This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best possible experience. See our Cookies Policy.

PMG Digital Made for Humans

Google Paves the Road Ahead for Responsive Search Ads

3 MINUTE READ | February 18, 2021

Google Paves the Road Ahead for Responsive Search Ads

Google Updates Responsive Search Ads

Today, Google announced updates to Response Search Ads (RSAs) that aren’t too surprising but shed light on the road ahead for creative messaging within Google Ads. There are two parts to the announcement, one regarding the steps being made to make RSAs more prominent within the Google Ads UI, the other focusing on the tools and insights that help optimize these units. Let’s take a closer look at the announcement and what’s happening with RSAs. 

While there are no changes to Google Ads Editor or the API, this shift within the interface highlights Google’s ongoing emphasis on machine learning as the company furthers its investment in automating creative management. It’s not a stretch to say that Google is not only saying that RSAs are the future but that the future is now. 

There are many nuances in the update about the tools and insights, so there will likely be debate as to whether these updates give search marketers more value or whether Google is increasingly aggregating the data that’s available to brands. At PMG, we’ve embraced leveraging automation (including our Alli technology) to get results at scale, and we believe that if utilized properly, RSAs can unlock opportunities for additional conversions.

In the announcement, Google highlighted certain aspects of RSA management that already exist and provide additional transparency for brands:

  • Ad Combination Report — This report provides visibility into the ad units as shown on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). While this isn’t an optimization tool, the Ad Combination Report helps ensure that the brand voice is present and provides insight into how Google utilizes the assets.

  • Ad Strength — Search marketers can see Ad Strength in real time, as ads are created, to ensure they’re adding valuable creative into the account. Google stated that increasing Ad Strength from “Poor” to “Excellent” can lead to a more than nine percent increase in clicks and conversion on average.

  • Ad Customizers — There are a few ad customizers that search marketers can leverage right now: Location Insertion, Countdown Customizer, and Keyword Insertion. All of these are similar imports of the customizers available with Expanded Text Ads, allowing for further granularity at scale.

While RSAs have mixed adoption rates across the industry, it’s apparent that this ad type will take center stage as a core management lever for search marketers. As the search landscape continues to evolve, Google’s announcement showed how to best take advantage of RSAs:

  1. Ensure every ad group has an RSA. While this has been a recommendation for some time, ensuring that every ad group has an RSA will unlock auctions and increase coverage in the account.

  2. Improve performance by achieving “Good” or “Excellent” ad strength. Since this updates in real time for building assets in the UI, it can certainly help boost performance.  Additionally, search marketers can utilize reporting availability in the Ads Table Report and API to continue optimizing existing assets.

  3. Optimize creative by replacing “Low” rated assets and using Ad Variations to test. Google recommends to have 15 different variations in the ad unit before optimizing further. In essence, more is better for the algorithms to learn from.

Insights meet inbox

Sign up for weekly articles & resources.

While these changes to RSAs and reporting are subtle — and one that many search marketers have anticipated — this news is a significant step toward embracing a more dynamic approach to search ad copy. After a challenging 2020, the PMG team is looking forward to testing and leaning into scaling accounts via creative optimizations.


Posted by Jason Hartley

Related Content

thumbnail image

Get Informed

Google Performance Max Campaigns Now Available to All Advertisers

4 MINUTES READ | November 2, 2021

Get Informed

Google Simplifies Smart Bid Strategies

2 MINUTES READ | April 23, 2021

Get Informed

The Road to Recovery for the Travel Industry

5 MINUTES READ | November 19, 2020

thumbnail image

Get Informed

Google Launches Non-Paid Shopping Offers (aka free PLAs)

7 MINUTES READ | April 24, 2020

Get Inspired

Maximizing Success with Visual Search

7 MINUTES READ | December 2, 2019

Get Inspired

Celebrate Christmas in July With These Holiday Insights

4 MINUTES READ | July 17, 2019

thumbnail image

Get Informed

Takeaways from Microsoft Ads’ NYC Retail Workshop

4 MINUTES READ | July 9, 2019

Get Informed

How Google Is Improving Consumer Data Privacy

1 MINUTE READ | June 18, 2019

Get Informed

Direct-To-Consumer Disrupts-The-Competition

7 MINUTES READ | April 12, 2019

thumbnail image

Get Informed

Unraveling How YouTube and Google Work Together

6 MINUTES READ | March 21, 2019

Get Informed

Google Sunsetting Average Position Metric

2 MINUTES READ | March 11, 2019

Get Inspired

9 Predictions on the State of B2B

7 MINUTES READ | February 13, 2019

ALL POSTS