Ask the Expert: What’s Up with the New Responsive Google Ads?

Posted by Mark Blackford on March 22, 2022 at 2:20 PM     Digital Advertising
Ask the Expert: What’s Up with the New Responsive Google Ads?

Google Ads has announced its standard expanded text ads will be retired this summer (June 2022). In its place will be the latest ad feature, Responsive Search Ads (RSAs), which use machine learning technology to help deliver the right ad to the right person.

Responsive search ads, first announced by Google a few years ago, will be the only option for creating a new text ad. Current expanded text ads will still exist but no longer will be editable.  

Let’s take a look at what that means for companies advertising on Google Ads.

What are Responsive Search Ads (RSAs)?

Responsive search ads are Google’s most flexible search ad format, based on machine learning/AI technology. 

Unlike traditional search ads, where you write a headline and description for 1 static ad, responsive search ads allow you to write up to 15 different headlines and 4 different descriptions. Google then automatically tests different combinations of headlines and descriptions to learn which combination performs best over time. 

This means you could have thousands of different combinations of each responsive search ad, with Google dynamically deciding which combination to serve up when.

As data is collected into the system, the goal is for the Google algorithms to know the best ad to deliver to each person based on the keywords used, past search behaviors, location and other signals. 

Why Did Google Ads Make This Shift?

The change to responsive search ads was made to help companies better align with shifting consumer behaviors and to help Google better serve relevant ads to those searching. 

How Will Responsive Search Ads Affect My Ad Performance?

According to Google, ad campaigns overall are seeing 10% more clicks and conversions using responsive search ads. Of course, results will vary industry by industry, company by company.

The biggest benefits of responsive search ads are that they are essentially putting in place continuous optimization and testing to be able to serve up the right ad, to the right person, at the right time.

Are There Any Cons to Responsive Search Ads?

No. 1, Google and machines are not always right. The new responsive search ads will include an Ad Strength indicator that will rate ad performance from poor to excellent. This indicator must be taken with a grain of salt, as it may not be accurate based on the strategy in place.

For example, if your ad is targeting competitor keywords (so you show up in those searches), but you are not naming those competitor products in your ad, the Ad Strength indicator will likely rate this as poor. However, this is an excellent strategy to get in front of your competitor’s customers. Therefore, Google rating this ad as poor is inaccurate.

While machine learning and responsive ads can be great, there is still a need for a digital advertising expert (a human brain!) that can monitor and make strategic decisions based on what is best for your company and goals.

Also, the responsive search ads make it more difficult to understand what is and what isn’t working. Even though you still can see the regular metrics like clicks, impressions, conversions, etc., it will be more difficult to break down exactly which ads/messages are performing best and why because there are so many variables. This, once again, is where you need a digital advertising expert to dig into the data, break it down and report the metrics on what’s working and not working based on the goals your company wants to achieve.

Marketing Essentials as Your Digital Advertising Agency

I hope this article helped you better understand the changes in place with Google Ads. Here at Marketing Essentials, our team of digital advertising experts works as dedicated account managers, strategically monitoring each account and campaign for optimal results. If you have any questions about your digital ads, feel free to reach out.

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