Everything To Know About Google Responsive Ads

Using a tool like a banner generator is one of the best ways to create unique ads, even if you don’t have a lot of experience. Before you get started, though, there are certain things you need to know about the display and responsive search ads. 

While search ads aren’t visual, display ads are. When you’re creating banner display ads, you’re thinking about your copy but also the imagery. When you’re creating responsive search ads, your focus is entirely on your headline and description. 

Responsive search ads work well as a supplement to organic SEO if you have a time-sensitive product or service or if you want to get high-quality leads. 

As of June 30, 2022, you won’t be able to create or edit expanded text ads. That means if you’re going to be creating new ads within a standard campaign, responsive ads are your only option. This will make it easier for you to create ads and improve your performance with automated tools available from Google, but you’ll have to understand how they work. 

Below is a guide to everything to know about what it means to use responsive ads as a Google advertiser. 

What is a Responsive Search Ad?

A responsive search ad is similar to an expanded text ad as far as how it appears on the SERP and how you create them. 

The difference is that a responsive search ad lets you input 15 headlines, along with four descriptions. Expanded text ads only give an option for three headlines and two descriptions. 

Google then does testing to determine the best combination, which is ideal for the automated bidding strategies that Google uses. It can test different combinations so you can find the combinations that are going to work best in any given situation. 

Responsive ads are, relatively speaking, one of the newer additions to the Google advertising platform, Google Ads. These ads adapt to your audience, making sure they’re getting the most relevant messages. 

One way to look at it, in simple terms, is that responsive search ads are like A/B testing, but the next generation. 

According to Google, responsive search ads have a higher click-through rate by anywhere from 5-15% compared to standard ads. 

To create a new responsive search ad, it’s required that you have at least three headlines and two variations in your description line. You don’t have to create the maximum number, but it can be a good idea to do so. The more headline options and descriptions that are available, the more testing for different ad variations you’re going to be able to take advantage of. 

You can also more easily find the ads you need to make changes to, lending to a higher conversion rate and potentially a lower CPC. 

Responsive Ad Reporting

When you want to look at the performance of your responsive ads, which is critical for improving your PPC campaigns, you’ll look at the data. You can go to Ads & Extensions, which is in Google Ads. Then from there, you can add an ad type filter for “Responsive Search Ad.” You can look at the data there, including click-through rates, average CPC, cost, and impressions. 

If you have newly created ads, you’re not going to have data to evaluate performance, making it even more important to compare new responsive ad performance against other types of ads. 

Focus On Something Different In Every Headline and Description

Don’t just repeat variations of the same headline in a mundane way. If your headlines or descriptions are too similar, Google isn’t even going to show the search ads anyway. 

You want to make sure you’re creative when you’re brainstorming options. You want to highlight different value propositions, offers, and experiences with calls to action. 

Make sure that you have a top keyword in at least two of the headlines. You can use the Dynamic Keyword Insertion to use your keywords and add them to your search ads that are responsive. 

You should, by contrast, have at least three headlines without your keywords. This helps prevent your ads from being too repetitive. You’re able to put the focus on more value for the people who are searching. 

Make sure you use descriptions and headlines that are different lengths, and you don’t always have to maximize the character count every time for each element. 


With the use of responsive search ads, you can pin headlines and descriptions in particular positions to see how they perform. 

Every headline doesn’t show every time, nor does every description, but if there’s a major message you want to always include in your ad, like a brand message, you can then pin it to make sure it’s always showing up. 

If you are going to use the pinning feature, do so with caution. When you pin headlines or descriptions, you’re restricting the variant testing that is the true benefit of responsive ads. You might see a negative impact on the performance of an ad as a result. 

When you pin even a single headline, it can reduce the level of testing Google can perform by more than 75%. 

The Benefits of Responsive Ads

Some of the main benefits of Google’s responsive search ads include:

  • There’s a high level of flexibility. When you have traditional search ads, a search query can lead to a static ad that’s not relevant to the intent of a user. You’re taking advantage of Google’s machine learning with responsive ads. The machine learning will adjust to what will work best for a given audience. 
  • The users are targeted with Google’s machine learning based on intent and also past behavioral data. 
  • Prior to the introduction of responsive ads, advertisers had to create variants of an ad and test them manually with A/B testing. This was the only way they could start to discern what would work best. Now, the manual part of that is automated, which improves performance and saves you time. 
  • You can have more space for a message. For example, you might be able to use more keywords in the additional description lines. 

Finally, the versatility of responsive ads is a reason why they’re beneficial. When you change out the lines for headlines and descriptions, your ad can end up competing in multiple auctions, with matches to varying search phrases. A traditional text ad would only display if triggered by a more limited set of queries. 

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