Fenton Stephens

Unlock your brand’s performance max secrets

If you spend money on marketing, you’re spending on Google Performance Max. It’s close to a monopoly. But Google can be frustratingly opaque on the metrics marketers need. In this article. Sam and Mike explain how marketers can create a work-around and get the data they want.

By Michael Blake, Senior Performance Manager, and Samuel McCarthy, Performance Manager, at Melbourne agency Fenton Stephens. 

A week or two ago, a NASA spacecraft named OSIRIS-Rex completed a seven-year mission by returning a capsule to the Utah desert. It contained a handful of rock samples from Bennu, an asteroid travelling 85 million kilometres above the surface of Earth. This task was difficult but experts consider the data contained critical: Bennu is ‘potentially hazardous’ with a 1-in-2700 chance of striking our planet by the year 2182.  

Elsewhere on Earth, smarter performance marketers are firing off OSIRIS-Rex’s of their own, seeking a different kind of mysterious information. This time, the galaxy is the informational black hole that is Performance Max and the intrepid craft are called Google Ad Scripts.  

By design, Performance Max (or PM) takes away control from its customers and keeps lot of the metrics in the dark. Culturally, Google want you to become you reliant on the metrics they choose to show you.  

It’s in the platform’s interests for you to spend blindly. Google can give you general results but deliberately mix in the gold with the garbage. Scripts (which are in fact a feature of Google) help carve off the garbage.  

How? In the back end there’s a lot of interesting and useful information just waiting to be scooped up and brought back to base. Enter the Script.  

At its simplest, a Script is a collection of code that is used to automate robotic tasks that come with the job of pay-per-click advertising. You can write, buy or license Scripts to journey into the Google black hole and pull that information back for you.   

Scripts can notify you if you’re overspending or if performance is suddenly good or bad. They can also execute more complex things like automatically adding search terms to campaigns based on the parameters that you set.  

More recently Scripts have been able to pull metrics from PM that have long been hidden by Google and display them within a simple sheet.  

Critically, because it’s information you asked for delivered at a time you need it, Scripts can potentially deliver your brand a competitive advantage in an otherwise generic and monopolised marketplace.  

Imagine blindly looking under the hood of a broken-down car on a pitch black night –  the right Script is like someone handing you a torch.  

When PM first came about Scripts were authored by brilliant thought leaders like Mike Rhodes and Nils Rooijmans. You could buy them, sell them or license the use of popular ones.   

But the entry of ChatGPT democratised the process. While you still need a strong understanding of the fundamentals and the context in which you’re operating, you can now specify and Chat GPT will give you the code. Needless to say the use of Scripts is soaring exponentially.  

Like most major breakthroughs, Scripts adds value by automating the robotic and freeing up human time for higher-order tasks.    

For example, if you’re setting profit parameters, Scripts can group products according to what’s below profit target, what’s at profit target and what’s performing above profit target.   

That would take hours, manually. If you could do it at all. But a Script can do it automatically. Freeing agencies and clients to make better decisions, faster.   

Performance marketing is about being in a better place at a better time at a lower cost that your competitor. So if you’re spending money with Performance Max (and whom amongst us aren’t?) and you’re not using Scripts, chances are you’re about to have your lunch eaten.  

Your agency should have a Scripts strategy that they can explain to you as a marketer. If they don’t, find one that does. Because the more control Google try to take away, the more need there is for countermeasures like Scripts.   

And while we don’t know exactly where PM going next it’s evolving fast and you need to be on the ride.  

It took seven years for OSIRIS-Rex to complete its mission. Performance marketers and their agencies don’t have anywhere near that long.  

Fenton Stephens is Google Partner, maintaining an optimisation score of at least 70%.