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Responsive Search Ads: Updates & Our New Approach

Published: September 2, 2021

Author: Shawn Grenald

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Responsive Search Ads: 3Q Digital’s New Approach

On August 31st, Google announced that Responsive Search Ads (RSAs) would be the only ad type that can be created or edited in standard search campaigns starting on June 30, 2022. When that happens, advertisers will no longer be able to edit or create Expanded Text Ads (ETAs). According to Google, ETAs will still serve, and you can still see performance reporting for these ad units, but they will be considered a legacy ad type.

Changes in the search engine marketing landscape have indicated this impending RSA change for a while. Google has been promoting the adoption of RSAs since they were introduced in June 2018. Earlier this year, the most recent step forward was when Google announced that RSAs would be the default ad type within standard search campaigns. This change also coincided with Google’s larger initiative of automating its full suite of products. As an example of this shift, algorithmic bidding is the gold standard for accounts, match types continue to evolve with Google encouraging wider utilization of Broad Match, Dynamic Search Ads have proven to be a successful strategy, and, as recently as last week, Google announced that Data-Driven Attribution is becoming the default attribution within Google Ads.

At 3Q Digital, we have been anticipating this announcement and have migrated to a robust RSA creative strategy. RSAs have been a valuable asset in our overall SEM strategy for some time. Our teams have conducted numerous experiments with RSAs and the results have been quite positive. On average, RSAs drove 29% more incremental impressions while also providing a 24% higher conversion rate than ETAs. Based on these findings, our 3Q Growth Labs team has launched a RSA strategy dubbed “Thematic RSAs.”

Thematic RSAs fully utilize Google’s automation to bring real-time insights to our clients. Current industry best practices suggest having one RSA per ad group. We promote using all three available RSA allotments. Each RSA ad structure features a different theme to appeal to users with the most relative messaging. By grouping our ads in this manner, we can better understand which theme resonates most with users, further improving our overall results. Thematic RSAs have been a successful tool in fueling growth in our accounts – teams have seen clicks increase by 25% and impressions by 32% after implementing them.

Interested in how your brand can successfully leverage Thematic RSAs? Connect with our team for a customized testing proposal!

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