POV: Responsive Search Ads

Responsive search ads let you create an ad that adapts to show more text—and more relevant messages—to your customers.

POV: Responsive Search Ads

Responsive search ads let you create an ad that adapts to show more text—and more relevant messages—to your customers. Enter multiple headlines and descriptions when creating a responsive search ad, and over time, Google Ads will automatically test different combinations and learn which combinations perform best. By adapting your ad’s content to more closely match potential customers’ search terms, responsive search ads may improve your campaign’s performance.

Responsive Search Ads vs Expanded Text Ads (What we are currently running)

Responsive Search Ads Both Expanded Text Ads
Shows 3 Headlines X
Shows 2 Description Lines X
Maximum Headline Inputs 15 3
Maximum Description Line Inputs 4 2
Potential Different Combinations Per Ad 43,680 1
Ability to pin Headlines and Descriptions Yes No
Google Ads automatically test different combinations and optimize Yes No
Limit per ad group 3 Unlimited

How Responsive Search Ads Works

The more headlines and descriptions you enter, the more opportunities Google Ads must serve ads that more closely match your potential customers’ search queries, which can improve your ad performance.

After you enter headlines and descriptions, Google Ads assembles the text into multiple ad combinations in a way that avoids redundancy, different from expanded text ads, you can provide up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions for a single responsive search ad. Next, in any given ad, a maximum of 3 headlines and 2 descriptions will be selected to show in different combinations and orders. Over time, Google Ads will test the most promising ad combinations, and learn which combinations are the most relevant for different queries.

Pin Headlines and Description Lines to Specific Positions

By default, when you create a responsive search ad, headlines and descriptions can appear in any order. You can control where individual headlines and descriptions appear in your ad by pinning headlines and descriptions to specific positions.

For example, if you need to show a disclaimer in every ad, you can write the disclaimer as a responsive search ad description and pin it to Description position 1. That way, all ads that are shown to customers will include the disclaimer in the first part of the description.

  1. Create or edit a responsive search ad (see steps above).
  2. To the right of any headline or description, you wish to pin, click the pin icon, then choose the position you’d like to pin that headline or description to.
  3. To unpin any headlines or descriptions, click the pin icon, then select None.
  4. Click Save.
  5. Note: Removing or editing any headlines or descriptions can change the ads that are serving and may impact your performance.

You can pin multiple headline inputs to any of the 3 potential headline spots.

You can pin multiple description line inputs to any of the 2 potential description line spots.

Tips

Pinning one headline or description causes it to show only in that specific position, preventing other headlines or descriptions from showing in its place. Since pinning reduces the overall number of headlines or descriptions that can be matched to a potential customer’s search, pinning isn’t recommended for most advertisers.

Try pinning 2 or 3 headlines or descriptions to each position so that any of them can show in that position. This gives you more flexibility to find out which headlines or descriptions perform better.

  • Example: If you pin the headline “Official Website” to Headline position 1, then all ads that customers see will have an “Official Website” as the first headline. However, if you pin a second headline—let’s say “The Official Site”—to Headline position 1, then all ads that customers see will show either “Official Website” or “The Official Site” as the first headline.

If you have headlines and/or descriptions pinned to all available positions, unpinned headlines and/or descriptions won’t show.

Headlines or descriptions pinned to Headline position 1, Headline position 2, or Description position 1 will always show. Content pinned to Headline position 3 and Description position 2 is not guaranteed to show in every ad. If you have text that should appear in every ad, then you must pin it to either Headline position 1, Headline position 2, or Description position 1.

Best Practices

It’s recommended to have at least 2 expanded text ads and 1 responsive search ad per ad group. There’s a limit of 3 enabled responsive search ads per ad group.

If you have text that should appear in every ad, you must add the text to either Headline position 1, Headline position 2, or Description position 1.

To increase the likelihood that your ad shows, provide at least 5 unique headlines that don't repeat the same or similar phrases, and leverage the feedback from Ad strength to improve the effectiveness of the ad. Using redundant headlines will restrict the system's ability to generate ad combinations.

Recommendation

Create new Responsive Search Ads to rotate in along with Expanded Text Ads to test the efficiencies of the different ad formats.

  • This will also allow us to be ahead of the curve and have Responsive Search Ads in our account, in case Google decides to force us in that direction.

Mitigating Brand Safety Concerns

Create ad copy messages that are interchangeable in all the different headline and description line spots.

Leverage the pin feature to make sure certain ad copy messages are only shown in a certain headline and description line spots to control the messaging.

  • Warning: this goes against Responsive Search Ads best practices as it handicaps the AI's ability to utilize many ad combinations and hinders the purpose of using this ad format.