Google has unveiled a novel “Search Themes” function for its Performance Max ad campaigns, enhancing the platform’s automated features. This innovation grants advertisers the capability to inject more detailed guidance into the AI, thereby refining the targeting of ads across Google’s vast network, including Search, YouTube, Gmail, Discover, Maps, and Display. This tool essentially enables advertisers to leverage Google’s machine learning technology while infusing their own industry insights.
Functionality of Search Themes
Unlike the current Performance Max, which relies on an analysis of a marketer’s budget, digital assets, and consumer touchpoints to place ads, Search Themes allows for the addition of industry-specific categories or topics to inform the AI beyond the existing campaign material.
Advantages and Practical Applications
The tool is particularly valuable for addressing the AI’s limitations in recognizing complex or novel campaign-related data, thereby ensuring no potential search traffic is overlooked. Google highlights use cases such as updating campaigns for new markets, promoting time-sensitive deals, or ensuring complete coverage of vital business themes.
With the capability to incorporate as many as 25 search themes per ad group, these themes will be analogous to phrase and broad match keywords in standard search campaigns, with existing brand and negative keyword exclusions maintained.
Performance Max Campaigns Background
Launched in 2020, Performance Max campaigns are designed to harness Google’s AI for optimizing ad placements across its ecosystem, self-adjusting based on conversion metrics over time, and requiring only a budget and assets from the advertisers.
Current Status and Future Outlook
Currently available in beta, Search Themes represents Google’s response to feedback for greater user control over the AI system. The initial response from beta testing has been favorable, with plans to introduce enhanced search term insights and user guidance for Search Themes in 2024.