| Read time 10 min read

Google Ads Performance Planner: Ins and Outs

We can set-up and optimize your Google Ads for you but let’s also test your website’s SEO potential! While Diib helps 1000s of businesses grow with Google Ads management, Diib is also one of the best SEO tools in the world and uses the power of big data to help you quickly and easily increase your free organic traffic and rankings. Diib will even let you know if you already deserve to rank higher for certain keywords.


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Google Ads Performance Planner: Ins and Outs

Read time 10 min read
Performance planner google ads

We can set-up and optimize your Google Ads for you but let’s also test your website’s SEO potential! While Diib helps 1000s of businesses grow with Google Ads management, Diib is also one of the best SEO tools in the world and uses the power of big data to help you quickly and easily increase your free organic traffic and rankings. Diib will even let you know if you already deserve to rank higher for certain keywords.


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Google Ads Performance Planner is a free tool in Google Ads to help you create detailed plans based on your spend level and see the impact on your campaign performance from hypothetical changes related to budget, seasonality, and campaign set-up changes. The tool allows you to forecast performance over the next month or quarter and manage budgets for multiple accounts and campaigns. It identifies optimization opportunities and optimal budget levels to meet your identified campaign goals and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Suggestions for campaign optimization using the same spend levels are provided as well as showing how performance may be affected by changes in spend. Using trended data, the tool is also able to provide insight into seasonality’s effect on the campaigns.

Adwords Performance Planner is a valuable tool in managing your campaigns effectively and efficiently. You may be working with a corporate level campaign that has 20, 50, or even 100 campaigns with budgets in the tens of thousands of dollars. It would be impossible to effectively manage that scope and budget without not only marketing automation, but machine learning and advanced analytics to put data to work and automatically generate a comprehensive campaign plan.

FACT: 78% of marketers said they rely on Google Ads and social media advertising to get their messages out. 

How does Google Ads Performance Planner work?

Google Performance Planner looks at data from its consortium of search queries involving billions of people as well as all of its advertisers. This data is updated every 24 hours so it is current and fresh. The tool has a simulator to replay ad auctions from the previous seven to 10 days and includes important variables like holidays, seasonality, competitive data, and landing page performance, including bounce rates and conversions. This is one reason why it is so important to link your Google Analytics account to your Google Ads account. You want to get the most out of Google’s resources, data, and technology. Here is an example of how the Performance Planner looks:

Performance planner google ads

(Image Credit: Google Support)

As the simulation runs and data is collected in the Performance Planner, the forecasted data is evaluated and measured against the actual performance data to ensure the forecast is logical and achievable. Machine learning and AI put the finishing touches and details on the forecasts and you have the most technologically savvy predictive modeling for your Google paid search campaign that is available.

You may have a low number of conversions either because your campaign is not properly optimized or because it has not been in market for long. If you have enough click data, the Performance Planner can still run the simulation and create a forecast and you can add your own conversion rate for the conversion forecasting reports. Using your actual performance data combined with Google’s immense warehouse of data from all of its advertisers and Google search users, the Performance Planner can be your best friend in paid search campaign management and optimization.

We can set-up and optimize your Google Ads for you but let’s also test your website’s SEO potential. Takes 60 seconds!

Paying for traffic is an important way for many businesses to grow but ranking naturally in Google for your important keywords is free. While Diib helps 1000s of businesses grow with Google Ads management, Diib is also one of the best SEO tools in the world and uses the power of big data to help you quickly and easily increase your traffic and rankings. Diib will even let you know if you already deserve to rank higher for certain keywords. As seen in Entrepreneur!

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Requirements for Performance Planner

We briefly touched upon the required number of conversions to see the conversion forecast functionality, so what are the requirements for the Google Performance Planner and its application to your campaigns?

Campaigns eligible for Performance Planner Google Ads

Search Campaigns

  • Campaigns using the following bid strategies: manual cost-per-click (CPC), enhanced CPC, maximize for clicks, maximize for conversions, optimize for return on ad spend (ROAS), optimize for low cost per action (CPA)· Campaigns that have been live for a minimum of 72 hours
  • Campaigns with at least three clicks in the previous seven days
  • For campaigns optimizing for conversions, there must be at least one conversion in the past seven days

Shopping Campaigns

  • Campaigns with a minimum of 10 conversions and/or conversion values in the previous 10 days
  • Campaigns that have been active for 10 consecutive days with a minimum spend budget of $10 during this time frame

Campaigns that Target ROAS

  • Campaigns that have not experienced impression limitations due to budget in the previous 10 days

Campaigns not eligible for Performance Planner Google Ads

  • Previously deleted campaigns
  • Campaigns currently in draft or experiment mode
  • Campaigns with shared budgets with other campaigns
  • Campaigns that have been updated or those that have been live for fewer than 10 days

Google Ads Performance Planner: Getting Started

Google Ads Performance Planner provides you with the opportunity to create a data-driven, detailed campaign modeled on metrics and performance from many campaigns across multiple advertisers that are currently live. There are some important steps to not only create the plan, but to also adjust it for various hypothetical situations.

