Mary-Catherine McRoskey

Internet Marketing Consultant, PPC

Google Rolls out Responsive Search Ads (RSAs)

Google has recently rolled out an exciting new ad format that is now in beta—Responsive Search Ads. With this new format, marketers can create ads that offer more space and dynamically combine headlines and descriptions for sophisticated ad copy testing at scale.

How does it work?
Marketers enter a handful of headline and description options into AdWords. Adwords will then test different variations to learn which copy combinations work best, and optimize ads accordingly over time.
What are the requirements?


  • 5 different headlines required, but 8-10 options recommended (allowed up to 15)
  • At least 2 must include a keyword, at least 3 should not include a keyword
  • Character limit is 30


  • 2 different descriptions required, up to 4 recommended and allowed
  • Adwords automatically adds a period after each description
  • Character limit is 90

By default, any combination of headlines and descriptions can show. For more control, advertisers can use the pin function, which can pin if and where individual headlines and descriptions appear. For example, if there is content that must show in every ad, advertisers can pin that copy to the Headline position 1 or Description position 1 to ensure it will always show, and in the correct position. Keep in mind that pinning more content will limit the testing opportunities.

Why is this exciting?

Responsive Search Ads support the ability to test more options and more combinations of ad copy at scale, far beyond what is possible with A/B testing alone. Google’s machine learning will test and optimize for the top performing headline and description combination.

Which best practices should I keep in mind?

We recommend including the brand name in Headline position 1. Headlines should also be as varied as possible—take advantage of this testing opportunity! Avoid word repetition, use different character lengths, include different CTAs, and include callouts such as shipping. Remember, Responsive Search Ads will test all combinations of headlines and descriptions, so make sure that headlines and descriptions make sense in any combination. Give it a try and test out this new ad unit in ad groups with at least one expanded text ad already active.

To learn more about how Rise can help you with your paid search strategy, contact us today.


06/22/2018 at 06:06

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