Learning Hub | Paid Search Advertising

Expanded Text Ads Are Going Away: What This Means For Your AdWords Account

September 24, 2021 | Jon Teodoro

If there’s one thing AdWords is good at (well, other than driving traffic to your website), it’s  refusing to let us get complacent. Back in March, Google Ads announced that responsive search ads were to become the default. Sure, nobody likes change, but at least we still had our trusty expanded text ads to fall back on. 

Twice as big as an original AdWords text ad, ETAs made their way onto the scene in 2016. People liked the fact that headlines were more prominent and that they had more space to work with in writing their descriptions. A couple of years after expanded text ads launched, Google totally phased out the standard ad format, requiring users to transition all of their ads to expanded text. Google is nothing if not fickle.

Then, on August 31, Google announced that ETAs would soon be going the way of the standard ad format—on June 30, 2022, to be exact.

While we appreciate Google giving us ample time to prepare for their latest shift, we also know that time flies, especially when it comes to our search campaigns. So it’s time to get familiar with responsive search ads and figure out how to get them to work for you.

What are responsive search ads?

RSAs have been available in AdWords since 2018, so there’s a good chance that you’ve already dabbled in them. The cool thing about them is that you provide multiple headlines and descriptions, but Google does the heavy lifting by determining which versions are most likely to resonate with someone searching for your product or service.

You can toss up to 15 different headlines and four descriptions into the mix and Google will work its magic for you. RSAs description can be 10 characters longer than an ETA, and the total length, including the headline can be 300 characters as opposed to 150 in an expanded text ad.

Why is Google doing this?

While it might seem like Google is out to get you and make your job harder, that’s not the case—the contrary, actually! According to Google, RSAs will help people compete in a wider variety of relevant auctions and drive incremental conversions, despite you having to manually write and make fewer ads.

Automation is also a factor. While RSAs don’t nix the need for good copywriting, Google’s machine learning, combined with your copy will ensure your ads get in front of as many eyes as possible.

So, what now?

Don’t worry, your ETAs won’t disappear into the ether on July 1. However, you won’t be able to edit them or create new ones. Google will still provide reports on them, though, and you’ll still have the ability to pause and resume them.

Google has a few tips for you to get ready for the shift:

  • Consider repurposing some of your high-performing expanded text ads.
  • Check your account’s recommendations for guidance on the different versions of your RSA copy.
  • Pair broad match keywords and Smart Bidding with your RSAs to optimize your bids in real time.
  • If you’re worried about losing context with RSAs, try pinning headlines or descriptions to specific positions.
  • Use ad variations to test different versions of your copy and review their performance.

Need help with making the right decisions when restructuring your ad campaigns in anticipation for expanded text ads going away? Contact us today.