- Responsive search ads (RSAs) are those that can be customized based on the end user’s search query with multiple headlines and descriptions.
- Google’s machine learning algorithm can analyze a maximum of 43,680 ad variations to increase engagement and click-through rate. This process can take time, so it’s important for businesses not to pull their ads early if the results are sub-optimal.
- To maximize the benefits of responsive search ads over standard search ads, businesses should use their full allocation of permutations, use the pin functionality wisely, and use one ad per ad group.
Responsive search ads (RSAs) are those that can be customized based on the end user’s search query with multiple headlines and descriptions.
Understanding responsive search ads
Individuals and businesses can use responsive search ads to promote their products and services on the Google Network.
Introduced in 2018, some of the primary features of responsive search ads include:
- The ability to define two or more descriptions and three or more headlines that are automatically tested to determine which combination works best.
- Customized URLs which can be appended to the end of a landing page address, and
- The ability to pin desirable headlines or descriptions such that they always appear in the advertisement.
Starting June 30, 2022, responsive search ads became the only search ad type that could be created or edited in a search campaign.
Although this move was announced with plenty of warning, it nonetheless marked a significant shift in the way PPC marketers needed to approach their advertising efforts.
Indeed, while the prior system of expanded text ads had its shortfalls, it was also reliable, comfortable, and offered businesses more control over what ads were shown and at what time.
How do responsive search ads work?
Advertisers can select up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions for a single search ad which translates to a maximum of 43,680 ad permutations.
These are then processed by Google’s machine learning algorithm to increase engagement and click-through rate.
Ad performance may be sub-optimal to start with as the algorithm learns the most effective headline-description combinations.
Over time, however, it serves optimized ads based on a user’s search behavior, device preferences, and various other signals.
As a result, businesses must resist the urge to pull under-performing ads before the algorithm has had a chance to determine what works best.
It’s also worth noting that the technology is not a panacea that will deliver guaranteed results.
These algorithms can only use the information a business has provided them with so it’s important that the best converting words and phrases are identified ahead of time.
Responsive search ad best practices
Here are some of the ways a business can maximize its ROI from the new system:
Don’t settle for the bare minimum
While ads must have a minimum of three headlines and two descriptions, it would be foolish not to utilize the system to its maximum capacity and test thousands of ad permutations.
Use the pin functionality wisely
If there is information that absolutely must be shown in an ad like a brand message or disclaimer, it can be pinned to the headline or description.
However, excessive pinning can limit the effectiveness of the machine learning algorithm.
When two headlines are pinned, for example, the number of possible permutations is reduced by 99.5%.
Consider ad groups
Since Google already tests various versions of the responsive search ad, there is no need for the business to include multiple ads in the same ad group.
Multiple ads has the reverse effect of slowing down the optimization process.
- Responsive Search Ads Overview: RSAs are customizable ads that adapt to users’ search queries using multiple headlines and descriptions. They were introduced by Google in 2018 and are designed to enhance ad performance through automated testing.
- Features of RSAs:
- RSAs allow advertisers to define multiple headlines and descriptions that are automatically tested for optimal combinations.
- Customized URLs can be added to landing page addresses.
- Headlines and descriptions can be pinned to ensure specific content always appears in the ad.
- Transition to RSAs: Starting June 30, 2022, RSAs became the only type of search ad that could be created or edited in a search campaign. This shift impacted how PPC marketers approached their advertising efforts, as the previous expanded text ad system offered more control.
- How RSAs Work:
- Advertisers can provide up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions, resulting in a multitude of ad permutations.
- Google’s machine learning algorithm processes these combinations to improve engagement and click-through rates.
- Initial ad performance might be sub-optimal as the algorithm learns effective combinations.
- Over time, optimized ads are displayed based on user behavior and preferences.
- Best Practices for RSAs:
- Utilize Maximum Capacity: Although a minimum of three headlines and two descriptions are required, it’s recommended to use the full capacity for testing thousands of permutations.
- Use Pin Functionality Wisely: Essential information can be pinned, but excessive pinning can limit the effectiveness of the algorithm.
- Consider Ad Groups: RSAs reduce the need for multiple ads within the same group, as Google’s testing already covers variations.
- Benefits and Challenges:
- RSAs have shown to achieve 5-15% higher click-through rates compared to standard search ads.
- The algorithm analyzes a significant number of ad variations (up to 43,680) to optimize engagement.
- It’s crucial not to prematurely pause underperforming ads, as the algorithm needs time to learn and improve results.
- Key Takeaways:
- RSAs offer dynamic ad customization through multiple headlines and descriptions.
- Google’s machine learning optimizes ad performance over time.
- Advertisers should use the full range of available permutations, strategically pin content, and consider ad groups for efficient optimization.