< Browse all lead sources

Google Performance Max Lead Generation

Leverage Google's automation tools to increase your ROI. In this guide, learn how to maximise lead potential with Performance Max.

Get Started Free
Hero Image for Lead Generation

When it comes to lead generation, Google works perfectly for businesses.

Most people turn to the search engine to research products–looking for answers to their questions–influencing their purchase decision. Google answers all these queries using the latest technologies, nearly working as a large and public AI system.

It's no wonder that Google is visited more than 89 billion times a month. Naturally, it has the largest share (86%) of the search engine market. 

Google's ad campaigns provided a wide reach on each of its platforms. However, most of these focused on ad objectives and tangible ROI. The search engine giant has gradually moved to a more audience-centric strategy with Performance Max.

With Performance Max, you don't have to create individual campaigns for different platforms in the Google network. Instead, your campaign expands across this network, including YouTube, Gmail, Maps, Applications, Analytics, Display Network and even Android.

In this guide, we'll explain what a Performance Max campaign is and how you can make the most of it.

What is a Google Performance Max Campaign?

Performance Max allows you to run a single campaign across all your Google Ads inventory, including YouTube, Gmail, Search, Display, Maps and the Discover feed, whilst leveraging Google's automation tools to optimise your campaign.

The campaign is designed to help you find more converting customers, drive value, and acquire useful insights to optimise your performance. 

Google Performance Max Campaign Preview

‍All you have to do is upload a selection of different assets and then let Google's tools do the rest. Your creative assets will be rotated and optimised to find the best combination, helping you extract better value from your Google Ads budget.

How to use Google Performance Max for lead generation? 

If your Google Ads account is whitelisted for lead form extensions, these can be applied to your Google Performance Max campaigns, letting you collect leads natively in the ad unit.

You can sync these leads to Driftrock in real-time, which will then process and pass them into your CRM or the designated end point (such as a Google Sheet document or email alert). You can also use Driftrock to analyse and report on these leads with our dashboard tools.

If your account isn't whitelisted, you could direct people to a Driftrock lead generation landing page instead, allowing the user to easily enter their details.

Why explore Google Performance Max for lead generation?

Performance Max has proved to be a fruitful option for lead generation.

Testing by Google demonstrated a 22% increase in conversions, and a 20% reduction in overall cost per conversion, by switching to Google Performance Max.

But that's not all. Here are 8 more benefits of using this campaign.

  1. You can reach out to customers having a higher chance of conversion.
  2. You get to customise audience goals as per your preferences and customer data.
  3. Performance Max lets you serve audiences across channels, thus, helping you unlock new segments.
  4. You can strengthen targeting by leveraging audience signals with Google Search and web behaviour data. 
  5. You can understand which ads (including creatives, audience segments and platforms) work best for you within a single campaign. 
  6. Performance Max campaigns also provide rich insights, helping you optimise for higher ROI.
  7. You can use these insights to adapt your broader digital marketing and lead generation strategy, which is beneficial for the whole business.
  8. A lead generation campaign through Performance Max makes it easier for people to submit entries with lead forms, resulting in lower CPL.

How does Performance Max work? 

Google's Performance Max campaigns combine the platform's automation technology across all ad elements—bidding, budget optimisation, audience, creatives, attribution and more. It automates ad targeting and delivery based on your asset groups.

However, Performance Max doesn't completely eliminate the marketer's role in lead generation. You still need to be involved in creating and optimising the campaigns as per your requirements and ensuring quality leads pass through the sales funnel. 

At its core, Performance Max has 4 key elements. 

  1. Goals

Previously, Google Ads focused mainly on targeting the right audiences. But Performance Max flipped the narrative from 'targeting first, goal second' to 'goal first, targeting second'.

Essentially, your campaign goals lay the groundwork for your campaign.  

Google uses ad objectives and conversion goals to push your ad to the right audience at the right time. You can also choose which goals to optimise for each campaign. For instance, a certain campaign may focus on awareness while others need to generate leads.

  1. Assets

All your Performance Max campaigns are accompanied by assets such as creatives (images, videos), headlines, descriptions, logos and audience signals. You can submit them to Google in the 'Asset Groups' section.

