At the end of June 2022, Google and Bing will shift search advertising with one of the biggest changes in years. The traditional text ads that many advertisers have been writing and using since the early 2000s will be replaced by responsive search ads that will limit reporting and optimization opportunities for brands. If your brand is struggling to manage or unaware of the upcoming change, here’s what you need to know and how you can prepare going forward.

What’s Happening

The traditional expanded text ads are going to be replaced in favor of responsive ads starting July 1, 2022. Expanded text ads will still run but you won’t be able to create any new ones.

Responsive ads offer advertisers a much larger set of content they can include in each ad and Google’s machine learning attempts to find the right combination of headlines and descriptions to match a user’s search query. Instead of building 5-10 ads for an ad group, you just build a single ad.

While this sounds great on paper, advertisers don’t actually get a lot of performance data on what combinations are performing well.  You can view what combinations have been shown and how often they are shown but you won’t get impressions, clicks and conversions for each combination. This will be especially difficult on newer advertisers who may still be trying to find the right messaging and it will make it impossible for brand new advertisers to get granular performance data on what’s working.

How to Prepare

If your brand has been running expanded text ads for the past few years, this would be a great time to export all of your ad data to date and build a pivot of every single headline and description and begin documenting your top 10-15 performing pieces for both.  You’ll then want to take those high performers and begin building responsive ads that incorporate them. Given the volume of ads that will need to be created you should start doing this now instead of waiting until the last minute.

If you’re a new advertiser or have only been using Google Ads sporadically, you have a very limited window to get test data. We advise advertisers to act now and start testing as many headlines and descriptions as possible with your specific value propositions, selling points and messaging. Try to have your campaigns spend as much as possible so that you can get enough data to know what will work going forward and build your responsive ads from that.

Managing the Transition

For many brands, especially those with thousands of ads, this will definitely be a major initiative that if it’s already not in progress needs to be a top priority. If your brand is struggling or you don’t know where to start, AVX Digital can help you plan for the future and optimize for the present.

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