Using ChatGPT? Chat with SmartMetrics AI about our services, marketing/analytics insights, how-to implementations & more.

With Google’s new update regarding its advertisement algorithm, one has to wonder if we are genuinely venturing into the realm of Artificial Intelligence. With the introduction of Responsive Search Ads (RSAs), the new default from February 2021, instead of the previous Expanded Text Ads (ETAs), we see the age-old argument of trusting the machine, in this case, algorithm, our capabilities. It is neither an easy choice nor easy to adapt to, so this article will serve as your guide and hopefully assuage any fears you might have.

Understanding what’s new for advertising:

It has been announced that by June 30, 2022, you will no longer be able to create ETA’s, although you will still be able to view previous advertisements and their reports. Making it all the more important to grasp what RSAs provide. However, you will need to focus your advertising campaign on RSA’s, which will be far more adaptive and dynamic. So, get ready to jump onto the new boat.

Google gives a few reasons for the switch from ETAs to RSAs as the default Ad type:

  • Machine learning enables better performance.
  • Google is pushing towards automation, believing that algorithms and interfaces increase campaign effectiveness in terms of flexibility, clicks, and conversions.
  • The flexibility will reflect changing customer behavior
  • Google essentially wants more advertisers to utilize RSAs (especially new advertisers) since it provides more data for their machine learning techniques to work with. This enables Google to provide more account performance suggestions and streamlines the account management experience.

Compare RSAs to ETAs; what sets them apart?

Responsive Search Ads (RSA): The significant advantage of this ad type is that it allows for greater diversity in ad material by allowing for up to 15 headlines and four descriptions. The headlines and descriptions are then dynamically matched up by Google during each search auction.

The RSAs rotate between numerous headlines and descriptions to present the optimum combination for each unique searcher’s query.

By enabling you to construct up to fifteen distinct headlines and four descriptions, RSAs give you more to work with. This sounds wonderful since you can fit different headlines and descriptions to match searches better. Indeed, by diversifying so, your advertisements will be able to reach many more customers by matching more queries. These are aspects not captured by the standard and fixed ETAs. Still, the downside is that you’ll have less control over RSAs because you never know which combination of headlines and descriptions Google will select to deliver at any given moment.

However, it is still possible to retain some semblance of control by choosing to ‘pin’ up to three headlines and two descriptions, so you can select which headlines appear with which description. Google itself has mentioned how you can add disclaimers if you wish to by pinning them to your headlines so that the customer can view them. This is just one example of the possibilities; it is possible to pin many more headlines and descriptions to your liking.

Expanded Text Ads (ETA): ETAs can only have three headlines and two descriptions, and they never change position. You have significantly more flexibility over your ad copy now that the components of your ETA are in place. The characters limit for these fields remains the same, which is up to 30 characters for headlines and up to 90 characters for descriptions. Furthermore, it would seem that you can whip up an ETA in no time with only a few descriptions and a few headlines, whereas RSAs take a little longer to finish since you have to come up with many more lines of text.

While it would seem that both forms of advertisement come with their pros and cons, with ETAs being too rigid and structured and RSAs being too fluid, RSAs bring an entirely new dimension to advertising online. RSAs are far more interactive and, with machine learning, can adapt to the changing customer demands, queries, and searches and, as such, can provide much more traffic to your site.

Ideas, Recommendations, and Best Practices:

Do’s of RSAs:

  • Assuming you have previous ETAs, there should be at least one RSA per ad group in an entire package of three to five advertisements.
  • Fill out every detail in the ad (all fifteen headlines and all four descriptions whenever possible).
  • Incorporate high-performing keywords into your ad text.
  • Refresh ad copy frequently to give readers something new to look at.
  • In your text, capitalize the initial letter of each word.
  • Make use of Dynamic Keyword Insertion.
  • Make use of ad extensions.
  • To see what your ad will look like, use the jumbled previews Google offers on the bottom right of the screen.

Don’ts of RSA:

  • Keyword stuffing; if it doesn’t make sense, don’t include them in your copy.
  • Ensure your material is coherent by asking yourself, “Would these headlines/descriptions go together if only presented alone?”
  • If it seems that the advertisements are jumbled, then use the ‘pin’ option.
  • Make use of phrasing that is repeated.

Advice for Advertisers:

  • Advertisers should update and test numerous versions of their adverts regularly. Even though this is an age-old recommended practice, many marketers fail to follow it regularly, and their accounts suffer.
  • Ad copy testing not only assists marketers in improving their advertising in general, but it also allows Google to better match a message to a specific search or person. Producing three or more advertisements in each ad group isn’t a habit for some marketers. Therefore Google’s Responsive Search Ad type fills in the gaps. Instead of requesting advertisers to produce multiple versions of their advertisements, RSAs use their headlines and descriptions to test a broader range of messages for the advertisement.
  • Experiment with pinning headlines.