Google Shopping Updates [Hello Performance Max]

March 22, 2022

Google is at it again. Making changes that have you scratching your head, wondering whether to panic now or later. But don’t worry. We have you covered! 

In this article, we’ll discuss the changes you can expect to see in 2022, as they relate to your Google Shopping ad campaigns.

Here’s What You Need to Know

Back in January of this year, Google announced it was replacing all Smart Shopping and Local Search Ads to Performance Max.

Performance Max is an automated campaign type that allows you to access your entire suite of Google ad inventory from a single campaign: 

“It’s designed to complement your keyword-based Search campaigns to help you find more converting customers across all of Google’s channels like YouTube, Display, Search, Discover, Gmail, and Maps,” (Google Ads Help).  

Why The Change?

Using Performance Max Google Ads, advertisers can now run one campaign under one budget to a broad range of services. This will make it easier to manage, update, and report on ad performance, as well as reach your target audience—where they are most likely to convert.

According to Google, Performance Max is already reporting an increase of 13% in conversion and value. And in addition to helping you increase conversions, the update is designed to help you:

  • Find new customers
  • Get deeper insights
  • Increase your automation ability

When Can We Expect The Update?

Performance Max has been active since May 2021, but during that time, it was in beta. It was later rolled out to all advertisers on November 2, 2021, as an option to use and a different campaign type. 

However, the Big Tech Giant announced it would start replacing Smart Shopping and Local Ads by Q3 of 2022. 

Do You Have to Update to Performance Max?

Starting in April, Google is planning to release tools that will allow advertisers to manually convert Smart Shopping to Performance Max. Until then, if advertisers want to make the switch, they’ll need to rebuild their campaigns from scratch using a new ad structure. 

If you don’t upgrade to Performance Max by July, Google will start upgrading your campaigns automatically:

“From July through September, your Smart Shopping campaigns will be automatically upgraded for you. Your Local campaigns will be automatically upgraded from August through September. You will no longer be able to create new Smart Shopping and Local campaigns once your existing campaigns are automatically upgraded,” (Google Ads & Commerce Blog).  

Sorry folks, but it appears there’s nothing you can do about it. Performance Max is happening, and trust us when we tell you, you’ll want to upgrade ads on your own vs. having Google do it for you (more on this here).  

Okay, so now you know the basics. Let’s dig deeper into what you can expect with Performance Max.

How Google’s Performance Max Will Affect Your Business

As we noted earlier, this campaign will make it much easier for business owners to set up Google Ads, as well as run and manage their own campaigns independently. 

However, you won’t have as much control over your bidding strategy, or some of the other controls you currently have over a campaign. This includes not being able to provide, or see, your target audiences, as well as have access to important demographic data, such as 

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Household income
  • Audience segmentation

Typically, you’d use this data to help inform a campaign strategy and other marketing channels, such as Facebook ads. 

Though some of this information will still be available in analytics, it will be limited. Therefore, advertisers will need to really focus on making sure their ad copy, imagery, and product feed is clean, optimized, and targeted to the consumers they’re hoping to convert. 

How Google’s Performance Max Will Affect Your Customers

From a customer’s point-of-view, there may not be too much of a difference, at first, especially in the type of ads being displayed.

The big difference that consumers are going to notice, however, is seeing brands that were originally advertising on only search and display now being advertised on YouTube and showing up in their Gmail. 

“In the past, advertisers would focus on one or two different types of advertising campaigns, due to having a smaller budget,” says Chris Flaten, Digital Marketing Specialist at Brandography. “But with this new upgrade, one budget will be able to cover many different ad types, which will certainly benefit small businesses.”

Why Is This a GameChanger?

Let’s say you’re a local hardware store with ads that appear on Google Search when someone is looking for a particular item you sell. With Performance Max, you’ll have the opportunity to skip ahead a few steps in the customer’s journey. 

To put it more simply, since Google already knows which customers are interested in the types of products you sell—and because they can now appear on your audience’s YouTube feeds and in their Gmail—customers are already being introduced to your ads before they actually begin any search queries.

Okay, that was an information overload. But guess what? There’s a lot more we still need to cover.

As Google Shopping is getting pushed more and more, you’ll need to make sure your feed is clean and aligns with Google’s terms and conditions. In addition, you’ll want to make sure you’re the one making the upgrades in April vs. having Google do the automation for you.

In our next article, we’ll share a few best practices for upgrading your campaigns to align with Google’s new ad format in Performance Max.

Stay Up-to-Date on Google Shopping Trends

If you have questions about how this upgrade will impact your current campaign strategy, our team can help! To learn how, contact us for a free consultation. 

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