Google begins the phasing out of their signature search ad in favour of their augmented, machine-learning leveraged Responsive Search Ads.
Google has announced that Responsive Search Ads will now become the default ad type for search campaigns. This won’t come as a surprise to many, as Google has shone an increasingly luminant spotlight on Responsive Search Ads since its inception in 2018.
Responsive Search Ads’ value hinges on their ability to leverage Google’s machine-learning to auto-optimise up to 15 headlines and 4 description lines to show the perfect set of inspiring and enrapturing copy (consisting of 3 headlines and 2 description lines) and incentivise searchers to click.
Expanded Text Ads on the other hand are less, well, responsive, comprising 3 static headlines and 2 static description lines and no flexibility in the combination or order in which they appear in the ad.
The new focus on Responsive Search Ads has been reflected in the ad creation process, too – if you’ve created an ad in the last few weeks, you may have noticed that the Expanded Text Ads option has been removed from the dropdown list.
How To Continue Creating Expanded Text Ads
However, this looks to be just the first step along the path to phasing out Expanded Text Ads as it is still possible to create Expanded Text Ads in 2 ways.
As of May 2021, Google have not rolled out an update to Google Ads Editor effectively hiding Expanded Text Ads. This means that you’ll still be able to create and edit your Expanded Text Ads as you have been doing.
If you are more familiar with or prefer using the Google Ads browser interface, don’t worry, you can create Expanded Text Ads still. When creating a new ad, first select the Responsive Search Ads option from the picklist, and then at the very bottom of the creative options you’ll spot a link to “switch back to text ads”.
Just a quick disclaimer here as well, this “switch back to text ads” option has already moved once since I first noticed the change, so is very much subject to change.
(Tellingly, it used to be above the creative options and has now been moved to the very bottom).
Although I don’t have a crystal ball, and don’t profess to be Nostradamus, I think it’s clear that Expanded Text Ads will continue to be phased out.
This shouldn’t be too much of a concern for most advertisers as there has been widespread adoption of Responsive Search Ads, and, generally speaking, most have seen better click-through rates using them.
What this means for advertisers: ensure that you are fully up-to-date with at least one Responsive Search Ad in all of your search campaigns’ ad groups, so you can be sure of a smooth transition when the time comes to say farewell to Expanded Text Ads altogether.
Of course, there are occasions when you want to strictly define what goes into of your headlines and description lines and the order in which they appear, say, for example, in an upcoming mega-sale. For this you can still ‘pin’ your headlines (or description lines) into position in a Responsive Search Ad, to make sure they appear in the order that you want them to (so that discount code doesn’t go amiss at the vital moment).