Search Updates: September '21

Search Updates: September '21
Photo by Firmbee.com / Unsplash

Google is Dropping Expanded Text Ads for Responsive Search Ads

Google announced that as of June 30, 2022, responsive search ads (RSAs) will be the only Search ad type that can be created or edited in standard Search campaigns.

With 15% of search queries per day being new, automation is the key to keeping pace with these trends. Google’s solution, RSAs, helps us compete in a wider variety of relevant auctions and drive incremental conversions with fewer ads.

The main issue advertisers have with RSAs is giving Google too much control however automation is getting better and we still have some control over ad copy. Advertisers need to accept this change, adapt to using RSAs over ETAs, and await for Google Ads to introduce some new features to help with reporting and other concerns.

Existing expanded text ads (ETAs) will continue to run and we’ll be able to report on their performance, but we’ll only be able to pause, resume, or remove them. You won’t be able to edit them or create new ones.

Search & Destroy has tested RSAs for a while now and they’ve had a 5-10% higher CTR compared to ETAs. We are now using RSAs as our default format so this change will not impact any of our accounts.

Google to Begin Sharing More Search Term Data with Advertisers

Google announced that it will begin sharing more search term data with advertisers. This move comes one year after their original decision to begin hiding search term data with insignificant data that was met with pushback from advertisers.

Google has noted that it has been working toward solutions to help maintain privacy while still sharing data back to advertisers. While advertisers still won’t receive all search term data, Google is working to increase visibility into search term data.

As part of a focus on improving privacy, Google has decided to remove search term data pre-dating September 1, 2020, when the initial privacy restrictions were rolled out to govern search term reporting if it does not meet the current thresholds for search term data.

Search term data from prior to September 1, 2020, will be available until February 1, 2022; any data from prior to September 1, 2020, that does not meet the current thresholds will be removed at that time.

With this latest update, Google estimates that advertisers could see 6.5x more search term data, on average. This data includes historical data for search queries that received impressions but no clicks in the search terms report. A year ago historical data for search queries that received impressions but no clicks were removed from the search terms report and was met with great pushback from advertisers. Search term data will be retroactively populated back to February 1, 2021, for applicable search terms.

Search & Destroy has downloaded data from prior to September 1, 2020. This way we always have a record of that data. Additionally, we’ve combed through our search term data from February 1, 2021, until now that we may not have had access to and added keywords and negatives to our campaigns accordingly.

A Look at Current Google Search and Digital Video Behaviors

Although global concern for COVID-19 is down year over year, most people still anticipate a long road to economic recovery and continue to look for safe ways to gather and shop. They are also deciding which activities they’ll return to in-person and which they will continue to do from home.

People are planning for Halloween earlier than ever, already searching for costume ideas and doing maps searches for pumpkin patches. According to Retail Wire, 86% of American adults aged 35–44 and 66% aged 18–34 are as or more excited about Halloween this year than in previous years. Also, demand for in-person experiences like best all-inclusive resorts continues to grow versus last year, as do searches for online conveniences like order food delivery. People are still investing in their homes, with walk-in shower ideas, wood sofa set designs pictures, and budget small bathroom ideas search queries on the rise. Demand for services search queries is on the rise, too, as people outsource tasks they took on while at home, like house cleaning services near me, laundry service near me, and handyman near me.

Consumption of digital video continues to rise to pandemic-peak levels and YouTube is a top social destination for news around the globe. According to eMarketer, among US adults who use apps on smartphones, YouTube is the most popular mobile app, with 72% using the digital video platform on these devices. Also, 80% of US consumers report spending as much or more time watching TV as they did at the height of the pandemic. This includes anything viewed on a TV screen, not just traditional TV.

Search & Destroy will continue to advocate YouTube as an efficient channel to drive reach and awareness. These statistics further support our recommendation to invest in YouTube as more people continue to consume media via YouTube.