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Google takes more control away from adverts

In another move towards full search advert automation which many of us have long predicted, Google is moving advertisers completely to ‘responsive’ ads next year. This means that the traditional option to explicitly specify the advert headline and description will be taken away; instead, we will have to provide a group of headlines and description text lines. These will be run in different combinations to find what the machine learning decides are the ‘best’ ones.

Google reckons that ‘responsive’ ads are simply better, saying: “Advertisers that switch from expanded text ads to responsive search ads, using the same assets, see an average of 7% more conversions at a similar cost per conversion.” But for professionally managed campaigns, any reduction in choice is unwelcome. It’s fair to say that the announcement has not gone down well in the professional advertising industry.

However, as long as the option to ‘pin’ preferred headlines remains, it should be possible to largely replicate fixed (‘expanded text’) adverts.

We’re particularly concerned about the poor reporting data offered on different advert combinations. We’d like to see full engagement and conversion figures. Maybe that’s on the way. We’ve also always been concerned about the potential problems which could be caused by the wildly unpredictable ads resulting from using broad match keywords and dynamic keyword insertion – it’s something we’ve always steered client campaigns away from.

Google notes that “After June 30, 2022, you’ll no longer be able to create or edit expanded text ads. However, your existing expanded text ads will continue to serve alongside responsive search ads, and you’ll still see reports on their performance going forward.” However, expect traditional ads to wind down quite quickly to the point where Google tells us that we will have to change them.

There’s more on responsive search ads here.