Is Google prepping to phase out ETAs?

This story is developing.

Some search marketers reported Friday that the “Text ad” option is not available from the Ads dropdown for Search campaigns in the Google Ads interface.

Instead, the ad options from the Ads dropdown are limited to Responsive search ad (RSA) and Call ad. Frederick Vallaeys, CEO of Optmyzr, is among those seeing this change in his own account.

The ability to create manual text ads (AKA expanded text ads, or ETAs) isn’t gone altogether in these cases, though. On the RSA creation screen, there is a link to “Switch back to text ads,” as shown in the screenshot below that Dan Thies, CIO of ResultFlow, shared with Search Engine Land.

Screenshot: Dan Thies.

What does it mean? At this point, we can’t say if this is a bug, a test or a change that will be rolling out more broadly. I haven’t been able to replicate it in any accounts. We have reached out to Google for more information and will update when we learn more.

Why we care. While reiterating that we don’t know if this is an actual change or not yet, it still points to a shift that’s likely to come sooner or later. RSAs represent where Google is moving with machine learning and predictive marketing. With RSAs, ML is used to predict which combinations of titles and descriptions will resonate best with a searcher based on historical data and various signals available at the time of the auction. 

ETAs/text ads aren’t going away right now, but you can bet your Google Ads COVID credits that Google is itching to put them in the backseat.

We’ll keep you posted on what this particular scenario turns out to be.


About The Author

Ginny Marvin is Third Door Media’s Editor-in-Chief, running the day to day editorial operations across all publications and overseeing paid media coverage. Ginny Marvin writes about paid digital advertising and analytics news and trends for Search Engine Land, Marketing Land and MarTech Today. With more than 15 years of marketing experience, Ginny has held both in-house and agency management positions. She can be found on Twitter as @ginnymarvin.

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