News from Google: RSAs and Search Terms Report changes

I’ve been back from furlough for just a couple of weeks and Google has already released some new changes to the Google Ads interface just to keep me on my toes!

You must have heard of these already but I wanted to gather some thoughts here as well.
Right, the first of these changes is quite a big one mainly because it’s in line with the recent Google trend of taking more and more control over the accounts by hiding useful data to us PPC people. Oh they love that, don’t they?!
With just a small notification popping up in our accounts, they informed us that our Search Terms reports will look a lot slimmer from now on as it will only include “terms that were searched by a significant number of users”.
You’ll argue what’s considered “significant” to them might not be significant to you but they make the rules. It’s true we’re probably (hopefully?!) talking about searches with a very low number of impressions and clicks and so a very small portion of your budget that will go lost plus if it’s a small number of searches, what are the odds that term will be searched again – making it irrelevant to exclude it.
Shall we just be more optimistic?

Another change, well more than a change a test, as they called it, it’s the temporary disappearance of Expanded Text Ads from the Google Ads interface. Let me explain, when you go to create an ad the default template you’re prompt with is for RSAs rather than expanded text ads. It seems it’s just a test and not a farewell to ETAs altogether.
When I read about this (I did not see it in my accounts but mainly because I upload everything via Google Ads Editor), I thought about the account of my amazing friend Paolo, who is a guitar teacher and is trying Google Ads to make its business known in our city. When he showed me the account, I could see he had created straight away a responsive search ad which surprised me a little, now I know it was probably the first thing he was prompt to do.

I’ve always added RSAs to my accounts as soon as these came out and I must say in some campaigns, and for some clients, I did see some good results to outperform standard ETAs.
However, my RSAs were very structured and had pinned headline 1 and 2 to make sure relevancy was kept across keywords, ad and landing page. Perhaps this is the future we’re going towards if we want to keep control over RSAs.
Another issue I found with them comes from a client perspective, having worked exclusively in agencies. Most of my clients want to control and own their ads and not knowing the exact combination of headlines and descriptions becomes an issue of transparency and reliability that impacts negatively on agency’s work. Certainly, it doesn’t help that Google doesn’t share data on conversion metrics in relations to Responsive Search Ads combinations.
In this regard, a useful article on Search Engine Journal sums up opinions around RSAs by several marketers who highlighted these issues quite well.

It seems transparency is on the line again, my dear Google.

How about your experience, do you have some interesting data around RSAs to share? Please, fee free to comment below!

(If you don’t care about Search Terms reports nor RSAs but you’re thinking of learning to play guitar, here’s my friend’s website. You’d better get the basics before we’re forced into another lockdown and you wished you’d found yourself a hobby!)

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