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New Google Performance Max "Search Themes"

Ángel Simancas
Updated on_
March 21, 2024

In the ever-evolving landscape of digital marketing, Google is at the forefront of introducing innovative features to enhance campaign performance. The latest beta feature, "search themes," integrated into Performance Max, signifies a significant step forward in this direction.

PMax Campaigns, known for its ability to optimize campaigns by analyzing assets, feeds, and landing pages to predict ideal placements, is now taking things a step further with the "search themes" beta. This feature empowers advertisers to have a more hands-on role in steering their campaigns, particularly towards placements that might have previously eluded them.

What makes "search themes performance max" noteworthy is its ability to leverage human expertise alongside Google AI. By allowing advertisers to contribute information about their business, "search themes" offers a unique opportunity to bridge any existing gaps in campaign performance. This synergy between human insight and AI can potentially lead to an expanded reach across various channels, with Search being a notable example.

Here are some scenarios where "search themes" could prove invaluable, especially when businesses possess insights that AI may struggle to swiftly grasp:

  1. Insufficient or Outdated Landing Pages: When landing pages lack comprehensive or up-to-date details about products and services, "search themes" can provide a solution.
  2. Ventures into New Markets or Offerings: For businesses venturing into new markets or launching products or services with limited performance history, "search themes" can be a valuable tool.
  3. Holiday Promotions: Launching a new promotion or sale for the holiday season without an extensive performance history is a common challenge. "Search themes" can help tackle this.
  4. Expanding Reach: For those looking to expand their reach within Performance Max, including the Search inventory, and ensure comprehensive coverage of key business themes, "search themes" can be a strategic addition.
  5. Campaign Optimization: "Search themes" can also expedite campaign optimization by providing essential information that aids in faster performance improvement.

Adding "performance max search themes" essentially signals to Google A.I the intention to target specific traffic in Performance Max campaigns, encompassing Google Ads inventory across various platforms, including Search, YouTube, Gmail, Discover, Maps, and Display. These themes also play a pivotal role in helping advertisers discover audiences based on user search behavior.

In the context of Search inventory, it's important to note that search themes in Performance Max campaigns receive similar prioritization as phrase match and broad match keywords in Search campaigns. Exact match keywords still maintain their priority over search themes and other keywords.

Businesses have the flexibility to use "search themes" as needed. Additionally, tools such as brand exclusions are available to control the types of search traffic that Performance Max targets.

To illustrate the practical application of "search themes," let's consider a scenario where a business is running a Performance Max campaign to boost ticket sales for a museum with excellent outdoor activities for children. Due to limited resources, creating new landing pages highlighting this feature is a challenge. "Search themes" come to the rescue, enabling the addition of themes like "activities for children" and "outdoor recreation." This ensures that the campaign reaches potential customers interested in these offerings across multiple channels, such as Search, YouTube, blogs, and more.

To break down the mechanics:

  • Search themes allow advertisers to specify queries they know their customers are searching for. They are optional and complement the queries that Performance Max would naturally match to using website URLs, assets, and other data.
  • Advertisers can assign up to 25 search themes per asset group.
  • Search themes respect brand exclusions in Performance Max and account-level negative keywords.
  • The results generated from search themes direct customers to landing pages specified through Final URL expansion, page feeds, and URL contains settings.
  • Search themes have a priority equivalent to phrase match and broad match keywords in Search campaigns.

Additionally, advertisers have access to insights into the search categories their PMax ads matched with, both at the campaign and account levels. These insights, including conversion performance, can be customized for specific date ranges, downloaded, and accessed via the API.

Notably, in early 2024, existing custom segments based on search activity will be automatically upgraded to search themes. Custom segments based on interests will remain available.

Based on initial feedback from pilot testers, Google is committed to providing improved search term insights and guidance on the impact of search themes in early 2024. This will empower advertisers to gain a deeper understanding of the results and influence of their added search themes.

Check out Google's documentation about search themes in Performance Max campaigns (Beta).

Ángel Simancas
Updated on_
March 21, 2024
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What are search themes in the context of Performance Max campaigns?

Search themes are an optional signal introduced by Google in Performance Max campaigns. They allow advertisers to provide information about their business or customers to enhance campaign performance across various Google Ads inventory, including Search, YouTube, Gmail, Discover, Maps, and Display.

Will search themes limit Performance Max traffic?

No, search themes are designed to enhance your campaign performance, not limit it. They provide additional insights and data that can help you make smarter decisions and drive better results.

How do search themes contribute to improving campaign performance in Performance Max?

Search themes enable advertisers to fill knowledge gaps and enhance predictive capabilities beyond traditional assets, feeds, and landing pages. They are particularly useful in scenarios such as incomplete landing page details, expansion into new markets, product launches, promotions, or when comprehensive coverage on specific business themes is desired.

Are search themes mandatory for Performance Max campaigns?

No, search themes are optional. Advertisers can choose to use them based on their campaign objectives and requirements.

Can I add competitor brands or product names as search themes?

Yes, competitor brands and keywords can be added as search themes. However, advertisers are responsible for complying with local laws and regulations.

What is the maximum number of search themes allowed per asset group in Performance Max?

Advertisers can add up to 25 unique search themes per asset group.

Is it possible to turn off search themes after using them in a Performance Max campaign?

Yes, advertisers have the flexibility to remove or turn off search themes from their Performance Max asset group at any time.

How do search themes impact keyword prioritization within a Google Ads account?

Search themes act as the equivalent of phrase or broad match keywords, influencing keyword prioritization within a Google Ads account.

Can I measure the impact of search themes on campaign performance?

To measure the impact of search themes, advertisers can compare campaign-level performance before and after their implementation. Additionally, the search term insights report provides insights into the new search terms reached based on the added themes.

How are PMax search themes different from custom segments on Search keywords?

While custom segments focus on defining audiences based on custom intent, affinities, interests, apps, and URLs, search themes allow advertisers to share unique insights about their business or products across all channels in Performance Max.

Can I use custom segments in Performance Max alongside search themes?

Custom segments based on custom intent will be upgraded to search themes in early 2024. However, custom segments based on custom affinities or interests, apps, and URLs will continue to exist and can be used in conjunction with search themes in Performance Max.

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