Evolving Strategies: Embracing Search Themes in Performance Max

The sun has set on custom search terms & Search Themes have taken center stage (I know I mixed metaphors). BUT what are they & how should we be using them?

Understanding Search Themes in Performance Max:

To paraphrase Google, Search Themes in Performance Max are additional signals that provide the algorithm with information that it may not get from your assets, feeds, or landing pages to predict which placements (including search queries) will perform well for your campaign.

Transitioning from Custom Search Terms:

Let’s start with what we already know – custom search term segments. These segments would be made up of search terms that Google would use to identify & target users who have searched these to determine your ad placements in non-Search channels.

Search Themes extend this concept, utilizing themes not only for non-Search channels but also to decide which searches your ads should appear on.

Crucial Points about Search Themes:

  1. Not Search Terms, but Categories – Search Themes are distinct from search terms. They act as umbrella themes, grouping tightly themed search terms, similar to how an ad group organises keywords.
  • Prioritisation in Search – Search Themes have the same prioritisation as phrase & broad match keywords. With this in mind, it’s important to ensure your keywords have strong quality scores to prevent cannibalization by Search Themes.

Strategic Utilisation of Search Themes

Google recommends using Search Themes to “fill in the gaps” about your business. Consider employing them when:

  • Your landing pages lack insights about customers and business.
  • You’ve recently launched a product or service, and landing pages are pending updates.
  • Campaigns in a new market lack extensive history.
  • Comprehensive coverage on essential business themes is a priority.

Practical Implementation Strategies:

Should we listen to Google?

As always, we should listen…but with a pinch of salt. The above makes sense, but they can also be used to help focus your audience signals. Here are some ways other ways to use them:

  1. Augmenting Audience Signals – Enhance audience signals built on 1st party data to guide google in finding new converters swiftly, aiding quicker learning for new asset groups or campaigns.
  2. Cross-Product/Service Integration – Add Search Themes for a product/service A to audience signals built on 1st party data from product/service B, boosting the discovery of converters for product/service A.
  3. Utilising Search Themes for Limited Detail Landing Pages – employ Search Themes when using or testing form-fill landing pages (lead gen) with minimal service details, complementing other audience signals to reach the right audience.

Conclusion: Master Search Themes for Performance Max Success

In the age of Performance Max, we should strategically utilise Search Themes to broaden audience signals while staying focused on goals. We’ve got to stay on the Google rollercoaster, right?

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