Goodbye Google Expanded Text Ads! Google recently announced that ETAs will sunset on June 30, 2022.
You will no longer be able to edit or create ETAs beginning on said date, so it’s highly encouraged to make the transition over to the new default format, Responsive Search Ads (RSAs), sooner rather than later.
Skai clients had already been incorporating more RSAs into their campaigns before this announcement. The share of RSA spend of Skai clients’ total search budgets grew from 20% in January to 30% in August.
ETAs vs RSAs: The difference between them
From a consumer perspective on a Google Search page, there’s seemingly no difference. They both show up as simple, multi-line text ads. However, from the practitioner standpoint in terms of how they are created: ETAs are manually written and RSAs are dynamically generated.
What does this mean?
Expanded Text Ads, released in 2016, were an evolution of the standard search text ad as a part of a major, much-needed overhaul of Google Search Ads (called Adwords at the time). By nearly doubling the max character limit of standard text ads, they helped to address the new needs of marketers in a mobile-first world.
Responsive Search Ads, released a few years ago, moved the creation of text ads from marketers manually writing each ad to marketers uploading multiple headlines and descriptions. Google’s algorithms then compile the ad on-the-fly in real-time when an advertiser wins a bid auction. The benefit here is two-fold:
- Powerful targeting. Google knows a lot about each user in terms of what other keywords they search for, what type of ads they click, and a myriad of data points and preferences collected behind-the-scenes from its giant application footprint—Google Search, Maps, YouTube, Drive, Mail, etc. While Google can’t pass this privacy data to advertisers, it can use it on behalf of marketers to put the very best combination of ad elements together.
- Test and learn. Besides RSA creation being driven by Google’s expansive consumer dataset, by providing the system with multiple headlines & descriptions, the algorithms can test which combinations work best to drive clicks and conversions.
When you combine both of these key benefits, it’s no surprise that, anecdotally, marketers often report that RSAs perform significantly better than ETAs.
We have seen this true for our clients…
- So far in 2021, Responsive Search Ads average a 12% clickthrough rate (CTR) versus an 8% average CTR on standard text ads. This means RSAs are garnering 50% more clicks than regular ads.
- Also in 2021, the average CPC for RSA ads are around $0.95, while text ads are around $1.10.
This means that RSAs get higher click through rates and are less expensive to buy than ETAs. Now that RSAs are the future of Paid Search, that should be an incredibly encouraging sign to advertisers.
Goodbye Google Expanded Text Ads: Best practices for your move to RSAs
Bottom line, this change, although might create some disruption for marketers relying heavily on ETAs right now, the move will most likely be a really solid one for the majority of Search accounts.
Here are some tips from me to you:
- Create RSAs ASAP! With ETAs being sunset, RSAs will be the only ad type available, so it’s better to get a start on it now rather than later. Especially for online retailers with busy Q4 seasons, any extra lift in CTR will correlate to a lift in revenue so now is the time.
- Use pins only when needed. The beauty of RSAs is Google’s ability to test the various headlines and descriptions in different positions to try to come up with a winning combination, so pinning will actually hinder this. Some cases where pinning is necessary is in the medical space where the drug and/or company name must be in the first headline as well as other highly-regulated industries.
- Take your best performing copy and use those headlines and descriptions in your RSAs, rather than building an RSA from complete scratch. Since you already have some history on performance, it’s best to use messaging that you already know resonates with your audience.
- Focus on the Ad Strength indicator in Google and try to have at least one RSA per ad group with Good or Excellent ad strength. Remember to use unique headlines and descriptions and avoid repetition.
- Test as many headlines as possible. If they aren’t pinned, they can be shown in any order, so make sure the ad makes sense in any order
- Try to also include at least one of your keywords in your headlines and make sure the headlines match the theme of your ad group.
Goodbye Google Expanded Text Ads!
Skai search marketing solutions to superpower your RSAs and SEM campaigns
Google is taking the guesswork out of testing by automating and adjusting in real time, which means that once advertisers get the hang of it, Responsive Search Ads should actually save the time spent planning, drafting, and testing ad copy.
Skai Search helps advertisers to drive performance, stay productive, and stay sharp with the campaign insights to enable data-driven decision-making.
- Campaign mirroring – create the RSAs just once in Google and with the click of a button, mirror RSAs onto Bing.
- Bulk creation and edit of RSAs – coming soon.
- Auditing – See where RSAs are missing in your account so you can fill in the gaps.
- Experiments – test how RSAs are performing vs your ETAs.
For more information on how your business can automate your Google Ads strategy and find the right searchers to grow your business, read more here.