The End of Expanded Text Ads

Google Sunsets Expanded Text Ads in Favor of Responsive Search Ads

Automation, machine learning and smart optimization are the name of the game in so many aspects of digital marketing today. Google Ads is no exception to this rule and, most recently, Google announced its latest update that is a testament to this trend. Expanded Text Ads (ETAs) will be phased out in favor of Responsive Search Ads (RSAs).

Google says that, after June 30, 2022, you’ll no longer be able to create or edit ETAs. However, your existing ETAs will continue to serve alongside RSAs, and you’ll still see reports on their performance going forward. Additionally, you will be able to pause and resume your ETAs or remove them if needed. Google recommends that you have at least one RSA in every ad group in your Search campaigns by June 30, 2022.

Google’s reason for the change?

“[RSAs] help you compete in a wider variety of relevant auctions” and “drive incremental conversions [with] fewer ads.”

Responsive Search Ads

RSAs work by automatically testing different combinations of your headlines and descriptions to see which combinations more closely match customer queries and perform better. They offer true query-time optimization by assembling the assets that are predicted to perform best for each individual user’s search based on contextual and intent signals. Google has found that overall, advertisers that switch from ETAs to RSAs (using the same assets) see 7% more conversions at a similar cost per conversion. Until now, advertisers had the choice of using ETAs, which contain a set headline and description per ad, over or in combination with RSAs.

How We’re Adapting

This is a change that we were expecting sooner or later and that, in effect, shifts to an ad type that involves less work in terms of ad creation and can offer thousands of ad combinations with minimal effort. In our experience, RSAs typically show stronger performance than ETAs in the long run as the algorithm becomes smarter and can serve up optimal ad copy combinations to the right audiences.

To this end, Location3 has been ahead of the curve and, since the beginning of 2021, we have been going live with pilot and new programs with one RSA per ad group to start. The reason we chose this approach is due to the automation and performance we get out of RSAs – less tedious management of multiple ETA elements and more machine learning to fuel high performing campaigns for our clients. ETAs empower us to develop several headlines and descriptions for our ads, in effect allowing a more aggressive testing approach right out of the gate.

We can still retain any specific messaging that we need to include in our ads (a brand message or a legal disclaimer, for instance), by “pinning” that headline or description so that it is guaranteed to be served.

So, what’s next in the realm of fully automated Google search ads? No more keywords, perhaps? (You heard it here first!)



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