How To Evaluate RSA Performance
Google’s Responsive Search Ads (RSA), which have been available in Beta since the spring of 2018, allow businesses to reach more people with relevant text ads. Unlike Expanded Text Ads (ETA), RSAs allow for up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions. Google then dynamically combines up to 3 headlines and 2 descriptions for a single Responsive Ad. RSAs also allow for 10 extra characters in each description, making them the largest ad possible - with up to 300 characters in total.
With these extra headlines and descriptions, Google can test thousands of combinations and serve customers ads that are specific to their search terms. Upon launch, Google’s algorithm begins to blend different sequences to find which specific headlines and descriptions work best for each search term. This process will continue throughout the life of the ad so that it is always delivering customers the most pertinent ad possible. This increased relevance also helps improve keyword quality scores as it is one of the three factors used in calculating it.
RSA’s Ability To Capture Incremental Traffic
The ultimate goal with RSAs is to create flexible ads that will show the best message to each potential customer. Google suggests creating as many unique headlines as possible to give ads the opportunity to compete in more auctions and to match more queries. Extra characters and descriptions will also allow ads to adapt to different screens and display a fuller message to possible consumers. As RSAs increase the opportunity to enter auctions and share specific messaging, they can also increase campaign performance through increased clicks and conversions.
Measuring RSA Performance Impact
Google suggests measuring RSA performance based on absolute metrics like ad group impressions, clicks, and conversions as these metrics will show any incremental traffic being driven. For the most accurate measurement of performance, we recommend testing this on a new ad group where no bid or budget changes are made. Below are the steps for this assessment:
1. Select one or multiple ad groups to assess. These ad groups have to run for at least three months with ETAs included so that a good sense of the performance baseline can be established.
2. After three months, RSAs should be added to the ad groups and should run for one month. During this fourth month, the campaign should have both ETAs and RSAs running as these Responsive Ads should not be replacing the Text Ads, but instead, they should be complimenting them.
3. Once the campaign has been running for four months, we can then calculate the incremental value or traffic generated by the RSAs. This should be done by comparing the one month with both ETAs and RSAs to the average of the three months with only ETAs.
4. Success can be determined by an increase in the number of queries an ad is eligible to be shown for. If successful, this should increase query coverage for existing keywords within the ad group. The ad may enter new auctions with low click-through rates, but they can still drive more impressions, clicks, and conversions.
Other Testing Opportunities
If you’re looking for additional testing opportunities–outside of the impact RSAs have on incremental reach for a given ad group, consider measuring changes to keyword Quality Score. In theory, if the intent of RSAs is to create flexible ads that will share the best message to every potential customer, then that should have a positive impact on the expected click-through rate, which is a component of Quality Score.