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Performance Max vs Smart Shopping: Everything You Need to Know

Did you know that Smart Shopping campaigns were replaced by Performance Max in 2023? If you’re looking to compare Performance Max vs Smart Shopping, then you’re in the right place. With Performance Max, you gain access to a broader range of asset groups with diverse media formats, allowing your ads to reach audiences across Google Networks.

Automatic upgrade to Performance Max campaign

Starting in April 2022, there was a gradual transition to better campaigns called Performance Max.

An upgrade to Performance Max campaign

Between July and September 2022, Google automatically upgraded the campaigns.

Google believes that this upgrade will boost conversions for businesses. However, there are some limitations in customizing settings in Performance Max, as Google handles certain aspects automatically. Despite that, using Google’s advanced AI technology may lead to better conversions and ad efficiency.

Performance Max vs Smart shopping similarities

Performance Max and Smart Shopping have numerous similarities: They use Google Merchant Center feeds, enable product targeting, and allow schedule adjustments.

They let you automate your bids

The standout benefit of Google Smart Shopping campaigns and Performance Max is they let you automate your bids. By setting a target ROAS, Google adjusts bids automatically to achieve the desired goal.

Both use machine learning algorithms based on past performance and other advertisers’ data to optimize bids for each keyword and product category.

They target ROAS

Both platforms offer a way to measure ad campaign profitability using target return on ad spend (ROAS), calculated by dividing total revenue by total cost. The ideal ROAS varies based on the product or service being advertised.

For instance, a shoe seller might aim for a higher ROAS compared to someone selling office supplies due to different price ranges.

Performance Max vs Smart campaign differences

Choosing between Performance Max vs Smart Shopping has been a concern to advertisers after PMax brought a fresh perspective to Google Ads types.

What's new in Performance Max?

Before 2023, Smart Shopping ads were limited to: 

  • Search
  • 3P Display
  • O & O Display (including Gmail and YouTube)

The new format of Performance Max campaign comes with various types of campaigns:

Google Smart Shopping Campaigns and Performance Max are alike in several aspects, but they differ in some important ways:

  • Performance Max is designed to handle performance-based campaigns across various ad groups, keywords, and channels.
  • Performance Max runs ads on all available Google platforms.
  • Smart Shopping Campaigns are limited to running Shopping ads only and do not offer the features of Google’s new Performance Max.

Performance Max surpasses Smart Campaign in its focus on goals and targets, offering simple automated bidding, using Audience Signals, and providing valuable campaign performance insights.

performance max audience signals

How to upgrade Smart Shopping to Performance Max?

To upgrade your Smart Shopping or Local campaigns to Performance Max, you can self-upgrade or let it automatically upgrade.

Automatic upgrade

  1. Google automatically upgraded most Smart Shopping campaigns between July and September 2022, while Local campaigns automatic upgrades between August and September during the same period.
  2. After the upgrade, you will no longer have the option to create new Smart Shopping or Local campaigns.
  3. Performance Max automatically transfers your campaign settings, including goals, budget, bid strategy, creative assets, and product targeting.
  4. The system will mark your Smart Shopping or Local campaigns as “Removed”, and you won’t be able to edit or reactivate them. However, you’ll still have access to the historical data in your Google Ads account.
automatic upgrade to Performance Max campaigns

Mega Digital recommends adding additional creative assets, such as text, images, and videos, to your Performance Max campaign after the upgrade to enable serving on additional inventory.


  1. Upgrade your campaigns directly from the “Campaigns” page, the “Recommendations” page, or through a notification in your Google Ads account.
  2. If you’re using the new Google Ads user experience (available to all advertisers in 2024), then you can follow the instructions provided.
  3. The self-upgrade tool will grant access for approximately 1-2 months before it automatically upgrades campaigns.
  4. Google Ads will send you notifications in your account when the self-upgrade tool is available and before it automatically upgrades your campaigns.

Upgrading to Performance Max tips

After comparing Performance Max vs Smart Shopping, let’s take a look at a more effective approach to running your ads campaigns. If you want more control over the Performance Max upgrades, there are options available besides using the one-click or automatic upgrade methods by Google.

Upgrading to Performance Max tips

Instead of relying on the one-click tool, you can manually create new Performance Max campaigns. These campaigns also have access to the same inventory as your existing Smart Shopping and Local campaigns. If you haven’t tried Performance Max campaigns before or considering Performance Max vs Smart Campaign, then this is a great opportunity to give them a test run.

If you’re expecting to make the most out of Performance Max but still confused about how to run the campaign, check out Mega Digital’s Google Shopping Advertising services.

Google Performance Max Best Practices

When creating a new Google Performance Max campaign, it’s important to keep the following key points in mind:

  • Budget and bid strategy: It’s important to strike a balance between your daily budget and target cost-per-acquisition (CPA). If your budget is too low and your target CPA is too high, then it may limit the potential of your campaigns to achieve optimal results.
  • Additional creative assets: This allows Google to automatically assemble them into relevant ad formats, hence giving you access to a wider range of available ad inventory. Most importantly, remember to ensure that the assets within each group are related to a single theme.
Google Performance Max Best Practices: creative asset group
  • Audience signals: Since these signals indicate the likelihood of conversion and help optimize your campaigns more effectively, you can reach and engage with potential customers more efficiently.

By following these best practices from the Performance Max vs Smart Shopping comparison, you will be able to monitor your Performance Max campaigns more effectively. For more expert tips to optimize your Performance Max campaigns, check out: How to Optimize Performance Max Campaign – Top 15 Strategies

Final words

Hopefully, you’ve had a comprehensive comparison of Performance Max vs Smart Shopping. Mega Digital can provide expertise and assistance in setting up and optimizing your Google Performance Max campaigns.

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