Make your products stand out and drive more sales with Performance Max

Official guide to reaching more customers across their shopping journeys online and in-store.

 
Smart Shopping campaigns will be automatically upgraded to Performance Max starting in July. Upgrade Smart Shopping campaigns yourself in the coming months using the new, one-click tool to unlock additional inventory and formats that reach new customers. Advertisers who upgrade their Smart Shopping campaigns to Performance Max see an average increase of 12% in conversion value at the same or better return on ad spend (ROAS). Learn more.

Who is this guide for?

This guide is best for beginner and intermediate retail advertisers who have already set up their free product listings in Google Merchant Center and linked their account to Google Ads. If you still need to upload your products to Merchant Center, you can find more guidance here.

 

Illustration of a woman in front of different ads for bikes, shoes, phones, and cameras.

 


With people shopping across Google more than a billion times a day, Shopping ads give you a chance to show your products and connect with consumers at key decision-making points in their shopping journey.

In this guide, you’ll learn how you can improve your Shopping ads creatives and optimise your campaigns to drive more sales across additional Google advertising channels and inventory.

 

Illustration of a hand holding a mobile phone

1. Enhance your product feed to help your Shopping ads stand out

  • Use high-quality, product-first visuals.

Why: Close-up product shots with a white background make it easy for customers to see product details, helping you drive more engagement. 

  • Ensure that your product data is accurate and up-to-date.

Why: Accurate data is key to ensure that your ads showcase the information that your customers are looking for. Upload rich product descriptions and update product prices and availability if they change often.

  • Cater to consumers’ demand for convenience.

Why: Shoppers are increasingly looking for great deals, fast delivery times and easy returns. Use annotations to stand out to them when they're looking for convenient ways to purchase.
 

Tip

Illustration of an ad for a watch on sale

Learn how you can further optimise your product feed in Merchant Center, and check out more detailed guidance about sale price annotations, shipping annotations and return annotations.

Note: In Comparison Shopping Service (CSS) programme countries, you participate in Shopping ads through one or several CSSs of your choice. Some CSSs manage your product data and your campaigns on your behalf, while others provide tools allowing you to manage your setup yourself. Learn more about advertising with Comparison Shopping Services.

 

Yellow shopping bag

2. Show your ads to more shoppers as they browse across channels

Why: Smart Shopping and Local campaigns will upgrade to Performance Max in the coming months. With Performance Max, you can engage customers with Shopping ads and more inventory across all of Google’s advertising channels – including YouTube, Display, Search, Discover, Gmail and Maps – all from a single campaign.

Performance Max is available across Shopping, YouTube, Display, Search, Discover, Gmail, and Maps.
In Europe, Performance Max campaigns can be used with any Comparison Shopping Service (CSS) that you work with. The ads will show on general search results pages and on any other surfaces the CSS has opted into.

  • Upload your creative assets to serve on more available inventory and formats.

Why: With Performance Max, assets that are part of your assets groups will automatically be assembled into all applicable formats, allowing you to show your customers the most relevant ad creative at any given time.

  • Drive foot traffic to your shop.

Why: By setting shop goals, Performance Max campaigns help you promote your physical locations across Google and maximise your in-store value (using shop visits, call clicks and/or direction clicks).

  • Use Customer Match in Performance Max to unlock new customer segments as they browse across channels.

Why: By uploading audience signals including first-party data from Customer Match, website visitor lists and custom segments, you can help automation learn from your existing customers to drive results faster while also uncovering new segments that you may not have expected. 
 

Case study

Rothy

Rothy’s is a sustainable brand known for iconic shoes and accessories that are stylish, comfortable and entirely washable. After experiencing success with Smart Shopping campaigns, they decided to reach customers across even more channels through Performance Max. As a result, Rothy’s increased impressions by 89%, conversions by 60% and revenue by 59%.

 
  • Use Final URL expansion in Performance Max to increase Search conversions.

Why: Final URL expansion helps you find more converting search queries that are likely to perform well based on customer intent and their relevance to your landing pages. This feature will enable your ads to show up on additional searches that have a strong likelihood of leading to conversions. Final URL Expansion uses landing pages on your website to match you to relevant queries and to dynamically customise headlines for your ads. It will only send traffic to landing pages related to your campaign’s product inventory.
 

Note

If you have existing Search campaigns with keywords that exactly match a user’s search query (regardless of match type), ads from those Search campaigns will be prioritised over Performance Max. If you have multiple accounts and would like this behaviour to apply to Search campaigns in those other accounts as well, please contact your Google team.

 

Tip

To maximise your reach and conversions, we recommend leaving the Final URL expansion setting on. It will also dynamically customise your ad headlines to match customers’ intent. You may exclude certain URLs to send traffic to, by utilising URL exclusion or URL parameter rules.

 

Illustrated graphs

3. Optimise your campaigns to drive more performance

  • Monitor your products to ensure that your campaigns are running smoothly. 

Why: Use the Products tab in Google Ads to understand the performance of individual products in your campaign and resolve potential issues that may be impacting your reach.

  • Apply recommendations to find more opportunities.

Why: Recommendations can help you improve performance by surfacing the most impactful optimisation opportunities based on your account's performance history, your campaign settings, trends across Google and more. Advertisers that used recommendations to increase their account-level optimisation score by 10 points saw a median 14% increase in conversions.1

Why: The Insights page in Google Ads gives you visibility into what’s driving your automated performance, while surfacing relevant trends in your market. By checking the Insights page often, you’ll be able to better understand how your customer interests and preferences are shifting. 
 

Tip

If you’re preparing for key shopping seasons, the Insights page can offer forward-looking insights that will help you set your business up for success.

For example, demand forecasts show you search interests that are predicted to rise for the products that you sell, so you can prepare your budgeting, marketing and merchandising plans for moments of peak consumer demand.

Watch how you can power your strategy with insights and automation.

Note

This guide focuses on Performance Max campaigns, which can be used alongside your existing campaigns to drive incremental conversions across all Google Ads channels and inventory. To maximise your digital marketing mix even further or to drive performance with specific channels or audiences, check out our guides to Discovery ads, Display ads, Video ads and Search ads

You can also access the 2022 Google Retail Guide to explore a collection of useful tools, product recommendations and consumer insights that will help you achieve your business and marketing objectives.

 

 

1. Google Data, Global English, July 2nd, 2020 vs July 28th, 2021.

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