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Google is closing the door on expanded text ads

Another door is closing at Google—this time on expanded text ads (ETAs).

According to Google, starting June 30, 2022, responsive search ads (RSAs) will officially be the only option for search ads that can be created or edited in a standard search campaign. As of now, Bing has not announced whether they will be making a change like this, but it’s safe to assume they aren’t far behind.

I get it—this may seem like a lifetime away, but it’s important to understand the implications it will have on your paid and Ad Grant accounts so you can make changes to your strategies ahead of time.

So, let’s dive into the background behind RSAs and ETAs, discuss what this upcoming change means for nonprofits and review a few best practices to keep in mind as we approach June 30.

First, a little background on ETAs and RSAs

In the past, expanded texts ads allowed nonprofits to take advantage of multiple things, including added character length, and up to three headlines and two descriptions to market their product or service. They’re a favorite of many advertisers because they give more control over ads and how they appear to consumers.

sample expanded text ad

Sample ETA

Since the introduction of ETAs, AI has continued to advance and make a splash in the digital world. In response to this, Google unveiled a second ad type in 2018: RSAs.

If you’re unfamiliar with RSAs, this ad type allows users to create up to 15 headline combinations and 4 different descriptions and relies on AI to mix and match combinations until it finds the best version for a user based on their behavior.

Then, earlier this year, Google made RSAs the default ad type for their search campaigns, with ETAs as a secondary option for those who still wanted to use them.

Since RSAs became the default, Google has gradually made creating ETAs more difficult.

With this latest announcement, ETAs will officially become a thing of the past. While users can still run existing ETAs, you’ll only be able to pause, resume or delete them. Editing or creating new ones will no longer be an option starting June 30, 2022.

In addition, this announcement makes the two ads per ad group rule obsolete. Ad Grant users will now only need one RSA per ad group to comply with Google Grant policies.

How this impacts nonprofits

What does this mean for your paid accounts and Google Grants? Like many areas in the digital world, Google is heading toward a more automated future.

While you may have less control over your ads, you will be able to leverage machine learning to improve your overall campaign performance.

Machine learning is a great tool; however, it does need some human support to be effective. Let’s review a few things we know about RSAs and best practices when it comes to managing them:

  • There’s a limit of 3 enabled RSAs per ad group
  • Up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions are permitted
  • Include at least 1 of your keywords in your headlines
  • Create headlines that are relevant to the keywords and user search intent
  • Take advantage of location insertion and countdown timers in your headlines and descriptions
  • Make the headlines unique
  • Make your headlines vary in character count
  • Limit the amount of pinning you do for headlines and descriptions
  • Aim for an ad strength of good or excellent

If you’re unhappy with this change and want control over the order of your headlines and descriptions, you can use the pinning feature as a workaround. However, it’s important to note that too much pinning may negatively impact your score or ad rank.

We’ll continue to keep our eyes on this change as more information is released leading up to the deadline. In the meantime, start reviewing and getting comfortable with RSAs.

For more information, check out our blog on RSAs and how to use them effectively.

Ashley Walker

Ashley oversees PPC and Google Ad Grant efforts at RKD Group, helping manage how we optimize conversions across our client's marketing platforms. Ashley is actively involved as an ambassador for the Ad Grant Certified Professionals, a cohort designed to develop and share best practices across the Google for Nonprofit member community.

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