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What Are Responsive Search Ads?

What Are Responsive Search Ads?

Fellow PPC specialists, they are finally here (drum roll, please…) Responsive Search Ads! Yes, we know you’re excited. But most importantly, are you ready?

What Are Responsive Search Ads?

Unlike your traditional search ads where you write your headlines and descriptions together to create one static search ad, responsive search ads allow you to write up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions for a single responsive search ad. Google Ads will then automatically test different combinations of headlines and descriptions and learn which combination performs best.

Why Test Them?

Regular expanded text ads aren’t going anywhere, but you should test responsive search ads because Google’s giving responsive search ads more character real estate than expanded text ads. Compared to your regular expanded text ad, you have an extra headline, description, and 10 more characters in each description text.

Where To Start?

Test only one responsive search ad per ad group. Since Google is automatically testing the different elements of your responsive search ads against each other, having more than one responsive search ad per ad group will slow down Google’s machine learning and work against you.

The Good:

  • Optimization through machine learning, which essentially means no more A/B testing. RSAs offer advertisers a time saving way to dynamically test ad copy without writing millions of ads.
  • Show up in relevant searches – your ads will have more opportunities to compete in more auctions, which will help your message reach more customers.

The Not So Good:

While RSAs reduce the time involved with the creation and management of ads, it is crucially important for marketers to be extremely strategic and creative in their ad copy. Google does the mix and match for you, but you need to make sure each element within your RSA has its own cohesive message. For best performance, use your creativity and highlight something different in each headline & description.  Avoid repetition as much as possible. Google will not show your RSA if your headlines & descriptions are too similar to each other.

Some PPC strategists are nervous about RSAs since Google’s machine learning chooses the headlines & descriptions that will be served. However, you can pin headlines & descriptions to have control over their specific position in your RSA.

For more information on how responsive search ads can help your business, contact our team of Paid Media professionals.




Image credits:


Tamara Reyes
Tamara (or better known as Tammy) is a Paid Search Specialist at Forthea. When Tammy isn’t planning, optimizing, implementing, and analyzing PPC campaigns you can find her running at 5am or splurging on the occasional snack size M&M McFlurry with fudge (on the side). Tammy’s dream is to write a children’s book in Spanish (her native language) and be the voice of a famous cartoon character.


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