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4 things to beware of with Google’s Performance Max automated campaigns



4 things to beware of with Google’s Performance Max automated campaigns

4 things to beware of with Googles Performance Max automated

With Google on its way to over $200b per year in ad revenues, companies that aren’t yet advertising online should think long and hard about why everyone else but them seems to be growing their business with Google Ads.

Perhaps they’ve tried and failed. Let’s face it: Especially in recent years, Google advertising has gotten increasingly automated, yet strangely also more complex with a multitude of campaign types, bidding strategies, and targeting options to choose from. 

In what appears to be an effort to simplify, Google recently introduced a new, streamlined, all-in-one automated-campaign type: Performance Max. This new campaign needs minimal setup and promises to run a company’s ads as appropriate across Google’s six primary advertising channels: Search, Maps, Display, Gmail, Discover and YouTube. 

But as with any automation, Performance Max shouldn’t be thought of as a set-it-and-forget-it campaign. After all, as we’ve established many times before, the best PPC results come from humans and automation working together. Or as Frederick Vallaeys put it in his first book, Digital Marketing in an AI World:

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What inputs does Performance Max use?

To get started with automated ads on Google, you need to provide:

  • Your marketing objectives and goals
  • Budget
  • Creative assets 
    • Text 
    • Images 
    • Video (optional, since this will auto-generate)
  • Geo-targets
  • Feeds (optional)
    • Google My Business
    • Google Merchant Center
    • Dynamic Ads feed
    • Business data feeds
  • Audience signals (optional)
    • First-party Audiences, including remarketing lists
    • Google Audiences, including custom audiences

From there, automation is off to the races and promises to show your ad when it expects to be able to get you a conversion.

Where do Performance Max ads run?

To find conversions that meet your stated objectives, Performance Max can, as appropriate, automatically serve your ad across its six channels: Search, Maps, Display, Gmail, Discover, and YouTube. Performance Max will replace Smart Shopping and Local campaigns but is intended to be a supplement rather than a replacement for the other campaign types like Search and Display.

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Image source: January 2022

For new advertisers, this is a big deal and significant simplification because the same possible coverage would have previously required creating a separate campaign for each channel. And for advertisers who are just getting started with Google Ads, they may not have the time, or necessary experience and skill, to set up each and every one of these campaigns correctly to drive success. Now, with only a single campaign to create, advertisers can start seeing immediate results and focus on optimizing those aspects of their campaigns that have the biggest upside potential.

What could go wrong?  

It’s important to understand what any automation’s capabilities and limitations are. If you overestimate an automation’s capabilities, and it fails to deliver, you really have only yourself to blame.

A good analogy is to self-driving cars’ five levels of automation, as defined by the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) and National Traffic and Highway Safety Administration: 

What happens when a ‘self-driving’ car crashes?

As long ago as 1979, IBM put the prosecution’s case this way:

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Image source:

In Los Angeles, a driver is now being prosecuted for vehicular manslaughter for letting his “self-driving” car run a red light and killing two people in the process. The driver treated his car’s capabilities like a level 5 automation when in fact, it was just a level 2 automation or a driver-assistance feature.

Likewise, in PPC, Performance Max campaigns are not level 5 fully self-driving automation, but more like a level 2 or 3 assist feature. Performance Max handles a narrowly defined task quite well, but it lacks context to be able to do it fully alone.

It’s up to you, the human advertiser, to supply that context, which includes your ultimate business goals. As an account or campaign manager, you’re in the driver’s seat. Google automation can’t be held accountable when problems arise. 

So what can go wrong…

1. You give the automation incomplete goals. 

Think of automation in PPC as your newest team member. When a new person joins your team, whether they’re a hired consultant or a new full-timer, you’ve got to teach them about your business, like your goals and how you make money. If you share incomplete information, for example, by failing to specify that you don’t just want leads but rather leads that convert into sales, they will probably do a poor job.

