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Good morning, Marketers, and we knew it was coming but that doesn’t mean we like it.

That’s the gist of what I’m seeing from PPC advertisers in response to Google’s announcement that they’re eliminating ETAs in 2022. The tone is a sad acceptance that their jobs might be getting a little harder in a few years:

“RSAs underperform ETAs almost universally in my experience,” said Collin Slattery, Founder Taikun Digital. “RSAs almost always under-perform ETAs, across millions in spend and over a year of testing. It’s not close, either,” agreed Sam Tomlinson of EVP Warschawski.

Is anyone hopeful or optimistic? “Hoping we’ll get cool customization features, assuming we’ll get cool reporting features,” tweeted Tinuiti’s Head of Paid Search Aaron Levy in response. “I don’t mind losing ETAs as much as I wish there was better reporting on the different events of an RSA,” added Menachem Ani, Founder at JXTGroup.

The good (?) news is that advertisers have a decent amount of time to test and prepare. And Google has time to hear the feedback and improve their tools for PPC professionals.

Carolyn Lyden,
Director of Search Content


How to write ad copy that actually converts (plus 3 major mistakes to avoid)

When it comes to creating ads that convert searchers into customers, many advertisers dive into structure, testing, and more, and gloss over one of the most important elements of any campaign: copy. Your ad copy is the very basic building block of your advertising. Getting it right can be the difference between a milquetoast conversion rate and driving huge value for your clients and stakeholders. In her session at SMX Convert, Alyssa Altman did a deep dive into writing ad copy that actually converts including understanding search engines, funnels, intent and more. Here are the high points:

  • Search engines are now answer engines. Your ads have to compete with Google’s own in-SERP features.
  • Funnels are not linear and intent isn’t clear. Awareness and consideration searches happen throughout the funnel. Plus, conversion searches might happen on queries that we may not normally consider “bottom-of-the-funnel” type of searches.
  • Test ad copy for both ambiguous and obvious intent. Testing intent vs. the winning messaging are two very different paths to go down. Clearly identifying what your end goal is will help to drive your upfront testing strategy.

Read Altman’s 3 ad copy mistakes to avoid.

Check out our other SMX coverage:


Is your brand facing an identity crisis?

People shop in stores and on websites that recognize them and welcome them back. They like offers that match their interests and are delighted by great experiences. Sometimes they want to be fully known, at other times, they want their privacy maintained. To make this happen brands must constantly keep track of the known and pseudonymous information about people. This process requires identity. It should be the core of your madtech stack.

Read More »

Search Engines

Decentralized search comes to Android in Europe

Starting yesterday, private, decentralized search engine Presearch will be listed by Google as a default search engine option on all new and factory-reset Android devices across the U.K. and Europe.

One of the latest Google competitors vying for market share, “Presearch is a 2017-founded, pro-privacy blockchain-based startup that’s using cryptocurrency tokens as an incentive to decentralize search — and thereby (it hopes) loosen Google’s grip on what Internet users find and experience,” wrote Natasha Lomas for TechCrunch.

In 2018, the European Commission fined Google 4.24 billion euro for unfairly using Android to solidify its search engine dominance. Google agreed to make changes to its default settings, and earlier this year announced it would increase the number of search providers on its default settings page. It also stopped requiring competing search engines to pay to be included. Presearch is now one of those options, but the only search choice that’s powered by the cryptocurrency market.

Why we care. We’ve covered Google’s troubles with the search choice debate many times before, and a new player on the market probably doesn’t even shake them enough to notice. But Presearch’s advertising model is something completely different than we’re used to. 

Called keyword staking, “Presearch token holders can ‘stake,’ or commit, tokens to specific words and phrases. The advertiser that stakes the most tokens to a term then has their advertisement displayed whenever someone searches for that term. As a result, they receive the traffic when users click on that ad link,” wrote Kyt Dotson for Silicon Angle.

“Keyword Staking is just one more way Presearch is transforming the current online search paradigm. We are using blockchain to align the interests of advertisers and users while pioneering an entirely new compensation model for advertising,” said Colin Pape, founder and chief executive of Presearch.

Read also: The case for advertising on search engines other than Google


Get the most bang for your SEO bucks

Do you want to ensure you’re getting the most bang for your SEO dollars? It all starts with the right plan. If you’re not getting the results you expect from your SEO efforts, it may be time to re-evaluate your strategy. Download this tipsheet from to learn how to maximize your return on investment (ROI) and achieve superior results for you and your company. Find out how to intrigue your target audience and entice them to act.

Learn more »

Search Shorts

Local keyword research, title rewrites, and new Google Ads annotations

How to conquer local keyword research. Even if you’re familiar with keyword research for standard SEO, there are a lot of things specific to local businesses and local SEO that you might not be aware of, but that can take your localized organic performance to new heights. Check out the latest course from Claire Carlile and BrightLocal.

Want to check quickly if Google has rewritten the titles of a list of pages? But don’t have access to paid tools? Jason M at SEOwl made one for you that’s free.

Google Ads is introducing new annotations to highlight fast shipping, easy returns, and new business identity attributes for the holidays. 58% of U.S. holiday shoppers said they will shop online more this season than in previous years and 59% said they will shop earlier to avoid an item being out of stock. Get ahead of the game now with these new Google annotations.


The Search Engine Land Awards entry period closes TOMORROW

Don’t miss your chance to enter the 2021 Search Engine Land Awards… the submission process is faster and easier than ever, but you have to get your application in by tomorrow, Friday, September 3, at 11:59pm PT. Industry-wide praise, social buzz, editorial coverage, new business, bragging rights, speaking opportunities, and a shiny trophy await you. What are you waiting for?

Begin your application »

What We're Reading

Ask the expert – Your top FLoC questions answered

In his highly-rated SMX Advanced session, “FLoC and the future of audiences,” Frederick Vallaeys, Co-Founder & CEO at Optmyzr, dug in to the technology behind Google’s privacy initiatives FLoC, FLEDGE, and TURTLEDOVE. After the sessions, Vallaeys took questions from attendees who wanted to know more about how FLoC will work for B2B advertisers, how Google is testing FLoC cohorts, and how advertisers can have their voices heard by big tech in these privacy initiatives.

What does FLoC mean for B2B advertisers? The problem is that a cohort by nature is less precise than an individual. The unfortunate answer is, no, we’re not going to be able to do some of these things. We’re at this juncture here where I think we still have the old ways and, as imperfect as they may be, how much can we pull out of it and make that third party relationship, the first party relationship, because then we can actually do something meaningful with it.

How does Google test cohorts? Google said, we’re going to put people in these cohort buckets. In one part of the split test, they used third-party cookie data. So where we know you, as an individual, unique, one user who’s done all these things. In the other, we only know every browser is part of exactly one cohort. But then there are many cohorts that Google could say they were targeting. In that test, they saw that there was actually a very close performance in terms of cost per conversion.

How can advertisers have their voices heard in these proposals? Visit Google is involved in all the W3C standards and goes to meetings related to ads. We as advertisers can give feedback in the forums related to that. So, understand what’s happening. Put your point of view in because a lot of the people attending these meetings are big players with big vested interests. So the small people amongst them, the small players, we have to put our voice out there too. And we can’t really do that unless we understand kind of what’s happening.

Want more? Check out the full Q&A here.