Ready or not, Google will begin automatically upgrading Smart Shopping campaigns and Local campaigns to Performance Max, which the company announced in November 2021.
Smart Shopping campaigns will automatically upgrade in July, and Local campaigns will upgrade in August.
Marketers who don’t want to wait can begin in April to upgrade Smart Shopping campaigns with a new one-click tool found in Google Ads. The same tool will become available to those using Local campaigns in June. The tool lets marketers upgrade specific campaigns separately, or all campaigns at once.
The focus is on accessing additional inventory and formats across YouTube, Search text ads, and Discover — all from a product feed.
For example, marketers can transform video ads into digital storefronts and highlight top products on YouTube.
Automation is the key. Performance Max uses Google automation to help advertisers reach shoppers as they browse for items online and in stores, but not all agree with the transition.
Jonathan Kagan, VP of search at 9Rooftops Marketing, believes advertisers do not gain enough transparency on local search and smart shopping. Plus, Performance Max has experienced low adoption. Published results among his peers have touted that traffic costs became more efficient, but backend performance dropped in quality.
"Now we’re combining lack of transparency and insight with something that doesn’t have a stellar reputation while reducing the level of granular control the advertiser," he said. "This does not make sense."
Eduardo Indacochea, senior director of product management at Google, in a post wrote that based on early tests, advertisers upgrading Smart Shopping campaigns to Performance Max see an average increase of 12% in conversion value at the same or better return on ad spend (ROAS). And upgrading to Performance Max will not affect an advertiser’s ability to manage other campaign types outside of Smart Shopping and Local campaigns.
Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce and other ecommerce partners are working to support Performance Max so more merchants can benefit from new inventory and formats to connect with customers. All merchants and partners can upgrade their Smart Shopping and Local campaigns through the Google Ads API later this year.
Smart Shopping Campaigns can be created without conversion tracking. And while Performance Max campaigns -- including retail -- do not require conversion tracking, Google recommends it.
In the coming months, Google will share tools and tips to help marketers make the transition.