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Performance Max campaigns are now widely available and will include Smart Shopping and Local campaigns in 2022

After launching as a beta in October 2020, Google Ads has rolled out Performance Max campaigns to all advertisers, the company announced Tuesday. The company also announced that Smart Shopping and Local campaigns will be rolled into Performance Max sometime in 2022.

What are Performance Max campaigns? First unveiled at Advertising Week 2020, Performance Max campaigns are designed to enable advertisers to place their ads across all Google-owned and operated properties, instead of creating specialized ads for specific channels. Thus, Performance Max campaign ads are eligible to run across all inventory, including Search, Discover, Display, Gmail, Maps and YouTube, and are meant to complement standard Search campaigns.

Similar to other automated campaign types, advertisers provide the copy and image and/or video assets and Google’s machine learning systems serve the responsive ads across the channels. Bids are placed using Smart Bidding based on the advertiser’s goal.

The Google Ads Insights page. Image: Google.

Performance Max campaigns are also part of the Google Ads Insights page, which shows currently trending searches, auction insights and interest predictions tailored to the account.

Smart Shopping and Local campaigns to be “upgraded” to Performance Max. “To help you increase sales, Smart Shopping and Local campaigns will both upgrade to Performance Max in 2022,” Google said in the announcement. This means that, at some point next year, Smart Shopping and Local campaigns will no longer exist in their current state and advertisers may have to switch to Performance Max campaigns, which are eligible to appear in more channels.

“​​We see Performance Max as a single, unified campaign type and we wouldn’t be delivering on the performance promises of that if it didn’t include Smart Shopping campaigns and Local campaigns, which is why they are going to be upgraded [included in Performance Max] moving forward,” a Google spokesperson told Search Engine Land.

Why we care. Since the beginning of the pandemic, consumer behavior has seen non-stop disruption as consumers adapt to new circumstances. Responding to those new and evolving behaviors can be challenging for brands and may necessitate new strategies, which also take time to implement. Google has positioned its automated campaigns, such as Performance Max, as a way to help advertisers stay ahead of trends by leveraging Google’s machine learning. It is even boasting a 13% average increase in incremental conversions for advertisers that use Performance Max. As always, it is best to test new features (or in this case, a campaign type) to evaluate whether it’s right for your brand and your audience.

Testing will also be especially important for those currently relying on Smart Shopping and Local campaigns, since they’ll be rolled into Performance Max next year. Google is not making the change this year because advertisers are likely to already have a roadmap in place for the 2021 holiday shopping season.

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