Upgrade Dynamic Search Ads to Performance Max (Beta)

Important: Only selected Dynamic Search Ads (DSA) campaigns are eligible for Performance Max campaigns self-upgrade. The eligibility is based on current features and functionalities, available in both DSA and Performance Max campaigns.

With Performance Max, you can create a single campaign that gives you all the basic features that you already have with DSA. Performance Max also allows you to promote your products or services across all of Google's ad channels and inventory.

This article covers important details about how to self-upgrade your DSAs to Performance Max, and answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs).

Note: The DSA to Performance Max self-upgrade doesn’t impact DSA or any of its existing features. Current and new DSA campaigns will continue to function and be fully available. If you self-upgrade a DSA campaign to Performance Max, you will also be able to view its historical data.

Benefits of upgrading DSA campaigns to Performance Max campaigns

  • Performance: Advertisers who upgrade DSA campaigns to Performance Max see an average increase of over 21% in conversions or conversion value at a similar cost per action (CPA) or return on ad spend (ROAS)(Source: Google Data, Global, Ads, September 2023 - November 2023) .
  • Additional coverage across Google Ads channels and inventory: In addition to Search, which DSA already runs on, Performance Max campaigns also run on YouTube, Display, Discover, Gmail, and Maps to help you drive more conversions. See how you can drive better performance by switching from single-channel campaign optimization to cross-channel optimization.
  • Google AI technology: Search keywordless AI technology, plus Google AI innovations for bidding and creative automation help you optimize your budget across channels in real time and quickly adapt to fast-changing consumer trends.
  • Robust insights: Performance Max provides insights that show where your campaign is helping you find new and valuable search categories and terms. Learn more about Understanding Performance Max results with the Insights page.
  • New features: Performance Max includes new features, such as inventory-aware serving, which improves performance by excluding landing pages from your website while a product is out of stock, taking the work out of managing those URL exclusions manually. Performance Max also uses automatically created assets to help you create more relevant text ads that better match a user’s intent, and offers more control by allowing you to soon view and remove any headlines and descriptions you don't want to serve.

Google Ads Tutorials: Performance Max Upgrade for Dynamic Search Ads

For subtitles in your language, turn on YouTube captions. Select the settings icon Image of YouTube settings icon at the bottom of the video player, then select "Subtitles/CC" and choose your language.


How the self-upgrade works

Eligible advertisers will get a notification in their Google Ads accounts when they have the option to self-upgrade from the Recommendations page. You’ll need to set up a new Performance Max campaign for each DSA campaign that you want to upgrade.

The original DSA campaign remains and historical data can be accessed in the “Campaigns” table and by finding your original DSA campaign. A new Performance Max campaign takes up to one week to fully ramp up.

To ensure a more complete picture of performance, also consider conversion lags or delays when you’re assessing results. Where possible, Google learns from your original DSA campaign to help maximize performance from the first day your new Performance Max campaign is active.

Note: You’ll need to provide the minimum asset requirements for a Performance Max campaign to complete the self-upgrade. Add as many versions of text, image, and video assets as possible including different image sizes and video orientation. Providing a wide range of creative assets helps you maximize results by allowing your campaign to create more ad formats to serve across more relevant types of inventory.

For example, advertisers that included at least one video of each orientation (horizontal, vertical, and square) to their Performance Max campaigns delivered 20% more conversions on average in YouTube compared to horizontal videos alone.

Source: Google data, Global, November 2022

The following criteria determine whether a DSA campaign is eligible to upgrade and the features that will and will not be carried over to the new Performance Max campaign:

  • In order to be eligible for the upgrade, a campaign must have:
    • Up to 100 enabled ad groups
    • Campaigns with Smart Bidding enabled
    • DSA ad groups in a Search campaign that does not contain keywords
    • Enabled DSA creative
    • Campaign without a running trial
  • You’ll also find that some settings that were a part of your DSA campaign will look identical in your Performance Max campaign, including:
    • Budget
    • Bid target
    • Geo-targeting settings
    • Language settings
    • Page feed exclusions
    • Account-level negative keywords
  • Some features and settings from your DSA campaign will be carried over in a slightly different way to your new Performance Max campaign, such as:
    • Audience signals
    • URL rules (page feeds will automatically be created)
    • Bid strategy (may be slightly different depending on multiple factors outlined below)
    • The Insights page, in place of the Search Term Report, offers reporting for Performance Max including Search term insights and more.
  • You’ll find new functions in your upgraded Performance Max campaign:
  • Some features from your DSA campaign will not be supported in your upgraded Performance Max campaign:
Note: This list will be updated as more features are added to your upgraded Performance Max campaign, enabling more users to upgrade their campaigns.

