What Are Responsive Search Ads and Why Should You Use Them?

As a marketer, we've been talking about personalization and responsive advertising for some time now. And that trend isn't going away.

In 2019, 72% of display ads were responsive (more than double what they found just two years previous).

Additionally, the ways people search are changing. Google found that 15% of search queries every day are new searches they've never seen before.

That's why starting June 30, 2022, responsive search ads will be the only search ad type that can be created or edited in Google standard search campaigns. The goal is that this change will help simplify the way you create search ads and make it easier to drive performance.

To prepare for this upcoming change, let's discuss what responsive search ads are and the best practices for creating them.

The goal is to show a different combination of titles and descriptions for different users depending on their unique queries and search history. Google will alternate between the titles and descriptions, showing 32,760 different versions of the ad. Then, the search engine will find the most effective title and description combination and use it the most often.

Responsive search ads are a simple and strategic way to create an effective PPC marketing strategy. You can boost your engagement and reach more potential customers with the most effective version of your ad.


Responsive Search Ads vs. Dynamic Search Ads

While they're similar, responsive search ads and dynamic search ads are different. Again, responsive search ads are when you create multiple versions of your title and description, and Google will alternate between them.

On the other hand, dynamic search ads are when Google itself issues a headline for an ad -- one you didn't write -- depending on the content and search query.

Responsive search ads are great to use for brand awareness and lead generation, while dynamic ads are helpful for content and keyword-based pages.

Now, you might be wondering what the benefits of responsive search ads are -- let's review below.

1. Personalized search ads.

One of the main benefits of responsive search ads is personalization. Since 90% of U.S. consumers find marketing personalization very or somewhat appealing, it's important to make your ads as personalized as possible.

Responsive search ads are displayed based on a user's search history, past clicks, device type, and search query (keywords used). Google will use the title and description you wrote that is most relevant. Additionally, responsive search ads can be tailored depending on a user's current location, regular location, or location of interest.

This means that with responsive search ads, you'll benefit from a more personalized ad experience.

2. Optimized search ads depending on the device type.

Similar to the point above, when a user is searching on their mobile device versus the computer, the size of the device is different (shocking, I know).

This means they can see less of the title and description of your ad. With responsive search ads, you can allocate smaller-width headlines and descriptions for the mobile experience.

Ultimately this can help you have more room to share your message and will hopefully increase your click-through rate (CTR) on all device types.

3. Simple A/B testing.

As discussed, with responsive search ads, Google will use thousands of variations of your search engine ads. This means that Google will automatically be testing the different versions of your ad, so you don't have to micro-analyze CTR or impressions anymore.

Interestingly, according to Google, responsive search ads have also resulted in 6% more clicks and 5% higher CTR. This ad type will save you time since Google will do the testing for you, and drive higher results.

4. Compete in more auctions and reach more customers.

With more headlines and descriptions, your ads will compete in more auctions, match more queries, and ultimately reach more customers. Increasing your reach while also increasing your results is one of the main benefits of using responsive search ads.

So, now we know that responsive search ads are here to stay and can help change your PPC strategy. But, how can you write the best responsive search ads to guarantee results? Let's look at some best practices below to help you get started.

1. Write unique titles and descriptions to create variation.

Since one of the main benefits of responsive search ads is the variation in writing 15 headlines and four descriptions, it's important to make those titles and descriptions unique.

The goal is to have as much variation as possible. Test different CTAs, call out different features, include different keywords, have different header lengths, etc. Having unique titles and descriptions (instead of very similar ones) will drive higher results as Google can see which ones are more effective.

2. Experiment with different header lengths and types of descriptions.

As we discussed above, it's important to experiment with different header lengths. You'll want to include shorter versions of your titles for mobile devices, and longer versions for those on a desktop.

Additionally, you should experiment with different types of descriptions. These can include descriptions that have special offers, discount codes, savings, or product benefits and features.

3. Entice users with different offers in your descriptions.

Using offers and discounts is a great strategy for responsive search ads. You can test which special offers or discounts work the best by using several different ones in your descriptions. Depending on which performs better, Google will begin showing that description more than the other versions.

4. Have concise and straightforward CTAs.

The best responsive search ads have concise and straightforward CTAs. These should be short-form CTAs like "Save Now," "Get Free Shipping Now," or "Why Pay Full Price? Save 70% Today!"

Short and concise CTAs tend to perform better on PPC ads in general, so it's important to continue using those types of CTAs for your responsive search ads.

5. Include keywords, product features, and benefits, where you can.

To drive results with responsive search ads, it's important to include keywords in your headlines, and add product features or benefits to your descriptions. This will help you match several different queries, increase your reach, and ultimately drive more results from your responsive search ads.

6. Use existing content from high-performing ads.

You've most likely already done PPC advertising before this. Look for your high-performing ads, and use some of that existing content in your responsive search ads. This is the best practice for many types of PPC advertising, and it's no different with responsive search ads.

Responsive search ads are becoming more popular and more important in the world of search engine advertising. Think about how you can implement these ads to drive results and improve your PPC strategy.

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