In this post, we share Google paid search best practices to make the most of your responsive search ad campaigns. By this July, responsive search ads will be the only available ad format for new paid search text ads.

Google Paid Search Best Practices:
Responsive Search Ads

  • We now offer Paid Search through Brainlabs! Contact us at to discuss the benefits of adding Paid Search to your marketing mix.

Paid search is a darling of data-driven marketing for good reason: it is a user-initiated opportunity to provide value. For each user query, an advertiser can provide the right answer to a declared need. For example, a unique auction for every search happens 5.6 billion times per day on Google alone. As with everything in digital marketing, all aspects of Paid Search are becoming increasingly more AI-driven. Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and other advertising ecosystems continue to enhance automation. Therefore, mastery of Responsive Search Ads (RSA) is a critical capability to drive higher performance.

paid search responsive search ads
Source: Google Ads Help

Similar to Programmatic Dynamic Creative Optimization, Responsive Search Ads use contextual signals to assemble text assets predicted to perform best for each individual user’s search query. Google’s Responsive Search Ads have been around since 2018. Then, they became the default ad format in 2021. And now they will also be the only ad type for new paid search text ads after June 30, 2022.


Benefits of using Responsive Search Ads

  • Support for 15 headlines and 4 descriptions for a single ad
  • Adapting to device widths
  • Tailoring headlines and descriptions to locations
  • Ability to compete in more auctions and match more queries
  • Ad text may automatically appear in bold when it matches or closely matches a user’s search query
paid search responsive search ads
Source: Google Ads Help

Best Practices for Responsive Search Ads

  • Enter the maximum number of headlines and descriptions to create combinations that most closely match search queries.
  • Remember that assets can be shown in any order. So, craft modular copy that makes sense in any combination.
  • Write headlines in groups as if they would appear together to make the most of combinations.
  • Include at least one keyword among your headlines.
  • Make headlines as unique and differentiated from one another as possible.
  • Ensure one RSA per ad group reaches “Good” or “Excellent” ad strength.
  • Critical text that should appear in every ad must be pinned to Headline position 1 or 2. Or Description position 1.
  • Pin headlines or descriptions to control where they appear with the caveat that pinning will reduce possible combinations. Content pinned to Headline position 2 and Description position 2 may not show in every ad.
  • In regulated industries, pin legal copy to ensure compliance.
  • If Headlines or Descriptions are flagged as too similar, emphasize different value propositions and different customer/user motivations. Select those that may appeal to your target audience.


Target Each Stage of the Customer Journey

Responsive Search Ads Customer Journey


Test and Optimize

Google provides an asset report with KPIs for each ad combination to identify high-performing assets for optimizing your campaign. In addition, a minimum of 3,000 impressions per week and 5000 impressions in the “Google Search: Top” segment over 30 days are optimal to display an accurate rating. Finally, as specific assets emerge as winners, replace low-performing assets with new concepts to test. Brainlabs utilizes a proprietary account structure called D’Artagnan which increases the speed of insight for these metrics.

Responsive search ads
Source: Google Ads Help


How We Can Help

Consumer Acquisition has been acquired by digital marketing agency Brainlabs in an exciting move to expand our capabilities. In this next stage of growth for Consumer Acquisition, we are thrilled to bring Brainlabs’ strengths in SEO, paid search, and programmatic advertising to our clients. Brainlabs’ portfolio of clients includes Mars, Samsung, Walmart Canada, Formula 1, Adidas, Bed, Bath & Beyond, and F5.

Our methodology for Paid Search is underpinned by the following: restructure, automate, test, and learn. By closely aligning our strategy with your goals, we can work towards whichever KPIs you deem most important. We also stay ahead of the game by constantly focusing on future thinking and innovation. We also leverage our Google GMP Premier Partnership status and proprietary technology stack to deliver industry-leading results for our partners. Contact us to discuss how paid search can help you reach your 2022 marketing goals.

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