Perhaps the most substantial search pay-per-click (PPC) news in the past few weeks includes Google’s wind down of expanded text ads (ETAs). Surprisingly, that doesn’t mean all advertisers should abandon them quite yet. In fact, even though the ad format has already officially been sunsetted, Google says they will let their customers to run existing ETAs indefinitely.
This change will undoubtedly have an immense impact on some businesses. Plus, knowing that Google won’t let their customers add new ETAs must make some marketers suspicious that the advertising platform will eliminate them eventually. Find out how this change will impact Google paid ads and other actions advertisers should take.
Why Are Google Expanded Text Ads Going Away?
Last year, WordStream published findings that advertisers enjoyed an average of 28 percent better clickthrough rates (CTRs) with expanded text ads, though results varied wildly among industries. They worked very well in some niches and less well in others. WordStream found the extra text tended to appeal the best to an older and wealthier client base. Apparently, this group of consumers often responds better to having more information to read before clicking on an advertisement.
In place of ETAs, Google plans to emphasize responsive search ads. They also offer great utility for building brand awareness and driving traffic. Google says its overall customer base enjoys seven-percent higher conversion rates with RSAs over ETAs.
Why is Google sundowning ETAs? The search giant says they can do a better job of timing optimal message delivery with responsive search ads. Not every advertiser agrees with Google’s statements. Some PPC customers feel like the search giant’s making another move to wrest control from advertisers to assume it themselves. Still, Google makes money when its customers enjoy high CTRs and conversions, so hopefully, the change will benefit PPC advertisers. In any case, it doesn’t appear that Google decided to phase out new ETAs because of overall poor performance.
How to Prepare for This PPC News
Starting June 30, Google still let advertisers pause and resume existing ads, but new ones can no longer be created. Even editing existing expanded ads, as the platform will consider an edit as deleting the old one and adding a new one, so any changes to ads would have to been made prior to June 30.
Bing Offers Expanded Text Ads
Also, Bing still offers this advertising format. In fact, Wordstream’s analysis found advertisers enjoying even better average CTRs with Bing’s version of this ad format than with Google’s. They contrasted average CTRs of about six percent on Google with over seven percent on Bing. Typically, Bing can’t supply the same quantity of traffic that Google can. Still, many advertisers will find it worthwhile to try running their ads on Bing, even if Google won’t allow new ads.
Explore Responsive Search Ads
Google used to suggest having at least two ETAs and two RSAs in each ad group. More recently, Google advised its paid search customers to ensure they have at least one responsive search ad (RSA) in each ad group by June 30. The company suggested repurposing content from their best-performing expanded text ads to achieve this goal rapidly and efficiently.
To make the most of these assets:
- Work to improve Google’s Ad Strength calculation. For instance, Google said that advertisers who manage to improve their rating from “Poor” to “Excellent” enjoy an average CTR improvement of nine percent.
- Test variations of ads to optimize paid search results. Track and compare such metrics as impressions, clicks, and conversions.
- Pin important messages to each RSA to ensure the audience for various platforms and campaigns sees them.
- Each account has a Recommendation page to help improve results, and these suggestions may prove helpful.
What Will This PPC Change Mean for Advertisers?
Taking Google’s advice to repurpose messaging from high-performing ETAs sounds prudent. Advertisers don’t have much time to add new ETAs to their Google accounts. Plus, some businesses that relied heavily on Google’s ETAs might serve themselves better by using this time to ensure they have strong RSAs in place for each advertising group.
In addition, other advertising platforms still offer the ETA advertising format. Thus, it’s always prudent to explore advertising alternatives. That’s particularly true for businesses with an audience that prefers more information before committing to clicking an advertisement. Find out how Hawke’s Media can help your business use paid search to get your message in front of people who are already searching online for precisely what you offer.