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Microsoft Ads Performance Max aims to be more transparent

Microsoft Ads Performance Max
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Microsoft Ads is planning to launch its version of Performance Max to a wider audience via an open beta, following its successful pilot. Google Ads has had Performance Max for a while, and whilst it has seen success, many advertisers seem to be put off by the ‘black box’ campaign type. Microsoft has been acutely aware of this and are in prime position to make their version more transparent. 

What is Microsoft Ads Performance Max?

Microsoft Advertising has launched Performance Max, a new campaign type that aims to help advertisers reach more customers across Bing, AOL, Yahoo, MSN, Edge, Outlook and more.

Performance Max campaigns are designed to be easy to set up and manage. When you create a Performance Max campaign, you’ll need to provide some basic information, such as your campaign objective, target audience, and bidding strategy. Performance Max will then use this information to create a campaign that reaches your target audience across the Microsoft and their partners.

Performance Max uses machine learning to optimize your ads for maximum performance. Thanks to the power of Microsoft AI, they analyze your campaign and asset group settings to identify the most suitable assets and target audiences for your ads.

It has all of Microsoft’s key features in one campaign:

  • Responsive Search Ads
  • Dynamic Search Ads
  • Multimedia Ads
  • Final URLs
  • Predictive Targeting
  • Audience Signals
  • Automated Bidding
  • Product Ads
  • and more!

The result? An optimal combination of assets that attract the attention of potential customers who are prepared to make a purchase and boost your overall performance.

This means that Performance Max will constantly be learning and adapting your ads to ensure that they’re reaching the right people and getting the best results.

You can find out how to create a Microsoft Ads Performance Max campaign here. You can even import your campaign from Google Ads into Microsoft Ads, of course after you have ensured you have the Universal Event Tracking (UET) tag in place with conversion tracking. 

What's the difference between this and Google's Performance Max?

Apart from the obvious, that one serves on Google’s Network and the other on Microsoft’s, there are some key differences to consider with this new product. For example, you won’t see the following in Microsoft’s version just yet (although we have no doubt they will be on the roadmap):

  • Video Assets
  • Conversion Value Rules
  • Customer acquisition settings
  • Campaign draft status
  • Copying existing asset groups
  • Experiments
  • Editorial Appeals
  • Editor support
  • Smart shopping upgrade
  • API support

What you will get from the start is:

  • Asset group creation (with text, image, call-to-action, extensions)
  • Final URL expansion
  • Bid strategies (Max Conversion & Max Conversion Value)
  • Google import
  • A requirement to have conversion tracking
  • Audience signals
  • Performance reporting
  • Asset & ad copy reporting
  • Negative campaign level keyword management (Wahoo!)
  • Website exclusions at the account level
  • Text asset recommendations
The roadmap from Microsoft seems extensive, so we are confident they will have parity soon with Google. 

Where can Microsoft Ads gain the advantage with it's version of Performance Max?

Transparency in its reporting

There is a real advantage that Microsoft can get here through being more transparent in its reporting. Microsoft have said that they have an extensive reporting roadmap which we are hoping will give us greater insight.

Microsoft Ads has always tried to give its users greater access to data points, where it is safe to do so. From what we’ve heard, this is set to be true for Performance Max too. It may not come immediately, but the roadmap looks promising. 

Leveraging it's partnership with OpenAI to incorporate conversational and generative AI in campaign creation workflow

Microsoft could leverage its partnership with OpenAI to integrate GPT-4 into its Performance Max campaign and asset creation workflow. With Google already doing this in Google Ads, there is no doubt that people will be excited by the prospect of being able to use GPT-4 directly in Microsoft Ads itself. 

Give Google some competition in this space

Despite Microsoft still having less than 10% share of global searches (Statistica 2023), they have a real opportunity to give Google some competition in the Performance Max space. This is particularly true if they are able to offer greater insight and transparency in its reporting. There should then be no excuses then as to why Google is not able to give the same!

Dan Roberts
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