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Google Responsive Search Ads and methods of their optimization

Google Ads has introduced new changes to the search engine. Currently, the place of expanded text ads is gradually being taken by responsive ones. But this is only for the benefit of marketing specialists! We will discuss the advantages of Google responsive search ads for advertising your brand or company, the principle of their operation and methods of optimization in the material.

What are responsive search ads

Responsive search advertising is one of the most effective contextual advertising tools. It is an ad that adapts to the user’s request and can change its content and appearance. That is, you write from 3 to 15 different headlines and 2-4 descriptions for the ad, and Google Ads combines these elements in a different order and shows them to users. It allows you to get many combinations and, as a result, experiment during the advertising campaign.

Operation principle of responsive search ads on Google Ads

To begin with, you need to create as many titles and descriptions as possible to get as many combinations as possible. After you have prepared the texts, a system based on machine learning algorithms combines them. Then it tests them and chooses the ads that give the best results. And finally, based on the user’s request, the algorithm shows him the most suitable Google Ads responsive search ads.

Advantages of responsive search ads

Among the main advantages of such contextual advertising tool:


  1. Significant time saving, as the program itself combines texts and headings for responsive search ads.
  2. The chances of showing ads are increasing because Google responsive search ads participate in auctions more often and are broadcasted for a larger number of search queries.
  3. Thanks to self-learning, the system automatically determines the combinations that have the greatest effectiveness.
  4. Your ad gets significantly more conversions and clicks.
  5. You can personalize any of the ad text elements based on users’ behavior, where they are, and what they’re looking for.

How to create responsive search ads

Creating a responsive search ad is a simple process. It can be used even by a beginner without much experience in setting up Google Ads.To create a responsive ad, select «Ads and extensions» from the page menu, then click «Responsive Search Ad». Enter your page URL and display the path. And finally, add titles (up to 30 characters per ad) and descriptions (up to 90 characters). Click «Save».But remember that for your responsive search ad to bring maximum results, consider a few nuances:


  • try to come up with as many different texts as possible;
  • each heading and body text should fit well with each other in any combination;
  • ads must contain keywords;
  • create titles of different lengths (so that the system selects them according to the size of the user’s screen);
  • be sure to add extensions to your ads.


Regarding information content, consider the following important points:


  1. Include several different offers in your ads.
  2. Be sure to indicate the price of goods and services and inform about discounts, favorable offers and promotions.
  3. Use calls to action and slogans to encourage users to use your services.


Yes, your responsive search ads should be creative, as informative and useful as possible for searchers, show that you care about them and contain arguments in your favor. And then the audience will pay attention to your product.

Difference between responsive search ads (RSA) and expanded text ads (ETA)

From now on, every professional should review their strategies to improve their ad display. Optimizing responsive search ads takes a completely different approach than expanding text ads, as the two types of ads have significant differences.

3 responsive ads per ad group

Previously, advertisers could test expanded text ads with an advanced variation of A/B testing until they reached a limit of 50 ads per group. As for responsive ads, you can only test three per group.

Incomplete metrics for ad combinations

With up to 4 body texts and up to 15 headlines for responsive ad combinations, you will have over 43,000 variations! It is significantly more than the allowed 50 deployed options.But remember: when you’re comparing ads by performance, and you’re sure you know which one is the best, you can miss many other factors. So for more in-depth data, you should look at the combination reports, which show exactly which descriptions and titles were combined for each ad.However, Google only shares the number of displays. Therefore, to calculate a winning ad, we need to know about CTR and conversion rate. And we no longer receive these metrics from Google at this level of detail, so at this stage, it is worth conducting a contextual advertising audit.

Ad group displays depend on the ads themselves and the keywords

Previously, experts believed that displays depended only on the keywords of the ad group. But a tool like responsive search ad has radically turned this assumption upside down! And now, ad group displays can depend on both ads and keywords.In May 2022, Optmyzr company provided a study and found that responsive ad groups received 2.1x more displays than groups with only expanded text ads.As you can see, Google prefers responsive ones, especially those that contain the maximum number of combinations of titles and descriptions and use ad anchoring as rarely as possible too.

Optimization methods of responsive search ads

And to get the most out of responsive ads and at the same time stay ahead of your competitors, you should pay enough attention to ad optimization. So let’s share some tips with you.

Use more header options

First, add as many different headings as possible. This will allow the system to test the ads better and enable the specialist to use the maximum number of keywords. The latter will help reach a wider target audience and attract more potential customers. In addition, adding the maximum number of headlines also increases the number of displays, as it gives Google more flexibility to create the perfect ad for each situation.

Analyze objects’ shortcuts

Google Ads asset shortcuts show you which assets are performing well and which assets should be replaced after your responsive ad is finished running. Experts recommend observing them for two weeks and replacing them with low efficiency.

Carefully review combination reports

Combination reports show the specialist which combinations of ads are shown most often. They provide marketing specialists with an understanding of how Google’s optimization algorithms work and whether mistakes have been made.It also allows you to check if Google offers text ad combinations that you don’t like or even look weird. After all, sometimes Google can combine text elements so that it does not suit you at all.Properties in these reports should be reviewed to see how many displays they receive. If certain properties have a low number of displays, then it is worth replacing them.

Implement smart bidding automation

This measure prevents ads from being shown to the wrong groups. If you set your bids manually and allow Google to show your responsive search ad to an audience less likely to reach you, this creates additional challenges. Instead, combining intelligent bidding with the automatic display of ads from Google will allow you to get good results.A combined bidding approach can help marketing specialists get the most out of Google automation. After all, automation is the future of search ads. And every specialist should use Google’s machine learning systems 100%.


Responsive search Aad is a real marketing specialist’s assistant for promoting any project, business, local advertising campaigns, etc., on Google Display Network (GDN). This tool allows you to display ads on more resources, reach a much wider range of users and attract new traffic, and, besides, save the specialist’s time for analytics and solving questions about the effectiveness of the advertising campaign. And time, as we know, is a very valuable resource!

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