Instructions to self-upgrade DSA to Performance Max campaign

Note: The instructions below are part of the new design for the Google Ads user experience. To use the previous design, click the "Appearance" icon, and select Use previous design. If you're using the previous version of Google Ads, review the Quick reference map or use the Search bar in the top navigation panel of Google Ads to find the page you’re searching for.

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You can self-upgrade your DSA to Performance Max campaign directly in 2 ways.

  • From a notification in your Google Ads account
  • From the Recommendations page
Upgrade from a notification in your Google Ads account
  1. From your Google Ads account, click on the notifications icon Notifications in the top-right corner.
  2. Click on the “Upgrade campaigns” notification.
  3. In the notification, click Apply.
  4. In the confirmation, click Apply all to confirm.
Upgrade from the Recommendations page
  1. In your Google Ads account, click the Campaigns icon Campaigns Icon.
  2. Click Recommendations.
  3. Click View Recommendations and select the checkbox Blue check box icon for selecting ad campaignsnext to each campaign that you want to upgrade.
  4. Click Apply all in the “Upgrade to Performance Max” recommendation to upgrade all campaigns in one click.
  5. In the confirmation modal, click Apply all.

General FAQs

When will I be eligible to self-upgrade my Dynamic Search Ads campaigns to Performance Max?
Starting in 2023, eligible advertisers can choose from the below 2 options in their Google Ads accounts to upgrade their DSA to Performance Max campaigns.
  • From a notification
  • From the Recommendations page
Wider availability is expected by the middle of or late 2023.
How can I self-upgrade my DSA to Performance Max campaign in Google Ads?
Eligible accounts will get a notification when a given campaign is eligible for upgrade. After you click on the notification, you’ll be taken to the upgrade flow.
Can I run an experiment to understand the impact of adding a new Performance Max campaign?

Select campaigns with sufficient conversion volume and budget will be eligible to A/B test the impact of upgrading Dynamic Search Ads campaigns to Performance Max. The experiment will split the traffic 50% for the DSA campaign and 50% for the Performance Max campaign. Learn more about setting up an experiment and evaluating your test results.

Can I use the Search Term Report with my upgraded Performance Max campaign?
No, the Search Term Report is not available with Performance Max. However, you can use search terms insights to help you understand how your customers are searching and engaging with your business on Google. They analyze the search terms where your ads have appeared in the past 56 days, grouping them into search categories and subcategories to provide you with key performance metrics for each.
Can my account be prioritized for the upgrade?
We aren’t accepting requests for upgrade prioritization at this time. The tool to upgrade from DSA to Performance Max is expected to be available for most DSA advertisers by the end of 2023. Eligibility is based on comparable functionality between DSA and Performance Max and predicted success and performance uplift upon upgrade.
How will I be notified if my campaigns are eligible to self-upgrade?
After logging in to your Google Ads account, click Recommendation in the subpage menu on the left. If you have an eligible DSA campaign, you’ll get a notification that you’re ready to upgrade your DSA campaign to Performance Max.
Why is Google recommending advertisers to self-upgrade DSA into Performance Max?
Dynamic Search Ads has historically helped advertisers augment their keyword-based Search campaigns by providing more conversions from relevant search queries through scaled landing page-based targeting and dynamic creative generation for Search ads. To help advertisers drive even better performance from Search and increase conversions across Google advertising channels, we’ve been improving Search-specific technology and optimization capabilities in Performance Max campaigns. Advertisers who upgrade DSA campaigns to Performance Max see an average increase of over 21% in conversions or conversion value at a similar cost per action (CPA) or return on ad spend (ROAS). At the same time, Dynamic Search Ads will continue to be fully available for advertisers who want to keep using them.
How will daily spending limit and monthly spending limit work across the original DSA campaign and the new Performance Max campaign?
The DSA campaign and Performance Max campaign are considered two separate campaigns and do not share a budget. Each campaign will adhere to the daily and monthly budget limits according to its set daily budget. When upgrading, whether directly or via A/B test, ensure you set a budget on the new Performance Max (and original DSA when running an A/B test) that accounts for your desired monthly spend across both campaigns.

Upgrade process FAQs

How will this upgrade impact existing Performance Max campaigns?
DSA to Performance Max upgrade is available at the individual campaign level. Each upgrade creates a new Performance Max campaign, regardless of whether you have an existing Performance Max campaign.
Will I be blocked from creating Performance Max campaigns if I don’t have the necessary assets?
To complete your upgrade, you need to provide the minimum asset requirements for a Performance Max campaign.
How long will it take for the upgrade to complete and ramp up?
It usually takes less than 2 minutes for the self-upgrade tool to create a new Performance Max campaign from your original DSA.

