How to Effectively Prepare for Google Responsive Search Ads

During the Google Marketing Live conference a few weeks ago, Google once again shook up the paid search world with the announcement of Responsive Search Ads. With these ads, Google will automatically mix, match and test combinations of ad copy provided by the advertiser. From there, they will discover and focus on the most effective ad match-ups.

What makes these ads really appealing, however, is that they allow for ads to include an additional headline and description. This makes the ads almost 92 percent bigger than before.

In this post, we will go over Responsive Search Ads and how to effective create, run, and report on the new Google feature.

What are Responsive Search Ads?

Responsive Search Ads, which will start rolling out in September, are a new form of text ad that allow for fast ad testing utilizing Google’s smart learning features. With these new ads, users will provide a series of headlines and descriptions. Google will then take the copy and automatically start running ads using as many combinations as possible. After running the tests for enough time, Google will make a determination on which combination of headlines and descriptions were the most effective.

When creating Responsive Ads, advertisers are able to upload the following:

  • 3 to 15 headlines
  • 2 to 4 descriptions

Like previously mentioned, one of the biggest benefits to these ads is the additional ad space. With these ads, Google will now show one additional headline (30 characters) and one additional description (90 characters).

Google also offers the ability to “pin” a headline or description to a specific position. For example, if an advertiser has 5 headlines, but wanted “Order a Copy Today” to only go in the 2nd headline, they have the ability to do so.

Writing Responsive Ad Copy

While any paid search expert has experience in writing copy, Responsive Search Ads provides an additional challenge that is not present when creating normal ads. With normal ads, advertisers are able to tell a story starting from headline 1 to the end of the description.

With Responsive Search Ads, individual headlines and keywords will be mixed around. This means that an advertiser will need to make sure that all possible combinations flow and make sense. It is also essential to avoid having the same messaging in multiple pieces of copy, while still making sure keywords are present, as similar messaging can be paired together.

Utilizing “pinning” when implementing ad copy here is also important, especially if there is a specific headline or description that needs to go in a certain position in order to make sense.

Reporting Issues

Google offers the same data points for Responsive Ads as they do with normal ads. They even allow for advertisers to filter by Responsive Ads. All combinations that are created by Google are combined into one set of data.

At present, there has been no word on additional types of reporting, making analyzing results more difficult. Since all data is lumped into one, finding out what combinations work the best is impossible right now. Ideally, specific reports on impressions, clicks, and conversions for each individual combination would be important to properly analyze ad copy and come up with next steps.

Ample Time to Test

For any type of test, it is always important for an advertiser to make sure an experiment runs for an ample amount of time. Whether it’s keyword updates, bidding changes, or new landing destinations, advertisers must make sure enough time is given to these tests.

For Responsive Search Ads, however, depending on the amount of headlines and descriptions used, it may take significantly longer for Google to determine the best ad combination. It is essential to make sure that enough time is allowed for Google to try all possible combinations to ensure an accurate result.

Additional Ad Space

Just last week, Google also announced that are going to launch the additional headline and description to all normal ads at the end of August. This gives advertisers the ability to choose how they want to handle the additional ad size.

If fast testing and automated smart learning is what an advertiser wants, Responsive Ads are perfect. For advertisers who are interested in taking a more manual approach, normal ads will be available to start testing out the benefits of additional ad space.

Final Thoughts

As Google continues to blend the looks of organic and paid search results, it comes as no surprise that ads continue to get bigger, allowing advertisers to provide more information to potential customers. Time will tell how effective additional text will be, but if extended text ads are any indication, an additional boost in performance is likely.

Whether it’s with Responsive Search Ads or normal ads, now is the time for advertisers to go back to the drawing board and start coming up with some new, longer, ad copy ideas.

“The team at KoMarketing does a great job providing best practices, new ideas, and management of our PPC program. They went above and beyond to meet our needs. The decision to partner with them was one of the best thing that has ever happened to us”

John Yeung — John Yeung, Digital Marketing Manager, Stratford University

Get the latest b2b digital marketing information: