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Google’s Ending Expanded Text Ads (ETAs) In 2022: How To Prepare

Published: 1 November 2021

Updated: 29 January 2024

Google’s Ending Expanded Text Ads (ETAs) In 2022: How To Prepare

Recently, Google announced that starting from 30 June 2022, it will no longer be possible to create or edit Expanded Text Ads (ETAs). However, existing ETAs will remain active, and advertisers will be able to pause or resume them as needed.

Although responsive search ads proved to be more efficient overall (according to Google), with 7% more conversions at a similar cost per conversion on average, and a 5 – 15% higher CTR, advertisers still find ETAs to be more effective in some cases, which is only natural.

ETAs offer a higher level of control to advertisers, allowing you to choose which ad elements to optimize, which could result in more clicks and conversions, more qualified leads, and lower ad costs. They’re perfect for testing unique and specific headlines or descriptions, allowing you to hook your target audience with a particularly tailored message.

On the other hand, RSAs offer more room for testing with half the time invested into it. With RSAs you can add up to 15 different headlines and 4 descriptions, and let machine learning optimize the ad for you, finding what works best for your business. It does mean, however, that the algorithm takes time (and money), figuring out what combination delivers most optimal results, at times needing several weeks to reach good performance.

It also means less control over how the ad is displayed to the user, however, in theory, the ad should be more relevant to the search query, attracting more clicks and conversions.

During the ad creation, the system also gives you an insight into your ad’s strength and provides recommendations to improve it, allowing you to adjust your ad text and headlines to users’ queries or determine if your campaigns should be split into smaller ad groups to improve ad relevance.

responsive search ads

However, the same factor often plays against you as it’s not always possible for advertisers to reach the highest ad strength, which could be a hindrance to your ad’s visibility.

So, what can you do right now to prepare for the update?

Although the update seems a long way from now, it’s crucial to start taking the necessary steps to prepare for the update.

If you still don’t use responsive search ads (RSAs) extensively in your account, you may want to start incorporating them in your campaigns. This ensures a smooth transition and data for more accurate predictions and improved efficiency.

And if you do use RSAs, you can gradually add more of them to your campaigns, using testing to find headline and description combinations that deliver the best value for your account or business.

To make the most out of RSAs, you should also get to know the best practices and things to consider when creating new ads:

  1. Google recommends pairing responsive search ads with smart bidding and broad match keywords. If this is a combination that you never tested, now is the perfect opportunity to do this.
  2. You may repurpose your existing ETAs to create new responsive search ads: for example, you can take best-performing ETAs, leveraging your existing data, as a basis for your new responsive search ads.
  3. Aim at excellent or good ad strength when creating RSAs whenever possible, since according to Google, excellent ad strength shows better results. However, we think that poor ad strength is not something that should be avoided at all costs. In some cases, it is impossible to achieve good or excellent ad strength, but you should test these ads anyway to see if they would work. While testing poor or average strength ads you can also find out if there is a correlation between ad strength and results, and how strong it is, and make necessary updates based on the findings. It’s important to note that having keywords appear in headlines and descriptions as much as possible has a positive impact on ad strength. If you’re struggling with adding more keywords, try dynamic keywords insertion, or re-sort your keywords into tightly-knit ad groups to boost the relevancy of your keywords and ads.
  4. You can pin headlines and descriptions to certain positions, if the position is crucial for some of your headlines or descriptions, or if you have some best-performers that you want to make sure to show. Google recommends pinning at least 2-3 headlines in one position. However, note that pinning headlines and descriptions may result in lower ad strength, and this is not recommended for most advertisers.
  5. If possible, test various headline lengths, because longer and shorter headlines could be more or less appealing to different audiences.
  6. Give RSAs enough time, budget, and data for the algorithm to optimize your RSAs delivery successfully. Avoid making changes during the learning phase.
  7. Note that, unlike ETAs, RSAs support location insertion, tailoring your headline to the user location,  which is something you may want to test if it’s relevant to your business.
    responsive search ads
  8. It is also recommended by Google to use ad variations to test some ad changes at scale (across multiple campaigns).
  9. Google also recommends writing the first three headlines as if they’ll appear together in your ad, which is most likely meant to aid the algorithm during the learning phase.

Conclusion

Google has long been on the path towards automatization, and the upcoming update is yet another step in this direction. The development is neither positive nor negative, simply giving advertisers an opportunity to shift their focus towards strategic planning, search for creative marketing solutions and data analysis by decreasing routine optimizations to a minimum.

Overall, it’s important to remember that despite Google setting a deadline on expanded text ads, there is still plenty of time and opportunities to adjust your Google Ads strategy to the upcoming changes.

RSAs work well for most brands and businesses, and there’s a lot of potential in using RSAs that comes with many different use scenarios. Some advertisers are still concerned that RSAs will limit their ability to control how their ads look, however, RSAs are fully customizable since you can pin your headlines and descriptions to the positions where they belong.

With the update coming up, now is the perfect time to start adding more RSAs to your campaigns and extensively using testing to ensure a seamless transition to a new reality without ETAs.

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