What Are Responsive Search Ads and How to Write Your Winning RSA Copies?

Responsive Search Ads

With the planned sunset of Google’s Expanded Text Ads format on June 30, 2022, Responsive Search Ads (RSA) are now the default text ad format for Google Ads Search Network Campaigns.

What are Responsive Search Ads?

The name Responsive Search Ads comes from the fact that such ads adjust to the screen size of different devices. They are flexible ads that adapt to users’ device widths, hence taking the pains of creating multiple device-specific ads.

At the same time, Responsive Search Ads offers you more room to share your advertising message with your potential customers.

How do Responsive Search Ads work?

You have the option to choose up to 15 Headlines and 4 Descriptions for your responsive search ad. Note that your actual text ad that shows to the users on Google may have a maximum of 3 headlines and 2 descriptions only.

Now, imagine the potential of testing different combinations for your ads!

A single Responsive Search Ad can make a total of 43,680 different permutations of the given headlines and descriptions.

Google’s automation capabilities powered by Machine Learning algorithms and Artificial Intelligence automatically test different combinations and learn which combinations perform best for your campaign goals. Based on its learnings, the Google Ads system adapts your ads to match users’ search queries and their intents more closely.

As a result, you get better results for your advertising spends.

It was definitely not possible so precisely in the Expanded Text Ads (ETAs). RSAs make search advertising more fun and exciting, don’t they?

How to use Responsive Search Ads?

Benefits of responsive search ads?

  • Creates different versions of your existing text ads for different devices.
  • Offers more options for you to give a clear and complete picture of your products and services. In simple terms, you get to have more real estate on the search results page.
  • The opportunity of utilizing the power of Google’s Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence algorithms. Automatically test, learn, and find the best combination of headlines and descriptions for your ads.
  • Your ads become eligible to participate in more auctions, it means better reach and performance for your ads.
  • By rotating effective responsive search ads, Google Ads keeps your advertising fresh and new to potential customers with each click.

Pinning Headlines and Descriptions

One of the primary concerns of people using Responsive Search Ads for the first time is that such ads offer lesser control. Which headline to show first? As Google might pick the random one, ads might lose the appeal and relevance to the primary offering.

It was always in control in the previous versions of search ads. But, there’s nothing to worry about, it is very well addressed in RSAs as well by the option of Pining.

You can pin your RSA assets – headlines and descriptions – at the position you want. For instance, if you want a particular Headline or Description to show always first in the order, you can do it by pinning. It’s a handy feature that gives you control.

However, it’s important to note that as you pin more assets, your responsive search ads lose the power of automation. Pinning limits the permutation that can be created of the given headlines and descriptions.

So yes, use it but with care.

Reporting on Responsive Search Ads

Not sure which combination was served the most or which served the least? There’s a report available for the same.

While you are at the Ads tab, click the “View Assets Details” option to see statistics for ads’ performance.

You can check reports on individual Headlines and Descriptions. Click Combinations report for checking how different combinations of your ad assets have served.

It would be great if Google allows more options for the combination reporting. For instance, CTR, Conversion, and at least Ad position related metrics. Fingers crossed! It should be available in the near future.

Pro Tips on Writing Effective Responsive Search Ads

It’s very easy to set up responsive search ads and for that reason only, you are bound to make mistakes for the first time. Here are some of the pro tips on writing effective RSAs:

  • Key Headlines – Have headlines that talk of different aspects. While some of them should be talking about the key offering or the context of your ads, another set can be talking about the benefits and others about the next steps.
  • Capture Attention – Write headlines that capture your potential customer’s attention, then provide additional detail about the product or idea in subsequent headlines.
  • Use Unique Descriptions – It’s important to use clear and concise descriptions that can be understood at the first glance. Do not write ambiguous or difficult words, it only confuses readers.
  • Keywords – Have your keywords in the right places, that’s important, but don’t have just the chunk of keywords and nothing else. Try to address the intent of readers, that’s the key.
  • Pining – Pining is an option available both for headlines and descriptions, but use it with caution. The more pinning you use, the lesser the impact of AI. It simply limits the possible combinations that can be made from your ad assets.
  • Test Headlines – Although dynamic placement allows you to create responsive search ads quickly, it’s important to test different combinations of headlines and descriptions to find out which work best for your business goals (e.g., clicks, conversions).
  • Be mindful of uniqueness – Do not write redundant phrases. They would appear ugly when shown together in your actual ad copies.
  • Look at the Ad Score – While you write, keep an eye on the Ad Score that shows in a circle above the preview. It will guide you on how efficient your ads are going to be. Make sure you score Excellent there, or at least good.
  • Dynamic Customization – Use Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) and Ad Customizers if you find them fit and you have multiple ads to maintain.
  • Avoid Redundancy – Do not write the same thing in different words. For instance: ‘Contact us today’, ‘get in touch today’ etc. If you would like to test different versions of the same headlines or description, write a different ad and use the second version of your phrases.
  • Make Use of All Options – Try to use all the available headlines and descriptions, but if you feel you can’t for any reason, write at least 10 headlines and 3 descriptions. Do not be repetitive or write just anything to fill in the fields. Write complete phrases and sentences. They should make complete sense.
  • Short Is Sweet Too – Do not go after using all the available character limits in all the fields. If you feel what you wanted to say is complete in the lesser characters, let it be. Do not feel compelled to use all the limits. Remember, it’s responsive. A combination of different lengths does well to it.

To sum up I would like to say that Responsive Search Ads is the best thing that has happened to Google Ads in a long time. Using it efficiently can improve your search campaigns’ performance noticeably. At the same time, a poorly done RSA would only impact performance adversely.

If you write RSA using the tips shared above, you would be able to make the most from it. Still, have questions? Feel free to post that in the comment section. I will be happy to take them for you.

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A full-stack Digital Marketing Strategist with over a decade of experience, Ratan Jha has helped brands of every size scale up to the next levels.

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