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Goodbye ETAs: Google Sets Sunset Date For Expanded Text Ads

September 2, 2021
Navah Hopkins
written by Navah Hopkins
VP of Strategic Marketing
Google to sunset ETAs

ETAs (Expanded Text Ads) will soon be no more. Here's what you need to know and how to prepare your campaigns for the change to RSAs.

On August 31, 2021, Google announced an end to an era: Expanded Text Ads (ETAs) will no longer be creatable/editable from June 30, 2022. Responsive Search Ads, which have been available since 2018, will reign supreme. 

This news isn’t surprising.

Responsive Search Ads (RSA) have been the only obvious ad type in new ad accounts for the past few quarters. They tend to get the lionshare of impressions when they’re in an ad group, and perform well if crafted well. 

Rather than give into panic (which is an understandable response when the ad networks announce any major changes), consider these action items:

  • Audit your current ETAs for winning creative.
  • Honor RSA Rules of Engagement

It’s important to communicate to any stakeholders this change and the impact it will have on creative control. Brands with extremely rigid content criteria will need to be ok with cohorts of approved content, as opposed to individually approved ads

Audit Your Current ETAs for Winning Creative

Advertisers have correctly gotten into the habit of including one RSA and two ETAs per ad group. This combo works because the ETAs are able to teach the RSA what combinations work and which do not. 

Now that there’s an expiration date on that strategy, we’ll want to audit our current ETAs, and distill:

  • Which calls to action (CTAs) work best?
  • Does your brand lend itself better to the CTA being in headline 1 or 2?
  • Does mandatory content perform well or should it be relegated to headline three where it won’t serve as often?
  • Should you be title-casing your descriptions or just your headlines?
  • Are your headlines/descriptions engaging or callout copy?
50,618 ads with at least one click in Q3

This is the best time to test creative assumptions and conduct a really thoughtful audit of existing creative

Honor RSA Rules of Engagement 

The biggest complaint against RSAs is the lack of control and data. We’re at the mercy of the algorithm learning which CTAs go well with which engaging statements.

Thankfully we’re able to pin content to a specific spot to ensure quality control. 

When creative was left entirely to humans, quality control was subject to human error:

 50,618 ads with at least one click in Q3

With RSAs, advertisers are asked to supply a minimum of five headlines and four descriptions, ensuring our ads will always have enough assets for all possible placements. 

By using pins, you can ensure CTAs always serve in position two (or one). You’ll also be able to simulate an ETA if you desire (risking poor ad quality and limiting impressions).

While we can’t see all the metrics associated with an individual asset, getting a sense for how many impressions an individual item has can at least give you a sense of how often it’s being shown. 

Takeaways

Yes, change is scary – however if you get used to the ad format and take proper steps to pin, creative quality should not suffer. 

Using Adzooma, you can get alerts for ads that might be underperforming and/or begin adding RSAs into your campaigns. Our tool is always free, and can help you navigate this change. Claim your account here.

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