Responsive Search Ads (RSAs)

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Responsive Search Ads (RSAs)

In 2019 it’s time to leverage machine learning to do some of the heavy lifting when it comes to optimising your SEM ad copy.

Responsive Search Ads (RSAs) allow you to input up to 15 headlines & 4 descriptions per ad. Google’s machine learning will test over time which 2-3 headlines & 1-2 description combinations have the best performance for each keyword, then present them to the users. 

This tool greatly supplements hours of manual split testing different ad copy as you may have hundreds of keywords per campaign. Helping to drive a more efficient campaign on the ad level.


How Do They Stack Up?

Since being introduced in 2018 we’ve had ample opportunities to test these out. Overall we find that RSAs generally have a lower click-through rate while boosting the conversions (depending on what your goal is). 

The lowered CTR is likely due to the machine combining parts of the ad copy in different orders that may not flow as well when being read. Although, these will be the order that leads to higher conversions towards your goal. After all, that’s what it’s about right?

However, if the goal of your campaign is to acquire as many clicks as possible you may use the bid strategy Maximise Clicks to counter this effect. It will help keep your CTR & clicks up. To change your campaign goal, click settings on the left, click into a campaign, click bidding & select your desired goal.


Pin Function

The pin function allows you to select which headlines or descriptions you would like to have pinned as the first or second headline or description. This can be handy in scenarios where you need the ad to show a certain a description for legal or pharmaceutical reasons etc. Another reason could be to pin one description to position one & allow it to rotate & test three different call to actions. To use this function, select the pin icon beside a description and choose position one or two.

Pin V4

Pin only if necessary as it hinders the machine learnings optimisation by reducing the number of possible headline & description combinations. 

Variety Is The Sauce Here

Instead of throwing in 15 similar headlines, approach it from different angles to give the machine the ability to create ads that vary greatly from each other. 

Google’s recommendations are to use two Expanded Text Ads and one Responsive Search Ad per Ad Group, this is the current format that we follow. We suggest you run your own tests to see which performs better for you. Then optimise it by up weighting your marketing budget towards the winner!

Learn more about PPC management by contacting us via [email protected]

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