Responsive Search Ads– Everything You Need to Know About

Google Ads are an important source of traffic and revenue for both online and offline businesses. And Google is fully aware of this, which is why it is constantly working to improve the service and make it better and better every day.

Earlier, if you wanted to know whether or not your Google search ads were effective, you had to test each ad manually. However, Google has now introduced a better solution called Responsive Search Ads (RSA).

Responsive Search Ads is widely regarded as one of Google’s most revolutionary developments in the advertising industry. The RSAs enable you to create excellent ads without the need for manual testing. But there’s a lot more to it than just AI-powered ads.

As a result, it is necessary that we get an in-depth look at every aspect of Responsive Search Ads, including how to create them, their specifications, how to edit them, their benefits, why do search ad extensions matter, and much more. So let’s start with the basics– what are responsive search ads?

What Are Responsive Search Ads?

Google responsive search ad example


Responsive search ads are:

  • Google’s most recent and advanced ad format.
  • Allowing you to create text advertisements with multiple headlines and descriptions.
  • Enabling Google Ads to display more ad combinations to potential customers or the appropriate message to the right customers.

Unlike Google dynamic search ads or expanded Google search ads, you can add multiple headlines and descriptions about your product or service to create more permutations in the case of RSAs. This will eventually assist you in creating the most effective adverts, especially as you begin to collect data on how ads perform for each keyword in your ad groups.

Once you’ve entered the various headlines and descriptions, Google’s machine learning system will mix and test numerous combinations and permutations of the ads to find which performs best over time. Your Responsive Search Ads will offer the best message to different searchers over time based on the keyword they search for, their device, their previous browsing activity, and other factors.

Responsive ad strength meter


Moreover, since responsive search ads combine different headlines and descriptions to show the most relevant message to match customer search terms, they help you in a variety of ways, including reaching more potent customers, increasing conversion rates, ensuring campaign success, and revenue generation.

However, when it comes to responsive search ads, there are some restrictions such as character limits, headline length, etc. Therefore, it is advised that you thoroughly understand them in order to get the most out of the Google ads PPC campaign.

Google Responsive Search Ads Vs Expanded Text Ads– The Specifications

RSAs differ from expanded text ads or Google dynamic search ads in terms of headline number and headline characters, number of descriptions, and so on. Let’s take a look at the major specifications differences between responsive search ads and expanded ads.

expanded text ads and responsive ads

As you can see, responsive search advertisements offer 5 times more headline options and twice as many description options as expanded text ads. Additionally, the description character limit is also ten more than that of expanded ads.

However, in the case of responsive search advertisements, you have very little to no control over which ads will appear in which user search query. On the other hand, Google expanded text ads provide you with complete control over what you want to show users.

All of these specifications also imply that extensive ads and responsive ads are pretty similar in terms of specs, but the key difference is in how they work.

So the question now is– how do Google responsive ads work or how does google ads generate responsive search ads ? Let’s get an answer to this question in the following section.

How Do Google Responsive Search Ads Work?

The primary difference between how expanded advertisements work and how responsive search ads work is the presence of machine learning technology or AI technology in the latter. In the case of RSAs, the more headlines and descriptions you enter, the more options Google Ads has to serve PPC ads that more closely match the search queries of your potential customers, which can increase ad performance.

For example, once you enter the 15 headlines and 4 descriptions, Google Adwords creates combinations of all those headings and descriptions that differ from expanded text ads– this implies that you can provide the 15 distinct headings and 4 different descriptions for a single ad!

How Google responsive ads work?


Next, in any particular ad, a maximum of three headlines and two descriptions will be picked to appear in various combinations and orders. Google Ads will test the most promising ad combinations over time and learn which combinations are the most relevant for certain inquiries.

The tool also includes an Ad Strength Meter, which calculates how unique or interesting your headline is and how well it will perform. The more creative and punchy your headline, the higher your score. Make sure each ad group has at least one responsive search ad with ad strength of ‘Good’ or ‘Excellent.’

Let us now explore the benefits of responsive ads. Find out how these modifications in the specification or the addition of machine language capability improve your campaign’s performance.

What Are The Benefits of Responsive Search Ads?

The following are some of the major benefits of responsive search ads:

  • Google responsive search ads will provide you with a variety of heading and description combinations to target each ad group or customer separately or in the most effective way.
  • It also enables you to develop device-independent ads, which are versatile and can adapt to device widths, allowing you to deliver your message more effectively.
  • Google will not only save you time by offering a large number of combinations of headings and descriptions, but it will also provide you with the most suitable combinations for your customers.

Benefits of responsive search ads


  • Google ads also allow you to customize your headlines and descriptions based on your customers’ locations or places of interest.
  • All of these benefits, when combined, improve ad group performance, resulting in more conversions and ensuring business success.

These are some of the most important advantages of Google responsive search ads. But how do you design responsive search ads in a Google Ads PPC search campaign? Let’s find the answer to this question in the following section.

Steps To Create Responsive Search Ads In Your Google Ads PPC Search Campaign

Creating responsive search ads in a Google AdWords PPC campaign is a six-step process that is similar to creating expanded text ads but with a few variations.

Step 1: Navigate to the left in your Google Ads dashboard and select Ads and extensions.

Step 2: After that, click the “+” button and select Responsive Search Ad.

Step 3: Now, enter the final URL and display path text. A preview of your ad will appear to the right as you type.

Step 4: Type in your headlines. You must input a minimum of three headlines and a maximum of fifteen.

Step 5: Enter your descriptions. You must enter at least two descriptions and may enter up to four.

Step 6: Click the save button.

Create Google responsive search ads


That’s it! Your responsive search ad is ready to publish. However, make sure to include at least one of your keywords in your headlines and create headlines that are related to the keywords you’re targeting. Your ultimate goal should be to keep the headline interesting and unique.

