Using Audience Signals in Google Performance Max to Maximize Sales


Maximize Google Performance Max Sales Using Audience Signals

If you struggle to get excellent and consistent results from your Google Performance Max PPC campaigns, you aren’t alone. Luckily, audience signals are a powerful tool for enhancing PMax campaigns and maximizing sales. This article provides insights on using these signals to improve your campaigns.

About Google PMax Campaigns

Performance Max (PMax) is a goal-based campaign that allows advertisers to access the entire Google ads inventory from a single campaign. It is a powerful tool that complements keyword-based campaigns to boost conversions in Google’s channels like Display and Search, YouTube, Gmail, Discover, Maps, etc.

According to Google, Performance Max campaign advertisers see a 12 percent increase in conversion value and better return-on-ad-spend (ROAS) than Smart Shopping Campaigns.

What are Audience Signals and their Role in Performance Max?

Audience signals are a feature that helps advertisers tell Google who they want to target with their ads. They act like a navigation feature that ensures your PMax campaigns reach your target audience (people likely to convert). Audience signals include information like age, gender, location, browsing history, and search keywords.

These signals offer a great way to kick start a new PMax campaign and provide valuable insights for improving conversion rates and boosting sales. However, it’s essential to understand that these signals aren’t fixed targets but only helpful suggestions that guide Google in the right direction. PMax may still show your ads to relevant audiences outside your signals, which it deems will likely convert.

Benefits of using audience signals in PMax include:

  • More accurate and Effective targeting: Audience signals allow you to create asset groups and matching content to help Google identify your target audience for more precise ad targeting.
  • Better budget allocation: Audience signals let you prioritize high-intent users in your ad strategy. This translates to fewer clicks from curious browsers and more conversions from sales-ready customers.
  • Ad automation and optimization: PMax automatically optimizes ad delivery and performance. This helps save time, giving advertisers more time for other marketing strategies.
  • Testing: Audience signals allow you to A/B test and experiment with different signals to identify the most effective ones according to your specific goals.

How to Structure Audience Signals for Performance Max

When adding audience signals into your PMax strategy, don’t add all your signals in one asset group. While this is what Google recommends, it’s important to understand that Google doesn’t provide direct information about what audiences are performing well. Google relies on the asset group details and group metrics to tell advertisers about the group assets that are doing well.

Thus, the best way around this is to create multiple asset groups, each representing a specific audience signal. This way, you will have more control over your campaigns and be able to evaluate performance for each signal. This can be helpful, especially when dealing with a large product catalog for an e-commerce, as it allows you to optimize campaigns for each product audience segment effectively.

Knowing your audience is the first step to adding the right audience signal to your asset group. Here are three ways to achieve that:

  • Group your audience in custom segments and create keyword lists
  • Use your first data (converters & non-converters)
  • Demographic and interest-based targeting

Let’s now look at each of them in detail.

Group Your Audience in Custom Segments and Create Keyword List

Recent online activities offer advertisers a great way to segment their audience and offer them more targeted ads. For example, you can segment your audience based on the websites they visit, searches done, apps downloaded, and more.

A crucial factor to remember when segmenting your customers is to enter the keywords that match their needs and interests. Doing this allows you to target your audience without incurring extra costs to appear higher on search results.

Here are valuable tips to help create customer segments and keyword lists:

Use keywords based on people’s interests

Ensure you target keywords related to your target audience for better advertising results.

For example, assuming you are targeting people who need content writing services. To create a well-targeted approach, you will want to target not only keywords related to content marketing but also those related to SEO and digital marketing in general.

By targeting keywords like SEO, backlinking, voice search, mobile optimization, and more, you have better chances of reaching people struggling to get results in their digital marketing efforts, not just content marketing. Remember, users who need content services might also need banklinking, social media marketing, and SEO services.

Targeting interest-based keywords will help you anticipate your audiences’ needs and present your products or services as a potential solution to their problems. It allows you to connect with potential customers and increases your chances of converting them to paying customers.

