3 Responsive Search Ads tips to get the best bang for your buck

Posted on October 13, 2020 (Last Updated: January 22, 2024)

The landscape of digital marketing is ever-changing. You can never get too comfortable in this field, as things will change as soon as you think you have it all figured out.

The latest change to shake things up in a big way?

The development of Responsive Search Ads.

While some PPC experts are quick to dismiss responsive ads so they can maintain total control over their campaigns, we don’t think that’s the right approach.
By taking a closer look and testing it out, we’ve found that RSAs actually have a lot to offer. In fact, our RSA efforts have yielded some surprisingly powerful outcomes, including the following:

● When using Responsive Search Ads, we recorded a 243% increase in impressions
● Perhaps more surprisingly, our conversion rates jumped by 5%

It was this second point that was so surprising to us. The huge gains in ad impressions is a nice boost to be sure, but there was naturally concern that it would come at the expense of conversion rate. If we were simply getting more impressions on search queries that didn’t exactly line up with our market, conversion rate would likely drop significantly.

But that didn’t happen. Instead, there were way more searchers seeing our ads, and we even made a modest gain in terms of conversions. That’s a true win-win, and it’s something that can’t be ignored.

So, how can you leverage the power of Responsive Search Ads in your own business? We have assembled three tips to help you get started.

#1 – Highlight a Variety of Strengths

There is an art to writing copy for your RSAs, and that art can take a bit of practice to master.
You are used to writing static headlines and descriptions which are always displayed together in the same order. This is different, so you have to shift your thinking a bit.

When writing copy for your RSAs, you must remember that these pieces of information will be gathered by Google and displayed in a variety of ways. The key is to avoid redundancy, so you don’t end up with ads that say the same things over and over again. Instead, write diverse copy that touches on as many of your strengths as possible.

Make a list of what your business does well and then cover all of those bases in the copy. With a little creativity, you should be able to create a long list of traits about your company that are worthy of attention.


For example, you don’t want to fill up your headline section with variations on the theme of ‘Contact Us’ and ‘Call Today’. There is certainly room for one of those in the headline but saying it over and over again using different words is pointless. Vary the types of headline content you offer Google so it can assemble ads that make sense and draw the attention of the user.

#2 – Don’t Fall in Love with CTR

In traditional PPC advertising campaigns, CTR – or click-thru rate – is a valued metric. This number tracks how often your ad is clicked compared to how many times it is displayed on the search results page. It is important to carry a solid CTR on your campaigns as it can improve your Ad Rank.

We are not saying that you need to throw CTR out the window moving forward.
What we are saying, however, is that it’s important not to become too obsessed with click-thru rate when running a campaign with RSAs. The simple fact of the matter is this – your CTR will likely go down when you get so many more impressions. 

We mentioned earlier that our impressions more than doubled and our conversion rate went up 5% - but our click-thru rate did drop by 5%. If we were too focused on CTR and gave up on the campaign because of that one metric, we’d have missed out on a great opportunity for growth.

#3 – Lock in Your Winners

You aren’t just going to walk away from your Responsive Search Ads campaign once it goes live. Instead, you are going to monitor its progress and make changes as necessary to dial in the results. One thing you can do as the campaign moves along is to grab the best performers of the RSA campaign and use them as traditional ads. In this way, you’ll be using the RSAs for testing. You can see which combinations of ad copy work best in the real world, and then create that same ad for use in a standard campaign.

It takes a leap of faith to get started with RSAs when you are used to controlling every single piece of your ad campaigns. To get over the hump, maybe start small and run a modest campaign to see how it works for your needs. If your results are anything like ours, you’ll be wanting to ramp it up in no time.


Ty Alyea is Director of Search Marketing Product at Service Direct, where he is responsible for creating and managing thousands of digital ad campaigns across hundreds of local service industries for 1,000+ clients. He has a B.A. from UCLA as well as an M.A.and PhD from the University of Texas at Austin.

Written by Guest Author

Topics:Google Ads

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