If the last time you logged into your Google ads account was back in September, you may be stunned if you log back in today. Yes, there are no more Smart Shopping Campaigns. They all have been automatically changed to Performance Max campaigns by Google.

If you were a little more attentive, you probably remember receiving Google’s notice informing you about the change so that you had a chance to prepare better. You might have even migrated your old campaigns or created new ones before the deadline.

Nevertheless, if you are a Google ads advertiser today, you only have the option of Performance Max or the automated AI-driven campaign. Many questions and concerns are associated with Google’s Performance Max replacing Smart Shopping entirely. What are the benefits of Performance Max, and what are the pitfalls of the system? Here’s everything you need to know about it.

What is Performance Max Campaign?

Performance Max is a type of Google Shopping advertising campaign. With its Performance Max brain, Google takes control over the ads from you. Advertisers set their own conversion goals that will be achieved with automated bidding technology. The company promises that its AI-generated settings increase conversions across Google’s advertising channels, including Search, Display, Discover, Maps, Gmail, and YouTube. Therefore, now that all the campaigns have moved from Smart Shopping to Performance Max, we’ll see more adverts across different formats and platforms.

What are the benefits of Performance Max?

Performance Max developers promise that this intelligent campaign type will increase online leads and conversions by optimizing budget and bids across all Google platforms. Performance Max is more efficient than a generic search campaign.

Instead of relying solely on the data you feed Google ads, Performance Max collects that data in real-time. The information is stored privately and is only used to attract similar shoppers. Therefore, it is more extensive than just the buyers’ age and location. The data that Google collects on its own for you also includes shoppers’ interests and preferences. Therefore, Performance Max helps you discover new customers you might never reach otherwise with Smart Shopping ads.

What are the cons of Performance Max?

The features that the advertisers miss the most from Smart Shopping Campaign include 

  • Easier ad campaign optimization;
  • The ability to unlock new audience segments;
  • More substantial data insights;
  • More targeted creatives.

In a nutshell, Performance Max operates as a ‘black box’. While you usually get great results and notice your campaigns perform very well, you have no idea how Google does it. You don’t have much control over who you sell to and under what keywords. As well as the fact that you don’t get to see that data once your campaign is running.

How did the migration happen?

The deadline for moving your ads from Smart Campaigns to Performance Max ones was September 11, 2022. If you hadn’t done something before then and had some running Smart Shopping ads, those were automatically changed to Performance Max by Google.

In fact, waiting for Google to automatically transfer the campaigns for you was better than trying to create new ones or migrating the old ones yourself. That is because Google carefully moved their data, history, smart bidding, product sets, and more important settings to Performance Max campaigns, with you not having to do anything.

The old Smart Shopping Campaign will be marked ‘removed’ after the migration. And for the new Performance Max campaign, Google will automatically generate several creative assets, enough to publish your campaign; however, that campaign will not have extensive features at the beginning and will not perform well. There will be a few parts left for you to fill in. You will need to set up everything regarding creatives yourself!

What’s left for you to do?

Now you have your Performance Max Campaigns set up. However, these three elements might be missing:

1. Creatives

Text, video, and image ads might be missing. These are very easy to add to your campaigns. Never underestimate the importance of visuals; even if you have some set up at the moment, it’s best to renew and upgrade them. Remember that Google allows you to create videos through your account manually. All you need to do is go to ‘Tool & Setting’, then ‘Shared Library’ and ‘Asset Library’.

2. Audiences

Add all your audience lists to your new Performance Max Campaign,
including in-market, affinity, customised, and remarketing lists.

3. Listing

Even if listings show up in your new campaign, it’s worth doing some editing here as well. Go over each of the items and change their labels if needed. You can also separate everything on your product feed into different asset groups.

Things to consider

  1. Google’s Performance Max migration means that a new PMax campaign will be created with some of the data from your Smart Shopping Campaign removed.
  2. No historical data or graphs from the previous Smart Shopping campaign will be transferred or visible from the last Smart Shopping campaign.
  3. Your assets and existing product listings will be moved to the new campaign in one asset group.
  4. Your Negative Keywords will auto-migrate from Smart Shopping into Performance Max. 
  5. Performance Max campaigns will have a shorter character count for the first description line (60 allowable characters).

Google Ads Editor and Performance Max Campaigns

You can work offline or update your ads simultaneously at Google Ads Editor now.

With this new version of Google Ads Editor, you can edit and share the Audiences you’ve created. You can also attach them to assets and groups.

An asset group is a collection of what you want your target audience to see. Usually, it has a group of images, videos, and text.

An ad group is a group of advertisements focused on the same product or
service. It’s most efficient to keep ad groups small; this way, Performance Max campaigns reach the most viewers.

Final thoughts

Google’s migration to Performance Max campaigns is not as scary or annoying as one might think. Hence the name; they are built to perform to their maximum and bring you the best results. Even if you did not move the campaigns yourself but trusted Google, you still need to do a few things to make the campaigns work correctly.

We know it is annoying that the data is only visible to Google. But if you think twice, as long as the campaign works and you benefit from it, who cares how that’s done?