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Microsoft’s Performance Max is now in open beta

Microsoft’s Performance Max is now in open beta. Select marketers can now access its full inventory and serve ads across its network.

Why we care. Microsoft’s Performance Max offers new features which aim to simplify marketers’ workloads and give them back time to focus on the creative and help them to reach untapped audiences. Being able to work directly with Microsoft on Performance Max campaigns will also give advertisers more transparency and detail into that asset level of reporting.

How to get started. Creating a campaign with Microsoft Performance Max consists of five steps:

  1. Set up Microsoft conversion tracking: While Google import is a great way to get started if you’re already using Performance Max there, you must ensure that conversion tracking is set up with Microsoft too as it’s a requirement. This can be done via UET or with offline conversion goals. This should always be the first set up and Microsoft advises making sure that you’ve set up the appropriate goals.
  2. Set budget and bid strategy: With maximize conversions within optional target return on ad spend goal, you can set and maximize conversion values with optional target CPA goals.
  3. Final URL expansion: Microsoft recommends turning this setting on because it helps drive consumers to the most relevant landing page. It also lets Microsoft create additional assets based on what’s working well on landing pages.
  4. Add assets: Next up, you should add text, images and ensure that their brand’s store is set up with Microsoft when using the Merchant Center.
  5. Audience signals: This helps Microsoft with regard to predictive targeting, which in turn can help you reach your target audience.

What has Microsoft said? Lauren Tallody, Sr. Product Marketing Manager and Automation Lead for Microsoft, told Search Engine Land:

  • “Since Google launched their Performance Max product in 2021, we took our time to understand if there was a need across advertisers for this kind of product on our side.
  • “We wanted to understand your needs, where we could differentiate and where we could focus. And this will continue to be a long journey.”

Timeline. Microsoft has been working on the creation of its Performance Max program since the fall of last year and has already seen positive results:

  • September 2022: Import Google PMAX campaigns using Merchant Center – As more advertisers started embracing the PMAX product in Google, Microsoft wanted to capture that demand and have a parity experience and so started importing Google Max campaigns as either smart shopping or local inventory ads.
  • October 2022: Import Google PMAX campaigns not using Merchant Center – Microsoft changes its approach slightly by importing Google Max campaigns as DSA campaigns.
  • May 2023: Closed beta launch of Microsoft’s Performance Max – The close beta launch went “very well” for Microsoft and the results encouraged it to continue building the product and import those campaigns in.
  • July 2023: Open beta launch – Microsoft’s Performance Max officially went into open beta a couple of weeks ago.

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Next steps. Microsoft is now looking to bring its Performance Max product to general availability and continue to build on more features. This includes:

  • API support.
  • Microsoft Advertising Editor support.
  • Expanded reporting like search term and domain reports.
  • Smart shopping campaign upgrade tool.

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About the author

Nicola Agius

Nicola Agius is Paid Media Editor of Search Engine Land after joining in 2023. She covers paid search, paid social, retail media and more. Prior to this, she was SEO Director at Jungle Creations (2020-2023), overseeing the company’s editorial strategy for multiple websites. She has over 15 years of experience in journalism and has previously worked at OK! Magazine (2010-2014), Mail Online (2014-2015), Mirror (2015-2017), Digital Spy (2017-2018) and The Sun (2018-2020). She also previously teamed up with SEO agency Blue Array to co-author Amazon bestselling book ‘Mastering In-House SEO’.

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