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The End of Smart Shopping

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There’s a good chance you received an email this month reminding you that the phasing out of Google Smart Shopping campaigns will begin as of July 2022. It is giving way (along with Google Local campaigns) to Performance Max campaigns and those of you who haven’t already made the switch will see your Smart Shopping campaigns automatically converted to Performance Max campaigns.

Google has been gradually moving towards automation – retiring smart shopping for performance max is consistent with that.

Simon Orth, Orth Enterprises

The groundwork for this has been going on for some time, indeed back in February Google announced that all existing and future Smart Shopping campaigns would shift to a shared budget type – why? In preparation for this Performance Max transition. So if you’re still running Smart Shopping campaigns the shared budget transition has already happened – and the transition to Performance Max is now weeks away.

Take control of the transition to Performance Max

For those looking to retain a bit more control over that transition your best move would be to build and launch a Performance Max campaign rather than entrust the settings of your Smart Shopping campaign to be the optimal set up for what is, ultimately, a different ad format. For one, unlike Smart Shopping, Performance Max campaigns include placements on Google Maps and Discover platforms, increasing opportunities to show ads to a high-intent audience.

We’ll be adding Performance Max into the mix for those clients where it makes sense

Simon Orth, Orth Enterprises

Opportunities aside, the transition to Performance Max hasn’t been met with universal positivity among a community increasingly begrudging of the inevitable ground lost to automation. Although those who are still prepared to run campaigns that let them hold on to the levers of control where possible (and the performance lift they retain as a result) won’t be impacted much – they likely were never Smart Shopping users anyway. They will have seen this transition as the latest of a ton of signifiers that Google’s black box is coming.

The future (and past and present) of being a marketer, is being a strategist

We’ve written about Performance Max previously, citing our own experiments as well as a temperature check from others doing the same and the result seemed to be pretty good – it’s well worth trying. The reality, of course, is that digital marketers will inevitably end up ceding more ground to automation, the only sensible course of action is to lean in to it. Understand where the levers of control still exist and maximize on them. Performance Max still hands the user control of messaging, bidding, budget, and audiences – understanding the age-old pre-digital principles of marketing strategy will see you future-proof yourself and get the most from these new formats.

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