Responsive search ads are Google Ads’ new default ad type. They allow you to create an ad that is responsive to the searcher’s query. You no longer have to worry about creating multiple versions of your ad with different headlines and descriptions.

Starting on June 30th 2022, you will no longer be able to create or edit expanded text ads.

This update has been a long time coming, but the deadline is fast approaching.

Google first announced Responsive Search Ads in 2018, and they have been slowly phasing out expanded text ads since then.

If you’re still using Expanded Text Ads, now is the time to start transitioning to Responsive Search Ads. In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about Responsive Search Ads, including what’s new and what to do before the deadline.

Responsive Search Ads Are the New Default in Google Ads: What You Need to Know Before the Deadline

Expanded text ads will be retired in June 2022. The news was announced in August 2021 when Google introduced Responsive Search Ads (RSAs) as its default ad for search campaigns.

responsive search ads selection

What’s changing?

Responsive Search Ads, also known as RSA, replaces Expanded Text Ads in Google Ads.

Fortunately, this doesn’t mean that Expanded Text Ads (ETAs) are going away, but you won’t be able to edit or create new ones after the deadline.

On June 30th, 2022, any active Expanded Text Ads in your account will continue to serve, but any new variations will need to be made within the Responsive Search Ad framework.

machine learning

Why the change?

It’s clear that Google’s new Responsive Search Ads are more efficient in terms of delivering a more efficient product than an earlier ETA.

While many advertisers feel that machine learning reduces their ability to control campaigns, Google believes machine learning improves campaign flexibility.

Google touts that Responsive Search Ads can help you:

  • Create ads that more easily adapt to varying device dimensions
  • Save time by automating the process
  • Customize headlines and descriptions based on location
  • Reach more potential customers with ads that better match search queries
  • Improve performance through increased auction opportunities

What are responsive search ads?

Although a Responsive Search Ad appears the same as an Expanded Text Ad in the SERP (search engine results page), the process to create an ad in Google will be different with the new format.

responsive search ad build

Google’s Responsive Search Ad system detects the best combination of text headline and description and automatically presents it to users, generating the best predicted output to match the search query.

Responsive Search Ads enable you to create one search ad from a variation of 15 titles of 30 characters each as well as a description line with a maximum of 90 characters each.

What are Expanded Text Ads?

Expanded Text Ads (ETAs), introduced at the Google Performance Summit in May 2016, allowed businesses to change text advertising to ETAs. This was intended to aid in the adaptation to the mobile-first world.

Initially, expanded text ads contained one 30-character headline and one 60-word description line. In August 2018, Google rolled out an additional three headlines and two descriptions in an earlier version.

The pros and cons of RSAs

Responsive Search Ads unique ability is clearly demonstrated through dynamic cycling across headline and description, which distinguishes them from Expanded Text Ads. However, the variety and machine automation takes away some of the control you have over your ads.

Responsive Search Ads can take more time to complete as there are so many variations. However, Google does provide recommendations during the creation process.

responsive search ad pinning

Fortunately, you can pin up to 3 headlines and 2 descriptions, although pinning is only recommended when absolutely necessary.

Pros

  • 15 headlines and 4 descriptions (more variety)
  • Optimized and selected using machine learning
  • Appears the same as an ETA in SERP
  • Can pin headlines or descriptions to a certain position
  • Better match to search query

Cons

  • Less control
  • Time consuming
  • More difficult to analyze

Benefits of responsive search ads

In conjunction with Intelligent Machine Learning, Google’s Responsive Search Ads provide information for numerous ad combinations.

Google Ads can do the hard work for you by testing ads and discovering the best content for you to reach a wide audience.

This can be very beneficial for businesses that don’t have the time or resources to constantly test and monitor their ad campaigns.

Google also provides recommendations for Responsive Search Ads, which can be very helpful in getting started with this new ad format.

Google responsive search ads are a great way to save time and money while still reaching a wide audience. If you’re not sure where to start, Google’s recommendations, based on your website and account, can help generate some ideas.

Tips for creating Headline and Text Variations for Responsive Advertising

responsive search ads headlines

Use unique and varied headlines

Having a wide selection of headlines is vital to Google testing with accuracy. Make sure the headlines don’t have the same style and the words aren’t identical.

Follow Ad Strength meters on your screen for an accurate picture.

Rely on your keyword research

Make sure your headlines match your keywords. The best Google Ads marketing begins in the keyword research phase.

rsa call to action

Use a strong CTA in your ad copy

As always, you want to make sure you have a strong call to action in your ad. Take note of what actions you wish to take on a particular user within your demographic.

Some examples include:

  • Learn More
  • Buy Now
  • Try Free
  • Get Started Today
  • Contact Us
  • Book Now

Pin relevant headlines but don’t overdo it

Pining headlines or descriptions can help you highlight your latest offers and brand name. Although, Google recommends no more than 1-2 pinned headlines per ad.

google ads serp

Best Practices

  • Try to include all 15 headlines and 4 description lines to maximize opportunity
  • Include relevant keywords
  • Regularly add new ad copy variations
  • Leverage ad extensions to maximize real estate on SERP
  • Limit pinning to 1-2 headlines or descriptions only when necessary

What to do now before the change

  • Test ETA ad copy while you still can
  • Create ETAs to use later
  • Prepare for your RSA to serve more than your ETA
  • Test RSAs now
  • Have at least 1 RSA per ad group
  • Establish a benchmark for conversions with new RSAs
  • Determine your Pin strategy
  • Get familiar with Ad Strength scores
  • Prepare for reporting limitations

Conclusion

Google Responsive Search Ads are a great way to save time and money while still reaching a wide audience. If you’re not sure where to start, Google can provide recommendations to help generate some ideas.

Remember to keep your headlines varied and interesting, focus on your keywords, include a strong CTA, and limit pinning to two headlines or descriptions. You should also begin testing Responsive Search Ads now in order to establish a benchmark for conversions. And finally, be aware of the reporting limitations that come with responsive search ads.

By following these tips, you can make the most out of Google Ads Responsive Search Ads before they become the default ad type available.

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