We are gathered here today to mourn the loss of our three-headlined, two-descriptioned friend, expanded text ads. Perhaps this is coming a bit prematurely, as Google has yet to begin the actual process of phasing them out, but the signs are all there — it’s time to start making preparations… for your ad account.
At the beginning of the month, many advertisers reported an interesting change to the UI of Google Ads, with responsive search ad creation taking the spotlight rather than expanded text ads when you went to make a new ad.
Now, you did have the option to force the UI into making an ETA, and Google did release a statement saying that this change was just a test with the UI layout, but the intentions are pretty clear.
This comes with little surprise, as Google has been continuing to push towards more machine-learning strategies for marketers. Not to mention, Google reported a 5-15% higher CTR when a responsive search ad was used over an expanded text ad.
Look, we know this is a shock, and your friends over at X Agency are here for you during this difficult time. Today, let’s walk through the 5 stages of grief over the inevitable loss of our text ads, and how to move forward with your ad account.
Table of Contents
Denial: Expanded Text Ads Aren’t Ending!
While it’s true that there is no formal report of expanded text ads being fully phased out from our ad account, as marketers, it is our job to prepare for what’s likely ahead. That being said, even if expanded text ads were to be phased out, we’d likely see a process similar to that of the death of standard text ads.
Legacy ads in the account will likely remain active for a good chunk of time before we need to remove them, and there will probably be a way around the UI change via Adwords Editor for a good while.
You also could just make responsive search ads with fewer headlines and descriptions, if it really came down to it. If you’re stuck in the denial stage, here are some things you can do right now to your ad account:
Continue Testing Expanded Text Ads As Usual
Considering the fact that responsive search ads allow up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions, it’s a good idea to start testing different variations of copy to use when the time comes for the transition.
Get Your Current AdGroups Up To Best Practices
X Agency recommends having at least one responsive search ad and two expanded text ads running in each adgroup in your search campaigns. Whether expanded text ads go away or not, there’s no doubt performance does tend to be a bit better with responsive search ads, so it’s a good idea to start testing now.
Anger: Why Is Google Always Changing?!
It can be frustrating when you finally get your account to a good place, only to be forced into a change by the high and mighty Google Gods.
This is especially true when the change involves less control over ad copy being displayed. With responsive search ads, Google will automatically select headlines and descriptions out of those you provided to create a better user experience.
This does mean you will have less control over what copy appears where, or if certain headlines show up at all. Here’s what you can do now to work through it:
Go Through The Historical Data Of Your Account
Take a look at previous ad copy and find ads that had a CTR above 2%. Going through old memories with your Google Ads account may provide a sense of peace, but also, remind you of some incredible copy you forgot about from 3 years ago!
Make a running list of headlines that could be run individually, without support from a specific second or third headline.
Understand Automation With Your Expanded Text Ads Is Already Happening
While expanded text ads give you a bit more control over your headlines and descriptions, it’s important not to create copy in which headlines are dependent on another to make sense.
For example, many marketers depend on the second & third headlines to complete a thought that can be hard to articulate in 30 characters. However, Google will sometimes not show your third headline & second description, making ads like the one below read awkwardly to some users.
Try to keep branded-headlines as the third headline, and less important filler-copy as the second description to be sure you’re always getting necessary information across.
Bartering: If Google Gets Rid Of ETAs, I’m Not Giving Them My Money!
If you’ve ever been on the phone with a Google support rep, you probably know by now that there just is no bartering with the Google Gods.
You’ll sit on hold and get passed up the chain of representatives only to find out that none of them have any control over what you’re seeing in your account. They may occasionally press some buttons and tell you to wait a few days before you inevitably call back again with the same issue.
Here are some actionable steps you can take if you find yourself bartering with the Google Gods over the loss of ETAs:
Test Different Ad Platforms
Take that, Google! In all seriousness, it’s a good idea to test running ads in different platforms such as Bing, Pinterest, etc. Depending on your individual market, many businesses find a less competitive playing field on other platforms with a cheaper cost and higher conversion rate!
Now we’re not recommending stopping all ads within Google and pushing all your marketing budget to a platform you’ve never tried before, but testing different markets is always a good idea.
Plus, platforms like Bing make it really easy to import all of your Google Ads data, so you can get up and running within minutes.
Take Time To Research Responsive Search Ads
Before you throw your company computer out the window and give up on Google entirely, it may be a good idea to sit down and wrap your head around why automation may be what your account needs to grow even further.
One single responsive search ad can generate more than 32,000 ad variations. You’d have to create a lot of split tests with expanded text ads to pull that off!
Not only that, but RSAs generally lead to higher click through & conversion rates due to improved ad space and the effectiveness of automation.
Depression: Do I Really Need To Do All This Work?
You opened your business because it is a line of work you’re passionate about, and enjoy.
Marketing for your products and services may feel like a full-time job at times, and these constant changes within the UI means you have to take time out of what you do best to sit down and learn another marketing strategy you’re being forced into. You don’t have to do it alone.
Call X Agency
The fact of the matter is that Google will always be changing and updating their platform.
Remember when they changed their entire UI and you needed to relearn where everything was? Remember when standard text ads died off? Some college professors who teach digital marketing have even expressed distress over trying to keep up with the changes.
You deserve someone on your team who’s dedicated to staying on top of changes before they happen and get you prepared for what’s ahead.
Acceptance: Hello ROAS
At the end of the day, if you start preparing your account for the death of ETAs now, you should be in a good spot when they inevitably die off. Keep testing your RSAs, and be sure to give us a call if you have any questions.