Google announced today that, starting June 30, 2022, responsive search ads (RSAs) will be the only Search ad type that can be created or edited in standard text ad campaigns. Existing expanded text ads (ETAs) will still be eligible to serve after that date but cannot be created or updated.
This announcement doesn’t exactly come as a surprise, especially after Google made RSAs the default ad type in February. We already recognized then that Google was increasingly leaning into automation and machine learning for its ad platforms with capabilities like dynamic search ads, Smart Shopping, and Smart Bidding. Those resistant to automated solutions can continue to run ETAs created before the June 30 cut-off date. However, recent data suggests that advertisers should embrace the move to a more machine-learning based approach.
From what we’ve observed, most advertisers should see performance benefits from a shift to RSAs. Google’s data suggests that advertisers that add RSAs in their ad groups receive up to 10% more clicks and conversions. Merkle data shows further performance benefits for activating RSAs - since Q2 2020, RSA click-through rate (CTR) has consistently been above ETAs, with accounts seeing a 12% lift on average for Q2 2021. Q2 2021 also marked the first time that RSA click share surpassed that of ETAs for Merkle clients, so the CTR benefits are holding true even as the format continues to scale. The observed CTR improvements over ETAs suggests that Google’s machine learning is doing a good job finding the right custom combination of headlines and descriptions to serve to each customer.
Each brand’s immediate next steps will likely depend on their current RSA maturity level. Eventually, all advertisers should adhere to the following best practices to maximize the opportunity afforded by RSAs.
Overall, given the current data on RSAs, we’re excited to see Google streamline its ad copy options. The push towards a more automated, machine-learning based format should prove beneficial for advertisers and customers alike. Meanwhile, advertisers that want to keep full control over their messaging can still do so by using the pin feature or creating the evergreen ETAs they want to use prior to June 30, 2022 – though we’d highly recommend giving RSAs a chance!
It’s great to see new campaign types that cater specifically for video content. What I’m especially excited about here is that advertisers will be able to create lookalike segments from first-party and YouTube audiences, that have customisable reach. Want to keep things tight? A narrow segment will hit only 2.5% of users with traits like that in your seed list. Want to scale? Go for 10% with their broad reach option. Great for taking control in a world where it seems to slip away from us at times.
It will be a truly exciting time for us as these products start to launch over the next few months. If you’re interested in learning more about what these developments could mean for you, get in touch and let’s make the most of AI together.