How To Optimize The New Responsive Search Ads

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Responsive search ads are one of the newest and most impactful changes to the Google Ads platform.

Not only does this new format produce longer ads, but it is also an excellent tool for testing the effectiveness of your individual ad assets.

Learning how to optimize responsive search ads is a vital step towards maximizing the value of both of these key advantages.

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What Are Responsive Search Ads?

If you missed the big release of responsive search ads or just aren’t clear exactly how these new Google Ads feature works, here is a quick rundown.


Responsive search ads ask PPC marketers to submit up to 15 unique headlines and 4 different descriptions. Then, using sophisticated algorithms, the tool begins creating and testing different ad messages constructed with the components you’ve supplied.

It pays attention to which types of users and audience segments respond best to which combinations of ad assets. Using this data, responsive search ads are able to immediately adapt to the best possible ad message for each unique user.

This unique ability to respond to user behaviors helps increase campaign performance for many PPC marketers.

How To Create A Responsive Search Ad

Building your first responsive search ad is a simple and straightforward process:

  1. From the Google Ads menu page, click “Ads & extensions” on the left.
  2. Click the blue plus sign to add a responsive search ad.
  3. Enter the URL information (display link and an actual URL)
  4. Input up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions.
  5. Save and publish your ad.

3 Tips For Optimizing Responsive Search Ads

Responsive search ads are simple and fast to create. Optimizing these ads, however, requires a little more effort. There are a number of important factors that marketers need to consider when creating and adjusting responsive search ads.

Tip #1: Length Is Your Friend

Compared to expanded text ads (ETAs), responsive search ads are twice the maximum character length. This means you can finally add all the extra details that you just couldn’t fit into your other ads.

Length is also an important factor because it affects the physical size of your ads. A lengthier ad takes up more space and is harder to miss.

Thus, be sure to take full advantage of the higher character limits offered by Google Ads.

Tip #2: Create As Many Headlines And Descriptions As You Can

Unless you’re creating a responsive search ad to test a very specific thing, then you’ll want to do your best to enter the maximum number of headlines (15) and descriptions (4) allowed.

Why? The more ad components you enter, the more possible combinations that can be created. If you enter the maximum for each ad part, then there are over 40,000 messages that can be created and tested.

In turn, this maximizes the number of actionable insights that you can derive from your responsive search ads. You’ll have an extensive report that details each headline, description and completed ad message. You can use this report to further your understanding of what sort of ad content appeals to your audiences.

Tip #3: Take Advantage Of Pinning Options

Responsive search ads allow marketers to pin headlines and descriptions in certain positions. This will ensure that certain components always appear in a specific location. For example, if you wanted your company name to always appear at the start of the headline, you could pin this text to the first headline position.

Pinning guarantees that certain information that absolutely needs to be present in your ad messages is always displayed. You can also pin multiple headlines or descriptions to the same position. Google will then pick and choose when to display each component.

By pinning multiple ad assets into the same position, you reduce the number of possible permutations but can conduct more specific tests on ad messages. If you were curious whether people respond better to free shipping or 24-hour customer service, you could pin both to the same position and study which ad messages receive the most attention.


Responsive search ads are an effective tool for PPC marketers at all levels. It is definitely a feature that you don’t want to overlook, especially when you consider that you can create your first responsive search ad in just a few quick steps!

From there, it’s all about optimizing your responsive search ads and seeing how each ad component performs.

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