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Google to sunset Expanded Text Ads (ETAs) in June 2022

Beginning in July 2022, advertisers will no longer be able to create new ETAs or edit existing ETAs in Google Ads according to an announcement by Sylvanus Bent, Product Manager, Google Ads . “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,” said Bent.

We’re continuing to expand this story as we learn more.

Use ETA info for RSAs in the transition. “To prepare for this change, we recommend that you have at least one responsive search ad in every ad group in your Search campaigns by June 30, 2022,” Bent suggested. Google’s announcement also includes ways advertisers can repurpose their ETA content for RSAs. Recommendations include the following:

  • Repurpose high-performing content from your expanded text ads and focus on Ad strength
  • Pin headlines or descriptions to specific positions in your responsive search ads
  • Evaluate the success of your ads based on incremental impressions, clicks, and conversions your ad groups and campaigns receive

Though take that last recommendation with a grain of salt. “If you’re in an industry where your ad must contain certain pieces of text in very specific locations, pin away! But if it’s not required, we found that attempting to control the machine by telling it what text to pin to certain ad positions was usually detrimental to results,” wrote Frederick Vallaeys, Cofounder of Optmyzr, for Search Engine Land.

The warning of the sunset is now on the ETA help documentation page as well.

This “stinks for anyone in highly regulated fields. Would be nice if the RSA data was usable or scientific instead of a generic ‘Best’ or ‘Good’ & knowing combos that work together would help,” wrote Gregg Finn, Partner & Digital Marketer at Cypress North, in a tweet.

“Don’t love this, but as long as they don’t take away the option to pin headlines/descriptions in RSAs we can at least approximate the control we have had with ETAs,” added Tim Jensen, PPC Campaign Manager at Clix Marketing.

Why we care. This is the latest move that Google is making to push automation through their ad products. The announcement says that, “15% of search queries every day are new searches we’ve never seen before” and therefore “Automation is key to keeping pace with these trends.” Many advertisers do use RSAs, but they also like having the control and capabilities that ETAs offer. The future phase-out of ETAs means advertisers are moving further away from direct control over their accounts and having to work with the Google Ads machine learning and AI.

Before the sunset is complete, we recommend testing your ETA ad pieces in RSAs and figure out what works best so you’re not cut off completely from new ad creation when Google Ads stops allowing new ETAs. “If you’re evaluating RSAs on incrementality, their conversion rates might be lower than ETAs but the efficiency of those conversions might be better — lower cost per conversion, higher margin and/or lifetime value — and come from impressions your ETAs weren’t eligible for. But measuring this is far from straightforward because the reporting on RSAs is limited and there’s no way to easily tie a query to an ad much less an RSA combination,” wrote Ginny Marvin for Search Engine Land around this same time last year.

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