With responsive search ads, Google offers an effective way to display text-based ads in search results. These adapt to the end devices of the target group and enable 15 different headings, four descriptions, and additional specifications for automated combinations. Using seven practical tips, we explain the advantages of responsive search ads with Google Ads
What Are Responsive Search Ads?
Google Ads is developing more and more in the direction of automation and self-learning systems. Marketing experts are certain that this change will bring better performance and more reach to advertising and marketing campaigns. If you look at the advantages of the Google Responsive Ads (RSA) introduced in 2018, you can only agree. Bit by bit they replaced the standard text ads and expanded ads. Since 2021, only responsive search ads can be created and edited in the Google Ads Ads Interface. Their importance for placing search ads is therefore constantly increasing.
Compared to Expanded Text Ads, you can create significantly more headlines and descriptions for ads in a Google Ads account. In RSAs, 3 to 15 ad headlines (max. 30 characters each) and 2 to 4 ad descriptions (max. 90 characters each) are available for each ad. The ad modules consisting of a headline and description are called assets. Google uses these to freely combine them and use artificial intelligence and machine learning to display the most effective possible combinations in search results.
What Is The Difference Between Responsive Search Ads And Classic Ads?
Compared to RSAs, Standard Text Ads and Expanded Text Ads offered relatively limited flexibility in displaying the ads. With these, the algorithm didn’t depend as much, but Google didn’t “learn” which combination of assets had the greatest effect. The biggest innovation in RSAs is therefore in the word “responsive”. Responsive ads are responsive, i.e. receptive to the requirements of the respective end device. The main difference lies in the automated, intelligent, and self-learning display of the ads.
Based on collected data on user interaction, Google first randomly combines your assets. As soon as there is enough interaction data for the algorithm, Google switches statistically more successful asset combinations all the more frequently. In addition, the AI adapts the display, size, and format to the advertising space and the respective end device. Advertisements can therefore appear small and large. Instead of rigid, static ads, Google uses artificial intelligence to combine the best ads for display marketing from your asset pool. This not only increases your reach but also conversions through a better click rate (CTR).
How To Create Google Ads As Responsive Search Ads?
Unlike “classic” ads, you’re not creating an ad that appears consistently and unchanged in search results. Instead, you use 15 possible ad titles and four possible descriptions to create a pool from which Google creates effective, paid search ads. Combinations of three of the 15 headline modules and two of the maximum of four descriptions appear in advertisements that are played out.
You also have the option to freeze important assets. In this way, you can give advertisements a uniform look, even in different combinations, and shape your corporate identity. For example, if you want an important keyword to come first or the company name to come last, use the “pin” function when creating the ads. This fixes the asset in the desired position 1, 2, or 3. Since the algorithm requires many combinations for the learning process, Google advises against pinning. Still, this option is a way to emphasize the company name, brand messaging, or USPs in any combination.
Create Responsive Search Ads In Google Ads
Since RSAs will completely replace enhanced search ads from June 30, 2022, you can only create responsive search ads in your Google Ads account (as of 08/2022).
To create an ad, proceed as follows:
Step 1: From the Google Ads account, go to “Ads & Extensions” on the left menu.
Step 2: Tap on the plus icon and select “Responsive search ad”.
Step 3: Now create the URL and path text of the ad.
Step 4: Enter the assets consisting of at least three and a maximum of 15 headlines and at least two and a maximum of four descriptions. Use the “Pin” icon to specify whether an asset should always be in a certain position. On the right, you see a preview window with a random combination of the assets.
Step 5: Now click on “Save”.
Edit Responsive Search Ads
If you would like to edit an ad later because individual assets are not showing the desired performance, proceed as follows:
Step 1: Select “Ads & Extensions” and then go to “Filter”.
Step 2: In the following menu go to “Attributes” and “Ad Type”.
Step 3: Check the box next to “Responsive search ad”.
Step 4: Navigate to the desired ad, go to the pencil icon and click “Edit”.
Step 5: Make the changes and click “Save”.
Responsive Search Ad Performance Reports
For performance analysis, Google offers performance reports with measured values for ads and ad assets in the form of statistical tables. To view and download these, go to Ads & Extensions > Filters > Attributes > Ad Type. Check the “Responsive search ad” box, click “Apply” and click the download icon. Now choose whether you prefer a PDF or CSV file.
You also have the option of receiving the report by email or opening it in the editor. For regular ads, it’s a good idea to set up a continuous reporting schedule in Google Ads. Performance measurements help you identify which asset is performing best and which should be edited or deleted.
All Advantages And Disadvantages At A Glance
7 Best Practices For Responsive Search Ads
As an AdTech, Google’s responsive search ads offer a balance between intelligent automation and manual brand building. Our best practices guide how to properly use responsive search ads.
