Frederick Vallaeys (Optmyzer) on PPC and the Pros and Cons of Performance Max

A conversation with PPC expert Frederick Vallaeys from Optmyzer about the current state (and future) of PPC advertising and what he thinks the positive and negative aspects of Performance Max.

Automation now handles a lot of efforts within PPC: a development that Frederick Vallaeys, co-founder and CEO of Optmyzer describes as the biggest shift in PPC in the last 20 years. The automated Performance Max campaigns that Google will soon introduce are part of this movement. A conversation about PPC and Performance Max.

In your book ‘Unlevel the playing field’ you tell about great developments in PPC. Can you briefly tell us about the concept you describe in your book?

“Right now we are witnessing the greatest change of mind in PPC over the last twenty years. We are used to keeping track of all the details: managing bids, ad texts, searches, etc. to get more conversions from our campaigns. But today, automation handles most of these details, so our role shifts to managing these details at a higher level within the framework of the advertising systems. For example, it’s more about optimizing structured data, setting the right goals and providing feedback to the system through better value reporting, with conversion tracking and with offline conversion data. ”

What about that automation?

“Another important element of PPC today is truly automation. In my first book, Digital marketing in an AI world, I wrote that people should play the role of doctor, pilot and teacher to get the most out of automated PPC. However, some of these roles can be very time consuming. Simple automations, such as the use of scripts and PPC tools, can save a lot of time while still monitoring Google’s sophisticated machine learning algorithms for best results.

Do not forget that Google machine learning can only optimize based on factors it knows. Advertisers need to improve their performance by adding signals that are critical to their business and that Google may not be aware of. For example, do your customers currently book luxury hotel rooms when the stock market is doing well? This may mean that you have to adjust your reporting to price fluctuations. ”

Google recently introduced Performance Max campaigns as their latest type of campaign in Google Ads. Basically, you can have a single campaign to help you manage your ad, targeting, channels, placements, budget, and campaign goals. What do you think of this new type of campaign?

“It’s another way for Google to give advertisers more automation. The concept of the campaigns is well thought out and it makes advertising very easy. I hear most positive things from people who have experience with it. The disadvantage of this type of campaign is the portfolio management of The goal is to maximize conversions while staying within the limits of tCPA or tROAS, but since this is the average of all things combined, underperforming ads can be subsidized by high-performing ads. This casts a shadow over the optimization options hidden behind a smokescreen of automatic bidding. I just want to know that a particular segment is underperforming so I can tackle the root cause. “

What is your own experience with Performance Max? What do you experience as positive and negative?

The extra reach of using all the different placements and channels drives the incrementality of most advertisers. The lack of control and insight makes it difficult to learn from campaign effectiveness to optimize your account. A broader disadvantage of Google Ads automation is that underperforming Targeting options can be solved by bidding lower Assume your performance is lower in Paris, Google Ads will bid lower in Paris But the question then remains: why does Paris underperform? Only when you understand it do you have what you need for to adjust your proposal for Paris. “

Other things you have noticed?

“I like the concept of ads that automatically on the road is made very interesting. In our recent RSA survey, we saw a huge boost – a doubling – in impressions for ad groups using RSAs. And while conversion rates are about 11% lower, automatic ads generate more conversions at the end of the day. But I’m not a big fan of Ad Strength right now. It is a best practicescore based on what everyone else has done, rather than your own specific situation.

For example, if you work in Nike’s marketing department and you write “Nike – Just Do It” in your ad text, the ad strength may say, “The ad strength of this ad is poor because the term ‘sneakers’ is not in the text.’ It’s also not a performance-based result, so when this new coverage line delivers great results, it may still suggest that you change the headline. I think ad strength will become more useful over time, but so far Advanced advertisers probably ignore it. “

Should an advertiser start testing this? If so, how should you approach this?

“Absolutely! Especially if you run Smart Shopping campaigns or local campaigns, Google will soon upgrade these types of campaigns to Performance Max campaigns. But even if you do not run such campaigns, it is important to test it. You can get interesting insights from the audience data in Performance Max and add these audiences to your regular shopping, search and display campaigns, and it’s important to build knowledge about the right approach to your specific account and how to integrate Performance Max into your Google Ads strategy. products you have, you should decide to create one or more Performance Max campaigns. Especially if these products have different margins and therefore different ROAS goals, it is important to divide the products into several campaigns. “

Performance Max has less reporting data, fewer manual optimization options, and first-party data seems to level the playing field. How do you think this will affect the entire PPC advertising ecosystem?

“With all the automation, you still need to know the capabilities of Google Ads. In the House teams and agencies need to create the right creative materials and translate business goals into campaign goals. It also becomes even more important to feed Google Ads with the right business data, in order to optimize the campaigns for your specific situation instead of on generic factors. ”

Suppose I have just graduated and would like to start a career in PPC advertising, where do I start?

One piece of advice: You have completed training in an area with a lot of automation. So do not forget the basics of Google Ads, such as how a ROAS target can use predictive algorithms to calculate the CPC used in the bid to rank ads. Knowing how it works will help you understand how an event in your business, such as a weekend sale, can affect performance and know which buttons to press to get the best results in that scenario. “

You spoke at Friends of Search in Amsterdam and Brussels. What have you been talking about?

“About what I talked about earlier: the biggest change of heart in PPC in the last twenty years. About what modern PPC management will look like: not about keywords or how to bid, but about how to set goals and use business data for your I also shared insights into the third round of RSA investigations we completed last month, just in time for the upcoming migration from ETAs to RSAs at Google and Microsoft. “

Why did you come to Friends of Search?

“Holland is a great market for us as a company and I always look forward to meeting customers and learning about their latest challenges. Personal interactions always lead to interesting ideas for new PPC management tools that can make the lives of advertisers easier. The Netherlands is also very advanced in PPC advertising, making feedback even more valuable. My visit to Belgium is especially nice because I am a Flemish. After my visit, I will therefore take the opportunity to visit my grandmother. ”

About the author: Martijn Beumer is a co-founder of Producthero.

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