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November 22, 2022

Responsive Search Ads Best Practices

by Matt Hughes

What Are Responsive Search Ads?

Firstly, let’s explain exactly what Responsive Search Ads are.

Responsive Search Ads, aka RSAs, are a type of text ad used in Google Search campaigns.

RSAs allow you to enter multiple headlines and descriptions, showing more text and relevant messages to your customers. Google then automatically combines different headlines and descriptions to test which ones perform best.

With Expanded Text Ads, you were able to add 3 headlines and 2 descriptions, whereas, with Responsive Search Ads, you can add up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions.

The possibilities of the number of combinations you could have works very well with Google’s automated bidding strategies.

When Are Expanded Text Ads Being Removed?

As we know, from 30th June 2022 you’ll no longer be able to create and edit Expanded Text Ads, however, you’ll still be able to pause, resume or remove them if you need to.

You’ll also still be able to see reports on their performance and they’ll continue to run alongside Responsive Search Ads.

Moving forward, Responsive Search Ads will take priority and you’ll have to find new and creative ways to test and implement these to help improve performance.

Key Best Practices for Responsive Search Ads:

  • The use of all characters isn’t necessary, a shorter headline will also have a greater chance of showing, for example on mobile
  • Include Call-to-actions within your headlines and descriptions
  • Include top-performing keywords in your headlines
  • Experiment and test with pinned and unpinned headlines and descriptions – pinning ensures the headline or description shows in every ad
  • Ensure that your headlines and descriptions read well together
  • Try and focus on the needs and benefits of your customer when writing ad copy
  • Remember, a maximum of 3 Responsive Search Ads per ad group is allowed

Example of a Bad Responsive Search Ad

Example of a Good Responsive Search Ad

Responsive Search Ads Tests

  1. There needs to be at least 3 headlines and 2 descriptions within an RSA, try testing with the minimum as well as using all 15 headlines and 4 descriptions to see which performs best.
  2. When using all headlines and descriptions, test by pinning them in specific positions – be aware that this may reduce opportunities and restrict the RSA so ensure to pin sparingly. Also try pinning different aspects of a headline, for example, a call to action or a USP and review their performance.
  3. Try to test one RSA within each ad group, testing more than one may affect overall performance.
  4. You can also test two RSA’s within an ad group, one pinned and one unpinned to see which performs best.
  5. Pin your best performing keywords to position 1 or 2 and review performance.

To summarise, the tests and best practices will help to get the most out of your RSA’s, be aware that some tests such as pinning may limit performance and optimisation, however, testing is key in finding out what works well for your campaigns.

Written by Matt Hughes
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