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How To Optimize Your Responsive Search Ads

Google’s responsive search ads (RSAs) have been in existence alongside original expanded text ads since 2018. They give marketers more formats for their campaigns and have since become the default and, likely, the only format for text ads going forward.

Responsive search ads

Because of this, we think it’s essential that you know how to optimize responsive search ads so that you can stay ahead of your competition. Here, we’ll give recommendations to help you improve their overall effectiveness, starting with what they are and following it up with ALL the benefits they provide.

Easy Ways To Improve Your Responsive Search Ads

Responsive search ads – they sound so high quality and smart but exactly what are they? They were introduced as a way for advertisers to find different combinations of headlines and descriptions using Google’s machine learning analysis capabilities.

Simply put, responsive search ads were designed to put more of the control into Google’s hands. This means advertisers were relying on the algorithm within their Google Ads account heavily. In the recent time period, there are talks of completely eradicating any other types of search ads and keeping only the responsive ones but exactly how do they work?

These ads let you enter up to 15 headlines and four descriptions and then Google runs different combinations of those ad text elements to help you find the ones that generate the most clicks and best conversion rates. Theoretically, it’s a great and fast way to help you test different ad text in a single ad group without the hassle of having to create several different ads. However, a responsive search ad is only as good as the data you feed it.

creating a responsive google ad

If the content you use is sufficiently backed by research and prior testing, then you’ll get the results they are intended to give you. On the flip side, if your headlines are lack proper copywriting or are completely irrelevant to your audience, then the only thing they will accomplish is poor messaging and a LOT of advertising budget. The key to fixing underperforming RSAs is to create ones that work well from the beginning.

But exactly how should you go about this difficult task?

Benefits of Responsive Search Ads

Before we break down exactly how you should go about this, let’s look at the benefits. I mean, it has to be worth your time and marketing efforts as well.

There are so many benefits to using responsive search ads but the main point is RSAs give you tons of flexibility when it comes to the actual ads. You are able to not only feed Google’s algorithm different kinds of headlines and descriptions, but you also let the machine take over and decide what to show. From personal experience, I can tell you that this can be extremely helpful in terms of ROAS.

Google ad campaign

Simply put, responsive search ads can improve ad performance since your ad copy is more versatile and likely to attract visitors. For instance, you can customize your headlines and descriptions according to your customer’s locations and interests.

Lastly, you can give your customers many headline and description options while letting Google Ads do the heavy lifting for you and select the ideal combinations. In the long run, this can end up saving you tons of money. 

Use Various Headlines

Headline variants allow PPC marketers to use more keywords, enabling RSAs to reach more potential customers. In addition, the more variations you use, the higher the CTR goes up because there are more opportunities for the right ad to reach the right person at the right time.

We should mention that spikes in CTR don’t necessarily mean more conversion rates; conversion rates might actually seem to decrease with more headlines. However, adding more headlines also increases impressions as it gives Google more flexibility to create the best ad for each situation, which leads to more impressions per ad.

You should look at conversion rates more broadly and check the stats for conversions per ad unit. Take full advantage of the headline variations and the descriptions as well. For our eCommerce brand partners over at Yoru Marketing, we like to test out 10 to 15 different headlines and three to four different descriptions based on the client’s budget.

Google descriptions

Review Combination Reports

The combination reports show marketers which ad combinations are shown most often, which gives you insights into how Google’s optimization algorithms work and will show you whether mistakes have been made. 

Review  combination reports
Approved Responsive search ad
ads Google

Reviewing these reports will show you whether or not any improper ad combinations have been together. It will also give you a good representation of the most common ad combinations, and you’ll be able to monitor how many impressions they’re receiving. For example, if certain assets receive low impressions, you might need to replace them.

Analyze Asset Labels

Google Ad’s asset labels will give you a better idea of which assets are performing well and which ones you should replace. We recommend watching your assets for a few weeks and evaluating which ones might be underperforming. Google will give you a label based on actual performance, so it’s definitely something you should optimize against.

Utilize Smart Bidding Automation

Automation can prevent ads from showing up in the wrong groups. For example, if you’re manually bidding but letting Google show your RSAs to the wrong audience, your manual bids won’t do well for you. However, if you combine smart bidding with Google’s automation and mix in a little more broad match, you’ll likely get better results. Search data backs up this tactic. According to Google, marketers who switch from ETAs to RSAs in campaigns that use broad match and smart bidding see more conversions at a similar cost per conversion.

Automated bid strategies

A mix and match approach can definitely help you get the most out of Google Ads and responsive search ads in particular. In addition, the ability to A/B test within RSAs can help you get the desired results. If automation is the future for search ads, you would be wise to learn how to use Google’s machine learning systems to their full potential.

The Bottom Line

Several common issues come up when you’re looking to improve ad strength.

  • Headlines/Descriptions are too similar — Ensure that you approach your headlines and descriptions differently and emphasize unique things in each. Add unique headlines and descriptions which can increase your chances for improved performance. 
  • Final URL is missing — Make sure you add a final URL to your ad. 
  • Missing Keywords in Ad Group — A simple mistake, but a big one. Your ad won’t go out without keywords in your Ad Groups.
  • Missing Ad Group 
  • Pinning — Pinning can reduce the overall number of headlines or descriptions. If you unpin or pin multiple headlines or descriptions, you’ll have more of each that will be shown.

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Conclusion

Responsive Search Ads are just like any other feature in Google Ads. If you use them the right way and take the time to put the correct information into them, then they can be an asset that helps you grow your business. 

At Yoru Marketing, we think it’s essential to keep the basics in mind when creating your search ads. Keep the mindset of the people you’re advertising to at the forefront, match ad text with the search intent of your ad group, and don’t be scared to change your approach if things aren’t working. Our team can help you identify which RSAs aren’t performing and point out opportunities to increase the strength of your ads so that you see improvements and a better return on your investments. 

Get started here and see how we can scale your eCommerce business and get your ad strategy back on track.

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