Say Goodbye to Expanded Text Ads on Google Ads

Google is continuing to shake up advertisers with major changes to their Google Ads (Search) platform. Last year, in an effort to simplify keyword match types, search engine marketing advertisers lost ‘Broad Match Modified’ (BMM) keywords, and their functionality was subsequently absorbed by ‘Phrase’ keyword match types. Now, this latest change means ‘Responsive Search Ads’ (RSAs) are becoming the only Google Ads (Search) ad format available, coming into effect from 30 June 2022. So, what do you need to know?


What is an ETA & an RSA?

‘Expanded Text Ads’ (ETAs) are generally the standard Search ad for advertisers, where static headlines and descriptions could be set and remain constant within an ad. Generally, advertisers would have between 3-5 ‘Expanded Text Ads’ per ad group. In most Google Ads (Search) campaigns, these search engine adverts then get rotated until there is enough data to begin prioritising specific variations (based on the relevance and engagement of the adverts). The benefit of ‘Expanded Text Ads’ is that they offer more specificity and control – ensuring that the ad appears exactly as desired.

‘Responsive Search Ads’ (RSAs) offer up to fifteen different headlines and four descriptions. These variations are then automatically combined to deliver the best version for a user’s search. The best version is determined by a number of factors (e.g. demographics, user location, search behaviour). While this is great for ensuring optimal relevance for users and potentially better performance for advertisers, it does limit control, giving Google’s machine learning the ultimate power.


What is actually changing?

Google has revealed the changes in detail in their press release, but we’ve recapped key points below. From 30 June 2022:

  • ‘Expanded Text Ads’ can no longer be created in Google Ads (Search) campaigns
  • Existing ‘Expanded Text Ads’ will not be able to be edited, but will continue to serve
  • Existing ‘Expanded Text Ads’ will only be able to be paused, resumed, or removed
  • Both historical and future reporting will still be available for ‘Expanded Text Ads’
  • The ‘Call’ & ‘Dynamic Search Ads’ will still be available for creation

As for why this change is happening, it should be no surprise that it’s Google’s drive towards automation. Google believes their machine learning algorithm is essential to delivering a better user experience in an environment where search trends are constantly evolving. 


What needs to be done?

Luckily, there’s a bit of time to prepare for this change. Although Google’s ‘Expanded Text Ads’ will still be available to serve after 30 June 2022. Our team of search engine marketing specialists have been working to ensure all of our clients’ campaigns have at least one ‘Responsive Search Ad’ in every Google Ads (Search) campaign ad group before the deadline.

For those campaigns that require extra control over the headline and description placements, don’t panic, pins are available within ‘Responsive Search Ads’. With pins, we can nominate a headline or description to always appear in a specific position. We always take a best practice approach to advert optimisation, such as ensuring at least two or three different ad headlines per pinned position.

In the meantime, we’ll be creating and testing more ‘Expanded Text Ads’ – allowing us to maximise the affordability and effectiveness of campaigns. These strategies help us ensure the right creative message is in place – to both populate future ‘Responsive Search Ads’ and to maximise the effectiveness of ‘Expanded Text Ads’ after the change comes into effect.


If you need help with your search engine marketing or navigating the ever-changing Google Ads landscape, NOUS has a team of highly experienced digital marketing specialists right here that are results and brand-focused, so please reach out at [email protected] or call 07 3003 0722.

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