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Top 4 things to be doing before expanded text ads disappear

February 22, 2022 - Fifteen

Last year both Microsoft and Google confirmed that by the end of June 2022, it will no longer be possible to create or make edits to expanded text ads (ETAs). In the meantime, this type of ad will be continuing to serve, and companies will still see performance reports for them. It will also still be possible to pause ETAs and resume or remove them if required.

To this end, Google and Microsoft are strongly recommending that users make the transition to responsive search ads (RSAs) instead as they will be the only search campaign that companies can create going forwards. In the following sections, we’ll take a closer look at some important actions that users can take now to ensure that their account remains resilient.

1. Trialling ETA message combinations

Those with an interest in running a particular ad copy test but have not yet gotten around to it should take advantage of this opportunity while it’s still available. A wise move is to prioritise ad messaging and put ETAs in place while it is still possible to view all performance metrics in detail. Examining this data at a granular level can be invaluable to assess which descriptions, headlines and combinations are most effective.

To gain this data, create an ETA as if you are setting up a new RSA. Once you reach the RSA set-up window choose the option to use expanded text ads. When the pop-up warning shows, simply select it again. You’ll then arrive at the familiar ETA creation window where you can test out your ad copy.

2. Creating ETA for later use

As mentioned earlier, from the end of June onwards you won’t be able to create new ETAs or edit them, but your existing ETAs will continue to run and can be temporarily paused or removed. With these rules in mind, before the deadline of June 20, create as many ETA combinations in your active account as you can that you feel you’re likely to utilise in the future. You can pause them to start, awaiting a future test allowing you to keep the capability to use them later. As you have created them before the cut-off, all you need to do is turn them off or on as required.

Ensure you remain objective and only upload ad variants your feel confident that you will use but take advantage of the option to create ad variants while you can.

3. Preparing for declining ETA impressions

Enjoying the benefits of ETAs while they are available, but it is important to remain realistic. Prior to the announcements from Google and Microsoft, a decline in impression counts for ETAs compared to RSAs was noted in many accounts.

While it’s smart to test messages now and set up messages for future testing while you can but remember that as the June deadline approaches and beyond, RSA is likely to continue taking the lion’s share of impressions.

4. Activating RSAs now

The standard advice given by Google is to include at least one RSA in each ad group in your account. Whether you like it or not, you must accept that RSA is set to become the new norm for Google Ad accounts. As a result, the sooner you get to grips with them the better. As the deadline approaches, you’re more likely to struggle if you’re caught unprepared.

RSAs almost always enjoy a greater click-through rate than their ETA counterparts but conversion performance can vary widely. While some accounts do fine with RSAs, others can struggle to persuade customers.

After getting RSAs active in your account’s ad groups, start setting benchmarks for each account. If you need to answer to either a client or your boss about changes to performance, this will prove invaluable. You’ll be able to inform them of RSA benchmarks specific to individual accounts showing their expected performance when ETAs have been phased out.

Whether you are indifferent or distressed by the upcoming change, make sure you take full advantage of what time is available before June 30, as this will make sure that your account holds the strongest position possible. Depending on what your ads are active in your account, focus on RSAs or ETAs as required and get prepared.

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