Late last year, I wrote about Google’s announcement to sunset Expanded Text Ads (ETAs), making Responsive Search Ads (RSAs) the default paid search ad format.
With this dynamic ad format, a search marketer provides 3-15 headlines and 2-4 lines of description for Google to combine into many different ads.
For anyone still a bit skeptical about how well they work, just remember, the best practice from Google Search for years has been to include “at least 3-5 ads per ad group.” so that Google’s optimization power can put the most relevant ad in front of each internet user.
If 3-5 make a difference, then what about 43,680? That’s the number of potential combinations Google can create from one RSA ad with you supply it with a max of 15 headlines and 4 lines of description.
When one of your search campaigns wins an auction, Google uses every data point it has on the user to figure out which one of those 43,680 combinations is the best to display. This is why RSAs perform very well and why sunsetting ETAs is not seen as a big issue for search marketers. Additionally, when combined with Google automated bidding strategies, RSAs work even better.
What’s happening to ETAs?
From the Google help article, Making it easier to show the right message on Search (August 2021):
After June 30, 2022, you’ll no longer be able to create or edit expanded text ads. However, your existing expanded text ads will continue to serve alongside responsive search ads, and you’ll still see reports on their performance going forward. Additionally, you’ll be able to pause and resume your expanded text ads or remove them if needed. You’ll also still be able to create and edit call ads and Dynamic Search Ads.
To prepare for this change, we recommend that you have at least one responsive search ad in every ad group in your Search campaigns by June 30, 2022. Check out the Help Center to learn more about how to use responsive search ads and features like ad customizers, to improve performance. Over the coming months, we’ll be providing you with reminders before this change rolls out.
5 Responsive Search Ad best practices
Our clients have been adopting RSAs at a very high rate since Google first released them some years ago. Hopefully, you, too have seen great results and are okay with this significant shift.
For those of you who are gearing up for the big June 2022 evolution to an RSA-only future, here are five good tips for you to remember to maximize performance with this dynamic ad format:
Use unique and concise headlines
Each headline should be different and not repetitive. For example, it could highlight the brand name, popular search terms, product name, benefits, and a call to action. Avoiding repetition will help Google’s algorithm come up with unique ad variations possible.
Using unique headlines also helps your ads avoid sounding gimmicky.
Be strategic with pinning
You can “pin” a headline to a specific position. For example, you may want your brand name to always show in headline 1. To accomplish this, you can pin the headline to always show first.
But this can backfire if you aren’t careful. This is because pinning reduces the number of ad variations that Google’s algorithm can generate. In some instances, however, pinning is necessary, such as for pharma clients that must show a drug name always in headline 1. If you don’t have a reason to pin a headline, you should avoid it so that Google can create as many ad variations as possible.
Include high-volume keywords in your titles
It’s essential to use high-volume keywords in your headlines to draw attention to the ad. If needed, you can run a search term report to see which search terms are driving the bulk of the traffic.
Remember to avoid repetitive keywords, but also make sure to include some high-volume keywords in the titles. If one of the searched terms is in your headline, it will get highlighted in bold text in the ad, which helps your ad stand out and appear more appealing to the user, which should increase the chance of your ad getting a click.
Use Google’s Ad Strength Tool
The tool provides the advertiser with feedback on the effectiveness of the ad combination ranging from poor to excellent as well as an overall rating of the effectiveness of the ad as well as easy-to-follow action items to improve the ad strength.
Test, test, test
You should test various headlines and descriptions to find a winning combination. Once you find a winner, you can test it against a different ad, such as an ad using dynamic keyword insertion pinned to headline 1. Skai’s Experiments tool makes it easy to test and measure your ads.
Is your technology robust enough for the future of paid search?
As part of Skai’s intelligent marketing platform, our Paid Search solution helps you stay ahead of your competition and reach consumers when and where they’re searching. Our advanced optimization and reporting are coupled with automated solutions, including tools for bidding and budgeting, and much more. As an early player in the paid search industry, Skai™ has a long history of innovation and an independent position you can trust.