Step 1: Create the plan

  • When you are signed into your Google Ads account, click tools and settings in the upper right corner and then choose Performance Planner.
  • Click Create and then click Continue.
  • If you have a plan currently created, click the blue plus sign to create a new plan.
  • Choose the campaigns you want to include in your plan and then click Next. It is a best practice to include campaigns with the same goal as the Performance Planner will shift and adjust budgets between multiple campaigns with a goal to optimize all campaigns for improved performance and conversions. If you are working with shopping campaigns, select one merchant center when filtering campaigns.
  • Select the date and the key performance indicator (KPI), such as clicks or conversions
  • It is optional, but you also can choose a target, such as cost per acquisition, for Performance Planner to adjust spend to help reach for efficiently and effectively.
  • Click Continue.

Performance planner google ads

(Image Credit: PPC Hero)

Step 2: Work with your forecast plan

Now that your plan is created, it is time to see an overview of the plan and work with various hypothetical situations to see their impact on your plan. Working with hypotheticals will not change your campaign unless you actually implement the changes in your account. As a note, if your business is impacted by market changes, it is best to plan weekly or monthly as market fluctuations can lead to statistically insignificant data and low confidence levels and market stabilization is necessary for more frequent planning.

Forecast graph

Changes to your spend levels and how they may potentially impact your campaign performance will be displayed on the forecast graph. The forecast graph includes all campaigns selected when you created your plan so you can review and apply hypotheticals to all campaigns. You can click around and see various hypotheticals and their potential effects. Take the time to click around in the graph to change the spend and see how those changes might affect the potential performance of your campaigns. For example:

Performance planner google ads

(Image Credit: Search Engine Land)

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Individual campaign forecast table

The individual campaign forecast table displays the data breakdown for each campaign. The table includes spend as well as key metrics like conversions and cost per acquisition (CPA). You can manipulate the data for each campaign individually to see how changes will impact your campaign overall. This visualization clearly shows the data broken down by planned, existing, and the difference between planned and existing for each data point. For example:

Performance planner google ads

(Image Credit: PPCexpo)

  • Planned: The planned metrics refer to the potential campaign performance per Performance Planner developed for your plan.
  • Existing: The existing metrics indicate the potential campaign performance if you proceed with the current settings of your campaign with no changes in any area.

Diff.: Dff refers to the difference between the Planned and Existing performance metrics so you can easily see the potential impact of the created plan.

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Campaign side panel

From the forecast table, you can click on a specific campaign to see a forecast graph along with performance and budget for that campaign only. If you have 20 campaigns or fewer in your plan, you will also be able to view hypothetical changes beyond spend adjustments, such as adding keywords, search partners, and site links. This gives you the opportunity to see how adjustments may potentially affect your campaign performance overall.


With Google Performance Planner, you have the ability to compare this potential plan with previous time frames to see how it stacks up to your trended performance data and give you a better indication of future performance.

Step 3: Implement your plan

  • Now that you have created a plan with a Performance Planner and analyzed the various hypothetical situations, it is time to implement your plan in Google Ads Editor.
  • From your Google Ads account, click Tools and Settings in the upper right corner, then choose Performance Planner.
  • Select the plan to review before implementation.
  • Click the download arrow icon in the upper right corner and then choose Ads Editor file to download a CSV.

Performance planner google ads

  • Now that you have downloaded the plan, you may choose to make edits before importing the CSV into Google Ads Editor to review and implement it.

While optional, you can adjust your conversion rate to see the potential impact on the forecasted performance for an individual campaign or multiple campaigns. A rate adjustment may be expected at certain times such as during busy holiday buying months or perhaps when you have a planned event with expected conversions like a lead generation form.

To adjust the rate on a new plan:

  • While you are signed into your Google Ads account, click Tools and Settings in the upper right corner and then choose Performance Planner.
  • Click the blue plus sign to Create a new plan.
  • Choose Conversions or Conversion value as the desired KPI for your plan and then choose the period to base the forecast on, such as the last seven days, month, quarter, or the same time frame as last year.

