The end of expanded text ads

Jun 7th, 2022

Thursday 30th June marks the last day that users can create or edit expanded text ads (ETAs).

Google announced this change back in August 2021, and stated that users who already have expanded text ads created will be able to pause/enable them at any time. Existing expanded text ads will still be able to be served alongside responsive search ads.

With just under a year to prepare for the change, it meant that users could analyse and review their existing campaigns and improve them. However, since the initial announcement, Google has urged users to transition to responsive search ads, and also recommends using Smart Bidding for broad match keywords in responsive search ads.

Our Head of Paid Media, Will Dixon had the following to say:

I’d love to say that we’ve come up with an ingenious way of working with the new formats in terms of our traditional data/maths led ad testing, but it just doesn’t give the performance visibility needed for it.

Existing expanded ads will still appear in performance reports, but users will not be able to create them from the date Google announced.

The search engine is leaning more to an automated ad style through responsive search ads, which have been around since 2018. They have the ability to adapt to show more relevant messages to customers.

Dixon added:

Hopefully users have already been exploring responsive search ads (RSAs) for a couple of years now, especially as they’ve been the default ad type for over a year. For those who have already got RSAs, you will not lose your current ETAs in the short term. You will probably find that RSAs are already picking up the majority of your traffic anyway.

Responsive search ads will be the only ad type for search campaigns from Friday 1st July 2022.

What are RSAs?

Responsive search ads are a type of ad where an advertiser can write multiple headlines and descriptions for a search engine ad. Entering multiple headlines and descriptions allows Google Ads more of an opportunity to closely match potential customer’s search queries by automatically testing different combinations – which has the potential to improve ad performance. Basically, Google Ads use RSAs to learn which combinations work best.

Did you know?

You can provide up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions for a single responsive search ad. That gives you 32,760 different combinations of an ad that will be seen by your potential customers.

Google Ads then learns what works best and will use that combination the most.

Although these sound similar to dynamic search ads, the key difference is that RSA headlines and descriptions are written by a user, whereas dynamic search ad headlines are issued from Google itself.


5 tips about RSAs

Google has information about how to implement RSAs which can be found here, but we’ve put together 5 easy tips on best practices for this ad type.

  1. Assets can be shown in any order, so make sure that they make sense individually or in combinations. Google’s AI is smart, there’s no doubt about that but you still have to put in work that makes sense. There is no place for gibberish; and nonsensical headlines/ description combinations will have a detrimental effect on your ad strength.
  2. It’s recommended to have one responsive search ad per ad group with at least ‘Good’ or ‘Excellent’ ad strength. There’s a limit of three enabled responsive search ads per ad group, why wouldn’t you use the ones with better ad strength?
  3. If you have a key word, or phrase that you need to include in every ad you need to make sure that the text is within Headline position 1, Headline position 2 or Description position 1.
  4. More headlines allows Google Ads to have more options to assemble relevant ads – try to focus on creating as many unique headlines as you can – all with keeping number 3 (above) in mind.
  5. RSAs can appear in any order, but a user is able to “pin” a headline or description in place. However, this prevents other headlines or descriptions from showing in its place.

The world of Google Ads is evolving, and it can be hard to keep up with the changes, get in touch with us if you need help with the navigation.

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