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Google Ads replacing Smart Shopping – What You Should Know

Google Ads’ Smart Shopping & Local days are numbered following an announcement on Thursday.

The two are being merged into the Performance Max, starting in April and set for completion by end of quarter 3 2022.

Performance Max campaigns were first launched in November 2021. In short, they combine your Google Shopping feed with a Responsive Display-like Ad.

What do I need to know?

Similar to Broad Match Modifier last year and Expanded Text Ads this year, the Smart Shopping and Local campaigns will be phased out over a couple of months. That period will be between April and Q3 later this year.

To help with the transition, Google has announced they will be providing a one-click tool for advertisers to switch their current Smart Shopping and/or Local campaigns into the new Performance Max campaigns.

Advertisers will have until July to take those actions or they will be automatically processed. Any automatic changes are planned to be completed by September 2022.

What are the changes?

Many of the current settings within your Smart Shopping or Local campaigns can remain the same when they transition.

A couple of upgrades in the Performance Max campaigns are:

  • New ad inventory
  • New automation insights

Personally, I find the downside of Performance Max campaigns to be the lack of transparency. There are no Keywords and any Search Terms data is hidden. Those who have read my blogs and Tweets for years will know that I am not a big fan of brand keywords and campaigns.

Another setback of starting a Performance Max campaign is that the impressions in your Shopping campaigns (Smart or Standard) plummet to virtually zero. Whether you’re a fan and user of Smart Shopping campaigns or not, running a Standard one alongside it is recommended in order to pick up numerous irrelevant search terms to add to your negative keyword lists. Anyone who chooses to go with a Performance Max campaign from the start of a new account misses out on this option altogether.

Google is also hosting a webinar to discuss the one-click tool on Tuesday 22 February from 20:00 GMT. If you cannot attend that event but want help with transitioning your current campaigns over to Performance Max, feel free to get in touch and I can happily assist you.

How to get the best out of Performance Max campaigns?

Select the Conversion Goals that matter most

Choose the right budget and bid strategy

Upload a variety of creative assets

Add audience signals to help Google understand which audiences are more likely to convert

Include Ad Extensions


Google Ads is becoming even more automated. From experience, the more human control we have over accounts the better the performance has been. At least that’s what I’ve seen over the past 17 years. My experience with Performance Max has largely been positive at least.

For those who don’t use Smart Shopping then this won’t affect your account.