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Google Performance Max Evolves With New “Search Themes” Feature

Google rolls out "Search Themes" for Performance Max campaigns, giving advertisers more input to steer the AI and capture additional relevant traffic.

  • Google launched a new "Search Themes" feature for Performance Max campaigns.
  • Search Themes allows advertisers to provide topics and categories to help guide Google's AI system.
  • The goal is to help Performance Max campaigns capture more relevant search traffic.

Google announced today that it’s launching a new “Search Themes” feature for its automated Performance Max campaigns.

This addition will allow advertisers to provide more inputs to help steer the AI-powered system.

According to Google, Search Themes help Performance Max find relevant users across Search, YouTube, Gmail, Discover, Maps, and Display. The company says it allows advertisers to tap into Google’s AI while contributing their expertise.

What Does Search Themes Do Different?

Performance Max currently analyzes your budget, assets, feeds, and landing pages to predict valuable placements.

You can fill in gaps with Search Themes by adding specific categories or topics relevant to your business. This provides additional guidance to the system besides what it learns from provided assets and feeds.

Benefits & Use Cases

Google says this feature enables Performance Max to capture search traffic it may be missing. It’s designed for situations where the AI cannot easily discern complex or new information from existing campaign data.

Some examples Google provided of ideal use cases include:

  • Landing pages with incomplete or outdated product/service details
  • Expanding into new markets where campaigns lack performance history
  • Promoting new holiday promotions without historical data
  • Reaching comprehensive coverage on crucial business themes

Key Details

Advertisers can add up to 25 search themes per ad group within a Performance Max campaign. The themes will be treated like phrases and broad match keywords in regular Search campaigns. Brand exclusions and account-level negative keywords will still apply.

Search Themes can be input at the ad group level within a campaign. The AI will then match relevant search queries and placements with these themes. This allows Performance Max to expand its reach to inventory Google wouldn’t have otherwise determined as relevant.

More About Google Ads Performance Max

Performance Max campaigns utilize Google’s artificial intelligence to automatically find high-performing ad placements across search, display, YouTube, and Gmail.

The campaigns optimize themselves over time based on conversion data. Performance Max was launched in 2020 as a new simplified campaign type that only requires a budget and assets from advertisers.

Search Themes Now Available In Beta

Search Themes is now available in beta for all Performance Max campaigns. Google is positioning it as a direct response to advertiser requests for more control over the automated system.

Early feedback from pilot testers has been positive. Google plans to add more robust search term insights and guidance around utilizing search themes in 2024.

Featured Image: Photo For Everything/Shutterstock

Category News PPC
SEJ STAFF Matt G. Southern Senior News Writer at Search Engine Journal

Matt G. Southern, Senior News Writer, has been with Search Engine Journal since 2013. With a bachelor’s degree in communications, ...

Google Performance Max Evolves With New “Search Themes” Feature

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