Responsive Search Ads are on the Horizon!

December 3, 2021
Posted in Paid Search
December 3, 2021 Jen Lopez

Responsive Search Ads are on the Horizon!

Have you heard the news?

In June of 2022, Google will sunset our good ole’ Expanded Text Ads (ETAs) format. While they will continue to serve if advertisers still have them in their PPC account, Google Ads is strongly encouraging advertisers to adopt Responsive Search Ads (RSAs) before the big change. At the very least, this gets some good data under your belt before the update goes through.

Of course, this begs the question: What are Responsive Search Ads?

For some advertisers and clients with a creative team, they can be a little tricky to understand because their format isn’t very straight forward. Essentially, they are data-driven, text-only ads that adapt over time to serve “winning combinations” on the Google search engine results page (SERP). They let Google Ads advertisers create a text ad with multiple headlines and descriptions, some of which can be pinned, and Google will test different combinations of the ad text together, showcasing different stats for all of the variations.

As for the format, you can provide up to 15 headlines and 4 description lines for a single Responsive Search Ad, and Google will serve up to 3 headlines and 2 description lines with each variation. With enough data over time, Google Ads can learn which combinations are best for different queries within a single ad group.

While the best practice now is to have at least one Responsive Search Ad per adgroup, with Expanded Text Ads fading out, we recommend at least 2 per adgroup moving forward should you have enough approved ad copy to work with.

As for our quick tips and tricks? Keep in mind the following:

  • Headlines and descriptions can appear in any order, so don’t try to split a sentence from one description line to the next, as they likely will show out of order.
  • Similar to above, keep each headline and description line a complete thought and make sure the text is duplicative. For example, you wouldn’t want a headline about “Free Shipping on Orders Over $50” and then “Orders Over $50 Ship Free,” as both of these may be eligible to show at the same time. Tests like that should be applied to different Responsive Search Ads, not within the same one.
  • If you already have data on top performing headlines, try pinning at least one of those so that it stays in all versions of the Responsive Search Ad served. This is a great way to get some initial success as the rest of the ad format is tested by Google.
  • As with all ad formats, try to include at least one of your keywords in your headlines. Google Ads may also showcase some recommended headlines and description lines in the ad builder which you can use as a guide.
  • Think of the most appealing headlines – you can focus on features, benefits, reasons to believe, the problem you are solving, calls to action, and/or an evergreen promotion like Free Shipping.
  • Don’t get overzealous with the idea of “pinning” headlines and description lines – or you won’t let Google Ads do its job. If you have pinned headlines and descriptions in all the available positions, the additional headlines and descriptions you’ve created won’t be tested.

Are you already testing Responsive Search Ads in your Google Ads account? If so, drop us a note on how they’ve done for you so far. And of course, our team is always able to help with any questions you may have on Google Ads or any of their available ad formats.

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