Marketing Automation

5 things to know about transitioning from Smart Shopping to Performance Max

  • Aanchal Agrawal
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  • 6 June , 2022
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    • 5 min read

Brands who advertise on Google will now have a campaign type that allows them to access the entire Google Ads inventory for a single campaign. 

Google announced late last year that Performance Max will replace Smart Shopping and Local campaigns in the later half of 2022.

This announcement was parallel to Google introducing this new service in November 2021 as a beta launch to allow brands to get a good grip of it without disrupting their existing campaigns. 

Marketers overall welcomed the new experience and will rely only on Performance Max to run their ad campaigns, replacing the tried-and-tested Smart Shopping.

But, what is Performance Max and what impact does it have for brands? Do also check out our D2C Centre of Excellence, D2Scale for more info.

About Performance Max Campaigns

The easiest way to describe what Performance Max is this: It’s like Smart Shopping but with greater access to Google Inventory across all channels. 

Earlier, brands that used Smart Shopping had to create separate campaigns and creatives to advertise across Search, YouTube, Display Network, and Gmail. However, with the introduction of this new service brands no longer need to put in as much effort to advertise across the board.

Performance Max campaigns extend Smart Shopping’s capability by enabling brands to also access Google’s Discover Feed and Maps, in addition to the aforementioned assets, in one single campaign. So, Google has created this new service to simplify a brand’s efforts to reach their target audience.

So, what kind of impact can brands expect to have using Performance Max? Let us look at some of the benefits of Performance Max.

    1. New Audiences

Performance Max allows brands to personalise their campaign goals that will better help their conversion numbers. This campaign type enables brands to interact with customers across a wider variety of Google channels, as mentioned earlier.  

This would allow them to leverage Google’s AI capabilities towards understanding consumer behaviour, which could help them unlock new audiences. 

    2. Improved performance

This is an extension of the previous benefit as Performance Max takes data into consideration while targeting the right audience. This could help push the audience further down the funnel into conversion. Thanks to its AI capabilities, Performance Max can make accurate predictions for brands regarding which ads resonate with their target audience.

    3. Better Insights

Performance Max insights give brands a better understanding of how their campaigns are being handled by the Google algorithm. Insights on audience segments, their reaction towards the creatives/images, video marketing, and more allows brands to further optimise their current and subsequent campaigns. 

It is integrated with GA4’s Insights Page, thereby giving companies the clarity on what is trending to ensure the campaigns are freshened up as and when required.

    4. Budget optimisation

When brands use Performance Max, it optimises their budget across the different channels the campaign is live on. 

Based on the specific goals and conversion metrics that brands input, Google’s machine learning capabilities will accordingly optimise the campaigns to help achieve the goals more efficiently.  

    5. Simplified campaign management 

Performance Max makes life simpler for brands since it enables launching multiple ads across the Google inventory without having to create different campaigns. Google says this helps boost ad performance without having to input multiple goals and criteria. This reduces time and stress for the campaign owner, since they don’t have to regularly tweak the multiple ads in a campaign thanks to its marketing automation.  

Best Practises

Brands need to conduct a few hygiene checks to extract the most out of their Performance Max campaigns. Some of the guidelines include:

    1) Choose the right conversion goals

Brands should select the right goals in their performance max campaign to better define what success means to them. If it is acquiring new customers then brands can easily define that by choosing the particular option in the Tools and Settings tab. 

Picking the right conversion goals helps better optimise campaigns at a faster rate and more importantly find new audiences.

    2) Choose the right budget and bid strategy

While Google Machine Learning will help optimise a brand’s campaign budget, brands should look at choosing the right strategy that will go a long way towards achieving those goals. 

Google uses Smart Bidding to optimise a brand’s conversion in real time, which allows their campaigns to improve conversions, conversion values, CPA and ROAS. 

    3) Optimise the creative Asset Group

When brands add creative assets to their different assets groups, Performance Max will automatically categorise them according to themes. These assets will then accordingly be allocated to different channels based on the relevant theme of the asset. 

This ensures a brand’s ads are more meaningful to their relevant audience, which could help drive conversions or any other specific campaign goal.

The trick is to add as many iterations of the assets as possible to your group. This is because the more assets are available, Performance Max can create more ads across the different channels. 

Check out Google’s full list of best practices for a Performance Max campaign.

42% increase in sales for a B2C brand - A Case Study

Social Beat deployed Performance Max for a D2C client, which is an online marketplace that wanted to scale up their order numbers outside of the search network. The approach for this goal was simple:

Audience Signals: The strategy was all about targeting the right lower funnel audience signals such as Remarketing lists, Converters, Similar to Converters, Add2cart Audience, Customer Match Audiences and Custom Intent. 

Budget and Bid Strategy: We learnt from Google’s Machine Learning insights and accordingly used the maximise conversions bidding strategy to increase the conversion signals

Features: We used URL expansion to redirect users to the most relevant landing page, which improved CTR and reach

Asset Groups: We created theme-based asset groups based on offers (medicine, healthcare, Christmas, New Year) and products (covid essentials, immunity boosters, sanitizers). 

Creatives Optimisation: We then refreshed the assets based on their performance that allowed the asset to maintain its strength.

