Digital Marketing Brief: The Automated Ads Future
Automated and dynamically generated ads like RSAs and Dynamic Ads are all the rage in digital advertising right now. Find what you need to know.
Ding Dong, the Expanded Text Ad is Dead ⚰️
Google says they are making “it easier to show the right message on Search,” and announced at the end of August that starting on June 30, 2022, you’ll no longer be able to create or edit expanded text ads (ETA’s).
- Making It Easier to Show the Right Message on Search (Google Ads Help)
Similar to how standard text ads were sunset, however, you will still be able to run and pause your existing ETA’s, you just will not be able to edit or create new ETAs. Google pointed to the average of 7% more conversions at a similar cost per conversion for advertisers that switched to responsive search ads from ETAs as a good reason for the switch.
- Google Plans to Sunset Expanded Text Ads: Here’s What Advertisers Can Do (Search Engine Journal)
This means a pretty big shift in Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and is part of the larger Google shift to automated systems and products throughout their platforms.
Ultimately, this shift leaves us all wondering what will be next on the cutting block from Google. Are match types next? Google made sure to gush about how pairing RSAs with Broad Match Keywords and Smart Bidding was important to ensuring your campaigns were optimized. Given that association, it seems possible that “Exact” and “Phrase” match options, as well as non-Smart Bidding, may be on the chopping block in the future. As always, marketers are at the whim of Google in this regard, but can better prepare by familiarizing and testing the new smart campaign options as Google rolls them out. If you wish to continue running ETAs for as long as possible, we’d also suggest ensuring your existing ETAs are evergreen and optimal to run after Google makes the switch.
So, Long Live the RSA then? 🤔
That certainly seems like the direction things are going. The Responsive Search Ad (RSA) came onto the scene back in 2018 and carries a number of hallmarks that have become the calling cards of Google’s messaging in the last few years: Automatic, Optimized, Dynamic, Machine Learning, Relevant, Adaptive, etc…
- Responsive Search Ads Are the New Default in Google Ads: What You Need to Know (WordStream)
In preparation of the shift away from ETAs, Google Announced in February of 2021 that Responsive Search Ads (RSAs) would now be the default ad type in Search campaigns. The folks at WordStream laid out a good rundown of what the change to RSAs entails and what you’ll need to do to prepare.
- About Responsive Search Ads (Google Ads Help)
Of course, the easiest and most up-to-date place to go for information on Responsive Search Ads is Google’s help page on the topic, which you can read through the link above.
- Advertisers React to Google’s Decision to Sunset Expanded Text Ad Creation (Search Engine Journal)
But why do away with ETA’s entirely? Per Google, the goal is to simplify the creation of Search Ads and keep them relevant so the right message is served for the right query. Search Engine Journal, however, rounded up some reactions from professionals around the search community, and the overall feeling was… well, they saw it coming, but they all want more transparency from Google, and more access to the data on RSAs so they can better optimize their ads.
- Will RSAs Help or Hurt Your Account? This Script Will Help You Figure It Out (Search Engine Journal)
With every benefit that RSAs bring in optimizing messaging to the searcher, many Search Marketers are still wary of the lost visibility and control over how Google spends your ad dollars. Still, for the right situation, RSA’s may prove very useful, and experiments are often the best way to test and see what works best. Search Engine Land lays out the scenarios and what could or could not work well for you in this article.
Like it or not, RSA’s are here to stay (at least until Google shoves them out of the way for something even more automated). You have until June of 2022 to ensure your campaigns have at least 1 RSA per ad group, and we suggest you start experimenting with them now in order to properly shift your structure over before the ETA is sunset.
What About Microsoft? Can We Still Run Extended Text Ads There?
Long story short, no.
- Audience Ads Expansion and Other Key October Product Updates (Microsoft Advertising Blog)
On October 5th, among a slew of similar-to-Google updates, Microsoft Advertising announced they are aligning with Google, and starting on June 30th of 2022 RSAs will be the only type of search ad you can create. Their reasoning for why they would also be making the shift was “to help elevate advertisers’ ROI with the power of our automation and create a simplified cross-platform experience.” Microsoft also announced several updates to the Microsoft Audience Network and to the In-market Audiences that are worth checking out.
