Maximising Impact from Responsive Search Ads

By Ted Parry 7 July 2022 3 minute read
As we are all aware now Google has officially stopped the use of Expanded Text Ads in favour of the new format ‘Responsive Search Ads’. At first this was met with sighs by many in the industry as it was another forced change by Google giving advertisers less control. However, when done right not only does it give you as an advertiser the control to write the ads up how you want, but Google the ability to utilise its machine learning and match the messaging most likely to prove a good return on investment.

Old: Expanded Text Ads Format

Expanded text ads enabled advertisers to provide much more info in their ad versus the standard text ads. This was seen with the below format:

  • Headline 1: Max 30 Characters
  • Headline 2: Max 30 Characters
  • Headline 3: Max 30 Characters
  • Description 1: Max 90 Characters
  • Description 2: Max 90 Characters
  • Path 1: Max 15 Characters
  • Path 2: Max 15 Characters

  • This gave Google ads agencies control to fundamentally write up a mixture of ads, all around how they wanted it to be displayed, and thus often using labels to differentiate. ‘Best practice’ was often to have a mixture of 2/3+ different ad variations per ad group (depending on volume). The main issue with this was the fact a lot of agencies / managers weren’t being methodical enough with ad testing / checking the results.

    New: Responsive Search Ads

    After some initial beta testing Google implemented Responsive search ads. Rather than let the media buyer choose which ads to show exactly. Google allows the advertisers to write up core messaging, which will then be showing to the end user in many different variations to show the type of ad that encourages the highest click through rate.

    You can now test up to 15 different headlines, and 4 descriptions at a time … all the while letting Google decide which is most effective. The main time you’ll have to duplicate an ad is when you are testing multiple landing pages.

    How to write effective responsive search ads?

    Besides giving Google a little more control over which messaging to show and testing more variations, little has changed. You still need to understand your market, and write ads that actually get clicked. Below is a methodology to ensure you are setup for success:

    Headline 1: For any headline 1 ensure you are using the keyword. This instantly shows Google your ad has relevance and lets the searcher know they’re going to the right place. For e.g. ‘SONOS Wireless Speaker – Black’.

    Headline 2: Headline 2 is an opportunity to showcase more around the product / service unique selling points. For example, this may be free delivery over £100, 10% off, 14 hours battery life, made from real leather. Whatever the best usp may be.

    Headline 3: Headline 3 is more around the call to action. This call to action is a next step that the user should take, very often this is; Shop Online Now, Get 10% Off Now, Order Online Today etc

    Description 1: Description 1 is an opportunity for you to expand upon more of the keyword relevance and on top of that mix in some more unique selling points.

    Description 2: Description 2 is often for expanding upon desc 1, and thus if possible adding in more usps. At the end of description 2 should be another final call to action.

    How to Gain More Control of Responsive Search Ads?

    Although responsive search ads remove some of the control, there are some ways to recapture some of that control.

    In terms of headlines as stated above there are 3 core types of headlines you need to be utilising:
  • H1: Relevance Points
  • H2: Unique Selling Points / Benefits
  • H3: Call to actions
  • By utilising the pin function within the responsive search ads you can tell Google where you want your messaging to go.

    One amazing tool which I don’t hesitate to recommend is Karooya – Ad Preview tool. It enables you to see exactly how your ad appears and is often easier to use than the actual Google ads platform.

    Grow Sales 30%+ in 3 Months With Amore Digital

    Looking for a reliable specialist Google ads agency to manage your campaign? Head over to the Amore Digital homepage and fill out our contact form. We’ll be in touch within 24 hours.

    Facebook Ads vs Google Ads – Which Is Best for your e-Commerce Brand?

    One of the biggest questions that I get asked as a digital advertising consultant is ‘Where should my business put its marketing budget? In Facebook or Google?’ Often the cookie-cutter answer to t...

    4 minute read

    12 Most Common Mistakes in A Google PPC Account + How To Fix Them

    Being involved in paid search for over 6 years means I’ve personally audited dozens of Google pay per click accounts. Some spending just a few hundred a month, others tens of thousands. Without fail...

    9 minute read

    Subscribe for the latest PPC tips

    Our newsletter contains the best tips and analysis on PPC - ready to jump in?
    No spam, ever!