The best part about them is that you don't need to create ads with individual creatives. Google mixes and matches the assets automatically into top-performing combinations. These combinations are selected based on the platforms on which your ad appears.

Each asset is, therefore, customised for the intended audience. 

You can find more information on assets and the requirements here.

  1. URL Expansion

URL expansion is a feature available within the asset group section. With this feature, you don't need to choose the landing page destination. Google decides which page is most relevant to a user's journey.

However, if you don't want to rely completely on automation, select the 'exclude URLs' option to avoid sending users to links you don't want them to land. For instance, your website's 'Products' section may be a relevant landing page but not the 'Blogs' section.

You also have the option to direct traffic only to the URLs you’ve provided.

Final URL Expansion
  1. Audience

Audience signals determine who should see your ads, depending on the assets you provide. Google uses audience signals as a starting point to reach the best audiences instead of narrowing it down to specific targeting (like in its former ad campaigns).

This feature improves the chances of your ad being visible to audiences with a higher purchase intent or conversion possibility.

The signals work better if you add your data–customer lists, analytics data and remarketing data—custom segments and suggestions to guide Google Ads targeting.

How do I create a Performance Max Campaign for lead generation?

There are 6 phases in setting up a Performance Max campaign for generating leads. They’re as below: 

  1. Campaign & Conversion Goals 

Start a ‘New Campaign’ from your campaigns tab and select the objective ‘Leads’.

Start a new Performance Max ad campaign

Set the conversion goal/action for your campaign. Since you're generating leads, you can choose the 'Submit lead form' option here and remove the other goals.

Adding conversion goals

Next, select the campaign type as 'Performance Max'. Name your campaign and continue.

Finalising the campaign type
  1. Budget & Bidding

Decide the budget and set up the bidding strategy. You can choose between 'Conversions' and 'Conversion Value'.

Enter budget for daily spend

For a lead generation campaign, it's best to maximise conversions rather than conversion value because you're not asking for a specific value; therefore, getting leads is easier.

Select the type of bidding

Leave the target cost per action open-ended in the initial stages of your campaign. Review it for 30 to 60 days and then set a number to it.

Set a target cost per action
  1. Campaign Settings

Start by choosing the location and language.

Choose the location
Choose the language

Next, select the 'Exclude URLs' option to avoid sending leads to irrelevant pages.

Exclude URLs to avoid sending leads to irrelevant landing pages
  1. Asset Groups

Name each asset group as per the audience you intend to serve.

Google recommends creating your asset groups based on sections or categories of the product/solution on your website.

Name the asset group

Add the:

  • Final URL
  • Images (either you can upload them or Google will scan your website and pull images)
  • Logos
  • Videos (either from your PC or YouTube)
Add assets to the campaign
  • Headlines and long headlines
Add up to 5 headlines
Add up to 5 long headlines
  • Description
Add descriptions
  • Call to action (CTA)
Choose from the CTA options
  • Business name, and
  • Display path.
Add display path

You can preview your ad before finalising it.

Check the ad preview
  1. Audience Signal

Audience signals help determine the right audience to target by telling Google who you think should be served with your ads.

Add audience signals

Create an audience signal. It shows Google the type of profile you want to target. Google will then serve your ads to this and similar profiles.

Add custom segments and customer data

Set up a custom segment. Enter the keywords you want to target under 'Google search terms'.

Enter keywords

In the interests and detailed demographics section, list your product or keywords for relevant segments (based on interests, life events and demographics).

Add interests and demographics
Check audience signals
  1. Extensions

Add extensions to show more information about your business. They include addresses, direct page links or additional websites.

This is also where you must add a lead form extension.

Add lead form extension

And that's how you can create a Performance Max campaign for one group. You can build multiple asset groups by duplicating your initial group.

Consider these Performance Max campaign structures for lead generation

Performance Max makes it easier and more intuitive to run lead generation ads. But there isn't a one-size-fits-all approach.

You need to structure your campaign to maximise your ROI.