It’s the same with PPC automation. For example, if you tell the automated Google Ads system that your goal is to get leads, it will probably get you lots of leads. But that wasn’t your real goal. You want leads that turn into customers. It’s critical to have a way to feed this and other goal-related data back to Google so they can deliver what you truly want.

Tools like Optmyzr can help advertisers create value rules to help steer Google automation to better quality conversions. 

2. You supply Google with poorly optimized feeds.

If you sell stuff, or you have multiple business locations, you can give this data to Google through one of their many structured data formats. In the case of products, this is a Google Merchant Feed. 

Google then uses the data from the feed to decide what searches are relevant to your offer and show what it deems the best image, title, and price in each ad. But if your feed contains incomplete data, or if your title text is poorly optimized, your ads will look and feel worse than your competitors’, and you’ll either get fewer or more expensive conversions.

While long-time PPC pros may stress the importance of keywords, bids, and creative, Performance Max lets you control almost none of this. In Fred Vallaeys’s just-published second book, Unlevel the Playing Field: The Biggest Mindshift in PPC History, he explains that modern PPC managers shouldn’t manage every detail but should rather know how to manage Google Ads on the periphery, where they interface with the automated system. 

Knowing how to optimize a feed is a great example of this. The feed connects to the ads system, where Google’s automation takes over and turns it into keywords, targeting, and the ads themselves. 

And if you want more control, PPC software can help turn your feed into keywords, ads, and campaigns from a template you control.  

3. You don’t leverage first-party data.

As privacy concerns mount, there’s a big shift away from third-party data in online advertising. That means that first-party data is gaining in importance. If you have a list of existing customers, feed that first-party data into your Google Ads campaigns to improve targeting. Yes, over time, Google AI could probably learn what type of audience would be best to target. But why let the system potentially waste thousands of dollars to learn what you could have told it right from the start?

And with more advanced PPC tools, you can bring virtually any first-party data into a rule engine to automate your PPC decision-making.

4. You fail to write “helpful” ad components.

If you’re used to advertising on social media and similar platforms, you may have gotten used to writing ads or posts that aim to be attention-getting above all. After all, when a user is rapidly swiping down their feed, the best way to stop them maybe with a controversial title or catchy image. 

Things are different and more complicated with Google Ads. People use Google to search for things they already know they need. If you can help them, there’s no need to stop them in their tracks. Instead, aim to answer their questions and assure them that yours is the best possible solution to their problem. How will you help them? That means including unique value propositions and clear calls to action in the ad text components that will then make up the various parts of your Responsive Search Ads (RSAs). 

For more great insights about how to create effective RSAs, take a look at Optmyzr’s 2021 RSA research and its RSA presentation at SMX Next.

So while Google makes it ever easier to run automatic PPC ads, the reality is that these campaigns will deliver far better results with your ongoing help and optimization. You can either do this work manually or get help from automations you manage and control, like those available in PPC-management software suites like Optmyzr

“Automation layering” is what we call automation you install that provides checks and balances to Google’s automation. This is automation you, the manager sitting in the driver’s seat, insert in the interface between you and the Google Ads system. To do this, you don’t need to spend inordinate amounts of time monitoring all the minutiae of the ad engine. Instead, use simple rules and scripts to do this work for you. You can then focus on the strategic elements that add the most value when you, the human driver, deploy them in the system.

Automation layering PPC software doesn’t have to cost a lot. Optmyzr recently introduced Optmyzr Lite, a free tier of service specifically designed for new Google advertisers with single-business ad budgets under $10k per month. Advertisers get access to a dashboard, reports, audits, and optimization suggestions different from and independent of those Google provides. It’s a great way to monitor and correct Google AI when it could use your help, as it inevitably will at times. 
Many advertisers say: don’t let the auctioneer tell you how or when to bid. Optmyzr Lite is a trustworthy third-party tool that can offer a different perspective on how to optimize your Google Ads account so that you can focus on growing your business.

