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Paid Media

Preparing for Performance Max Campaigns

Photo credit: The impeccable Debby Hudson

In October of 2020 Google announced the launch of Performance Max campaigns as the company continued to push for new automated ways to target audiences online. After a year of testing Google then decided earlier this year to not only make them available to all advertisers but to replace existing smart shopping and local campaigns with the new feature.

Advertisers who have been using either campaign types will be happy to know that Performance Max has additional features to help them potentially capture more revenue and higher ROI and if you’re trying to figure out how to get started transitioning your campaign types, here’s what we recommend.

Reassess Your Goals

Let’s talk through both campaign types, why they’re typically run and what will carry over:

Smart Shopping: These campaigns take your existing product feed and using machine learning try to automatically match the product, message and placement to consumers in the shopping/discovery phase. Performance Max campaigns won’t be too different other than offering additional ad inventory placements.

Local Campaigns: These are simple local business campaigns that take your address, a few selling points and assets and automatically generate ads. I really recommend that if you are running them, you meet with a paid search agency/freelancer because there are far better and more granular ways to setup campaigns that will target customers and generate ROI for your business.

Upgrade Window

The best thing about this transition is that Google will be providing a one-click upgrade experience starting in April for existing campaigns. Previously when campaigns were deprecated, they could often run without any edits for a limited time but had to be completely rebuilt in the new campaign type. This takes out a lot of the management headaches and gives advertisers a great starting point going forward.

What Performance Am I Seeing?

So far clients who have tested Performance Max campaigns have seen incremental improvement which we feel is largely related to improved machine learning and placement. I still recommend that before flipping the switch, brands need to make sure these campaign types still align with their business objectives.

Managing Complexity

If your brand is currently running smart shopping or local campaigns and is trying to figure out next steps, there are a number of great paid search agencies and practitioners that can build, transition and optimize your campaigns for the new format.

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