For most campaigns, you can expect a new Performance Max campaign to take approximately one week to start learning and ramp up. We use learnings from your original DSA to help maximize performance, from the first day your new Performance Max campaign goes live.

If you run an experiment, we encourage you to re-check the results in 6 weeks. Then, fully launch your Performance Max campaign if the experiment performance is similar or better compared to the original DSA campaign.

Note: When the new Performance Max campaign is published, Google Ads will slowly move traffic from the original DSA to the new Performance Max campaign in the first 24 hours after upgrade. After the first 24-hour traffic shift period, the DSA campaign will pause automatically. It’s advised to not make any changes to the original DSA campaign (including pausing the campaign yourself) during the 24-hour traffic shift period, otherwise you may negatively affect performance.
How can I view historical data from my DSA campaign after it’s been upgraded to Performance Max?
You can access historical data from the “Campaigns” table and by checking your original DSA campaign.
After upgrading a DSA campaign to Performance Max, can I switch it back if I’m not happy with performance?
Yes. After self-upgrading, the original DSA campaign will be paused and can be re-enabled if you aren’t satisfied with the performance of your new Performance Max campaign.
If I already have a similar Performance Max campaign should I still upgrade or consider consolidating my existing DSA budget?

Even if you already have a similar Performance Max campaign, we recommend upgrading from DSA to a new Performance Max campaign. This is because:

  • If you have the option to run an experiment, we recommend A/B testing to understand the uplift in conversions/conversion value you would get from upgrading.
  • Manual upgrade (simply moving budgets from one campaign to another), is an error-prone process if campaign settings and configurations aren’t carried over consistently and correctly. This could cause performance changes that are difficult to diagnose
  • Having multiple Performance Max campaigns is acceptable, especially if they have different settings, conversion goals, bid targets, or other differing configurations. If you’d still like to consolidate your campaigns to simplify management and maximize results from a unified, agile budget, proceed with caution and ensure that your campaign settings are configured correctly to maintain consistent performance. There might be some movement in reporting between campaigns. However, performance at the account level should not be negatively affected.
Can I self-upgrade multiple campaigns at once using bulk edit functionality?
Not in the first half of 2023, but we anticipate releasing support for bulk self-upgrades in future based on advertiser demand.
If I make a change to my original campaign right before I upgrade, will it get copied to my new Performance Max campaign?
Check that the recent changes are copied over to your new Performance Max campaign if you upgrade immediately after the change. Changes can take up to a few hours to reach the upgrade tool.
Is the upgrade tool available in SA360?
Not currently, but functionality will be released soon.
What do I do if I already have a Performance Max campaign for online goals running with my Google Merchant Center feed, and I am interested in upgrading my DSA page feed campaign to Performance Max?
In 2023, we recommend upgrading your DSA page feed campaign to a separate Performance Max campaign using the self-upgrade tool. Have this campaign run simultaneously with your other Performance Max campaign that uses a Google Merchant Center product feed. The Performance Max campaign with a product feed will show Shopping ads, in addition to other Google advertising formats and inventory across additional channels. Conversely, the upgraded DSA Performance Max campaign using page feeds will not serve Shopping ads.
When upgrading, what are the scenarios a new page feed will be created?

A new page feed will be created during upgrade when the campaign has any of the following:

  • Over 3 URLs
  • Categories
  • Other mixed criteria scenarios
  • Page feed to page feed (will simply move the same page feed over)

Product features and settings FAQs

Will my DSA campaigns that use manual bidding be eligible for upgrade?
No. Performance Max campaigns use Smart Bidding to help improve performance and optimize your campaign across Google’s advertising channels and inventory. You can select to optimize for conversions or conversion value (with the option to include a Target CPA or Target ROAS). Learn more About Smart Bidding.
Can I exclude specific channels?
No. If you’re using Performance Max campaigns, excluding or targeting specific channels isn’t possible. Performance Max focuses on your goals to help you drive more conversions or conversion value across Google's full range of advertising channels and inventory. It’s important to add accurate goals and conversion data to help steer Performance Max and ensure it’s optimizing for the right things. You can also use conversion value rules to optimize bids more precisely based on geographic location, device and audiences. Even if one channel or specific inventory placement may outperform another across auctions, that may not be the case in a specific auction.

See how you can drive better results by optimizing for marginal ROI rather than average ROI.

