset groups by customer personas. Even if there are no established personas in the business then targeting by some sort of customer profiling would be beneficial. 

    By creating asset groups by persona you can really be creative with audience signals, based on the interests and behaviour established by that persona. Take, as an example in which you are marketing coworking spaces. One of your personas is Mark, a freelance copywriter who regularly works in a cafe and who needs more collaboration and space to work. You can create an affinity audience signal around regular cafe visitors, combined with some self employment in market audiences. Your asset group messaging can then be targeted directly to that persona with specific messages, video and images around the size of the coworking space and the community feel. 

    Having a more persona-led approach in asset groups will provide Google with clarity on who are the types of people you are looking for. It is important, however, to note that asset signals are just signals and not ad group targeting. Google can still put your ads outside of your asset group recommendations.
  4. Add First Party Data 
    Any level of business interaction added as an asset signal shows Google who is interested in your products or services. It is far better than any premade targeting options. If you have a list of high value leads or customers in your CRM system it is recommended to add them. You should also make sure to employ any existing remarketing lists, as these shows people who have a warm level of interaction with your website. If you have email campaigns, link your email system with Google Ads or export contacts that have opened or clicked on emails for each product (as long as doing so remains compliant with privacy regulations.)
  5. Exclude poor performers
    You don’t have the same level of control with Performance Max campaigns as search, due to the machine learning nature of the campaign. However you can tell Google where not to show your ads to limit wasted spend and improve your chance of conversion.  

    Google is releasing more and more data to users to dispel the myth of its machine learning campaigns. Therefore there is more keyword and placement data available now in your insights reports. Make sure you’re excluding your keywords and placements where you don’t want your ads to be shown at the account level. 

    You should now have an idea of how and why Performance max for lead generation could work for you. By applying some of these optimisation strategies you will find the quality of your lead conversions is likely to improve overtime. Especially as Google now has an indication of what objective you are looking for from the campaign. You are no longer just following Google’s step by step process to generate a Performance Max campaign, hitting publish and hoping for the best.