Goodbye Smart Shopping, Hello Performance Max

Though it’s been less than five years since Google launched Smart Shopping, half a decade is no small stretch in the digital world. It might not then come as a surprise that in 2022, Google decided to forego Smart Shopping in favor of its shinier successor: Performance Max. 

If you’re a Paid Media Specialist or work within Google Ads, this change was just another periodic curveball indicative of an ever-evolving industry. Expected or not, there’s much to learn about this next update, and we’re here to help bid Smart Shopping adieu and prepare you for Performance Max. 

But what is Performance Max? How does it differ from Smart Shopping and Local campaigns, and how will it change your day-to-day as an ad buyer?

Photo Credit: monticello via shutterstock.com

What is Performance Max?

Performance Max is a new campaign by Google that continues automating your Smart Shopping and Local campaigns. It differs from its predecessors by giving advertisers the option to have multiple conversion goals and prioritize them accordingly. The upgrade will build off the existing features.

Google will utilize its database to make educated decisions regarding when and how to show your shopping ads. Performance Max also uses machine learning to maximize your marketing objectives by collecting real-time data. 

When Can I Expect Performance Max?

Google will update all Smart Shopping and Local campaigns to Performance Max campaigns in 2022. You will have the option to update your campaigns, but if you don’t, Google will force change them to Performance Max in the fall. 

After this transition, Google Ads will designate Smart Shopping and Local campaigns as “removed,” and you will no longer be able to create new ones. Your old campaigns will remain within the Google Ads platform, and though you won’t be able to edit them, you will still have access to their historical data. 

What Will Remain When Google Switches to Performance Max?

Within the transfer of existing campaigns to Performance Max, campaigns settings such as: 

  • goals,
  • budget,
  • bid strategy,
  • creative assets,
  • and product targeting

will remain the same. Ad buyers do not need to worry about rebuilding existing shopping and local campaigns they wish to continue running. 

How Do I Self Upgrade to Performance Max?

There are three different ways to self-update your campaigns:

  1. Upgrade from the ‘Campaigns’ page
  2. Upgrade from the ‘Recommendations’ page
  3. Upgrade from a notification in Google Ads
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How Does the Automatic Upgrade to Performance Max Work?

Prior to the automatic upgrade to Performance Max, advertisers will receive a notification within their Google accounts. Once Google begins auto-transferring Smart Shopping and Local campaigns, advertisers will no longer have the option to self-upgrade.

How Does Performance Max Differ from Smart Shopping?

In addition to having multiple conversion goals and prioritizing them, Performance Max has 

  • New Ad inventory available:

Advertisers can serve Performance Max campaigns on additional Google platforms: YouTube, Display, Search, Discover, Gmail, and Maps.

  • New Automation Insights:

Performance Max campaigns’ insight report offers data on audiences not currently available with Smart Shopping or Local campaigns.

How Can Ad Buyers Utilize Performance Max?

As an advertiser, when creating new Performance Max campaigns, you will need to include the following:

  • Marketing objectives/goals
  • Budget
  • Creative assets (text, images, video)
  • Geo-target
  • Feeds (optional)
    • Google my business
    • Google merchant center
    • Dynamic ads feed
    • Business data feeds
  • Audience 

Google will take the above information and mix it in with their database to serve your ads at optimal times: the clearer the objective, goals, and audience, the higher chance of strong results. As always with automation, the more we provide Google when building out the campaign, the stronger the automation will be since Google will have more options when serving. 

What Comes Next?

Performance Max is the future, and advertisers must learn how to leverage it. An increase in automation is where we are heading. Take the time to explore Google Ads, try self-upgrading, and prepare by familiarizing yourself with the campaign. 

Looking to drive value from Google Ads for your business?

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