Google to sunset Expanded Text Ads

Posted by Edith MacLeod on 7 Sep, 2021
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Advertisers will no longer be able to create new ETAs after June 2022 as Google continues push to automation.

Google ETAs.

Google has announced plans to discontinue Expanded Text Ads next year. From July 2020, advertisers will no longer be able to create or edit ETAs. Existing ETAs ones will continue to serve alongside Responsive Search Ads (RSAs).

“After 30 June 2022, you’ll no longer be able to create or edit expanded text ads. However, your existing expanded text ads will continue to serve alongside responsive search ads, and you'll still see reports on their performance going forward.
Additionally, you'll be able to pause and resume your expanded text ads or remove them if needed. You’ll also still be able to create and edit call ads and Dynamic Search Ads."

In a post on 31 August, Product Manager, Google Ads Product Manager Sylvanus Brent said responsive search ads (RSAs) would be the only Search ad type that would be created or edited in standard Search campaigns. He recommended users have at least one responsive search ad in every ad group in their Search campaigns ahead of the change.

Brent said 15% of search queries every day were new searches, and that automation was the key to keeping pace with relevant and helpful ads.

“Responsive search ads are a great example of how this is done – they combine your creativity with the power of machine learning to help you show more relevant ads to more people. This is a powerful combination: 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 conversion."

Not all advertisers will be happy with the move as it deprives them of a measure of manual control over ads, pushing them further towards Google’s automated tools and AI.

In the remaining time before next July, advertisers should test RSAs and follow Google’s recommendation to have at least one in every ad group.  Google has extensive help documentation for RSAs here.

Wordtracker's Owen Powis writes:

Google is focusing on its own machine learning technology to help generate the best possible ads for advertisers and consumers alike. However this is a double edged sword as by taking away the choice from advertisers it means that the effectiveness of the ads ever increasingly relies on Google's own technology.

If ads are not performing there is less scope for advertisers to make changes and the environment becomes less competitive, effectively pushing price as one of the few remaining metrics advertisers have to manipulate ad performance. Whether or not this improves the overall experience for consumers, by providing a more uniform experience, or decreases quality by reducing the ability to optimise towards performance, remains to be seen.

Whatever happens the focus is now on Google's own ability to generate effective ads on the advertisers' behalf and, for the campaigns that fail to perform, advertisers will be looking increasingly at Google for failing to provide an effective service.

What's your position on this change? Are you happy to relinquish the task of creating these ads to Google, or would you prefer to keep the level of control and granularity that was previously available?

Leave a comment below with your thoughts.

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