Google announced that they will be sunsetting Expanded Text Ads (ETA) and moving to Responsive Search Ads (RSA) in June 2022. Expanded Text Ads will no longer be available to be created or edited, but any existing ETAs will continue to serve alongside responsive search ads until the sunset date.
Many advertisers like having the control and capabilities that ETAs offer, but Google did not make the move lightly. With more than 15% of all search queries coming from previously unseen queries, it's more important than ever to use automation to place ads for both Google and advertisers alike.
The Benefits of Responsive Search Ads
In 2018, Google Ads debuted Responsive Search Ads (RSA) these ads let you provide Google with multiple headlines and multiple descriptions. This allows for greater flexibility in what your ad shows.
This is different than ETAs because with ETAs you are responsible for choosing the combinations of headlines and descriptions. Many savvy advertisers will run multiple ETAs at the same time to see which combinations of headlines and descriptions perform the best and manually stop the ads that aren't performing.
The power behind RSAs is that they're powered by AI! Google uses machine learning to figure out which headline/description combination will provide the advertiser with the highest performance in an automated fashion.
To get the biggest bang for your buck Google's Product Manager for Google Ad's recommends that you, "pair broad match keywords and Smart Bidding with responsive search ads."
The reason to make those changes is that, "This combination can help you reach new, high-performing queries and optimize your bids in real time."
The overall benefit that Google's data shows is that, "Advertisers that switch from expanded text ads to responsive search ads, using the same assets, in campaigns that also use broad match and Smart Bidding see an average of 20% more conversions at a similar cost per conversion"
Moving from Expanded Text Ads into Responsive Search Ads
If you have existing Expanded Text Ads, it is highly recommended that you continue to include them in your campaigns until the sunset date, but you can use the information from your ETAs to inform your RSAs.
In order to focus on Ad Strength, Google recommends that you repurpose high-performing content from your expanded text ads. If you've already done the work to test your ads you don't want to spend that time or money again.
After you have found your highest performing ETA's you can pin the headline and description in an RSA. This will help you ensure that your ads are displayed correctly to lead to conversion.
At that point, you can evaluate the success in your ad groups and campaigns based on incremental impressions, clicks, and conversions you receive.
The biggest problem from this is for people who are in highly regulated industries that require certain phrases in their ads such as Housing, Credit, or Employment.
Why this Matters
This move by Google matches the pattern of other policies which gives more control to Google and less to advertisers. This will help many newer advertisers that haven't yet mastered the use of ETAs, but some advertisers who will find that they enjoy having more control over their campaigns may be in for a disappointment if they are not prepared.
As long as Google does not remove the option to pin headlines to descriptions, this will not impact the majority of advertisers. However, if you aren't already using Expanded Text Ads or RSAs, it's important that you begin to use them in order to stay ahead of these changes and their constant moves towards automation.
Some estimations of costs show that this will cause an increase in cost per conversion. However, if you have solid ETAs currently you will be able to convert them into RSAs by pinning the headline and description.
Change is Inevitable
There are many ways Google is moving towards automation, but this change does not have to be a major impact on the majority of advertisers. If you have a good understanding of how to use ETAs, then RSAs will provide you with more flexibility and options for your ads.
Whether or not this change impacts advertisers largely depends on the type of industry they are in as well as their level of expertise so it is important that you keep up-to-date with all Google changes to ensure that you are using the best practices for your campaigns. At Zeller Media, we help have either already fully changed our clients ads to RSA's or have them on roadmap for the full transition.