Get More Out of Your Responsive Search Ads

Earlier this week Google introduced an ad strength indicator and reporting statistics for responsive search ads that will be rolling out in early September. Good news for advertisers, right! Now managing and optimizing all of those possible responsive search ad combinations will be a lot easier and less stressful.

Are You Using Responsive Search Ads?

If you haven’t been using responsive search ads, I would highly recommend giving them a shot. Not only do they help to increase performance, reach, and flexibility; they are also a lot easier to manage thanks to Google.

How Do Responsive Search Ads Work?

Currently, one responsive search ad can have up to 15 headlines with a maximum of 30 characters each, and up to 4 descriptions with a maximum of 90 characters each. That’s a lot of combinations.

Don’t sweat it, Google does all of the heavy lifting for you. Using machine learning, Google tests all of the different combinations of headlines and descriptions and over time will optimize the ad to create the best performing configuration.

Google’s goal is to allow responsive search ads an increased opportunity to compete in more auctions and match more queries, which will help to increase reach to potential customers. A lot of time will be saved by eliminating manual A/B testing. For instance, you can test a variety of call to actions such as “Subscribe” versus “Sign Up” without creating a ton of different ads.

What’s New?

Ad Strength Indicator

The new ad strength indicator measures relevance, quantity, and diversity of all the combinations of ad copy to help find the best-performing ad combinations. The indicator is very easy to understand; it ranges ad copy performance from poor to excellent and gives you suggestions on where you could improve your ads such as adding more headlines or making your headlines and descriptions more unique. Now advertisers will be able to optimize ads more effectively than ever.


The new reporting will allow advertisers to see the same performance metrics that are shown for other text ads for each responsive search ad combination. Being able to identify the top combinations of headlines and descriptions opens up a whole lot more room for optimizations. Keep your best ads running then test new ads and repeat. To see this reporting feature in your google ads account, go to ads & extensions and add a filter for ad types, located in the attributes drop down, then select responsive search ad.

Tips and Best Practices

  • Headlines and descriptions will appear in any order, so make sure that your headlines and descriptions will match up with any combination.
  • Provide as many headlines and descriptions as you can. The more headlines and descriptions, the more combinations Google has to assemble the best ad possible.
  • Avoid repetitive headlines and descriptions. Get creative, create unique messages.
  • Create variations of call to actions, see which ones work the best.
  • Test out a few different headlines that are relevant to the keywords you are targeting and test headlines that do not include your keywords. This will help you to highlight more value as well as increase reach.
  • Test one responsive search ad per ad group. Testing more than one can slow down Google’s optimization process.
  • Pin headlines and descriptions to specific positions. I would only recommend doing this if you always have to include an essential message in an ad, like a disclaimer or a brand message.
  • Don’t pin too much. Pinning will reduce the overall number of ad combinations that can be shown.
  • Don’t always expect to see 3 headlines and 2 descriptions. Ad lengths will be determined by device and performance potential. So experiment with different headline and description lengths. Creating shorter copy will increase the chances of an ad showing a 3rd headline or 2nd description.

Now you have the tools to create and manage responsive search ads. Get out there and start creating before every other advertiser starts jumping on this opportunity.

See how Hall can help increase your demand.