Google anticipates a busy holiday season in 2011. Google has just announced three new Performance Max features that will help advertisers plan effective campaigns and customize their asset strategy. They also offer a way to evaluate your results.

The Performance Planner

The new Performance Planner is available to advertisers to help them create campaign plans, understand how to invest their budgets, and maximize ROI. All advertisers will soon be able to access the new planner.

Planner features. The Performance Planner allows advertisers to project how their campaigns will perform in the future and what could happen if certain elements, such as bidding strategies, are implemented.

Customizing your asset strategy

Asset group scheduling. This month, asset group scheduling was launched. You can now add automated rules to schedule asset groups. They can be paused or enabled as needed. You can schedule ads to run at specific times of day or create and run different asset group ahead of time.

You can use more headlines to communicate your message. Your Performance Max asset groups can now hold up to 15 headlines. Google claims that adding more headlines to your Performance Max asset groups will increase the number of headlines you can upload. This is because machine learning allows you to create and test more combinations to find the most effective variations.

Evaluation of results

Performance explanations. These explanations help you to identify the causes of performance fluctuations, diagnose problems, and make recommendations. These explanations panels are available for all Performance max campaigns.

First-party audience insights. While a cookieless future is likely, it doesn’t mean that accurate targeting will cease. You can now add your data segments to your Performance max campaigns as audience signals. In the Insights page, your data segments will be added as audience insights over the next few weeks. These insights can help you understand the value and convert potential customers.

Dig deeper. Google has published the announcement here.

Best practices. These are the best practices that Google suggests to help you plan your holiday campaigns.

  1. To maximize your visibility to consumers shopping during peak holiday periods, adjust your Performance Max campaign budgets.
  2. If you are planning on a sale, promotion, or other event that could lead to drastic changes in conversion rates and values, you might consider seasonality adjustments. Seasonality adjustments should be used only for short, frequent events that are likely to result in a significant, but temporary, change (e.g. Greater than 30% that will last for less than 7 days
  3. You can create a separate Performance Max campaign to promote certain products. If you only want to highlight holiday creative assets, you can create an asset group for them in your existing Performance Max campaigns. You can also pause your evergreen asset categories if necessary.

Why we care. Performance Max advertisers may be able to optimize, measure, or take advantage of the new features. To get the best performance from Performance max, it is important to test these new features before the holiday season.

Concerning Google’s best practices: I am skeptical of their recommendation to wait “a few days prior to peak holiday periods” before making such drastic changes. Google, get real.

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