Responsive Search Ads: A Quick Guide

Google is making a push for responsive search ads. This is a huge deal for businesses that rely on Google Ads to promote their products or services. If you are an online marketer, it’s worth taking some time to understand what responsive search ads mean and how they can impact your operations.

What Are Responsive Search Ads?

If you’ve been using Google Ads for some time now, you’ll know that it’s traditionally composed of a headline and an ad copy. Advertisers can create multiple sets of headlines and ad copies. Google will then show different versions to its users based on the advertiser’s preference.

For example, an advertiser can opt to show the best-performing headlines and ad copies.

Responsive search ads still work the same way but there is a significant difference. Now, headlines and ad copies are treated separately. Meaning you create a set of headlines and another set of ad copies. From there, Google will put together headlines and ad copies for you.

What Are Responsive Search Ads?

How will that impact the way you create Google ads?

If you’ll use responsive search ads, you’ll have to make sure that your headlines and ad copies can stand on their own. Remember, you don’t know which headlines and ad copies will get paired and shown to users. You’ll have to be more conscious about the ads you’ll create.

Why the Focus on Responsive Search Ads?

User behavior on search engines like Google is evolving. One perfect example is the search queries that people use to find the information they need. According to Google, 15% of the search queries that it encounters every day are ones that it hasn’t seen before.

With responsive search ads, it feels that it can adapt to the changing times by making its ads more relevant based on the context of the search queries used.

And marketers understand this. Some are even using new advertising strategies like programmatic advertising to keep up with the evolving market.

That’s why Google plans on making responsive search ads the only search ad type that marketers can create or edit in standard search campaigns beginning June 20, 2022.

Why the Focus on Responsive Search Ads?

It’s beneficial for advertisers too. The way responsive search ads is set up, you’ll be able to present the right message to consumers based on a query’s context.

That makes it a winning situation for Google and its advertisers. And it makes its users’ experience on the platform that much better by giving them ads that are relevant to what they’re looking for.

What Does That Mean for Expanded Text Ads?

For now, expanded text ads will stay the way they are. Google will still serve them to its users and you’ll still have access to their performance.

But come June 30, 2022, you’ll no longer have the ability to create or edit expanded text ads. 

That’s why marketers are encouraged to have at least one responsive search ad in the pipeline before the deadline hits. You should have at least one for every ad group in your search campaigns to be safe.

But Google will send reminders over the coming months to remind advertisers of the oncoming changes. So you will have some time to prepare.

What Should Paid Media Managers Do to Set Up Responsive Search Ads for Success?

Google has put out several recommendations for advertisers who are shifting to responsive search ads. Since PPC mistakes can be expensive ones to make, we suggest that you pay close attention to these suggestions.

These are some of the things you should keep in mind if you want to create effective responsive search ads.

Focus on Ad Strength

Google Ads has a feature called Ad Strength that gives you a clearer picture of how your headlines and ad copy is expected to perform once they go live. You’ll want to do your best to get these ads to have a score of “Excellent”. Ads with an “Excellent” rating tend to convert more.

You can edit your old ads to conform to responsive search ads, especially those that performed well for you in the past.

Have Ad Variations

Responsive search ads allow you to test out ad variations that you previously wouldn’t be able to. So use this chance to come up with multiple ad variations to see which ones Google users would resonate with the most.

We’d recommend that you regularly check on your performance to see which ad versions give you the best results. 

Make Sure Headlines and Ad Copies Can Work Together

Go over all your headlines and ad copies to make sure that they’ll all make sense regardless of which of them get paired. But at the same time, you’ll want to have as many unique headlines and descriptions as you could generate. This gives you more chances at achieving success.

Google recommends that you insert keywords and ad customizers if you have a lot of ads to maintain. That way, you can customize your messages to a user’s search query.

Keep Headlines Short and Simple

Shorter headlines tend to perform better. So be mindful of how many characters you use up when drafting your headlines. This is especially true for businesses that are already receiving branded searches. You don’t need long headlines if people are already looking up your brand online.

Also, shorter headlines will have a huge impact on mobile devices since ad space on phones is limited. You want your ads to fit regardless of what device is used to view your ads.

Have a Call to Action (CTA)

You should explicitly state what you want users to do should they chance upon your ad. Give them a reason to click on an ad. Tell them what they can expect when they do.

Even a CTA like “Find Out More” is better than not having any at all. CTAs are like a subtle nudge for users to take action. You can further entice users to click a link by adding incentives like promos or discounts.

Add Responsive Search Ads Today

There’s no time like the present.

Since Google will start prioritizing responsive search ads soon, you may as well start drafting headlines and ad copies that comply with the new standard. Don’t wait until the last second. Not having responsive search ads by the time it rolls out will have a significant impact on your campaigns.