Responsive Search Ads Are the New Default in Google Ads

29th December 2021

Google Ads will now automatically create Responsive Search Ads as the default ad format. As before, advertisers can still create and amend Expanded Text Ads.

What Impact Will This Have on Advertisers?

A Google official stated that this upgrade won’t affect how ads are served. Expanded text ads are still supported and can be created by marketers. The difference is that when an advertiser launches a new ad, the platform does not automatically switch to expanded text ads.

Google urges advertisers to enhance the efficacy of RSAs by using other options inside the Ads configuration. These include keeping an eye on the “Ad strength” indicator and utilising customising elements such as location and countdown customisers.

What Are Responsive Search Ads?

Traditionally, Google’s text ads consisted of headlines and body material. They would be written in the intended sequence by the advertiser.

Google would construct many self-contained versions and then rotate them against one another. How it does so is specified by the advertiser in the Campaign’s parameters.

Responsive Search Ads alter this dynamic slightly. Rather than treating each ad as a standalone, it is treated as an “asset.” Google combines and matches these materials to determine the optimal headlines and body content for a campaign’s objective.

What Prompted the Shift?

Google cites several reasons for the switch from ETAs to RSAs as the default ad type:

Machine Learning Enables Enhanced Performance

We’ve noticed a trend emerging with Google’s recent changes in favour of automation. While many advertisers believe this results in a loss of control over their campaigns, Google states that machine learning can help increase campaign effectiveness in terms of flexibility, clicks, and conversions.

Increased Adaptability in Response to Shifting Consumer Behaviour

Customer requirements and objectives are constantly shifting, which is truer than ever as the pandemic continues. Google promotes RSAs because they allow advertisers to readily adapt to changing market trends without manually building and testing individual static ads.

Streamlined Account Administration and Optimisation

Google essentially wants more advertisers to employ RSAs since it increases the amount of data available to their machine learning techniques. This enables Google to provide more recommendations based on your account’s performance and streamline the account management procedure.

What Are the Challenges of Responsive Search Ads?

They demand a little more planning in terms of setup. Because the advertiser does not dictate the order, as with a standard text ad, each headline and body copy asset must make sense on its own, regardless of the combination in which it is used.

For instance, brands would occasionally employ the many headlines in a text ad to create the illusion of a single term. While two headlines appear contradictory, they make sense when placed chronologically.

This, however, necessitates some additional forethought in RSAs. If these are entered as assets to be combined, the headline order may appear to be reversed, which makes no sense.

Google does give a tool to assist in controlling these RSA instances. Advertisers can “pin” a specific asset version and choose the order it should always appear. Advertisers retain control over the order of the assets via this mechanism.

Key Takeaways

As is the case with any update to the Google Ads platform, the full extent of the change will become apparent over time. Nonetheless, with the knowledge and recommendations at our disposal, we can attempt to mitigate any adverse effect on our performance.

As a last thought, here are the most critical points to remember:

  • Responsive Search Ads have taken over as the default campaign type in Google Ads, replacing Expanded Text Ads.
  • You can still generate Expanded Text Advertising by selecting “Switch back to text ads” from the RSA creation window.
  • Expanded Text Ads should still be created and tested. Having two ETAs and one RSA per ad group continues to be Google’s suggested best practice.
  • The change is consistent with Google’s recent enhancements and urges advertisers to exert less control and rely more on automation.
  • Because of their nature, RSAs can improve ad effectiveness and speed up account management for advertisers, Google, and consumers.

Need help with your Google Ads strategy?

If you’re not getting the results you expect from your Google Ads strategy or can’t achieve profitable ROAS, speak to our PPC team by calling 0121 231 015 or fill in a form on the website requesting a free consultation.