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Responsive Search Ads – What you Need to Know

Have you heard about one of Google’s slightly newer additions to their Ads platform? The responsive search ad adapts to show the better combination of ad headlines and descriptions in order to optimise fully for your audience.  

You will need to manually enter multiple different headlines and descriptions and over time, Google will test different combinations of these, analysing which combination performs best. 

The maximum number of headlines you can use is 15, and you can provide up to 4 descriptions.  

To best utilise this tool, ensure all of your headlines and descriptions are very different and all sell your business to a user, you never know which one Google will pick! 

This can improve your campaign performance by more closely matching customers’ search terms with the content in your ads and analysing which produces the best results.  

Whilst responsive search ads are currently in beta and not available for all users, however, in the experience we have had with this, you can contact Google directly if this feature is not available for you and they will be able to enable this for the account in question. 

Advantages of Responsive Search Ads 

  • It’s easier to sell your business to your audience when you have more opportunities – plus Google will show the points which are proven to be persuasive for you!  
  • As with all Google Ads, the ads will adapt to device widths, meaning none of your message is cut off and your ads are more optimised for mobile. 
  • Save time – Google does the testing and optimising for you which means your time is reduced so you can work on optimising your plain text ads and campaign as a whole.  
  • You can compete in even more auctions by improving your quality score – these ads will give you even more chances to make your ad relevant to the keyword in question which will aid in boosting campaign performance.  
  • You may not have to implement A/B testing – many users are seeing this as an alternative to A/B testing, although similar it does not give you the data that testing does. However, if you’re looking to show your users the best ad possible and do not care about the data behind this, it’s perfect! 
  • You can pin the headlines or descriptions that are most important to you – Google will include these pinned options in every ad it tests.  
  • On average you pay slightly less for responsive ads vs normal text ads.  

The more headlines and descriptions you enter, the more opportunity Google has to test the most promising combinations for each search query. 

Ensuring your ads are as optimised as they can be, and as relevant as they can be for each specific search term and keywords can result in a much higher click through rate and a lower cost per conversion, increasing the overall ROI of you campaign. 

Top Tip: Only include one responsive search ad per ad group! This will prevent you ending up with two ads that are the same or very similar running in your groups. 

Overall, it is important to note that there will not be one ad combination that ‘wins’, as such. Different ad combinations will show different levels of success depending on the buyer persona and keyword used in the search query, browsing history and online behaviours. 

This allows for different ads to bring in and appeal to different customers – giving your campaign the biggest chance of success. 

If you‘re interested in introducing search ads into your existing Google Ads campaign, or you’re interested in the results that this form of marketing could bring your business, get in touch with our team of PPC experts today for a no obligation review of your account.  

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Heather Hirst
Currently undertaking a Communications degree at Bournemouth University, Heather is the Digital Marketing Intern at WNW Digital. She is part of the digital marketing team and here to gain industry experience and develop her skills in all elements of WNW’s expertise. You can contact her at

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