How will audience targeting work in Performance Max for upgraded DSA campaigns?
Audience targeting settings from your original campaign are converted into Audience Signals in Performance Max.
What happens if my original DSA campaign was using keywords?
DSA campaigns with keywords are not eligible for upgrade.
What happens if my original DSA campaign was using audience exclusions?
Performance Max campaigns don’t support audience exclusions, so any audience exclusions present in the original DSA campaign won’t be copied over to the new Performance Max campaign. However, to achieve a setup similar to what the original DSA audience exclusions were doing, consider using new customer acquisition. The new customer acquisition goal enables you to efficiently acquire new customers through your Google Ads campaigns. Learn more About the new customer acquisition goal.
What happens if my original DSA campaign was using negative keywords?
Because Performance Max campaigns don’t support campaign-level negative keywords the same way DSA campaigns do, negative keywords won’t be mapped to the new Performance Max campaign by default. However, there are a few options advertisers have to achieve a similar setup in their new Performance Max campaign. Learn how to use brand suitability features and account level negative keywords in Performance Max.
What happens if my original DSA campaign was in a portfolio bid strategy?
Portfolio bid strategies aren’t supported for Performance Max campaigns. However, if your original DSA campaign was the only campaign in a portfolio bid strategy, the bid strategy and target will be copied over to your new Performance Max campaign upon upgrade.

If your original DSA campaign was in a portfolio bid strategy with many other campaigns, your upgraded Performance Max campaign will be pre-populated with the bid strategy, and targeting that will allow your Performance Max campaign to perform on-par with how your DSA campaign was performing within the portfolio bid strategy. Be sure to check that the recommended bid target works for you and make changes as appropriate.

Your original DSA campaign will remain in the portfolio bid strategy.

What happens if my original DSA campaign was in a shared budget?
Shared budgets aren’t supported for Performance Max campaigns. However, if your original DSA campaign was the only campaign in a shared budget, the budget amount in that single campaign shared budget will be copied over to your new Performance Max campaign upon upgrade.
If your original DSA campaign was in a shared budget with many other campaigns, your upgraded Performance Max campaign will be pre-populated with a budget that will allow your Performance Max campaign to spend on-par with how your original DSA campaign was performing within the shared budget. Be sure to check that the recommended budget works for you or make changes as appropriate.
Your original DSA campaign will remain in the shared budget.
What happens if my original DSA campaign was using ad customizers?
Ad customizers aren’t supported in Performance Max and DSA descriptions with ad customizers won’t be copied over to the new Performance Max campaign.To ensure your ad copy is customized to the query and user, be sure you ensure Automatically Created Assets and Final URL expansion in Performance Max remains enabled.
What happens if my original DSA campaign was using multiple “URL Equals” rules?
If your original DSA campaign was using up to 3 “URL Equals” rules in DSA, they will map to 3 Performance Max asset groups, each with the Final URL set to the corresponding “URL Equals” target. If your original DSA campaign contained more than 3 “URL Equals” rules, they will be collected into a Page Feed and attached to a single asset group.
What happens if my original DSA campaign was using negative dynamic ad targets that are not supported in Performance Max?
Negative dynamic ad targets that use ‘Page title contains’, ‘Page content contains’, or ‘Category’ rules will not be copied over to the new Performance Max campaign. Advertisers can choose to add supported URL exclusions in Performance Max (‘URL contains’, ‘URL Equals’, and/or Page Feed custom labels) upon upgrade.
What happens if my original DSA campaign was using negative dynamic ad targets, but was using targeting other than ‘All Webpages’ targeting?

In Performance Max, you can do URL targeting in 2 ways:

  • URL expansion ON with optional URL exclusions (campaign-level)
  • URL expansion OFF with optional URL rules (asset group-level)

The upgrade tool will map your original DSA campaign into one of the above setups that best matches your DSA campaign setup. If the setup does not work for you, you can change URL rules and settings while or after you complete the upgrade.

What happens if my original DSA campaign had multiple ad groups?
Each dynamic ad group will map to a Performance Max asset group by default. Upon upgrade, you can consolidate dynamic ad groups into fewer asset groups if it makes sense for your campaign setup.
Can Performance Max prevent my ads from showing when inventory is out of stock?
Yes. Inventory-aware serving is a new AI-driven feature for Search ads in Performance Max that prevents URL expansion to pages where products are out of stock. This helps to improve performance by ensuring that only landing pages that can convert from the click are used. Inventory-aware serving works by using machine learning models and metadata from the landing page to identify pages that are out of stock and will temporarily exclude them until the product on the page is back in stock.

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