Since Google AdWords became Google Ads back in July, we’ve been treated to a host of new features; some good, some bad.
One of the new features being tested during the transition was Responsive Search Ads, which while still in beta, has now rolled out to all ad accounts.
What are Responsive Search Ads?
With the aim of the game to capture as much page real estate as possible, Google first introduced Expanded Text Ads, which provided more characters to play with than the now redundant Search Ads. Now ads are getting even bigger – a recent update allows you to add an additional headline and description to Expanded Text Ads with the description length increasing to 90 characters.
Unlike Expanded Text Ads, which are made up of static headlines and descriptions, Responsive Search Ads allow you to create up to 15 different headlines with 30 characters to play with and up to 90 characters for the descriptions. This ad format is designed to take some of the guesswork out of ad testing with headlines and descriptions being served by Google’s AI to test the best possible combinations for conversions.
What are the benefits of Responsive Search Ads?
Aside from capturing a whole load more real estate and being able to test multiple variants of an ad, you have the scope to be way more creative.
Instead of focusing on writing headlines that contain keywords relevant to your ad group every time, you can now test ad copy containing these keywords vs ad copy which includes related keywords, USPs, brand terms, and different calls to action. Dynamic Keyword Insertion is also supported.
How do I create Responsive Search Ads?
The process of creating a Responsive Search Ad is relatively simple – just click the new ad button and it will appear in the list:
The tricky part is coming up with ad combinations that don’t conflict or repeat; remember, up to three headlines and two descriptions can be shown in different combinations.
It’s a bit trial and error, but luckily there is a nice preview tool, so you’ll get some idea of how the ad variations will look in search results on both mobile and desktop.
A bit about pinning
You do have the option to pin headlines or descriptions, but Google warns that this can impact how effective the ad testing is, as you are restricting the number of ad combinations that can be shown.
“Pinning one headline or description causes it to show only in that specific position, preventing others from showing in its place. If you want a headline or description to show in a certain position, try pinning 2 or 3 of them to the same position so that any of them can show in that position.
Pinning isn’t recommended for most advertisers because assets won’t automatically combine into ads that can improve performance.”
Via Google Ads
Is it worth doing?
Google reports that Responsive Search Ads have a 5% to 15% higher CTR. So far, the ads I have tested have about the same CTR and conversion rate as Expanded Text Ads, but I’m fairly confident that Responsive Search Ads ads will improve over time as they accrue more impressions and clicks, and the winning variants are shown to users more frequently.
New reporting features were launched this month, and will be available to all advertisers by the end of September.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that your Responsive Search Ads might not show three headlines and descriptions all of the time – in some cases, it will be just 10 characters longer than an Expanded Text Ad.
We’d love to hear how you’ve been getting on with Responsive Search Ads, so leave us a comment or get in touch with the team at Browser Media to find out more.