Google Shares More In-Depth Insights About Audience Signals in Performance Max Campaigns

Google has shared additional information on how advertisers can help guide their newest Google Ads campaign type, Performance Max. A Google spokesperson gave Search Engine Land additional clarification on “audience signals,” one of the levers advertisers can use when setting up these types of highly automated campaigns.

The audience signal like a nudge. Last week, Ginny Marvin, Google Ads Product Liaison, indicated that Audience Signals are used to “start” Peak Performance campaigns only.

Google, however, added additional context on how audience signals can impact early campaign performance. “Including them early in the campaign lifecycle can be useful to help jump-start performance, but they will also continue to inform our systems throughout the campaign lifecycle, especially as first-party data part, in particular, are updated,” the company said.

So not only can this audience signal help kick-start campaigns, but it will also inform throughout the life cycle in the countryside. Additionally, these signals can help inform systems over time.

Of course, these audience signals are different from traditional audiences in Google Ads. Performance Max will expand beyond the audience signals provided and, by nature, there is no way to limit this expansion.


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How to manage multiple audience signals, multiple campaigns and groups. Knowing that audience signals are used as a directional aid, we asked for clarification on when additional campaigns should be created. For example, would it be beneficial to duplicate the campaigns and simply change the audience signal in each to see if any of them helped start faster? “Advertisers should create a campaign if they are using the same targeting and the same assets…you can associate audiences with resources and asset groups, and you can create multiple such groups in a campaign,” said said Google. They added that multiple groups in a campaign will “help consolidate learnings and give ML more data to work with.”

If you’re worried about too many audience signals confusing your Performance Max campaigns, fear not. Google stated that “ML will also be able to quickly determine which audience signals you provide are most predictive of conversions at your target CPA/ROAS.”

What happens if an audience signal is switched? Knowing that audience signals are used early in the campaign lifecycle to help get started, there have been industry discussions about what would happen if a signal was changed in an active Performance Max campaign. According to Google, advertisers are encouraged to make signal changes, but “existing learnings will continue to be considered.”

This means that changing an audience signal will not reset the learnings to zero, but rather take another set of data into consideration with the existing campaign learnings.

Why we care. Outside of assets and conversion inputs, audience signals are one of the most notable ways advertisers can “drive” automation.

Audience signals will help boost performance and will also be used to continue informing systems throughout the campaign lifecycle. If Performance Max campaigns are underperforming, modifying these signals can help better inform campaigns (especially with first-party data).

If you’ve chosen a faulty or inaccurate audience signal and a campaign isn’t performing well, simply changing the signal won’t be a hard reset. Machine learning in a Performance Max campaign will always take previous learning into account, even after the audience signal changes.


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About the Author

Greg Finn is the Director of Marketing for North Cypress, a company that provides world-class social media and search marketing services as well as website and app development. He has worked in the internet marketing industry for over 10 years and specializes in digital marketing. You can also find Greg on Twitter (@gregfinn) or LinkedIn.

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