Responsive Search Ads 101: Get the Most Out of Your SEM

By | September 24, 2018 | General Marketing Insights

Google continually updates its algorithms and products, creating more efficient ways to connect browsers with the content they seek. Not only did Google recently rebrand AdWords as Google Ads, but it has also introduced Responsive Search Ads (RSAs).

What are Responsive Search Ads?

This is the most basic answer: They’re ads that Google optimizes via machine learning.

With RSAs, advertisers upload 3-15 headlines and 2-4 description lines for a total of up to 43,680 different ad combinations. Google then generates the ideal match for the campaign goal alignment.

To further incentivize the update, advertisers will get to show an extra headline and description line in their text ad, as well as an additional 10 characters per description line.

Why Did Google Create Responsive Search Ads?

It’s more critical than ever for you to partner with a great SEO company because it will become more difficult to organically drive clicks.

Paid search ads will gobble up more real estate on the results pages. The clicks in results pages should shift from organic listings (SEO), which will make this space more competitive among marketers.

This means Google created RSAs for two reasons:

  • They’re rewarding advertisers with more prominence in SERPs.
  • They’re rewarding themselves with a lot more money.

If you remember expanded text ads, this update is just like that.

Let’s Dive a Little Deeper in Responsive Search Ads

You know that now there is more text for the ads:

  • Upload up to 5 headlines
  • Up to 4 description lines

Image of the backend of Google for responsive search ads

Google Ads will test all of those lines to determine the combinations, including at least two headlines and two description lines, that are most effective. It selects the winners and serves them at greater frequency because the clickthrough and conversion rates are better.

As Google delivers better ads, the space becomes more competitive — and they make more money as bids go up.

You can also pin one of the headlines. Let’s say that it’s Labor Day, and you want to show a specific Labor Day headline. It’s possible to pin that headline for X number of days, whether it’s offer-related or event-related.

Here are some other insights from Google:

Insights about responsive search ads from Google

What We’re Doing With Responsive Search Ads

We’re in a testing phase. Our team is sweeping all of the ad copy to see what’s working best, then creating variations of the headlines and description lines that are working and scrapping the ones that don’t.

Keep in mind that Google’s RSAs are still in Beta. We’re confident that these will become a regular and abundant feature. It’s important to not rush to conclusions and, instead, be meticulous in how to strategically implement them.

Google will also roll out reporting to give marketers more insights into the combinations and their effectiveness.

Our team will continue sharing our insights about RSAs, as well as make content updates to keep our clients and prospects up-to-date. If you want tips on managing your SEM, we have more content for you to check out.

If you’d like to receive more insights like this, please subscribe to our monthly newsletter from the blog index page.

This content was written in collaboration with Paid Search Specialist Mike Ayer.