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What Advertisers Should Do About ETAs Sunsetting

July 22, 2022
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Paid advertisers have known it’s been coming for a while now, but Google’s sunset of their Expanded Text Ads (ETAs) is finally here! The king of search is set to officially put a pause on launching net new ETAs on June 30th, meaning advertisers only have a handful of days left to prepare. At Power Digital Marketing, we’re here to give you the rundown of what this update means for you and your clients, how we recommend structuring your campaigns given this change, and what we’ve seen so far since leveraging the new default ad type, Responsive Search Ads (RSAs).

What Does This Sunset Mean For Advertisers?

Starting June 30, 2022, you can no longer launch new ETAs. For that reason, we recommend making any last updates to those existing ETA ads as needed (creative refresh, anyone?) while you still can, in an effort to perfect those evergreen ads as much as possible. Then, turn your attention solely to RSAs looking forward. 

It’s no surprise that Google Analytics continues to speed down the highway of automation toward a land of machine learning running the show. We’ve seen it over time through various changes in search engine marketing, from “smart” bid strategies, to keyword match type variants, to RSAs, to Performance Max. As the engine evolves, we must as well! At Power, we’ve been leaning into these changes full speed ahead, and have been testing these newer iterations of Google Ads as they happen.

It can be frustrating feeling like you’re losing a level of control as we move in the direction of being more automated with our bidding, keywords, creativity, etc., but for the most part, we’ve seen positive results with this change and have come to appreciate the benefits of the RSA:

#1 Ease of management

For lack of a better description – RSAs allow you to take a bunch of relevant ad copy, throw it all together, and let Google do its thing. Google operates off of thousands of data signals and is only getting smarter over time, enabling us to trust it with serving the right ad to the right user at the right time, aka lighter management on your end.

#2 Instant creative testing

If you leverage a tool like Optmyzr, you can see exactly how each headline and description performs in a given timeframe, helping you to ID which copy to keep and what to nix. This also sheds light on any CTAs or UVPs you may want to expand to other campaigns based on positive performance!

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How We Recommend Structuring Your Campaigns w/ ETAs and RSAs

Historically, Power’s Paid Media team has followed the below responsive search ad structure to ensure proper coverage between ETAs and RSAs. Standard practice has been to run 2-3 ETAs per ad group, and through testing, we often found success running 2 RSAs per ad group, with and without pinned ad copy. 

Moving forward, we think it’s still worth running those 2-3 ETAs per ad group while focusing more on RSAs in the days leading up to the sunset. With that said, now is definitely the time to be updating those ETAs to ensure the text is as relevant as possible since you’ll no longer be able to edit your ETA ad come June 30!

What We’ve Seen So Far With This Change

Historically, if you ran ETAs alongside RSAs, you likely saw that RSAs received the majority of impressions, and therefore revenue. In the cases of some of the Google Ads accounts we manage at Power, RSAs accounted for 80% of impressions and drove 64% of total paid search revenue.

An eCommerce apparel brand that we manage has historically run both ETAs and RSAs, and recently shifted to running RSAs only. Although we saw consistent clickthrough rates (CTRs) between the two strategies, we saw the biggest lift in the conversion rate (CVR). CVR improved +215% by moving to an RSAonly strategy for their ad choices.

With the trends we are seeing, RSAs are hands down the preferred ad type option, and this change is a movement towards a more automated future. We are able to customize the ads to best suit each ad group but still give Google the opportunity to show the best ad copy to each individual searcher.

All in all, we’re feeling good about the change and hope you are too! You still have time to square things away, so don’t panic if you haven’t fully rolled things out the way you want to. And let us know if you have any questions about the best practices at all! We’re always happy to collaborate on strategy and help out our fellow PPC nerds. 

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