If there’s one thing we can bet on, it’s that Google Ads knows how to keep us all on our toes. Adding on to a slew of Google Ads updates recently, comes another. And as per them, it is going to improve user experience on both ends of the spectrum, the one who creates these ads and the one for whom they are created. In its recent update, Responsive Search Ads (RSAs) will now be the default ad type when creating ads for a Search campaign.

The ways people search online continues to change, and the pandemic has only accelerated its pace. For example, Google searches for “takeout restaurants” have grown over 5000%, while searches for “online learning” have grown over 400% in the last year. As per Google, “Responsive search ads can help you reach more customers and grow businesses in real time, even as consumer behaviour changes. Using machine learning, responsive search ads automatically identify the best combination of headlines and descriptions to deliver the right ad to the right person. In fact, advertisers that add responsive search ads in their ad groups achieve up to 10% more clicks and conversions.”

Responsive search ads automatically test various variations of ad headlines and descriptions to see which ones work better, and then bring the best ones together. Here is what constitutes them –

Headlines: Minimum of 3 headlines and maximum of 15

Descriptions: Minimum of 2 descriptions and maximum of 4

The more headlines and descriptions are entered, the more opportunities Google Ads has to serve ads that more closely match potential customers’ search queries, which can improve ad performance.

How does it affect Expanded Text Search Ads (ETA)?

Even with Responsive Search Ads (RSA) becoming a default ad type when creating a Google Search ad, Expanded Text Search Ads (ETA) will be very much be in function. Although, it won’t be a default setting anymore. Now, when creating a new search ad, one will have to click to create an RSA, and then click the blue text at the top to “Switch back to text ads” in order to continue creating ETAs. Not stirring up things anymore for the meantime, having two ETAs and one RSAs per ad group still remains the recommended best practice by Google. While this increased emphasis on RSAs can encourage more testing and better ads overall, advertisers are still advised to continue creating ETAs while using RSAs as a supplement. 

Why the switch?

Machine learning allows for improved performance

The recent updates Google has rolled out drive the shift towards automation further. Machine Learning and its behaviour are often debated over by advertisers, especially when they realize the reduced control, they may have over their campaigns. However, Google’s stance over this has been steady and in support of machine learning aiding campaign performance in terms of flexibility, clicks, and conversions.

Improved adaptability in the face of changing customer behaviour

The pandemic has made it extremely apparent that consumer priorities are now clearer and their behaviour, fast changing.  Google justifies this push towards RSAs by the fact that they allow marketers to better respond to changing market trends without having to create individual static ads and test them out manually.

Streamlined account management and optimization

Increased use of RSAs will not only help novice advertisers but also provide the machine learning mechanisms more to work with. This will in turn allow Google to make more recommendations related to account performance and help streamline the overall account management experience.

As it always goes, the overall effect of any amendments made to the Google Ads platform will become clearer with time, but with the information and tips that are available, it’s better to minimize any negative impact on our marketing endeavours.

Key Takeaways

  • Expanded Text Ads have been replaced as the default campaign form in Google Ads by Responsive Search Ads
  • ETAS can still be created by clicking into the RSA creation window and then selecting “Switch back to text ads.”
  • Having two ETAs and one RSA per ad group still remains the recommended best practice by Google and creating ETAs is still an encouraging practice
  • The move is consistent with Google’s recent changes, which have included less control for advertisers and a greater push toward automation
  • The design of RSAs makes it easier to integrate regular testing into ad campaigns, which benefits advertisers, Google, and customers alike; and they can help improve ad efficiency and simplify account management


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