But, what if you needed to change or edit the ad for whatever reason? Well, the editing process is also quite simple, as detailed in the next section.

How To Edit A Google Responsive Search Ad In Your Google Ads PPC Campaign?

The process of editing a Google responsive search ad is pretty simple; however, you will need to follow several steps in the sequence mentioned below:

Step #1: Select Ads & extensions from the page menu on the left.

Step #2: To add a filter, click on the bar above the results table.

Step #3: In the resulting drop-down menu, select Attributes, then Ad type.

Step #4: Select the “Responsive search ad” checkbox.

Step #5: Hover over the ad you want to alter in the results table, then click the edit icon (pencil icon).

Step #6: Click the Edit button.

Step #7: Change the ad’s URL, final URL, headlines, descriptions, or URL options as desired.

Step #8: Click the Save button.

How To Pin Headlines And Description To Specific Positions?

When you create a responsive search ad, the headlines and descriptions can appear in any order. You can, however, pin your favorite or relevant headings and descriptions to a specific position by selecting the pin symbol to the right of the headline.

Google responsive search ads steps


You can specify which headline appears first, which appears second, and which appears third. Moreover, pinning only one headline prevents other headlines from being used in that spot. However, Google advises against using this feature unless you are an experienced ad tester, as it will impair the responsive search ad software’s ability.

The steps for pinning headlines or descriptions to a certain spot are as follows:

Step #1: Edit the responsive ad (Steps mentioned above).

Step #2: Click the pin symbol to the right of any headline or description you want to pin, then select the spot where you want to pin that headline or description.

Step #3: Click the save button.

However, you should be aware that removing or altering any headlines or descriptions may cause changes in the ads that are shown and may influence your performance.

Let us now proceed to the final section of this Responsive Search Ads Guide– tips and best practices for effective Google responsive Ads.

6 Tips & Best Practices For Effective Google Responsive Search Ads

You must use responsive search ads efficiently if you want to get the most out of them. To ensure the Google AdWords PPC campaign’s success, you must follow the tips and practices listed below. Let’s take a brief look at them all.

1. Add Several Unique Headlines & Descriptions Possible

The primary difference between expanded ads or Google dynamic search ads and responsive search ads is the number of headlines and descriptions that each allows. RSAs allow you to include up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions.

responsive search ads steps


However, you are expected to include at least 9-10 headlines and 2-3 descriptions so that Google can accurately test them and develop the ideal combination or show the most relevant ad to the viewers. Also, use Ad Strength Meter to verify that the headlines have a score of ‘Good’ or ‘Excellent.’

2. Add At Least 2 Responsive Ads Per Ad Group

According to Google’s recommendations, you must include at least 2 responsive ads for each Ad group. So, for example, if your business offers both products and services, you can make separate ads for each. 

Also, use the ad strength indicator to ensure that the responsive search ad has “good” or “excellent” ad strength. Moreover, only test one responsive search ad per ad group, as testing more than one will impede the optimization of your Responsive Search Ads.

3. Use Keywords Sparingly

When creating headlines, don’t forget to include keywords. Make certain that each headline contains a precise and relevant keyword that serves the aim. To improve its performance, include the most ranking keywords or the highest volume keywords in at least two headlines.

use keywords in responsive search adsSource:

Moreover, as you develop responsive search ads, the tool will automatically recommend the ideal keywords for your ad group that your competitors are targeting or that you should target. However, no more than two headlines should contain keywords.

4. Use CTAs In The Descriptions

CTAs (Calls To Action) are instructions to the audience that are typically intended to prompt an immediate response. Make sure that the description of your responsive search ads includes the most relevant CTA so that you can push visitors or searchers to take the desired action. 

For example, if you are selling software subscriptions, you can include CTAs such as “Get FREE Demo Today” or “Start FREE Trial,” along with other things. Without a doubt, this will considerably boost the conversion rate.

5. Pin Relevant Headlines

The primary difference between expanded Google seach ads and Google responsive search ads is that the latter tests each header and description and picks the best combination for each visitor.

relevant headlines to Google responsive ads


If, on the other hand, you want to display a specific message in every ad, such as a discount offer, coupon code, or sale season, you may use the pin option to position those headlines or descriptions in every ad so that the audience gets that key message. However, don’t overdo the pinning as this will influence Google’s AI or machine learning capabilities.

6. Optimize Ads Every Month

Yes, optimization is a critical process that you must pursue on a regular basis to ensure that your ad remains relevant and that you get the best results from your Google ads PPC campaign. Make sure to generate and analyze reports regularly to determine how well your ads have performed. Then, make any necessary changes based on the results.

For example, if you noticed that an ad in a specific ad group has been underperforming for whatever reason for the last two months, it is time to modify it. However, keep in mind that you should give each ad adequate time to generate results before deleting or optimizing it.

So those are the six best practices for responsive search ads. To achieve the best campaign results, make sure you follow all of them or as many as possible. At the same time, you can collaborate with and take help from any of these best PPC service providers to strategize and implement your Google ads pay per click (PPC) campaigns.

The Bottom Line: Without a doubt, if implemented effectively, responsive search ads can be an excellent way to generate more qualified leads and increase conversion rates. However, in order to make the most effective responsive ads, you must first create the best headings and descriptions. Also, don’t overdo the pinning to avoid interfering with Google’s machine learning capabilities. Lastly, don’t forget to optimize the adverts on a regular basis.

Paras Kela is a web developer turned content writer who holds writing expertise in multiple niches. The strong cocktail of his English-medium schooling, passion for writing, and vast industry experience helps him create information-rich, SEO-friendly, engaging content. In his spare time, he enjoys binge-watching drama series & documentaries, gardening and spending time with loved ones.


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