Expanded text ads launched in July 2016, growing the number of characters and real estate the creative would take by almost 50% and arguably the biggest update to the creative in 16 years since its launch. Yet 5 years later, Google is looking to remove the ability to create new, or edit existing ETA’s – the inevitable wind-down of the format likely the year after.
RSAs are the new ETAs
To replace ETA’s? RSA’s of course. Launched in 2018, responsive search ads are a format that takes from the multiple components of a text ad, allowing machine intelligence to deliver the best possible ad to the right person, at the right time.
In principle, it’s a format that should work exceptionally well – it aims to serve a slightly tailored ad to two different audiences. In contrast, ETA’s would involve splitting keyword volume between ad groups, inevitably diluting performance.
Having an RSA means that Google can tailor and tweak, and ultimately serve a better ad per user – for the same keyword, within user-defined parameters. All the assets google can ‘pick’ from are provided by the advertiser.
Be under no illusion – Google’s aims to make money for its shareholders. If it can drive better ads and increase CTR, then Google drives more clicks and makes more money.
So how do RSAs compare to ETAs?
Agency-wide data for a single month shows that we’re seeing much stronger CTR’s – a 38% increase when comparing all expanded text ads vs all responsive search ads.
When looking at RSA’s performance, a metric that poses concern is CPC. It shows 31% higher than in ETA’s – which is driving up the overall CPA by 25%. Conversion is 5% higher on RSA’s – negligible in comparison to the huge jump in CPC.
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All Response Media viewpoint
There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. It depends on the maturity of testing within the account, and the current ETA vs RSA coverage. There is no doubt Google wants advertisers to begin the move to responsive search ads and there are measured ways to do this in a positive way without just ‘jumping it’.
Have a conversation with your teams about pinning assets and best practice for constructing an ad – if you need to always show some information (e.g. A price, a disclaimer, or certain terms), allocate a consistent section of the ad for this to avoid any duplication and replication within a single ad.
Consider your existing learnings. Currently, reporting around RSA’s is poor, leaving you with an inability to see what combination of assets drive the best outcomes (as it likely varies by audience). Understanding what excellent looks like now, and what drives it, can feed your RSA’s with high-quality assets.
There is a risk of driving CPCs up. Ensure that you align on the KPI’s which are being monitored during testing so that your teams can use the upcoming year to start transitioning.
Contact us to see how we can amplify your digital campaigns and learn more about Google’s upcoming changes.