Performance Max is a replacement for Google Smart Shopping. We’ve seen some early results and it’s shown some promise. Google has been slowly taking away control over accounts in exchange for the potential of better performance.

Google Performance Max

Note: this isn’t a true A/B test. This is a before and after. There is some impact from seasonality.

We have seen that P-Max quickly absorbs queries from Smart Shopping, Dynamic Search Ads, and even other keyword targeted search campaigns.

While performance is generally improved for this account, there will be scenarios where it will be degraded.

  1. No negative keywords – This means P-max doesn’t have the same level of control that a DSA does. It’s not clear how P-Max will keep brand terms out of the campaigns. 
  2. Retargeting is in the mix. There is no way to segment it out and see what impact it has on performance. Performance will be artificially elevated by this fact. 
  3. Shopping data is further degraded. It won’t be clear what conversion came from what presentation format.
  4. Creative is highly automated. Be prepared for automatically made videos with the cheesiest stock music imaginable. If brand presentation is important to your team, this is an issue.

In some cases this will all still work really well for the business. However, as magical as Google is, it’s not possible to train an algorithm with a small amount of data. Lower volume, or nuanced products will fall through the cracks. 

Kirk Williams posted that Smart Shopping and P-max may email customers as well. This seems like a big problem, as well as a cheap way for Google to inflate performance numbers. 

Based on what we see and what we know we can’t recommend P-max at this time. Query filtered shopping and standard text/DSAs will still beat P-Max in most cases when incremental revenue is measured independently.