Expanded text ads are disappearing: Don’t disappear with them

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A new article on Search Engine Land reports that with a little less than eight months until the change becomes effective, there is plenty of time to make sure that your Google Ads accounts are in tip-top shape.

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You may have heard that Google is soon phasing out the tried-and-true expanded text ads (ETAs) that have widely been the standard in search. With this move, Google is following the industry-wide trend towards automation. ETAs and their forerunners, Standard Text ads, have been the default since Google Ads launched. This upcoming change is a step in a brand-new direction.

Responsive search ads will be the new default for search ads. Savvy advertisers may have foreseen this update: ETAs have been noticeably absent from the “create ad” dropdown for some time now. So, what exactly does this mean for search marketers and what can you do to prepare your accounts?

  • Come July 2022, you won’t be able to create or edit new expanded text ads in Google Ads. However, any ETAs currently running in your account will remain unchanged. If you’re like me, you’ve always had ETAs running alongside responsive search ads (RSAs) as a means to A/B test and optimize your ad groups. So, Google is throwing a curveball with this update.
  • Inevitably, introducing automation into search ads comes at the cost of having a control in an experiment. This can complicate the process of A/B testing. However, the added machine learning element that RSAs bring to the table offer their own built-in form of A/B testing.
  • Luckily, Google Ads offers a rating system for RSAs that allows you to easily gauge your performance. This “ad strength” rating ranges from “Excellent” to “Poor.” Make sure you do your best to get at least a ‘Good’ or ‘Excellent’ score on Responsive ads without being too repetitive.
  • When it comes to optimizing your responsive headlines, dynamic insertion can’t be beat. I always make sure to include at least one DLI (dynamic location insertion) and one DKI (dynamic keyword insertion) ad into my headlines. DLI is a neat little trick that includes the user’s location at the time of the search into your headline.
  • For those worried about the loss of control in the switch from ETAs to RSAs, there’s still pinning. When creating your ads, if you hover over the space to the right of the text box, you will see a little pushpin icon. This opens up a dialog box, giving you the option to pin a headline to one of several positions. Google doesn’t exactly recommend any form of pinning, but allows advertisers the option to have a greater sense of control over the visibility of their headlines. This could be a good workaround after ETAs are phased out, if you have copy you simply must include in each and every search ad. For example, I will personally continue to pin incentive-based or sale copy since there is a timely imperative for doing so. As long as you’re prepared, you’ll likely have more successful ad performance once ETAs are phased out. “I’m excited about Google sunsetting expanded text ads. Responsive search ads continue to outperform ETAs.
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