  1. One campaign, several asset groups

This is fairly simple. As the name suggests, you can create one Performance Max campaign with multiple asset groups.

Each asset group targets a different audience signal. For instance, Asset Group 1 targets Location A while Asset Group 2 focuses on Remarketing.

  1. Only new clients campaign 

Google lets you bid only on new target audiences. You can use the option to target clients new to your business using broader audience signals.

This works best when you reinforce the Performance Max campaign with zero and first-party data.

Since the objective is specific to reaching new clients, your creative assets must be developed accordingly.

  1. Micro and macro campaigns 

These campaigns help you target multiple conversion goals to maximise conversions, capture leads and direct them through the sales funnel.

You can set campaign-level micro conversion goals along the buyer journey in a micro campaign. It encourages leads to take small steps such as 'download this guide'. Micro campaigns have a lower target return on ad spends (tROAS).

On the other hand, macro campaigns focus on primary conversion actions like 'contact us'. Since you'll target a narrower audience signal with macro campaigns, you'll experience a higher tROAS.

  1. Split audience campaign 

Split audience campaigns can be used when you're testing starkly different audiences. For instance, Audience 1 is into Yoga while Audience 2 is gym enthusiasts.

They help uncover insights on varied audience groups to show how they react to your ads. But they're effective only if there are barely any overlaps in the respective audience signals.

A split audience structure can also be used when your CPL is vastly different for different audiences.

Optimising Performance Max lead generation campaigns

Just running Performance Max campaigns isn't enough to generate high-quality leads. Here are some tips and strategies to optimise them effectively.

  1. Choose between ‘Maximise Conversions’ and ‘Maximise Conversion Value’
Choose between Maximise Conversions and Maximise Conversion Value

Go with the Maximise Conversions option when you must attract more leads. You can also switch to this option from a Maximise Conversion Value goal for an ongoing campaign if you have fewer leads and need to get more.

However, choose the Maximise Conversion Value option if your objectives demand that you attach value to your leads—to differentiate between high and low-value leads.

For example, Customer A has a value of $100 and a value bid of $2, whereas Customer B has a value of $250 and a value bid of $5.

  1. Use first-party data

Zero and first-party data are more reliable and accurate since they come directly from your customer. Upload this data to your Performance Max dashboard to reach a more relevant audience.

The more data you feed into Google's algorithm, the faster and better it can learn and deliver superior results.

However, it's important to take note of privacy and compliance requirements while using first-party data.

  1. Improve lead quality and relevance

You can improve the quality of your leads by weeding out irrelevant search terms. To do this, use a manual bidding strategy first and switch to smart bidding once you've identified the most relevant terms.

Another reason for poor lead quality is spam leads. Stop spam bots from submitting form entries by using an invisible reCAPTCHA with the Web to Lead Form feature.

Use an invisible reCAPTCHA

Source: Sugar CRM

One more way to ensure lead quality is to add more relevant fields to your form. Only highly interested leads will take the time to fill out a longer form with their details.

  1. Import offline conversions to your Google Ads account

Upload the data you have on previously converted leads to your Performance Max dashboard. This information teaches Google which leads are the right ones to pursue for your business.

  1. Find out which audience segments worked best

Instead of relying solely on Google's campaign automation, observe your campaigns and track what works or doesn't work.

Performance Max doesn't show any insights on performance for individual asset groups. So, to extract more granular information about each audience signal's performance, divide them into separate campaigns rather than separate asset groups. 

The final word

Connect the dots between your Performance Max campaigns and CRM data by integrating your systems with a lead generation and management tool. 

Driftrock ensures seamless and real-time exchange of information across your system. 

Also, with lead management software, you can check offline conversion data for leads generated with Performance Max and direct them back into the campaigns.

Integrate with all your favourite tools natively using Driftrock. Get started for free, or book a demo to learn more.

Related Article: 10 Google Lead Generation Ad Examples That Will Convert Like Crazy

Want to drive more leads from this and 20+ other lead sources? Book a demo.

Start generating more leads and sales today.

Native integrations with all your favourite tools

Driftrock's integrations push lead data, pull audience records & pull conversion data.

Microsoft Dynamics logo