Tell Google about your competitors

Another way you can let Google know about your target is by directing it to your real competitors. The competitor you target should have a similar product to yours in terms of advertising budget and scale.

For better results, you can direct Google to a specific page on your competitor’s website instead of the entire website. 

Upload Your Data

Your first data consists of people who have engaged with your website and can help create your customer match list. This list can help Google identify other potential customers for your products or services.

When adding your data to the audience signals, consider two categories of people: People who have converted and those who haven’t.

Adding people who didn’t convert to audience signals

People who have shown interest in your website but are yet to convert are valuable assets for your PMax campaigns. If the source of these users is reliable and you know they are likely to purchase, it is best to include them in your marketing data. However, only provide Google with data about customers more likely to convert.

Adding people who did convert to audience signals

Adding data about customers who have purchased from you is an excellent way to let Google know about your ideal customers. Google will then use this information to identify and target new audiences related to your current customers. This can result in high-quality leads that will convert.

If you have run Google ads before, you have a lot of data to add to your audience signals. However, this strategy won’t work for businesses with no list of past buyers. It’s also crucial to ensure that the data you send to Google matches the product you advertise in the PMax campaign. Remember, you won’t achieve the best results if the audience isn’t relevant with your current campaign.

Adding Interests and Demographics

You can also segment your customers into segments that best describe them, such as age, gender, marital status, income, websites they are interested in, and many more. But be as specific as possible when segmenting your customers to provide Google with accurate information and achieve success with your marketing campaigns. The best way to segment your customers depends on your product or service and target audience.

For example, you can segment your audience based on demographics like age, gender, marital status, household income, and more, or target them during vital milestones like weddings, anniversaries, or other events that present unique opportunities.

Finally, you can target audiences based on their interests, passions, habits, or recent purchase intent.

Best Practices to Using Audience Signals for PMax Campaigns

Segmenting your audience and adding audience signals will help enhance your Performance Max campaigns for better targeting and performance. Here are some best practices to follow:

Define Your Target Audience

Before creating audiences, clearly define your ideal customer persona. Consider factors such as demographics, interests, behaviors, purchase intent, etc., to ensure you create relevant audience segments for your campaigns.

Take Advantage of Google’s Audience Signals

The following Google audience signals can help enhance your Performance Max campaigns:

  • Customer match: Upload your first-party data (email lists, phone numbers, etc.) to create audiences of existing customers or prospects
  • Detailed demographics: Target audiences based on age, gender, parental status, household income, and more
  • Interests and behaviors: Reach people based on their interests, purchase intentions, and online behavior
  • Life events: Target audiences experiencing major life events like moving, getting married, having a baby, or wedding anniversaries

Combine Audience Signals

Use a combination of audience signals to create highly targeted and relevant audiences. For example, you can target people who match specific interests, demographics, and purchase behaviors for a more impactful campaign.

Utilize Remarketing Audiences

Create remarketing lists to target users who have previously interacted with your website, mobile app, or YouTube channel. This allows you to re-engage with potential customers who have already shown interest in your products or services.

Exclude Irrelevant Audiences

Use audience exclusions to prevent your ads from showing to audiences unlikely to convert. This helps optimize your ad spend and improve campaign efficiency.

Regularly Review and Refine Audiences

Monitor the performance of your audience segments and adjust them accordingly. Remove underperforming audiences and test new ones to improve your targeting.

Consider Audience Overlap

When creating multiple audience segments, it is best to consider audience overlap. Ensure your audiences are distinct enough to avoid redundant targeting and ad spend waste.

Test and Iterate

Continuously test and iterate your audience strategies. Performance Max campaigns provide insights into audience performance, allowing you to make data-driven decisions and optimize your targeting.

Respect User Privacy

Ensure your audience targeting practices comply with privacy regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). Obtain necessary consent and provide transparency about data collection and usage.



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