About The Author

1643893150 379 4 things to beware of with Googles Performance Max automated

Optmyzr’s PPC management platform provides intelligent optimization suggestions that help advertisers across the world manage their online advertising more effectively. Optmyzr connects with Google Ads, Microsoft Ads, Amazon Ads, Facebook Ads, Google Analytics, Google Merchant Center, Google Sheets, and SA360. The company was founded by former Google AdWords executives. The Optmyzr PPC suite includes over 30 tools to improve Quality Score, manage manual and automated bids, find new keywords, A/B test ads, build new campaigns, manage placements, automate budgets, and automate reports. Optmyzr was named best PPC management software at the 2020 US, UK, and Global Search Awards.

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How to Increase Survey Completion Rate With 5 Top Tips



How to Increase Survey Completion Rate With 5 Top Tips

Collecting high-quality data is crucial to making strategic observations about your customers. Researchers have to consider the best ways to design their surveys and then how to increase survey completion, because it makes the data more reliable.

→ Free Download: 5 Customer Survey Templates [Access Now]

I’m going to explain how survey completion plays into the reliability of data. Then, we’ll get into how to calculate your survey completion rate versus the number of questions you ask. Finally, I’ll offer some tips to help you increase survey completion rates.

My goal is to make your data-driven decisions more accurate and effective. And just for fun, I’ll use cats in the examples because mine won’t stop walking across my keyboard.

Why Measure Survey Completion

Let’s set the scene: We’re inside a laboratory with a group of cat researchers. They’re wearing little white coats and goggles — and they desperately want to know what other cats think of various fish.

They’ve written up a 10-question survey and invited 100 cats from all socioeconomic rungs — rough and hungry alley cats all the way up to the ones that thrice daily enjoy their Fancy Feast from a crystal dish.

Now, survey completion rates are measured with two metrics: response rate and completion rate. Combining those metrics determines what percentage, out of all 100 cats, finished the entire survey. If all 100 give their full report on how delicious fish is, you’d achieve 100% survey completion and know that your information is as accurate as possible.

But the truth is, nobody achieves 100% survey completion, not even golden retrievers.

With this in mind, here’s how it plays out:

  • Let’s say 10 cats never show up for the survey because they were sleeping.
  • Of the 90 cats that started the survey, only 25 got through a few questions. Then, they wandered off to knock over drinks.
  • Thus, 90 cats gave some level of response, and 65 completed the survey (90 – 25 = 65).
  • Unfortunately, those 25 cats who only partially completed the survey had important opinions — they like salmon way more than any other fish.

The cat researchers achieved 72% survey completion (65 divided by 90), but their survey will not reflect the 25% of cats — a full quarter! — that vastly prefer salmon. (The other 65 cats had no statistically significant preference, by the way. They just wanted to eat whatever fish they saw.)

Now, the Kitty Committee reviews the research and decides, well, if they like any old fish they see, then offer the least expensive ones so they get the highest profit margin.

CatCorp, their competitors, ran the same survey; however, they offered all 100 participants their own glass of water to knock over — with a fish inside, even!

Only 10 of their 100 cats started, but did not finish the survey. And the same 10 lazy cats from the other survey didn’t show up to this one, either.

So, there were 90 respondents and 80 completed surveys. CatCorp achieved an 88% completion rate (80 divided by 90), which recorded that most cats don’t care, but some really want salmon. CatCorp made salmon available and enjoyed higher profits than the Kitty Committee.

So you see, the higher your survey completion rates, the more reliable your data is. From there, you can make solid, data-driven decisions that are more accurate and effective. That’s the goal.

We measure the completion rates to be able to say, “Here’s how sure we can feel that this information is accurate.”

And if there’s a Maine Coon tycoon looking to invest, will they be more likely to do business with a cat food company whose decision-making metrics are 72% accurate or 88%? I suppose it could depend on who’s serving salmon.

While math was not my strongest subject in school, I had the great opportunity to take several college-level research and statistics classes, and the software we used did the math for us. That’s why I used 100 cats — to keep the math easy so we could focus on the importance of building reliable data.

