New Search Themes on Performance Max: Worth a Shot for B2B?

Google recently launched a beta with Performance Max campaigns that lets you use “search themes” as an audience signal. It makes it easier to guide Performance Max to serve on placements you may not be reaching and affords advertisers a little more control in using search inventory. 

It’s important to note that B2B advertisers don’t have to opt into Performance Max yet. When managing campaigns for B2B clients, we cast a critical eye on Performance Max in general because we don’t get great visibility into placements or targeting. Even though we’re feeding offline conversion data into the back end whenever possible to train the algorithm, the results aren’t consistent.

 

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What does the release of search themes mean for our clients? 

It could be significant if it’s effective at finding and isolating users within your specified themes (you can choose up to 25). Essentially, anything that will give advertisers more control over placements and search queries in Performance Max, in tandem with the campaign’s use of AI to find audiences based on users' search behavior, is welcome news. It will also allow advertisers to fill in the gaps by adding additional information you think will perform well that may not currently be on your landing page – or filling in information to target new audiences you suspect may pay off. 

With this in mind, here are some recommendations:

  1. Structure some tests. If PM is already working for some clients, try adding search themes to the mix and seeing how they work relative to the overall mix. If it’s not working for others, you could try a standalone test of themes relative to your other Google campaigns. Something to keep in mind here: if your goal is engaging net-new audiences, you may have to be willing to pay a bit higher CPA since users will have no previous awareness of your brand or product.
  2. Remember that search-inventory themes will have the same prioritization as any phrase or broad match keywords, showing the one with the highest ad rank. If you are overlapping targeting, I'd recommend keeping a very close eye on how your search campaigns perform post-launch. 

Overall, you can be pretty sure that more of these releases will be coming. Google is leaning hard into Performance Max and its AI as the campaign type of the future, so anything you can learn in a controllable environment now (using manual campaigns for comparison) will work to your advantage.

 


 

If you have any questions on our approach to Google campaigns for B2B, reach out and set up a chat!

 

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