How to Use Google Responsive Search Ads in Your PPC Marketing Campaign: 10 Best Practices

Google’s Responsive Search Ads will replace expanded text ads as the only search ad type in Google Ads PPC search campaigns starting June 30, 2022. This announcement was made by Google on 8/31/21.

After June 2022, you will no longer be able to create or edit expanded text ads. Existing expanded text ads will continue to run along with the responsive search ads.

Responsive search ads were introduced on October 22, 2019. They are available in all languages to all advertisers.

What Are Responsive Search Ads?

Responsive Search Ads are flexible ads that adapt to show the right messages to the right customer. You enter multiple headlines and descriptions and Google’s machine learning systems will test different combinations of the ad to learn which performs best over time. Since Responsive Search Ads show the most relevant message to match customer search terms, these ads help to increase campaign conversions and clicks.

What Are the Benefits of Responsive Search Ads?

Responsive search ads have many benefits compared to the existing Expanded Text ads. Some of the benefits include:

  • These ads are very flexible. Save time by using multiple headlines and descriptions and let Google Ads show the most relevant combination to customers.
  • Reach more customers with more relevant ads because there are many more keywords to match search terms.
  • Responsive search ads are designed for mobile. They adapt to different device sizes from mobile devices to desktops.
  • Compete in more auctions because there are more relevant keywords to match customer search terms.
  • Increase campaign performance with more clicks and conversions.

How to Create Responsive Search Ads in Your PPC Search Campaign

To add responsive search ads to your PPC search campaigns, follow these steps.

Go to your Google Ads PPC account,

1. Select Responsive Search Ads from the menu

  1. Select Ads and extensions
  2. Click on the blue plus button on the top left
  3. Select Responsive Search Ad in the menu

Google Ads: Selecting responsive search ad on ad menu

2. Set up the Responsive Search Ad with many headlines and descriptions

  1. Select an ad group
  2. Enter the Final URL
  3. Enter the display paths for the display URL (optional)
  4. Enter at least 5 unique headlines. You can enter upto 15 headlines.
  5. Enter 2 unique descriptions. You can enter upto 4.
  6. Save the ad

Google Ads responsive search ads setup

10 Best Practices to Add Responsive Search Ads to Your Google Ads PPC Search Campaigns

Here are some best practices to add responsive search ads to your Google Ads PPC (Pay per click) search campaigns for your business.

1. Add at least 1 Responsive Search Ad per Ad Group

Google recommends having at least 1 Responsive Search Ad and 2 Expanded Text Ads per ad group. This has been shown to help advertisers reach more customers and improve ad performance.

There is a limit of 3 responsive search ads per ad group.

2. Responsive Search Ads Have a Flexible Format

Responsive Search Ads have a very flexible format. You can enter up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions and Google’s systems use machine learning models to deliver the most relevant ad to the right customer.

Responsive search ads will show up to 3 headlines and 2 descriptions at a time. When setting them up, it is important to ensure that these assets are unique from each other and work well together since they will be shown in different combinations.

Google’s machine learning systems will test different combinations of headlines and descriptions to determine which combination performs best in the ad group over time.

3. Responsive Search Ads compared to Expanded Text Ads

The flexible format Responsive search ads show up to 3 headlines and 2 descriptions. This gives you more headlines and descriptions to use your important keywords to match customer search terms. Responsive search ads will show the most relevant message to match customer search terms.

After June 2022, you will no longer be able to create new expanded text ads or edit existing expanded text ads. You will only be able to pause, resume or remove expanded text ads. Existing expanded text ads will continue to run along with the responsive search ads.

Responsive Search Ads
Headlines shown: up to 3
Descriptions shown: up to 2
Description length: 90 characters

Expanded Text Ads
Headlines shown: up to 3
Descriptions shown: up to 2
Description length: 90 characters

4. Add many unique headlines and descriptions to make responsive search ads more effective

When building your responsive search ads, add as many headlines as you can to increase ad combinations and improve performance.

  1. You can add up to 15 headlines. The more headlines you provide, the better. This makes it possible for the system to show more ad combinations which could increase ad group performance.
  2. Add at least 5 headlines that are unique from each other. Spotlight different features, benefits, offers and calls to action.
  3. Include your important keywords in at least 2 of the headlines.
  4. Do not include your keywords in at least 3 of the headlines. Highlight product or service benefits or features instead.
  5. Include 2 descriptions that are unique. You can add up to 4 descriptions.

5. Add popular keywords to responsive search ad headlines

Use popular keywords in the ad group in your responsive search ad headlines. This increases ad relevance because there are more keywords to match customer search terms.

6. Add popular content from existing expanded text ads to your responsive search ads

Use content from popular expanded text ads in the ad group in your responsive search ads headlines and descriptions. You get more combinations of ads with keywords that are already popular.

7. You can pin headlines and descriptions to specific positions in responsive ads

The responsive search ads will show headlines and descriptions in any order by default. If you want to have text that must appear in every ad, you should enter it in either Headline Position 1, Headline Position 2 or Description position 1, and pin it there.

You can pin headlines and descriptions that must always be included to specific positions in the ad.

To use this feature, hover to the right of the headline when setting up the ad and click on the pin icon that appears.

Use this feature sparingly. Pinning too many headlines to specific positions will reduce the effectiveness of using a flexible ad format to serve multiple ad combinations.

8. You can use ad extensions with responsive search ads

You can use ad extensions with your responsive search ads. Use your ad extensions to increase ad rank.

9. Improve Ad Strength to Improve Performance

When you set up a responsive search ad, you will see an Ad strength indicator shown on the top right of the page. Use this ad strength indicator to improve your ad strength.

According to Google, improving your ad strength from “poor” to “excellent” can result in 6% more clicks.

10. New Tools added for Responsive search ads & the Assets Report

Google has added 2 new tools to support Responsive search ads

  • A performance column has been added in the assets report. Replace assets with “Low” ratings with new content to improve performance.
  • Ad variations now support responsive search ads so you can run tests to see how different ad copy performs.

You can view the performance of your assets in the responsive search ad in the Assets report.

>Go to Ads and Extensions
>Select the Responsive Search Ad
>Click on “View Assets Details” link at the bottom
> This shows the Assets report

In the assets report,
Assets- lists all the assets in the responsive search ad
Asset Type – tells you if it’s a headline or description
Position when Pinned- where they appear when pinned
Impressions- how often the asset was shown
Performance – how your assets performed relative to other assets in the ad. Note that this column shows only if you have 5000 impressions in the “Google Search Top” segment in 30 days.

Conclusion

Responsive search ads are very flexible and use machine learning to show several different ad combinations. They have many benefits as compared to Expanded text ads.

Responsive search ads have been seen to improve ad group clicks, conversions and performance. In our PPC accounts, we have seen them perform very well. Add them to your Google Ads PPC search campaign today!

First Published: November 21, 2019. Updated: September 23, 2021.

Need Help With Digital Marketing?

Gold Mango Design LLC. helps small and medium businesses build a strong online brand and increase leads with digital marketing services. Our digital marketing services include Google Ads PPC (Pay per Click) Marketing & Management, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Mobile Friendly Web Design & Web Development, Digital Marketing consulting and more. We are located in Plano, TX right outside Dallas. Contact us at https://goldmangodesign.com

References

Google, Responsive Search Ads are now available to all advertisers
Google, Create Effective Responsive Search Ads
Google, Making it easier to show the right message on search

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