Click Through Reads #32: RSAs vs ETAs

Johanna Gumbrill
December 17, 2020

Well helloooo Click-Through-Readers! Here we are in the middle of the holiday festivities and it’s time for our final post of the year! There are some important things to review prior to heading off into celebration land and some much needed PTO. The first is a summary of a recent SMX panel debate around RSAs vs ETAs. The next is Google rolling out an update that allows app campaigns to re-engage existing users. The third is a detailed outline of some major Bing updates including seasonal in-market segments, SOV for audience network, and custom columns. Finally we review the details as Facebook prepares for Apple’s app tracking transparency (ATT) prompt in 2021. Get your peppermint mocha ready for the final Click-Through-Read of 2020!

RSAs vs ETAs panel discussion

At a recent SMX Session, utilization of RSAs and ETAs was debated and discussed by some high profile search professionals.

  • One of the pros on the panel analyzed 5,606 Google Ads accounts at his company. 75% of accounts had active RSAs, and once implemented less than half a percent deleted them from their account entirely. So it can be concluded that RSAs are valuable and work well.

  • It was found that on average RSAs outperformed ETAs on average in most Google Ads KPIs: CTR, CVR, Cost/Conversion and CPC. However there was no data in the study to determine if they represented high LTV leads.

  • More relevant RSAs work better. Optimizing ads to be close to keyword queries perform better than a hastily cut and pasted RSA across ad groups.

  • If you are in an industry where pinning components is necessary that’s fine but in general this practice does not produce better performance.

  • In ad groups that contained both ETAs and RSAs, both format had a near equal winning performance. RSAs just happened to win by a wider margin in the instances that they did win.

  • The debaters called it a tie in the end. Both formats are worth having in most Search ad groups. Combining the skills of machines and our own human instinct will always be a winning strategy.

Google Rolls Out App Campaigns That Re-Engage Existing Users

Google announced that they are rolling out App Campaigns for engagement worldwide. These ads retarget existing users to promote engagement and deeper funnel engagement. 

The ads can feature new offers or content that will entice users who may not have used the app recently to come back or  to perform an action when they have products in their cart. It will also hit users who are likely to perform valuable actions, promote sales, or even get users who installed but haven’t used the app yet to engage further. 

These campaigns can link to data feeds in Merchant Center as well. Similar to other app campaigns, you simply need to  submit ad copy, images, videos, starting bid and a budget. 

Bing Updates: Seasonal In-Market Segments, SOV for Audience Network, Custom Columns and More

In Bing’s December update, they rolled out several new features that equip advertisers with seasonal audiences, increased audience network visibility, and increased reporting functionality. 

Seasonal In-Market Audiences

Microsoft has unveiled its seasonal in-market audience segments, available across search and display in the United States, Canada, Australia and the UK. Audiences include:

  • /Seasonal Shopping/Christmas Shopping

  • /Seasonal Shopping/Christmas Shopping/After-Christmas Sale Shopping

  • /Seasonal Shopping/Christmas Shopping/In-Store Christmas Shopping

  • /Seasonal Shopping/Christmas Shopping/Online Christmas Shopping

UET Data Retention

Bing’s Universal Event Tracking has significantly increased data retention capabilities. As of this month, the tag can now retain data for up to 390 days, up from 180 days. Advertisers will need to update the setting for their membership duration to take advantage of this update.

SOV for Audience Networks

Advertisers will now have visibility into share of voice across their Microsoft Audience Network campaigns for increased understanding of campaign opportunity. Metrics include impression share, impression share lost to budget, and impression share lost to rank. These metrics will enable advertisers to make more informed decisions around bidding and budget.

Custom Columns for Search

Microsoft has rolled out custom columns to allow advertisers to create calculations to better understand their advertising performance. This update will eliminate most scenarios where advertisers have had to use manual calculations to check on campaign performance.

Facebook Prepares for Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) Prompt in 2021

In June 2020, Apple announced they would require all apps in the App Store to provide information of how apps collect and use user’s data, as well as prompt them for permission to track them.

To advertisers, this is a big deal. There’s been a lot of chatter around the importance of user privacy and fair data collection, and Apple’s new prompt means platforms like Facebook will likely suffer. After all, Facebook relies on user data in order to serve them useful ads, not only to improve user experience but also to increase the company’s revenue.

Facebook has been scrambling to figure out how to work around this new prompt, as they are expecting a large part of their user base to opt out of sharing their data.

Here are some steps Facebook recommends taking to prepare for the new transparency prompt:

  1. Verify your domain in Business Manager: This will prevent any possible disruptions to configuring conversion events.

  2. Decide the 8 conversion events you want to prioritize: Facebook will be limiting the maximum number of conversion events (both standard and custom) per domain. The platform recommends businesses that currently have more than 8 to prioritize and determine which actions need to be measured.

  3. Prepare for a shorter attribution window: Facebook previously announced they will not be supporting the 28-day view-through and click-through attribution window and the 7-day view-through attribution window. Advertisers will only be able to see the 7-day click-through conversion window. For those who have a longer conversion window, consider optimizing for smaller events that will lead to the overall conversion goal.

Here are some changes to be aware of:

  1. Facebook will be “replacing the account-level attribution window with a new attribution setting at the ad set level that can be accessed during campaign creation. This attribution setting ensures that the conversions we measure are the same ones used to inform campaign optimization, and will allow for increased flexibility and clarity when analyzing ad performance.”

  2. They will be rolling out Aggregated Event Measurement. This will help support measurement of web events from iOS 14 users who are prompted with the ATT, and “designed to help measure campaign performance in a way that is consistent with consumers’ decisions about their data.”