Responsive Search Ads Become The Primary Ad Format in Google Search Campaigns

Google recently announced that Responsive Search Ads (RSA) are going to be the default ad format when creating new ads in search campaigns. Here’s everything you should know about this announcement and how to keep your Google Ads account in top shape.

What Does This Mean?

This is essentially just another step in the direction of automation that Google has been taking in recent years. As a reminder, with RSAs, the advertiser creates up to four description lines of ad copy and up to 15 headlines. Then Google automatically combines the ad assets into an ad that it predicts will perform best at auction time. It uses each users query and other signals to dynamically create the ad from all the assets provided. According to Google, RSAs typically earn 5-15% higher click-through rates vs standard Expanded Text Ads (ETAs).

How Do Responsive Search Ads Really Compare to Expanded Text Ads?

We decided to look at the performance of actual ETAs vs RSAs using ad accounts that we manage on behalf of our clients.

An analysis of the last three months shows that:

  • Expanded Text Ads earned an average CTR of 16.20%
  • Responsive Search Ads earned an average CTR of 19.60%.
  • This means that our clients’ RSAs earn approximately 21% higher click-through rates vs standard Expanded Text Ads (ETAs).

So, according to our own data, RSAs outperform ETAs at an even higher rate than the typical rate that Google claims.

If at this point you’re asking yourself why our RSAs outperform even the benchmark provided by Google, keep in mind that we are a professional advertising agency that has been helping clients rock their Google Ads campaigns for over a decade. If you’re struggling to see results from your search marketing and advertising efforts, contact us today and tell us your online marketing woes.

What You Should Do Right Now to Help Your Search Campaigns

So what can you do today to help improve your search campaigns?

  • Make sure each ad group has one active RSA in it
  • When you create (or edit) the ad, Google has a little grade meter next to the preview that tells you whether it’s poor, average, good or excellent.
  • Keep working at it until it reaches good or excellent

RSAs can be particularly helpful on non-brand campaigns because of the ability to enter multiple different keywords in the headlines. In addition to keywords in headlines, you should have a variety of other types of headlines, such as some that include the brand name and some that include call-to-actions, special offers, and unique selling propositions.

Once you have RSAs across all ad groups, don’t forget to review performance regularly. You can view how many impressions each asset has received and then replace underperforming assets with fresh creative to keep your campaigns in good shape. In addition to this, you should also take the best performing RSA assets and create ETAs out of these assets. Be sure to run these ETAs along side the RSAs, and then repeat the process over time. Read all about responsive search ads on Google Ads Help.

Google has not announced when they will be getting rid of ETAs all together, but we imagine it will happen at some point, otherwise, why would they make this announcement in the first place? For now though, you can still use ETAs. When you go to create an ad in a search campaign, click the plus button to create an ad, then click the “Responsive Search Ad” option, and then on the next screen there will be an option you can click to “Switch back to text ads”.

So there you have it! For all things related to online marketing and digital advertising, be sure to check out our blog regularly. We do our best to let you know what’s changing in this ever-evolving world of digital marketing.

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