Smart Shopping to Performance Max Campaign
Produces Higher CVR & Sales

Introduction was founded by military veterans and first responders in the business of creating a more secure environment for those with weapons.

They have been running paid search campaigns for many years and have seen moderate success with shopping campaigns. However, about six months prior to onboarding with Black Propeller the client’s previous PPC Agency had automatically migrated their Smart Shopping campaigns to Performance Max (PMAX) campaigns. This transition had an immediate negative impact on the account (with a whopping 50% lower ROAS vs. before introducing Performance Max).

For added context, Performance Max campaigns were originally introduced in November 2021. These campaigns “combine the power of machine learning with a vast ad network that reaches 90% of global internet users”. They use machine learning to serve audiences a relevant ad across Search, Shopping, Display, Gmail, Discovery and other networks. By Q3 2022 Performance Max fully replaced Smart Shopping campaigns.


  • Scale E-Commerce Sales
  • Maintain 5-6x ROAS


This campaign type shook the Google Ads landscape and affected more than just shopping. As of September 2022, Performance Max had fully replaced Smart Shopping and advertisers were forced to adapt.

Black Propeller noticed the immediate and detrimental impact that the introduction of Performance Max had on other Google networks. For example, search and shopping traffic was cannibalized by PMAX while PMAX started to serve a higher volume of lower quality impressions across Google Display, driving up the CPA. Additionally, without manual controls, the PMAX bidding strategies started to favor lower priced products. This resulted in poor overall performance with low conversion rates and higher cost.

This was a familiar trend for Black Propeller as we had noticed a similar impact among other E-Commerce brands.


Due to the changing nature of the E-Commerce landscape, Black Propeller sought to embrace Performance Max and make them work for the client. We started by analyzing the client’s historical data and identifying the impact that performance Max campaigns had on their account.

We found that Performance Max campaigns without assets performed better. This helped to push more traffic toward the shopping network where conversion rates for expensive safes were higher.

Additionally we found that segmentation was key. Due to the lack of controls within PMAX, one of the best ways to control what products notice impressions and the messaging behind the ads is to break out campaigns & asset groups by theme. For Gun Safes, we broke out the priority brands into their own campaigns while all other brands were included in a separate campaign with asset groups subsequently broken out by brand. This helped to tightly control the budget, audience and messaging behind each brand.

We also found that adding custom audience signals and regularly refreshing them was effective at driving higher quality impressions across more relevant placements.

Considering that Performance Max campaigns also pick up impressions from the search network, we also restructured the search campaigns to focus on more top of funnel terms while the PMAX campaign picked up specific model numbers and attribute searches.


Performance Max Conversion increased by 62% after Black Propeller applied best practices and segmented the campaigns. This influenced a 13% higher ROAS on average across PMAX with some campaigns achieving a ROAS close to 5X.

Additionally, the ROAS for asset groups broken out by brand outperformed asset groups with multiple brands grouped together and noticed a ROAS that was about 136% higher.

The updated search campaigns also proved to be a great supplement to PMAX. Even though search campaigns now make up a smaller portion of total sales compared to before we scaled PMAX, search network CVR also increased by 22%.

Before Black Propeller took on the account, the account was spending about three quarters of the budget through Search & Shopping networks and only about one quarter through Performance Max campaigns. Black Propeller shifted spend from the under performing Search & Shopping networks (-99% & -67% respectively) and successfully scaled Performance Max budgets. Performance Max now make up about 90%+ of total spend and the top revenue driving Performance Max campaign in the account has a ROAS of 5.30x.

About The Client has been selling gun safes, vault doors and gun storage accessories online for the past two decades.


Orlando, FL




PPC Management