Life After Expanded Text Ads

The shift to RSAs from ETAs is an interesting one. I imagine some marketers will be sceptical as is the case with any sudden and uncontrollable change made by Google. However, the results we have seen for our clients have led to an increase in click through rates (CTR) and conversion rates (CVR), and a decrease in costs per acquisition (CPA) across the board, so there are clearly benefits to the change.

With Google utilising machine learning more and more, this was an inevitable change and a natural next step in today’s world of automation. But, as with anything, there are benefits and drawbacks to the change, which we’ll go through below.

The Positives

There are many benefits to RSAs; it allows for real-time testing instead of having to manually set up and analyse A/B testing of ad copy. This happens automatically through RSAs, with around 43,680 different combinations thanks to the increased number of headlines and descriptions. Marketers therefore save time and resources otherwise spent setting these up and having to analyse the data manually. It also means that Google can use auction time insights and signals to match relevant copy to the intent of the users’ query, a previously more static element in ETAs which now gives the user a much more relevant ad than we could manually create.

The Drawbacks

The downsides to RSAs are related to control and data visibility. With Google creating these combinations automatically, you don’t actually have the control to decide exactly what gets seen by the user for each search. This means that the choice in headlines and descriptions has to be carefully selected so that each works with the rest. Google also gives limited visibility around the combinations, only highlighting the impressions each has rather than actual performance metrics. It’s a definite downfall, as marketers can find insightful trends from this data that they may have utilised elsewhere.

Ad Asset Combinations

This has now been taken one step further with the announcement of “Ad Assets” taking over what was previously known as “Ad Extensions”. These are now an integral part of campaign set up, and is great if you are the type of person to forget to add these on in the separate part of the interface. This again takes Google’s machine learning approach to the next level, reporting on not only the different combinations of headlines and descriptions, but now including these combinations with different ad assets (extensions) to really understand which work the best together.

This is now a set-in-stone change & expanded text ads can no longer be edited or created. It’s therefore definitely worth getting on board and adopting the best practices to give the highest potential for success with RSAs. Our advice for a successful RSA set up?

  • – Fill in all headline asset spaces with key USPs and features
  • – Create different descriptions to utilise the machine A/B testing 
  • – Pin any assets that you definitely want visible in all ads.

These simple steps are key to getting the most from RSAs and increasing CTR and CVR for your own or your clients’ accounts.

Speak to us about text ads or any other paid advertising for your next campaign