RSAs nearly always have a higher click-through rate than ETAs. (Notice I said “nearly always.” Don’t @ me with your exceptions.)

create as many expanded text ad combinations in your account that you believe you will reasonably use in the future. They can be paused to start, but remain waiting for a future test. This way, you retain the ability to use them since they were already created and all you have to do is turn them on and off.
ad variants are important to you to test in the future and upload only the ones that you are confident you’ll use. There’s no need to upload 500 ad variants per ad group if you only test three new ad variants a quarter. Be realistic with this step, but don’t pass up on the opportunity to create the ad variants you want.

3. Be ready for declining ETA impressions

In September 2021, Google announced it will be sunsetting expanded text ads in June 2022. This is certainly a large change, but not a big surprise. Plus, Google has given us plenty of lead time.
One feature of responsive search ads is the option to pin certain headlines and descriptions in place. Note that ads will still always be two headlines and one description at a minimum, with the option for Google to extend them to three headlines and two descriptions, but ads will never be longer than that. Here are some important tips with regard to this functionality. 

impressions away from ETAs.

4. Activate responsive search ads now

Even before this change was announced, we were seeing declining impression counts on expanded text ads compared to responsive search ads in many accounts. My hunch is that trend will continue.
If you have a few headline variants that are fairly similar, you can pin them all to the same position. As a result, only that group of headlines will show in that position and not anywhere else. This is a great way to treat call to action headlines. You can create four different CTA headlines and pin them all in position two so that placement will always contain one of those four CTA headlines.

Responsive Search Ads 101: Best Practices You Need to Know 

5. Establish RSA benchmarks

Get RSAs active in all ad groups of all search campaigns in all of your accounts now so you can start establishing benchmarks for each specific account. This will be very, very handy when you have to answer to your boss or client about changes in performance.
These are…pretty unhelpful if you ask me. But they do give some indicator on what Google is seeing performance-wise for each component.
Google’s standard suggestion is that you have at least one responsive search ad active in every ad group of your account.

The important thing about these scores is they DO NOT correlate directly to conversion performance. Just because a component is rated Best, it doesn’t mean it’s generating conversions. To find that out, you’ll need to pin some ad components in place and get more firm data.

We began testing a new ad format that is going to be the default moving forward. Rather than giving you generic benchmarks, we tested these in your account specifically and here is the range that we can expect moving forward.

6. Pin strategically

Responsive search ads only require three headlines and two descriptions to be added to a campaign and run. You can also pin elements wherever you like within your RSAs.

Use pinning to ensure a CTA in every ad

Although I think it’s important to take advantage of ETAs while we have them, I’m also realistic.

Pin multiple components to the same position

Lastly, you can see some ad combinations by clicking on the Combinations tab up at the top of the asset details page.

Google explains ad strength here.
Image source

Make ETAs with the RSA framework

Conversion performance, on the other hand, varies widely. Some accounts do very well with responsive search ads and others can really struggle when it comes to getting customers over the final finish line.

reporting for RSAs is also a bit different than ETAs. We’re still able to see the performance at an ad unit level for all the metrics we would want to see. But if you’re leveraging any level of dynamic ad serving, you’ll likely not be able to get an exact picture of which ad combination generated results.
Get a true read on your performance with our Free Google Ads Performance Grader.

Asset performance rating

At this point, I’m on board with them.

  • Pending: No information on the asset yet.
  • Learning: Not enough information on the asset yet.
  • Low: One of the lowest performing of its type. May want to replace.
  • Good: Performing well relative to other assets of its type. Keep and add more.
  • Best: One of the best of its type. Keep and add more.
  • Unrated (“—“): Rating not available due to insufficient activity, traffic, or number of similar assets to compare against.

Additionally, you’ll notice Google has an asset performance rating system:
Not every headline and/or description needs to have a call to action included, but every ad, of course, should. Pin certain components to ensure that every ad variant that’s eligible will contain a call to action.

Check the Combinations tab

Even if the benchmarks are lower than previous performance, I can guarantee you’ll soften the blow by establishing clear expectations early on. This is the key to building client relationships that last.

5 Ways to Use Responsive Search Ads to Maximize Your ROI.

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