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Google’s drive on automation continues, with the latest update affecting Expanded Text Ads (ETAs)

What is the update?

Google has recently announced that advertisers will no longer be able to create new Expanded Text Ads (ETAs) or edit existing ETAs, as of July 2022.

ETAs will still continue to serve alongside Responsive Search Ads (RSAs) and advertisers will still be able to pause, re-enable or remove ETAs as they see fit. Reports can still be exported to analyse the performance of them.

Why is Google making this change?

Google has stated that “15% of search queries every day are new searches we’ve never seen before” and as markets and trends evolve, it is really important to make it easier for users to connect with businesses, through relevant adverts. The best way to keep up with changing trends is with the use of automation. RSAs uses advertisers creativity, and Google’s machine learning, to test different ad combinations, which will ultimately learn which is the most relevant for different queries. RSAs will help advertisers to compete in a wider range of auctions which are still highly relevant, by showcasing the right message at the right time for the right query. This should in turn result in an uplift in traffic to your website, as well as conversions. Google states that “advertisers that switch from expanded text ads to responsive search ads, using the same assets, see an average of 7% more conversions at a similar cost per conversion.”

What should I do next?

Whilst July 2022 feels like a long way off, it would be worth preparing for this change sooner rather than later.

If you aren’t already doing so, you should create at least one RSA in every ad group. This may feel like a daunting task as you have to create up to 5 times more headlines than normal, and double the number of description lines, but there are ways to make this easier:

  • Use learnings and messaging from your ETAs to help populate RSAs.
  • Pin headlines and/or descriptions to specific positions in RSAs, if certain messages always need to be shown.
  • Make use of keywords in the headlines, which will also help the relevancy of the RSA.
  • Write as many unique headlines and description lines as possible.
  • Write compelling ad copy, use call to actions and highlight any USPS and benefits.
  • Utilise the character limits in RSAs – you can show up to fifteen 30-character headlines and four 90-character description lines.  
  • Make sure that the headlines and description lines make sense in any order.
  • Implement as many relevant ad extensions as possible.

The phasing out of ETAs is yet another area of control that Google is taking away from its advertisers and PPC agencies, with the aim to use Google’s machine learning and AI more. We would recommend testing ETAs alongside RSAs as soon as possible, to ensure you have enough time to carrying out any testing, and learn what works best for you, before ETAs can no longer be created. Reporting is still limited on RSAs, but you can also use the ‘Ad Strength’ functionality for further insights into how people are reacting with your ads.

Need more help?

If you need help configuring, setting up / running your campaigns, or simply would like someone to review past work, we can help. We offer a range of flexible PPC services, find out more here or get in touch to discuss your requirements.

About the author:

Bhavisha Panesar is the Head of PPC at CreativeRace, with 10 years of experience in PPC working across sectors such as retail, leisure, finance and property. She has worked on local and global brands including TK Maxx, Euro Car Parts, Topps Tiles, and Jabra.