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5 Tips on a Strategic Approach to Responsive Search Ad Copy Development

Published: June 24, 2019

Author: Nikki Barden

Responsive search ads (RSAs) allow you to input 15 different headlines and 4 different descriptions and let Google serve a combination of the copy that aims to be the most relevant to searchers in the auction. (Curious on the latest data insights of responsive search ads? Check out this Marin Software blog post from 3Q Labs expert Will Cozart for some findings on their performance. TL; DR: implement them now.)
As you look to get started with RSAs, here are some tips and tricks to help guide you through the development of your copy.

Analyze, analyze, analyze.

As tempting as it is to throw headlines and descriptions together with the hopes of Google finding something that works, it’s beneficial to use a data-driven approach by analyzing your existing ad copy to find winning variations. This will help you understand what messaging tactics resonate best with searchers (value props, call to actions, etc.), and it will also help guide your approach to creating new variations. Using historical data from your ETAs will allow you to hand over valuable and strategic variations for Google to test.

Involve top-performing keywords.

Analyze keyword data to pinpoint your highest-performing keywords and be sure to include them within your copy. It is recommended to include keywords in at least two headlines. While it’s important to ensure you are providing coverage for top performers, avoid overstuffing your copy with the same keywords to maximize your chances of Google serving your RSAs.

Input unique copy variations and lengths.

When drafting your headline and description variations, be sure to include a wide variety of messaging. Repeating the same language in each input will reduce Google’s ability to create meaningful ad combinations and will put your RSAs at risk of not serving at all. On a similar note, mix up the lengths of your headlines and descriptions. Adding shorter copy can potentially increase your chances of all 3 headlines and 2 descriptions serving, which will maximize the full real estate RSAs offer.

More is better!

The more inputs you provide, the more opportunities you give Google to test out different combinations to deliver the most relevant ads. The whole goal of implementing RSAs is to allow Google a chance to test and learn which ads combinations will be the most relevant to users’ search queries in each auction, so use those 15 headlines and 4 description options to your advantage.

Pin only your most important headlines and descriptions (if necessary).


You will be provided with the option to pin headlines and/or descriptions, meaning that they will always appear when your RSA is served.
You can even pin to a certain position to increase the amount of control you have over the order of how your copy shows. Keep in mind, however, that pinning headlines and descriptions decrease Google’s ability to test, so be sure to only pin what’s really necessary, such as key branded messaging.
As Google begins to rely on machine learning more heavily, it’s crucial to lean into these automated strategies to learn how to use them to your account’s advantage. Our job as digital marketers is to work with these new automations and provide data-driven, high-level strategic insight to help guide results. Give responsive search ads a try with these tips and monitor their progress to see how they perform within your account.

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