If you’ve opened Google Ads in the past six months, you might have noticed that the advertising platform is scaling back on its use of expanded text ads (ETA) in Search campaigns. In August of 2021, Google announced that as of June 30, 2022, users will no longer be able to create or edit ETAs.
Google made responsive search ads (RSA) the default ad type in March 2021, so this news did not come as a shock to the advertising world. Even so, advertisers who prefer to have more control over the content and format of their ads have expressed some worries.
Let’s explore Google’s new go-to ad variation – RSAs – and see if we can put some of those concerns at bay.
What are responsive search ads?
Responsive search ads are a flexible form of advertising that lets marketers enter multiple headlines and descriptions into their ads to uncover the most effective messaging options. Users can enter up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions, and Google’s machine learning system automatically tests out different combinations of headlines and descriptions to decide what performs best. The resulting ad copy that a user sees is the most relevant combination of those top performing text elements.
If you utilize all 15 headlines and 4 descriptions, there are 43,680 different combinations of the same ad that Google can assemble. Over time, Google will find the most effective title and description combination.
For multifamily advertisers that previously believed ads in the platform were too static, the options for ad content are now seemingly endless. All they need to do is create relevant headlines and descriptions and let Google’s AI take care of the rest. Advertisers can spend less time creating ads and will be more competitive in auctions by having RSAs that adapt to show the right message for the right customer.
What about expanded text ads?
Expanded text ads are a type of search ad that appear on Google search engine results pages. When building an ETA, users can include three headlines, two descriptions, and a display URL.
These ads are similar to RSAs in that both features allow advertisers to share additional information with users. With RSAs, however, the ability to enter up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions provides advertisers with more opportunity to show relevant messages to potential consumers.
Expanded text ads already in use will continue to run along RSAs and collect data that users can view on their reports. You will also still be able to pause, enable, or cancel these ads as necessary. Google recommends having at least one RSA in every ad group by June 30, 2022 to prepare for this change. As of June 30, 2022, advertisers will no longer be able to create new ETAs or edit existing ones.
Here’s how your property team can get ready for this new age of advertising.
Responsive search ad best practices
1. Focus on strength:
RSAs have an ad strength indicator that updates as users enter more headlines and descriptions into the text boxes. The four strength options are “poor”, “average”, “good”, and “excellent.” Utilize this strength indicator to achieve at least a “good” or “excellent” rating.
Higher strength scores increase the chances that the ad will be served. One way to achieve a higher score is by including the ad group’s popular keywords in the ad text. As you are creating the ad, the strength tool will suggest keywords in the ad group to include in the headlines. This boosts ad relevance and in return boosts strength.
2. Unique headlines:
The productivity of this automated ad feature relies on having several ad combinations and keywords that can adapt to and match customer search queries. Google can put headlines and descriptions together in any order, so it is imperative that these text elements are unique enough from each other and form a cohesive message in the shown ad combinations. The maximum number of headlines an advertiser can add is 15, but entering at least 8-10 headlines can improve your outcomes.
The more ad combinations there are to show, the better the ad will perform. To further improve results, at least 5 of those headlines should not repeat the same phrases. Doing so will help to avoid limiting the number of ad combinations that can be created. This includes popular keywords. Instead of including the ad group’s keywords in every headline, you can vary messaging by highlighting calls to action, pricing, and any special promotions that are currently running.
3. Use existing content:
Use headlines and descriptions from your already existing, high performing ETAs. If you have an idea of what ad copy has already proven to work for the renters you are trying to reach, include that in your RSAs.
What we’ll see from responsive search ads
Responsive search ads save advertisers from having to manually test out their ad copy. Instead of having to make edits to existing ads, waiting for that ad to serve, and then checking back in on the results of their changes for further edits, Google will automatically test the ads for them.
They will also result in increased calls to action (CTAs). Instead of having to narrow down to three headlines in ETAs, advertisers have even more options of what they want to share with potential customers. Advertisers can include different CTAs for different renter audiences who are at different stages of the leasing cycle.
The rise of RSAs will lead to more effective personalization, which is the key to successful marketing. RSAs are based on a user’s past browsing behavior and are automated to help this user find exactly what they are looking for. With 15 headlines and 4 descriptions for Google to choose from, RSAs are the way to go to send the right message to the right user.
Properties that are short on staff or lack dedicated internal expertise can work with a trusted partner to continually adapt to these industry changes and deliver high-performing ads. For example, Rent. Solutions enable busy property teams to generate customized PPC campaigns administered by dedicated analysts, and powered by our proprietary audience of in-market renters for more effective results.
As search advertising evolves, property marketers who adapt to new advancements such as responsive search ads can unlock more personalized and effective advertising. As a result, they can benefit from improved outcomes and a better experience for renters and apartment teams alike.