Use Maximum Assets
For each RSA, Google gives you the option to add a maximum of 15 titles and up to four descriptions. We recommend exhausting the maximum number of assets. This is the material from which the algorithm combines the best versions. The more the better.
Create Ads Effectively
When you create titles and descriptions, remember that they are building blocks. These should match in different combinations because Google will combine them relatively randomly. Avoid repetition and similar content to prevent redundant content in ads. Building blocks like “Order online now” do not require a second asset like “Buy online here!”. Also, formulate titles of different lengths. This ensures that Google can use longer material for desktop and shorter wording for mobile. This is important for Mobile SEO.
Pin Important Assets
With the “Pin” option, important assets such as campaign keywords, brands, or company names can be fixed in a fixed position. With pinning, you ensure that Google always displays pinned assets in any combination in the selected position. For example, you can always place the company name in position 3 and the main keyword in the sense of search engine optimization in position .
Place Important Content In Assets
15 titles and four descriptions – that takes time but is ultimately worth the effort to improve ad performance. You will automatically develop a routine and an understanding of the most important content to place in assets. Google provides important information on this in its guide “Creating effective, responsive search ads”. The content should also be distributed as well as possible so that there are no redundancies and duplications.
Important content includes:
- Always formulate at least eight to ten titles and two descriptions
- Place high-performing keywords in titles and descriptions, but not all
- Describe services or products using strong descriptions, attributes, adjectives, or predicates
- Emphasize unique selling propositions of the company or product through Unique Selling Propositions (USPs).
- Integrate concrete, content-related CTAs (call-to-actions).
- Information on prices, payment methods, offers, and USPs of the content
- Emphasize the benefits for users
Optimize Responsive Search Ads
When it comes to ad effectiveness, Google recommends keeping only assets rated “Good” or “Very Good” whenever possible. Therefore, pay attention to the metrics and ad effectiveness that Google uses to rank your assets. With sound and excellent investments, performance can be demonstrably increased.
Strategies For Google Ads Responsive Search Ads
Using RSAs is always a matter of patience because the effectiveness of your ad also depends on the strategy. Strategies need time, a goal, and methods of how you want to reach the goal. Consider the following possible ad strategies that will optimize your RSAs.
Combine Responsive Search Ads, Relevant Keywords, And Smart Bidding
According to Google, it is worth combining RSAs with Smart Bidding. This is an automated placement of bids for the best possible advertising positions. Google also uses modern machine learning for this. Based on your business goals, your campaign budget, and the advertising context, Smart Bidding analyzes signals and values to bid for suitable advertising positions and formats in milliseconds.
This is usually done on advertising exchanges and platforms like Ad Exchange. With a strategy of RSA and Smart Bidding, you can increase your performance by placing keywords in Responsive Search Ads and automatically bidding for the best advertising positions using Smart Bidding. In this way, you not only ensure that the RSAs are optimally played out, and adapted to the end devices, but also that you have more reach and visibility through the best advertising spaces.
RSAs As A Complement To The Advertising Strategy
Responsive search ads are one piece in a large toolbox of available advertising formats. The success of a campaign or effective brand building also depends on strategies with a variety of approaches. Use RSAs as a supplement to other tools and concepts such as real-time advertising, programmatic advertising, and programmatic buying.
Also, note the difference between display advertising and real-time advertising. If you use Google’s Responsive Display Ads in addition to RSAS, it is advisable to integrate real-time advertising at the same time. This ensures that your strategy is optimized based on performance and that advertising positions reach the target group as effectively as possible in real-time.
Create Multiple RSAs In Parallel
Take advantage of the ability to create multiple RSAs in one ad group. This way you are free to experiment with pinned USPs or CTAs and shift focus in different combinations. For example, pin three or four titles to position 1 to ensure that there is always a combination of product and brand or main keyword and brand at the beginning. Important USPs or purchase requests can also be fixed in fixed positions in some of the assets.
How to brand your RSA. Alternatively, create two or three ads in parallel: one or two ads with the same fixed title, and another ad with no fixed assets. The performance reports show which variant offers better performance. With several RSAs in an ad group, you can also set different priorities in the USPs or keywords. Links to other URLs in the various RSAs are also an option.
Conclusion: Responsive Search Ads As Part Of Successful Advertising Campaigns
While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to success, flexible strategies for effective search engine advertising (SEA) and search engine marketing (SEM) are recommended. The customer journey of end users and target groups now spans a wide range of end devices and platforms. Thanks to the variety of touchpoints, you can reach even more potential customers with flexible advertising strategies. All you need is optimally placed ads. Responsive search ads in combination with other marketing and ad tools display your ads in real-time and are adapted to search intentions and end devices. Used correctly, you can effectively increase your performance, reach, and conversions.