The stakeholders of your Google Ads campaigns don’t just want historical reporting, they want to know what’s going to happen next.
Google Ads performance planner is a little-known tool that allows you to create forecasts for your search and shopping campaigns that helps you answer that question.
It can show you where to better spend your existing budget based on previous campaign performance. And it can show the likely impact of a change in budget.
So the next time your client or boss asks:
“What would happen if we spent another $20,000”, or
“What should our budget be if we need an average ROAS of 6.5”
now you now you can answer that question.
Using the performance planner is easy … so I want to dig into using this tool to think about your profitability – something Google is not always as concerned about as you are!
Before you use this for the first time you’re probably curious it actually works
Google uses your existing campaign performance (actual spend, conversion volume, conversion value etc), comparisons of year on year metrics, and data from relevant auctions over the past week or so.
It combines that with data about your competitors, your landing page and any seasonal variations in results. And then simulates ad auctions for the past week & into the future, using Machine Learning to fine-tune the results & make forecasts more accurate over time.
Another words it’s pretty fancy much faster and way more accurate than anything that us as advertised is using Google Ads would be able to do by ourselves. it’s also available for MCC accounts.
Not all campaigns are eligible however. So check the table below to understand the requirements.
You can use Performance Planner (PP) to:
In this post however, I want to focus on your (probably) most important metric: Profit.
And how to use the Performance Planner to look at the changes in profit related to various campaign adjustments.
Sign in to your Google Ads account.
Select the tools icon in the top-right corner, and then select Performance Planner.
Create a New Plan
Choose Search or Shopping (yes this tool works with Smart Shopping campaigns too)
Select the campaigns you want to include in your plan. I suggest using the tool for individual campaigns to start, or at least campaigns with the same goal.
Enter the date range – I suggest either ‘next month’ or ‘next quarter’
Choose the key metric you want to focus on (I suggest conversions or conversion value, not clicks)
Set which historical period to use for Conversion Rate (I typically use ‘last 30 days’)
Finally set an optional target – leave this blank the first few times to use the tool
Create your plan and you’ll be directed to the draft plan page, where you can explore your ‘forecast’.
Note – AgencySavvy members can use the Chrome Extension to download plan data so you can perform more powerful analysis 😉
Your Forecast Plan
The draft plan page of Performance Planner has several key elements, let’s dig in.
The graph helps you see how changes to your spending will affect campaign performance.
The ‘grey dot’ shows existing performance with no changes
If it’s below the curve, there are some easy wins to be had.
If it’s on the curve, you’re probably doing a good job of optimising so far.
Clicking the blue curve will add a ‘blue dot’ and allow you to compare the two options in the table below.
Campaign forecast table
Under the forecast graph, there is a table with a statistical breakdown by individual campaign. Each row includes forecasts for key metrics depending on the initial key metric you chose.
Under each metric, you’ll see data for the selected campaign’s existing performance, potential performance and the difference between those two.
Campaign side panel
This one is hidden until you click a campaign name to reveal a side panel of results. It shows a forecast graph for the individual campaign plus some performance and budget metrics.
You can adjust the spend and conversion rate to see the impact on performance.
Compare Performance Tab
The Compare tab gives you a different way to view past performance (for a date range you choose) alongside your existing & planned plans. Useful when you need approval from the C-suite.
Optimising for Profit
You will have noticed by now that the ‘blue curve’ always goes up & to the right. All cumulative curves do. It looks like the more you spend (invest!) the more conversions (or conversion value) you’ll get. And that’s generally true.
But how much more should you spend/invest and is ‘the juice worth the squeeze’?!
Let’s find out.
The quick way (if you like doing math in your head) is to just hover the mouse over the curve & watch how much spend changes, how much your key metric changes & work out the difference.
It’s easier to click the curve & then compare the ‘difference’ columns in the table at the bottom of the page.
For example in this situation
We can see an increase in revenue of ~$19k from an additional $7500 in spend, reduces our ROAS from 4.7 down to 3.7.
However that incremental ROAS is 18800/7570 = 2.48
Which probably isn’t profitable for many advertisers.
And this is the only problem with the Performance Planner, it doesn’t easily show you the incremental effect of your change in spend.
So we created a Chrome Extension that allows you to easily download the plan data, enter a figure for your breakeven ROAS or CPA, and chart the profit for your spend so you can visually see the effects.
The extension is available to AgencySavvy members together with training on how to download the data & how to use the charts.
If you’re not yet a member, head to https://agencysavvy.com/join/
Eyeball the charts
If all that sounds like too much work, just eyeball the ‘slope of that blue curve’.
Remember tangents from high-school math classes? The gradient of the curve tells you useful information about the curve.
For our purposes, if the curve is still going up, there’s probably more profit hiding in your campaigns.
However, if you see a curve that’s already pretty flat, then proceed with caution. You can always spend more – and Google will happily take your cash – but there might not be many more conversions available for that spend.
And when your incremental CPA/ROAS falls below your breakeven point, then you either really know your numbers & understand why that is… or you’re losing money every time you run an ad.
Please make sure you know which situation you’re in, use the tool (or extension) and make profitable decisions with your Google Ads.