It’s official, Google has closed the lid on their Expanded Text Ads (ETAs), favouring Responsive Search Ads (RSAs) as the way forward.

Since early 2021, Responsive Search Ads were the default for Google Search Ads, but as of July 2022, they are the only ad format you can create. Google backs their decision by reminding advertisers that RSAs see an average of 7% more conversions with the same assets and cost.

But before you shoot off and remove your Expanded Text Ads, make sure to read on and discover:

  • How you can still use Expanded Text Ads.
  • What Responsive Search Ads are.
  • Why they’re preferred by advertisers.
  • Some tips and examples to make the most of Google Search Ads.

Expanded text ads are no more – what now?

ETAs were the easy to create Google Search Ad format, meaning you likely have hundreds with slight variations in each. Thankfully, they won’t disappear and will continue to display and receive impressions. Google will maintain the ability to track their performance reports too.

However, you will not be able to create new or edit existing Expanded Text Ads (excludes pausing and unpausing them).

What are Responsive Search Ads?

Responsive Search Ads allow up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions, which provides the opportunity to diversify your content. From these, Google will automatically test a variety of text combinations before identifying the best-performing copy.

Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean you get just one ad copy from your RSA. Over time, Google Ads will determine which text combinations are most effective for different target audience groups.

The end result?

Just a few Responsive Search Ads may provide hundreds of different ad variations depending on the messaging and number of fields in your RSAs.

Google Ads management reassures us that this is the most effective method of increasing ad performance, despite requiring less ads overall.

Responsive Search Ads vs Expanded Text Ads

Expanded Text Ads and Responsive Search Ads are very similar in their appearance.

Both have a 30-character limit for headlines and a 90-character limit for descriptions. ETAs will show 3 headlines and 2 descriptions, while RSAs will show up to 3 headlines and up to 2 descriptions.

The big difference is the level of control – That’s largely up to Google Ads.

I say ‘largely’ because it is possible to ‘pin’ important headlines or descriptions to force Google to show a certain line. Google Ads’ Machine Learning Technology will do the rest.

See a summary of the differences below:

Responsive Search Ads vs Expanded Text Ads


What does it mean for advertisers?

Long story short, the switch to Responsive Search Ads is beneficial for companies advertising with Google.

Creating one RSA covers up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions, which saves time compared to making a ton of different ETAs and monitoring the results yourself.

It should also save you money as Google will only send the best ads to the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). The better the ad, the better its performance, the less money spent!

Of course, the better the ad performance, the more leads you should receive and therefore more revenue can be made.

It’s also handy for advertisers to know that their most valuable ads will show to the right audiences. This lowers the risk that a piece of text will put off a searcher and having them look unfavourably at your company.

When advertising with Google, it’s time to start expanding your Responsive Search Ads!

See an example of how effective Google Search Ads can be if done right: Client case study.

Responsive Search Ads: tips and Best Practices

Responsive Search Ads are not always the best solution for every advertiser so it’s important to use them carefully.

  • Create at least 1 Responsive Search Ad in every ad group.
  • Aim for a high ad strength (Good or Excellent). If ‘Poor’ you are less likely to see as many clicks and conversions as an ‘Excellent’ ad.
  • Ensure headlines and descriptions all make sense with each other as any text asset can be combined with another.
  • Create as many unique headlines as you can – pull the best performing ones from your ETAs. Ensure some headlines are optimised for your target keywords to improve your ad rating.
  • Pin necessary information to the top of an ad, but only if needed or if it won’t make sense in another order. Pinning text interferes with Google’s testing so use this only if required.
  • The 3rd headline and 2nd description line may not show, so don’t pin any important information on these levels.
  • Look out for recommendations on Google Ads but be critical with their suggestions – you know your business better than they do!.
  • Traditional best practices for writing ad copy still apply. As do the many benefits of effective Search Engine Optimisations.

On Expanded Text Ads:

  • Don’t pause or delete your Expanded Text Ads if they are performing, keep them running!
  • If you really like ETAs, you can create an RSA with just 3 headlines and 2 descriptions, so it’s the same as an ETA. However, this setup will inevitably have a poor rating, so we don’t recommend this approach.

Much like pinning text assets, this interferes with Googles Ad management and may lower performance, so not recommended!

Take your advertising with Google to the next level

If you’re unsatisfied with how your Google Ads Management is going, now is the time to bring it back into the spotlight. A Google Ads management expert could revamp your Search Engine Marketing and help to see a better ROI when advertising with Google.

We welcome you to share your current advertising situation with our team of Google Search Ads experts so we can help you level up in all things Google.