For those that are currently holding parity between their Microsoft and Google Search campaigns, a transition to RSA’s on both channels can only help to keep the mirroring process simple and was probably what you were moving towards anyways. The transition is not too surprising given Microsoft Ads’ tendency to follow where Google Ads leads and will help Search Marketers to keep comparisons between Microsoft Ads and Google Ads relatively simple.
And What About Google Display Campaigns? Are Those Becoming More Automated, too? 📺
Well… Sort of.
- Display Campaigns Made Easy (Google Ads & Commerce Blog)
First, Google did announce that there will be only one Display campaign type moving forward. Where in the past you chose between a Smart Display campaign and a regular old Display campaign, now there is just one.
- Google Ads Will Combine Smart and Standard Display Campaigns (Search Engine Land)
Oddly out of sync with their march to all-automation-all-the-time, however, Google is still allowing you to choose the amount of automation you can build into the campaign. They are giving you the option to automate, or not, up to the level of a Smart Display campaign, which seems pretty nice.
Again, given Google’s push toward “all-automation-all-the-time” without the option to peek behind the curtain, this move seems quite open and great for both those that want more control over the campaigns and for those that would like to sit back and let Google’s automations optimize. Still, the skeptic in us sees Google’s larger play as marching towards that automatic campaign future. By combining the campaigns into one, they are making it easier to slowly remove the manual options that Display campaigns offered while slowly weening those marketers over to the smart campaign set up. We’d bet on Smart Display being the best bet in terms of future-proofing your Google Display campaigns.
Tell Me More About Google’s All-Automation-All-The-Time Thing 🤖
Well, have you heard about Performance Max?
- What You Need To Know About Performance Max Campaigns In Google Ads (Forbes)
While still in beta, Google’s new Performance Max campaigns appear to be the next great automated step in Google’s campaign progression. In these campaigns there are no ads nor targeting at all, instead a marketer inputs various assets like text, images, and videos, along with an intended landing page and maybe some audiences to help the system learn who to target. You even have the option to let Google choose if another page on your landing page’s domain might be better to direct someone towards.
Performance Max campaigns utilize the best that Google’s machine learning can offer in order to create and optimize ads for your intended goals. How much visibility and control you’ll have over this automated creation remains to be seen, but this looks to be the current direction that Google Ads campaigns are moving.
What About Facebook? Do They Offer Automatically Generated Ads?
You better believe they do, and they’re dynamic!
- The How and Why of Facebook Dynamic Ads (Multi Channel Merchant)
Facebook introduced Dynamic Ads several years ago. They use machine learning to automatically deliver relevant ads to viewers based on a collection of different headlines, descriptions, images, videos, and post text options that you provide to the system, kind of like Google’s Smart Display campaigns. Check out this quick round-up on them.
- About Dynamic Ads (Facebook for Business)
Still, the best place to go for information on Dynamic Ads is straight from the source. Hit-up the big FB for the latest information on how Dynamic Ads work.
Just like Google, Facebook looks to be slowly hedging its way into an automated ads system environment where they can better craft your ads to match individual viewers to drive better engagement on their platforms. Ultimately, this will help marketers in delivering the right message at the right time to the right person, but it remains to be seen how much visibility and control will be left in advertisers’ hands and how much will move behind the black box of Facebook’s algorithm.
Other News We Found Interesting:
- Google Looks to Simplify Custom Bidding, and Provide More Transparency Over Its Bidding Algorithms (Social Media Today)
- How Apple’s iOS 15 Could Impact Email Marketers (Hubspot)
- Facebook Launches New ‘Creative Guidance Navigator’ to Provide Marketing Stats and Tips (Social Media Today)
- Shedding More Light on How Instagram Works (Instagram Blog)