Now, we’re going to talk equations and use more realistic numbers. Here’s the formula:

Completion rate equals the # of completed surveys divided by the # of survey respondents.

So, we need to take the number of completed surveys and divide that by the number of people who responded to at least one of your survey questions. Even just one question answered qualifies them as a respondent (versus nonrespondent, i.e., the 10 lazy cats who never show up).

Now, you’re running an email survey for, let’s say, Patton Avenue Pet Company. We’ll guess that the email list has 5,000 unique addresses to contact. You send out your survey to all of them.

Your analytics data reports that 3,000 people responded to one or more of your survey questions. Then, 1,200 of those respondents actually completed the entire survey.

3,000/5000 = 0.6 = 60% — that’s your pool of survey respondents who answered at least one question. That sounds pretty good! But some of them didn’t finish the survey. You need to know the percentage of people who completed the entire survey. So here we go:

Completion rate equals the # of completed surveys divided by the # of survey respondents.

Completion rate = (1,200/3,000) = 0.40 = 40%

Voila, 40% of your respondents did the entire survey.

Response Rate vs. Completion Rate

Okay, so we know why the completion rate matters and how we find the right number. But did you also hear the term response rate? They are completely different figures based on separate equations, and I’ll show them side by side to highlight the differences.

  • Completion Rate = # of Completed Surveys divided by # of Respondents
  • Response Rate = # of Respondents divided by Total # of surveys sent out

Here are examples using the same numbers from above:

Completion Rate = (1200/3,000) = 0.40 = 40%

Response Rate = (3,000/5000) = 0.60 = 60%

So, they are different figures that describe different things:

  • Completion rate: The percentage of your respondents that completed the entire survey. As a result, it indicates how sure we are that the information we have is accurate.
  • Response rate: The percentage of people who responded in any way to our survey questions.

The follow-up question is: How can we make this number as high as possible in order to be closer to a truer and more complete data set from the population we surveyed?

There’s more to learn about response rates and how to bump them up as high as you can, but we’re going to keep trucking with completion rates!

What’s a good survey completion rate?

That is a heavily loaded question. People in our industry have to say, “It depends,” far more than anybody wants to hear it, but it depends. Sorry about that.

There are lots of factors at play, such as what kind of survey you’re doing, what industry you’re doing it in, if it’s an internal or external survey, the population or sample size, the confidence level you’d like to hit, the margin of error you’re willing to accept, etc.

But you can’t really get a high completion rate unless you increase response rates first.

So instead of focusing on what’s a good completion rate, I think it’s more important to understand what makes a good response rate. Aim high enough, and survey completions should follow.

I checked in with the Qualtrics community and found this discussion about survey response rates:

“Just wondering what are the average response rates we see for online B2B CX surveys? […]

Current response rates: 6%–8%… We are looking at boosting the response rates but would first like to understand what is the average.”

The best answer came from a government service provider that works with businesses. The poster notes that their service is free to use, so they get very high response rates.

“I would say around 30–40% response rates to transactional surveys,” they write. “Our annual pulse survey usually sits closer to 12%. I think the type of survey and how long it has been since you rendered services is a huge factor.”

Since this conversation, “Delighted” (the Qualtrics blog) reported some fresher data:

survey completion rate vs number of questions new data, qualtrics data

Image Source

The takeaway here is that response rates vary widely depending on the channel you use to reach respondents. On the upper end, the Qualtrics blog reports that customers had 85% response rates for employee email NPS surveys and 33% for email NPS surveys.

A good response rate, the blog writes, “ranges between 5% and 30%. An excellent response rate is 50% or higher.”

This echoes reports from Customer Thermometer, which marks a response rate of 50% or higher as excellent. Response rates between 5%-30% are much more typical, the report notes. High response rates are driven by a strong motivation to complete the survey or a personal relationship between the brand and the customer.

If your business does little person-to-person contact, you’re out of luck. Customer Thermometer says you should expect responses on the lower end of the scale. The same goes for surveys distributed from unknown senders, which typically yield the lowest level of responses.