On the back of the above strategy, this D2C brand experienced tangible positive results such as:

  • 42% Increase in sales
  • 29% Lower Cost per sale
  • 20% Increase in ROI

Brands will have to embrace the fact that Performance Max campaigns are going to be the new normal in the world of programmatic advertising. It will be quite the paradigm shift from the campaign types that brands are currently using.

However, there is no reason for brands to fear since this new offering has so many benefits that will help them rise to the impossible. Google takes the tried and tested Smart Shopping’s formula and multiplies the capabilities in Performance Max to ensure that brands get the best out of their campaigns; all this while reducing time and efforts.

So, while some brands might fear that automation would translate to lesser control, Google’s Machine Learning module is intelligent enough to work alongside them, not against.

A Complete Guide To IP Warming

  • Lalitha Shukla
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  • 2 March , 2022
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    • 4 min read

A good email marketing strategy can help retain customers and engage with them in a productive way. However, a prerequisite to building an email marketing strategy is building a credible reputation for the IP address that will be used to send the emails out. Have you noticed that a huge chunk of emails that are delivered to you end up in your junk or spam folder while some make it to your inbox? The reason why those emails land up in your spam folder is because of a bad IP reputation. 

In today’s day and age when data privacy is so important, brands across the world are taking measures to ensure that they don’t spam their customers and if you are a brand that is new to email marketing, you need to ensure the same. IP warming is a very important activity that every brand new to email marketing must undertake to increase their email deliverability and customer engagement. Sending large volumes of emails to your subscribers without establishing a good reputation with Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will hamper your chances of reaching your customers. 

Do you need it?

Whether you need to warm your IP address depends on two key factors-

The volume of Emails - If you are sending less than 10,000 emails a month, then you may not require an IP warming exercise. ISPs usually target brands that send large volumes of emails every month to their customers. However, it is a good practice to warm up your IP address even if the volumes are low as it helps build credibility for your business. 

Dedicated IP Address - IP warming is required only if a brand is using a dedicated IP address. There are tools in the market that send emails via shared IP addresses and in those cases, brands don’t need to warm the IP address up. It is advisable for brands who send large email volumes to get their own IP address as the reputation depends solely on them. Using shared IPs can prove to be detrimental depending on the previous campaigns and reputation of the IP.

What is IP Warmup?

IP Warmup or IP Warming is the process of establishing credibility for a new IP Address or an IP that hasn’t been used in a while. The process includes sending emails from the new IP Address linked to the email account in small volumes and gradually increasing the number of emails each day or week depending on the schedule. The idea is to build credibility amongst ISPs ( Internet Service Providers) and ensure that the email is getting delivered to the subscribers’ inboxes.

Data shows that most connections from new IP addresses are attempts to deliver unsolicited spam or unwanted email. It’s important to build history when sending from a new IP Address to avoid landing in the SPAM folders of your subscribers. It’s highly recommended to gradually increase your volume of desirable mail to your subscribers to build a good reputation for your IP. Once a solid reputation has been built for your brand, you can start sending large volumes of emails to your subscribers.

How can IP Warmup help brands using email marketing?

Let’s look at how the IP Warmup exercise can help brands indulge in email marketing to engage with their customers. 

  1. Email Deliverability - Every brand’s major concern when it comes to email marketing is whether my email will reach my customer’s inbox or not. IP warming helps do that. Brands can determine the probability of emails reaching your subscribers’ inboxes and adjust the email volumes accordingly. 
  2. Optimise content for campaigns- During IP warming, when a limited volume of emails are sent, it’s easier for brands to understand what kind of content works best and optimise their future email campaigns for the entire database of subscribers.
  3. Campaign Effectiveness - IP warming helps emails get whitelisted and once that happens, brands don’t have to worry about deliverability. They can instead shift their focus to campaign effectiveness - understanding their customers better, creating retention marketing emails and focusing on customer engagement by looking at metrics like Open Rate, Click-through-rate (CTR) instead of the Deliverability rate.

IP warmup - Best Practices 

  • It takes a minimum of 3-4 weeks to establish an identity and build a credible reputation with the Internet Service Providers (ISPs)
  • The main factors that influence this are - Send Cadence, Volume of emails, Complaints, Bounces and Engagement
  • Brands should set specific volume thresholds per domain for each day of each week to follow, which building volume steadily week on week
  • Send cadence should usually be set at a minimum of 3 days a week to establish proper cadence and sending patterns
  • Brands should focus on the most engaged subscribers as it helps in limited bounces and complaints

Email Template Design for IP Warmup - Best practices 

Here are some best practices to follow while designing an email template for an IP warming exercise -

  • Subject line with maximum 60 characters & doesn’t contain SPAM words (eg. offer/buy now etc.)
  • Pre-header content should be maximum of 40-130 characters which give the subscriber snippet of overall communication
  •  Maintain a healthy Text to Image ratio – more than 60% of the overall design should be text.
  •  Single CTA button with “Non-Selling” action – (e.g. Knowmore) and should be on the first fold.
  •  Minimal use of external links in the email body

If you are a brand that is looking to build an email marketing strategy to engage with your subscribers and need support in IP warming, reach out to us. Our team of experts have over 15 years of experience in creating robust email marketing strategies and have handled IP warm-ups for over 300 brands.