Google Ad Grant Responsive Search Ads Update

Digital AdvertisingGoogle Ad Grant

If your organization has been benefiting from the $10k/month of in-kind search advertising that Google offers eligible nonprofits, then you know how impactful this resource can be for nonprofits. You also probably know that Google Ads loves to change the rules and make updates to the platform.

The most recent update to Google Ads (including the Google Ad Grant) comes in the form of transitioning from expanded text ads to responsive search ads. Starting June 30, 2022, advertisers will no longer be able to create new expanded text ads or edit existing ones. 

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What’s changing?

Currently, advertisers can create expanded text ads in Google Ads. With expanded text ads, advertisers write up to 3 ad headlines and up to 2 ad descriptions. When an expanded text ad is served to a user, it is displayed exactly as the advertiser wrote it.

Beginning June 30, 2022, advertisers will no longer be able to create or edit expanded text ads. Instead, advertisers will need to create Google’s new default search ad – a responsive search ad.

This change is accompanied by an update to Google’s Ad Grant policy. Ad groups with at least 1 active responsive search ad will be exempt from the “2 ads per ad group” policy.

What is a responsive search ad? 

Responsive search ads are more dynamic than the previous versions. Advertisers input multiple headlines (up to 15) and multiple descriptions (up to 4). Google then automatically tests different combinations of headlines and descriptions to find the variation that is most relevant to a user’s search terms.

How will this affect my Google Ad Grant campaign performance?

We’ve seen that responsive search ads lead to higher CTRs and higher engagement from users generally. Instead of advertisers having to craft multiple variations of ads to determine which combination is most effective, Google is automating that process and tailoring the ad each time it serves to a user. While less control (understandably) can be uncomfortable for some nonprofit advertisers, we are hopeful that this will lead to better campaign performance in Ad Grant accounts.

The other benefit to nonprofits is that this reduces ads management time for advertisers. By automating a lot of the ad copy testing process, Google minimizes the need for advertisers to write dozens of variations of ads. This means your nonprofit can get better learnings and better results for fewer hands-on management hours. 

How should nonprofits with the Google Ad Grant prepare for the switch to responsive search ads?

  1. Create at least 1 responsive search ad in each active ad group. Expanded text ads will be permitted to continue running beyond June 2022, but advertisers will not be able to edit them.
  2. Leave high-performing expanded text ads running for as long as they are serving your campaign goals (or as long as Google allows). 

Explore more of our resources on how to leverage the Google Ad Grant for nonprofits