From Vehicle Ads to Performance Max: A New Era of Google Advertising For Car Dealerships

Performance max campaigns for car dealerships

As the digital landscape enters the latter half of 2023, Google heralds a pivotal shift for digital advertisers in the vehicle sector. The long-standing Vehicle Ads Campaigns are being phased out, making room for the more advanced Performance Max campaigns. This change signifies a crucial evolution in vehicle representation on Google’s ad platforms.

Tracing the Journey of Vehicle Ads Campaigns

Vehicle Ads Campaigns, once identified as Smart Shopping Campaigns, were prominently displayed atop Google Search results. These ads, accentuated by vivid vehicle imagery, detailed specifications, pricing structures, and associated dealership information, effectively directed prospects to the Vehicle Description Page (VDP).

Statistics from 2021 underscore their efficiency; these campaigns raked in over 8 billion impressions and converted over 1 million leads for advertisers.

Deciphering the Performance Max Transition

The evolution of Performance Max campaigns represents a forward movement in the digital advertising sphere. Advertisers need not worry about transitions; existing settings like feeds, bidding strategies, budgets, and location parameters will remain intact.

While the older Vehicle Ads Campaigns will be marked as “removed,” their historical performance metrics and data will be accessible for retrospective analysis.

The option to create standalone Vehicle Ads Campaigns has now been sunsetted, but in its place, Performance Max campaigns usher in innovative opportunities for astute vehicle advertising.

Unlocking the Potential of Performance Max

Seamless integration with the Google Merchant Center account is essential for a successful foray into Performance Max for vehicle promotion. This facilitates highlighting select vehicles from the feed, complemented by an array of descriptive headlines, evocative images, and interactive videos.

Performance Max equips advertisers with dual advantages:

Carousel ads tailored for Web and Image Search.

Dynamic remarketing ads optimized for the Display network.

The remarketing feature stands out, targeting users who have previously engaged with the advertiser’s online presence, spanning platforms like YouTube and the Display network.

Contrasting Performance Max with Vehicle Ads

The fundamental disparity between the two lies in their domains of display. Classic Vehicle Ads were confined to Google Search. In contrast, feed-centric Performance Max ads enjoy a broader canvas, spanning both Google Search and Display’s Dynamic remarketing ads.

Performance Max campaigns, augmented with diverse assets, possess the flexibility to manifest across multiple Google platforms, encompassing YouTube, Gmail, Google Search, Display, Discovery, and even Google Maps.

Achieving Excellence with Performance Max

Performance Max campaigns emerge as the ideal choice for advertisers keen on reaching a varied audience. By effectively utilizing all the tools and features on offer, they can craft narratives that genuinely resonate with their target demographics.

A recommended optimization strategy for Performance Max campaigns in vehicle advertising involves leveraging smart bidding. This technique employs machine learning to optimize bids in alignment with conversion objectives, ensuring higher conversions at a reduced cost.

Moreover, the strategic deployment of audience targeting can significantly boost campaign performance. This enables the display of ads to a more receptive audience, enhancing both the click-through rate (CTR) and conversion metrics.


The transition from Vehicle Ads Campaigns to Performance Max campaigns isn’t merely a procedural change; it signifies a world of untapped opportunities. Advertisers stand at the cusp of accessing a wider audience base, weaving their stories across various platforms. The vehicle advertising domain is on the cusp of a revolution, beckoning advertisers to adapt and thrive in this evolving ecosystem.