Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Search Market Mentors

It’s Official: Google Shifting from Expanded Text Ads to Responsive Text Ads

A large yellow arrow with the word ‘change’ pushing against smaller white arrows pushing back


Beginning on June 30, 2022, Google is shifting from expanded text ads to responsive text ads. While existing expanded text ads (ETAs) will continue to be served and can be paused and resumed, we will no longer be able to create new ads or edit existing ones. Once existing ETAs are deleted, we will not be able to add them back into the mix. That’s why we are working with our digital advertising clients now to future-proof campaigns to ensure optimal performance by implementing responsive search ads (RSAs) into each ad group for each campaign.

Last month, we posted a blog detailing the differences between ETAs and RSAs. Here, we delve into the benefits offered by RSAs and explain how we will adjust current campaigns to achieve optimal results.

Benefits of RSAs

RSAs allow for up to 15 different headlines and up to 4 different descriptions (versus ETAs that allow 3 headlines and 2 descriptions). Google uses machine learning to test these options to learn what combinations of headlines and descriptions perform the best. Over time, it knows to serve the best message to different search queries depending on the keyword used, device, past browsing behavior and other signals.

The benefits of RSAs are in the machine learning, which offers a more efficient way to test ad copy to see what performs best. We can expand our reach with multiple headline and description options that allow for more opportunities to compete in more auctions and match more queries. This variety increases the opportunity for better query matching.

With RSAs, we relinquish control of the exact ad combinations that are served and let AI (artificial intelligence) do its job. We can “pin” some headlines or descriptions to fixed positions, but in most cases that defeats the purpose and benefits of RSAs and may ultimately negatively impact campaign results.

RSA Best Practices

There are a few factors that constitute an effective RSA, so following some best practices helps ensure we see the biggest benefits. Google considers several variables before giving campaigns an overall quality score. Without an optimal quality score, ads have less of a chance to be served.

Some of the best practices we recommend include:

  • Providing enough options. ESAs require a minimum of 3 headlines and 2 descriptions; however, this can limit the machine learning benefit. The more headlines and descriptions we provide, the more opportunities Google has to serve the ads to match search queries. While we may not always need to provide the maximum of 15 headlines and 4 descriptions, we advise providing at least 5 headlines and 4 descriptions to optimize for responsive ads capabilities.
  • Highlighting value propositions, offers and calls to action in headlines and descriptions.
  • Using the top keyword in at least 2 headlines.
  • Avoiding repetition and instead providing a variety of different options to ensure that Google’s machine learning has plenty of unique combinations to learn from.

We are working to incorporate RSAs into all client campaigns now to enable machine learning time to do its work before Google starts shifting from expanded text ads to responsive text ads on June 30. Obviously, providing more unique headline and description options takes more time up front during campaign creation, but if done well, it will improve performance in terms of an increase in clicks and conversions throughout the life of the campaign.

Whether you are just getting started with Google advertising or need to update your campaigns to incorporate RSAs, our digital advertising experts are here to advise, create, implement, optimize and track your campaigns from start to (successful) finish. Reach out to learn how we can help.