According to SurveyMonkey, surveys where the sender has no prior relationship have response rates of 20% to 30% on the high end.

Whatever numbers you do get, keep making those efforts to bring response rates up. That way, you have a better chance of increasing your survey completion rate. How, you ask?

Tips to Increase Survey Completion

If you want to boost survey completions among your customers, try the following tips.

1. Keep your survey brief.

We shouldn’t cram lots of questions into one survey, even if it’s tempting. Sure, it’d be nice to have more data points, but random people will probably not hunker down for 100 questions when we catch them during their half-hour lunch break.

Keep it short. Pare it down in any way you can.

Survey completion rate versus number of questions is a correlative relationship — the more questions you ask, the fewer people will answer them all. If you have the budget to pay the respondents, it’s a different story — to a degree.

“If you’re paying for survey responses, you’re more likely to get completions of a decently-sized survey. You’ll just want to avoid survey lengths that might tire, confuse, or frustrate the user. You’ll want to aim for quality over quantity,” says Pamela Bump, Head of Content Growth at HubSpot.

2. Give your customers an incentive.

For instance, if they’re cats, you could give them a glass of water with a fish inside.

Offer incentives that make sense for your target audience. If they feel like they are being rewarded for giving their time, they will have more motivation to complete the survey.

This can even accomplish two things at once — if you offer promo codes, discounts on products, or free shipping, it encourages them to shop with you again.

3. Keep it smooth and easy.

Keep your survey easy to read. Simplifying your questions has at least two benefits: People will understand the question better and give you the information you need, and people won’t get confused or frustrated and just leave the survey.

4. Know your customers and how to meet them where they are.

Here’s an anecdote about understanding your customers and learning how best to meet them where they are.

Early on in her role, Pamela Bump, HubSpot’s Head of Content Growth, conducted a survey of HubSpot Blog readers to learn more about their expertise levels, interests, challenges, and opportunities. Once published, she shared the survey with the blog’s email subscribers and a top reader list she had developed, aiming to receive 150+ responses.

“When the 20-question survey was getting a low response rate, I realized that blog readers were on the blog to read — not to give feedback. I removed questions that wouldn’t serve actionable insights. When I reshared a shorter, 10-question survey, it passed 200 responses in one week,” Bump shares.

Tip 5. Gamify your survey.

Make it fun! Brands have started turning surveys into eye candy with entertaining interfaces so they’re enjoyable to interact with.

Your respondents could unlock micro incentives as they answer more questions. You can word your questions in a fun and exciting way so it feels more like a BuzzFeed quiz. Someone saw the opportunity to make surveys into entertainment, and your imagination — well, and your budget — is the limit!

Your Turn to Boost Survey Completion Rates

Now, it’s time to start surveying. Remember to keep your user at the heart of the experience. Value your respondents’ time, and they’re more likely to give you compelling information. Creating short, fun-to-take surveys can also boost your completion rates.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in December 2010 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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Take back your ROI by owning your data



Treasure Data 800x450

Treasure Data 800x450

Other brands can copy your style, tone and strategy — but they can’t copy your data.

Your data is your competitive advantage in an environment where enterprises are working to grab market share by designing can’t-miss, always-on customer experiences. Your marketing tech stack enables those experiences. 

Join ActionIQ and Snowplow to learn the value of composing your stack – decoupling the data collection and activation layers to drive more intelligent targeting.

Register and attend “Maximizing Marketing ROI With a Composable Stack: Separating Reality from Fallacy,” presented by Snowplow and ActionIQ.

Click here to view more MarTech webinars.

About the author

Cynthia RamsaranCynthia Ramsaran

Cynthia Ramsaran is director of custom content at Third Door Media, publishers of Search Engine Land and MarTech. A multi-channel storyteller with over two decades of editorial/content marketing experience, Cynthia’s expertise spans the marketing, technology, finance, manufacturing and gaming industries. She was a writer/producer for and produced thought leadership for KPMG. Cynthia hails from Queens, NY and earned her Bachelor’s and MBA from St. John’s University.

