It just got harder to create expanded ads

Google are on a mission to make us use their responsive text ads as default. They are now going as far as taking away the option when you try to create an ad within the Google Ads interface.

This is how it was, and still is in some accounts:

And here’s what you’ll see now:

The push to use responsive ads has been a major pain point for a long time.

Google reps will even offer to create the ads for you if you refuse.

If you don’t know how responsive search ads work you basically provide a bunch of headlines and descriptions and then Google randomly shows them in different combinations to find the best in terms of CTR. 

Issue!? CTR doesn’t mean something is successful for you as a business. It means that more people are clicking on the ads, but that could be because the ad combination is leaving out some crucial information that will ultimately put someone off buying from you. It’s better to make this clear in the ad and not spend money on that click.

The other issue?! Compliance… Most of my larger clients have strict compliance criteria, and I can’t just go writing whatever I want, so I also can’t just let Google write what it wants.

Every combination would have to be approved with compliance and make sense. Never going to be worthwhile. 

What can you do?

Adwords Editor – for now at least there is no change in Editor when creating expanded text ads. This is the best place to create them anyway.

Turn off automation options. It looks like the accounts where I have gone through the painful task of opting out of all automations still have the text ad option in the platform. But this could also be clients who have higher spends. Not sure yet.

Use Pins – You can tell Google to put a specific responsive ad headline or description in a certain order only. If you use this correctly you are essentially creating a normal expanded ad.