What Are Responsive Search Ads?

Responsive search ads are a form of advertising in Google Ads where headlines, descriptions, and layout are automatically selected to complement the user’s context. Google Ads experiments with different combinations to present users with the most relevant content, tailored to their search queries.

Say you’re an Edmonton homebuilder looking to advertise a newly built home. You can input a variety of headlines, like “family-friendly bungalow in Edmonton,” “take a tour of this move-in-ready home,” and “4 bedroom, 3 bath open house.” Google Ads will try different combinations and show potential customers what will resonate with them the most.

How Does Google Ads Generate Responsive Search Ads?

Using Google’s AI technology, responsive search ads analyze the context of the searcher, each search query, and keywords. From there, the system uses real-time signals to assemble various combinations from your set of headlines and descriptions.

With a focus on relevance and expected performance, duplicate or redundant combinations are removed, and the remaining options are scored. The top-scoring combinations then compete for ad space based on quality and relevance.

Responsive search ads utilize a continuously learning AI model. This means that over time, the platform will be able to better understand which assets and combinations are best for each query. This learning process may begin within hours of introducing a new asset, and the effectiveness of this learning is directly proportional to the query volume. The higher the volume, the more impactful the results. This process ultimately helps maximize performance for the advertiser.

How to Create Responsive Search Ads

You provide the assets, and Google creates the ad! Whether you’re ready to create your first responsive search ad or hoping to improve existing ads, here are some best practices.

Provide enough assets.

Offering a range of ad copy gives Google Ads more opportunities to test your ads. As a result, they will be able to discover the most effective combinations that are tailored to your target audience.

How many responsive search ads does Google Ads permit? Typically, they allow a maximum of 3 ads per ad group. This limit enables Google’s algorithms to evaluate different combinations within each group, ensuring peak performance and learning.

You can provide up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions. We recommend you try and satisfy this amount, but if not, at least aim to have 8–10 headlines and 3 descriptions. Each component should be able to stand on its own without context from any others. This is important because it could appear in any position within the ad itself.

Use distinct and varied headlines.

It’s essential to diversify your ad copy to reduce repetition in your ad. Instead of having each headline be a slight variation of another, you want your different options to complement each other effectively.

Not only does this reduce the chances of duplication, but it also improves your chances of matching with various search queries. Here are some tips to ensure your headlines are unique:

  • Focus on a different aspect of your product or service in each headline.
  • Try out different versions of a similar message, using varying lengths.
  • Switch up your call to action to emphasize different outcomes.
  • Consider some of the suggestions Google Ads provides if you are looking for inspiration.

Headlines and descriptions should resonate with the ad group keywords and the content on the landing page. Users are more likely to click on ads that closely align with their search terms. By mirroring the language found in your keywords and landing page, you signal to the user that your ad is directly relevant to their needs. This will improve the ad quality score as well, potentially leading to a lower cost-per-click.

Add a hook.

Your headline is all about catching someone’s attention. The description is where you get them to take the next step and really land your message! Make sure your descriptions have a relevant call to action to guide users to complete the action you want them to. When your intention is clear and you create a sense of urgency, you’re more likely to convert users.

Optimize Responsive Search Ads

Given the variety of assets you can provide, Google Ads can create a lot of different combinations. And, of course, not all of these combinations will be optimal. Because of Google Ads’ machine learning algorithm and its automatic learning process, it can be tricky for advertisers to gain insights into their responsive search ads. But not to worry, there are still opportunities for optimization when it comes to identifying and enhancing headlines and descriptions that may be underperforming.

Use the Google Ads ad strength indicator.

Google Ad’s ad strength feature gives feedback on how your ad is performing based on rating, categories, and action item ticker. Incorporating these recommendations can show you how to further optimize your ad.

Some examples of prompts that will help you make informed decisions about your ad include suggestions like:

  • Add more headlines.
  • Include popular keywords.
  • Make your headlines more unique.
  • Make your descriptions more unique.

In terms of rating, to improve your ad strength, try to achieve a score of “good” or, ideally, “excellent.”

Pin headlines.

Pinning relevant headlines and descriptions helps ensure that your key messages are being delivered in an intentional way. Without pinning, you give Google complete freedom to use any combination they want.

On the flip side, pinning in excess can have the reverse effect. When you inhibit Google’s machine learning abilities, you are at risk of your ads generating limited data.

It’s important to find a fine balance between having control over your ads and giving Google the freedom to experiment and create the best, most impactful combinations. Refer back to the ad strength indicator we previously mentioned. If your ad strength is decreasing, you may be over-pinning.

Utilize reports.

Take advantage of the available reports to learn how ad combinations are resonating with your audience. Ad-level asset details will show you the performance of each headline and description. Cross-campaign asset reports will show you how assets are used in different ads and their performance ratings.

Combination reports give you information on the combinations of assets. You’ll see what combinations, phrasing, and keywords tend to get the most impressions. These insights will help you identify any patterns in what headlines and descriptions work best together. You can use these learnings to adjust assets that may not be performing as well to hit the best rating you can.

Responsive search ads are a great way to improve the quality of your leads and increase your conversions. In a world where AI is becoming increasingly prevalent, this is a great way to use it to your advantage.

There are many dimensions to responsive search ads, and if you want to ensure you are utilizing them to their full potential, our team is here to help. Bluetrain is a certified Google Partner and has managed millions of ad spend, so you can rely on us to manage your digital strategy. Our advertising specialists can ensure your ad campaigns are operating according to best practices!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *