How to use Responsive Search Ads to Improve Your PPC Strategy

google responsive search ads

When it comes to choosing the best headlines and descriptions for your PPC campaigns, you have two options: create individual ads and test them, or make use of Google’s Responsive Search Ads (RSAs). Responsive Search Ads were first rolled out in 2018, and allowed you to provide multiple headlines and description options that Google will then deliver to people based on search queries, intent, and other data. Since February 2021, the RSA option has now become the default ad option when you go to create a new ad.

What are Responsive Search Ads?

Responsive search ads are search ads that can adapt to show more relevant messages to the customer. This is achieved by having multiple descriptions and headlines which are combined to create different ad variations. The ad variations appear to the user like regular search ads, showing up to 3 headlines and 2 descriptions at a time. RSA’s allow the search engine to evaluate which combinations of the assets perform best over time, helping to improve click through rates and thus drive performance. With an RSA, you can:

  • Deliver the right message at the best time
  • Optimise the ad process and save significant amounts of time
  • Reach more people with different headlines that allow you to complete in more auctions and queries.

How They Compare to Expanded Text Ads

There are various key differences between the responsive search ad and an expanded text ad (ETA). The RSA can show up to three 30-character headlines, a display URL with two 15-character path fields, and up to two 90-character description fields. In contrast, the ETA has one less headline, description, and 10 less characters to utilise within each description text. The result of this is an extra 300 characters of total text when using an RSA over an ETA, allowing your ads to have even more presence on the SERP.

Best Practices for Google Responsive Search Ads

1. For best performance, use more headlines and descriptions

Every RSA will need to have at least 3 headlines and 2 descriptions to show. RSA’s allow for more variants and can ensure the very best for the specific viewer is shown through the rigorous testing and Google algorithm. Take full advantage of this by including more headline and description variations.

2. Highlight something different in each headline and description

More variations will demand more creativity. Try your best to avoid repetitive and boring variants of the same headline and descriptions, as Google won’t even show the RSA if they are too similar!

3. Make use of the pin feature, but don’t overuse¬†

Responsive search ads have a pin feature option, in which you can set the headline or description that you would like to be seen first. This could be beneficial if a headline includes important information about your business, product, or service that you want to be seen clearly by the viewer. However, pin very sparingly as they restrict the variant testing that Google performs. For example, pinning just one headline will reduce the testing opportunities by 75%!

4. Use just one Responsive Search Ad per Ad Group

As Google is testing the RSA elements against each other, there is no need for more than one RSA in the same ad group. Alongside the RSA, be sure to still keep your best ETA ads running so that your ads appear as often as possible.

5. Use call-to-actions in your descriptions

Your descriptions are the place to push your messaging, so it’s good practice to add relevant and motivating calls-to-actions to help guide users to the actions you want them to complete. For example, a ‘Learn More’ CTA will be best targeted to a brand new customer, whereas a returning customer could be encouraged with the use of discounts or promotions.


topclick has an excellent team with proven experience setting up, optimising, and maintaining PPC ads across Google and Bing. We understand that no client is the same, so our campaigns are tailored to each individual goal. Our team has experience across multiple industries generating leads, calls, sales, traffic, and app installs. Drawing on our wealth of knowledge we can help you decide what type of campaign best suits your needs. Contact us today for more information.