Google Ads update: expanded text ads to be phased out.

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November 22, 2021
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Expanded text ads are to be phased out in Google Ads, with Google strongly advising a transition to Responsive search ads. So, how will this impact your current campaigns? Here we’ll explain what this will mean for PPC advertisers and what to expect next.
Back in March of this year, Google announced that they would be replacing expanded text ads with responsive search ads as the default ad type for Search campaigns. Now, they have announced that expanded text ads will sunset in June 2022, and responsive search ads will be the only Search ad option.

In this post, we’ll run-through what each ad is, why Google has announced this update and how this will impact your PPC campaigns.

What are expanded text ads?

Expanded text ads (ETAs) are a type of search ad by Google. This ad type appears as a search result on Google, as opposed to display ads which show on websites across Google’s advertising network.

ETAs consist of three headlines, two descriptions and a display URL. The extended length of the ad type allows organisations to present more information about their chosen product or service to potential customers.

expanded text ads

An example of an expanded text ad

What are responsive search ads?

While expanded text ads are static, and do not change once they have been created, responsive search ads (RSAs) are dynamic. They adapt your headlines and descriptions according to the search query that your potential customer makes, choosing the best performing ad copy.

responsive search ads

An example of a responsive search ad with the same content

unlike expanded text ads, they are set up with up to fifteen headlines, four descriptions and a display URL, which are automatically rotated based on their performance. This can result in up to a whopping 40,000 versions of a single ad for testing!

The difference between an ETA and an RSA

Expanded Text Ad 2048x1024 1

In short, RSAs can give you the opportunity to market to a wider audience. The strength and relevance of the content can result in a higher reach which could lead to higher click-through rates and conversions. Another great benefit is that RSAs streamline account management as Google does all your ad testing for you.

Why have Google applied this update?

In their press release, Google have highlighted that the ways people search are constantly changing, with 15% of search queries every day being searches never seen before1. And as consumer trends continue to evolve, the need for automation has become even more important, which responsive search ads offer.

According to research, 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 conversion2.

The change is thought to simplify the way you create Search ads and make it easier for businesses to drive performance and build audience reach.

How could this change impact your campaigns?

The good news for those who have existing expanded text ads, you can continue to both use and report on them, as well as switch them on/off, but you will not be able to edit or change them.

While no immediate change is required, we recommend taking time to familiarise with Response Search Ads so that you can begin working with them as soon as you can. Google recommend that organisations consider setting up an RSA for every ad group in replacement of ETAs where possible to assist with the transition.

Not sure where to start?

With the number of Google updates that we endure as digital marketers, it’s easy to get lost!

If you need help adapting your Google Ads to better optimise your search results, we can help.

With a team of digital strategists and PPC experts behind us, Purpose Media is perfectly placed to assist with any ad-related queries. Give us a bell for more information or head to our contact page.

1‘Making it easier to show the right message on search’ – Google press release, August 2021

2‘Making it easier to show the right message on search’ – Google press release, August 2021