Adieu Expanded Text Ads

Paid SearchPerformance Media

Google has finally revealed that our beloved Expanded Text Ads (ETAs) that we’ve become so accustomed to are leaving by June 2022. Instead, Google has announced that the Responsive Search Ads will be taking their place. Fortunately for advertisers, you’ll still be able to continue serving and editing existing ETAs, but the default text ad type to create from within AdWords will be the newer RSAs.

So what is the difference between Expanded Text Ads and Responsive Search Ads?

Expanded Text Ads

Expanded Text Ads are the 3 headlines, 2 descriptions ads that have been a quintessential part of PPC marketing, ever since it came into being in 2016. 

A little bit of trivia: It is believed that ads grew 50% in size overnight after its launch and was responsible for increasing ad Click-through-rates (CTRs) by an average of 20% for advertisers.

Responsive Search Ads

Responsive Search Ads can be thought of as an upgrade to ETAs, much like the pompous cousin, with 15 Headlines and 4 Descriptions, offering the advertiser endless possibilities to play with in terms of ad copy. Google algorithmically mixes and matches from the options provided to serve the “best” possible version to the user.

Since they launched in May, 2018, Responsive Search Ads are believed to have around 5-15% higher CTR than standard search ads. 

Why did Google recommend the transition?

Google wants to streamline the text ad optimization process through automation and machine learning and Responsive Search Ads provide them with more options to do so.  Advertisers are asked to transition to RSAs, as this would give the algorithm more data to understand the best possible combinations of headlines and descriptions that resonate with the searcher and serve the ad accordingly.

What will happen to the existing ETAs?

Existing ETAs will still run in tandem with the mandatory RSAs and can still be edited, but creating ETAs will be a bit more challenging than usual as Google have obscured it. 

By default, the ad type in the ad creation dropdown from within AdWords will be a Responsive Search Ad.

To create an ETA, you’ll need to choose to create an RSA and then use the provided option to “Use expanded text ads instead”.

What will be the new Google norm for PPC text ads?

Google has recommended including at least one Responsive Search Ad in each Ad Group along with other text ad types.


How can we create optimal Responsive Search Ads, now that ETAs will soon be history?

Google ranks RSAs, based on ad strength, grading them “Poor”, “Average”, “Good” or  “Excellent”, making life a tad bit harder for PPC marketers.

The grading is based on ad effectiveness, which in turn depends on a few factors. When creating RSAs, it’s good to ensure that you:


  • Use enough popular keywords within the ad group
  • Variety in headlines
  • Use headlines and descriptions that AdWords prompts you to use.
  • Use the right call to actions and make sure to pin them in H2 or H3.
  • Pin similar headlines or descriptions to the same position, so that they show up just once.
  • Avoid repeating headlines or descriptions, that essentially means the same thing.
  • Use Ad Customisers within headlines or descriptions to include more breadth within our ad copy.
  • Change the headlines and descriptions, using the above recommendations, till we achieve an ad rank ranging from “Good” to “Excellent”.

Google is biased towards ads that are ranked Good or Excellent and tends to show them more in the search results. If you are looking to have an edge, make sure to get the ad strength right for RSAs.


As we prepare to bid adieu to ETAs, make sure to the ad strength of your RSAs and include at least one in each ad group.


So, how are you prepping for the transition? Make sure you let us know.

Reminder: Google UA Historical Data to be Deleted in July 2024