Google finally confirm date to sunset Expanded Text Ads

What’s changing?

On Tuesday 31st August, Google’s Product Manager Sylvanus Bent announced that they are planning to sunset Expanded Text Ads (ETAs). This update was not wholly unexpected as Responsive Search Ads (RSAs) had already been made the default ad type earlier this year. However, it has now been confirmed that from the 20th June 2022, you will no longer be able to create new, or edit existing, ETAs.


With millions of new search queries appearing daily, Google believe that “automation is key to keeping pace with these trends” and that RSAs are one of the best tools with which to do this, leveraging “creativity with the power of machine learning to help you show more relevant ads to more people.” RSAs allow advertisers to upload up to 15 headlines and four descriptions, from which Google can then create tens of thousands of different ad combinations. Google will aim to show the ad that is predicted to perform best based on not just the user’s search query but a whole host of intent signals which it would be impossible to account for manually.

What can you do to prepare?

Since their launch back in 2018, Google has recommended that advertisers implement at least one RSA per ad group alongside any existing ETAs, so it’s likely that most of us will already have tested the waters here. If not, this would be a sensible first step to facilitate as seamless a transition as possible come July 2022.

Some tips on where to start, or how to refine, your RSA strategy:

  • Look for insights from your existing ETAs – what has performed well previously? Use top-performing ad assets as the building blocks for your RSAs.
  • Maximise assets – use all available headlines and descriptions and try to include popular keywords wherever possible.
  • Review ad strength – check in regularly to ensure your ads are performing well. Google internal data found that advertisers who improve ad strength for their RSAs from ‘Poor’ to ‘Excellent’ see 9% more clicks and conversions on average.
  • Pinning assets – although Google offers this capability, unless you absolutely must, we recommend you approach it with caution, or risk being penalised. By pinning even one asset, you are limiting the number of ad combinations that Google can test. You also risk limiting your ability to match the right message to the right search query, which may make the difference between a click or a scroll.

What do we think?

This latest change appears to be in line with some of Google’s other recent updates like campaign consolidation and match type behaviour, with an emphasis on AI and machine learning.

Although it has been argued that RSAs take away the granular performance breakdown we previously had with ETAs (we can only see Google’s ranking of the assets and how they see them performing as opposed to actual conversion data by ad combination), we have generally seen account performance improve where we have already implemented them. In fact, many of our accounts have already transitioned to solely use RSAs. In addition, RSAs simplify the ad creation process and let Google do the optimising, allowing our specialists more time to work on strategy!

As always with any new product or update, it’s important to test and learn. Luckily, there is another 10 months before this latest change comes into effect so there is plenty of time to refine your ad strategy.

If you would like to chat about your PPC strategy or know more about these updates then get in touch and one of our specialists can help you.