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Revolutionizing Auto Retail: The Game-Changing Partnership Between Amazon and Hyundai



Revolutionizing Auto Retail: The Game-Changing Partnership Between Amazon and Hyundai

Revolutionizing Auto Retail The Game Changing Partnership Between Amazon and Hyundai

In a groundbreaking alliance, Amazon and Hyundai have joined forces to reshape the automotive landscape, promising a revolutionary shift in how we buy, drive, and experience cars.

Imagine browsing for your dream car on Amazon, with the option to seamlessly purchase, pick up, or have it delivered—all within the familiar confines of the world’s largest online marketplace. Buckle up as we explore the potential impact of this monumental partnership and the transformation it heralds for the future of auto retail.

Driving Change Through Amazon’s Auto Revolution

Consider “Josh”, a tech-savvy professional with an affinity for efficiency. Faced with the tedious process of purchasing a new car, he stumbled upon Amazon’s automotive section. Intrigued by the prospect of a one-stop shopping experience, Josh decided to explore the Amazon-Hyundai collaboration.

The result?

A hassle-free online car purchase, personalized to his preferences, and delivered to his doorstep. Josh’s story is just a glimpse into the real-world impact of this game-changing partnership.

Bridging the Gap Between Convenience and Complexity

Traditional car buying is often marred by complexities, from navigating dealership lots to negotiating prices. The disconnect between the convenience consumers seek and the cumbersome process they endure has long been a pain point in the automotive industry. The need for a streamlined, customer-centric solution has never been more pressing.

1701235578 44 Revolutionizing Auto Retail The Game Changing Partnership Between Amazon and Hyundai1701235578 44 Revolutionizing Auto Retail The Game Changing Partnership Between Amazon and Hyundai

Ecommerce Partnership Reshaping Auto Retail Dynamics

Enter Amazon and Hyundai’s new strategic partnership coming in 2024—an innovative solution poised to redefine the car-buying experience. The trio of key developments—Amazon becoming a virtual showroom, Hyundai embracing AWS for a digital makeover, and the integration of Alexa into next-gen vehicles—addresses the pain points with a holistic approach.

In 2024, auto dealers for the first time will be able to sell vehicles in Amazon’s U.S. store, and Hyundai will be the first brand available for customers to purchase.

Amazon and Hyundai launch a broad, strategic partnership—including vehicle sales on in 2024 – Amazon Staff

This collaboration promises not just a transaction but a transformation in the way customers interact with, purchase, and engage with their vehicles.

Pedal to the Metal

Seamless Online Purchase:

  • Complete the entire transaction within the trusted Amazon platform.
  • Utilize familiar payment and financing options.
  • Opt for convenient pick-up or doorstep delivery.
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Hyundai’s Cloud-First Transformation:

  • Experience a data-driven organization powered by AWS.
  • Benefit from enhanced production optimization, cost reduction, and improved security.

Alexa Integration in Next-Gen Vehicles:

  • Enjoy a hands-free, voice-controlled experience in Hyundai vehicles.
  • Access music, podcasts, reminders, and smart home controls effortlessly.
  • Stay connected with up-to-date traffic and weather information.

Driving into the Future

The Amazon-Hyundai collaboration is not just a partnership; it’s a revolution in motion. As we witness the fusion of e-commerce giant Amazon with automotive prowess of Hyundai, the potential impact on customer behavior is staggering.

The age-old challenges of car buying are met with a forward-thinking, customer-centric solution, paving the way for a new era in auto retail. From the comfort of your home to the driver’s seat, this partnership is set to redefine every step of the journey, promising a future where buying a car is as easy as ordering a package online.

Embrace the change, and witness the evolution of auto retail unfold before your eyes.

Revolutionizing Auto Retail The Game Changing Partnership Between Amazon and Hyundai

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