To adjust the rate for an individual campaign:

  • When you are signed into your Google Ads account, navigate to Tools and Settings Sign in the upper right corner and select Performance Planner.
  • Choose the plan to adjust the conversion rate.
  • On the Plan page, scroll to the campaign table and select the campaign. In the editor panel on the right side of the screen, type the new forecasted conversion rate for the campaign.

To adjust the rate for multiple campaigns:

  • When you are signed into your Google Ads account, click Tools and Settings in the upper right corner and then choose Performance Planner.
  • Click the plan you want to work with and then click Adjust on the conversion rate.
  • There are two options to adjust the conversion rate. The first way is to scale the conversion rate across all campaigns in your plan by entering the expected percent of increase or decrease. The second way is to simply enter a new conversion rate to apply to all campaigns.

Remove a plan

It is easy to remove a plan that you have already created when you are no longer running that campaign and do not believe you will need the plan information in the future. From the Tools and Settings icon, click Performance Planner. Select the plan you want to remove and then click Remove. You will be prompted a second time to click Remove and confirm that you want to permanent delete and remove the plan.

Performance Planner Recommendations

To get the most out of your Google Ads campaign and the available tools from Google, make sure you are following best practices for Google Ads campaigns as well as Google Analytics.

  • Link Google Ads to Google Analytics and make sure there is custom event tagging and goals created in Google Analytics for automated campaign optimizations, reporting, and planning in Google Ads.

Performance planner google ads

(Image Credit: Torchbox)

  • If your campaigns are dependent on the market, use Performance Planner weekly or monthly until the market stabilizes in order to look at statistically reliable data.
  • Investigate the impact of campaign structure changes like site links and new key words in the forecasting functionality of the tool before implementing changes

Pros and Cons of Performance Planner

As with most tools, there usually are some downfalls that come with the positive aspects. Perhaps the biggest con of the Performance Planner is that you must download the plan and then import it in order to implement the changes. A much more user-friendly functionality would be to select the proposed changes from a list and confirm their implementation. Despite this con, there are many pros to the tool:

  • Google uses data from all advertisers that you would not have access to, combined with machine learning to provide the most technologically savvy plan.
  • You have the ability to look at various hypothetical situations and their impact on the plan’s possible performance.
  • Performance Planner takes seasonality into account.
  • You have the ability to adjust conversion rates to account for times when you know to expect a different performance level.
  • The tool allows you to manage multiple campaigns with large budgets with efficiency and effectiveness.
  • Provides the ability to identify a target for greater performance improvement.

Performance Planner is an important tool that allows you to manage one or many campaigns with various budgets with ease and efficiency. When evaluating the pros and cons, Performance Planner rates very high in its ability to use machine learning and data for optimal campaign planning that is detailed and targeted for your KPIs and campaign goals. Performance Planner recommendations are targeted for your audience and campaign goals and you have the ability to make adjustments to the recommended plan before implementing the changes. 

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If you are managing a paid search campaign, regardless of the number of campaigns or budget, Adwords Performance Planner has tools to make your work more efficient and effective in meeting your campaign goals. Diib Digital will give you minute-by-minute statistics on the health and success of your Google Ad planner campaigns. Here are some of the features we’re sure you’ll love:

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The Google Ads performance planner helps you to plan your ad campaigns and monitor things like: ad spending, how changes can affect key metrics and the overall performance of your campaigns. This will help you decide how best to spend your ad dollars.

It can help you to compare your ad campaign against those of your top competitors, validating your spending budget. The planner also makes recommendations toward optimizing your campaign.

The biggest benefit of this is to increase your website visits. Automated bidding sets your bid to get as many clicks as possible within your chosen budget. Use it for one campaign or across multiple campaigns.

Keywords must be listed in the ad groups for your specific company. This way when a term is searched, your company will be relevant to the search term.

You control your budget and how your money is spent in Google Ads. You can choose how much you spend in a given month, day and/or per ad and you only pay when someone clicks on your ad.


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Daniel Urmann

Author Bio:

Daniel Urmann is the co-founder of Diib.com. Over the past 17 years Daniel has helped thousands of business grow online through SEO, social media, and paid advertising. Today, Diib helps over 150,000 business globally grow online with their SaaS offerings. Daniel’s interest include SMB analytics, big data, predictive analytics, enterprise and SMB search engine optimization (SEO), CRO optimization, social media advertising, A/B testing, programatic and geo-targeting, PPC, and e-commerce. He holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) focused in Finance and E-commerce from Cornell University – S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management.


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