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Google Ads’ New Responsive Search Ads – What You Need to Know

Google Ads will always keep us guessing. Last February 18, 2021, Google stated that RSAs will be the default ad type when creating ads for a Search campaign. Read on to discover what this move will mean for Google Ads and advertisers.

Explaining the Move

Because Expanded Text Ads (ETAs) have been phased out in favour of Responsive Search Ads (RSAs), there are currently only two types of ads accessible when creating a new one: Responsive Search Ads or Call Ads.

That is not to suggest that your Expanded Text Ads (ETAs) will cease to function instantly (at least not for the time being). Google still suggests that each ad group has two ETAs and one RSA.

To create ETAs, first, create an RSA and then click the blue lettering at the top that says “revert to text advertising.” As a result of this change, RSAs have become Google’s default search ad type.

Making the Switch

Google provides the following justifications for transitioning from ETAs to RSAs:

1. Improved performance with Machine Learning

We’ve seen a pattern with Google’s latest automated updates. While many marketers are concerned that this may result in a loss of control over their campaigns, Google believes that machine learning can actually increase campaign flexibility, clicks, and conversions.

2. Adaptive Customer Behaviour

Consumer preferences and interests are always shifting, and this is truer than ever as the pandemic expands. According to Google, RSAs let advertisers more easily adjust to changing market trends without having to build and test individual static adverts.

3. Optimized Account Administration

Google wants more advertisers to use RSAs (especially new advertisers) so that its machine learning algorithms can work with more data. This allows Google to make more performance recommendations for individual accounts while also simplifying account management.

Re-Learning Responsive Search Ads (RSA) 

This ad type, introduced in 2018, offers more ad copy versatility by allowing for up to 15 headlines and four descriptions. Google then dynamically combines such materials for each search auction.

Consider an RSA’s headlines and descriptions being shuffled around like songs on a playlist. The RSAs alter the headlines and descriptions on a regular basis to better match the searcher’s query.

The Battle of RSA vs. ETA

Compare and contrast the two. ETAs are limited to three headlines and two descriptions that never change. You have more control over the copy of your advertisement now that you have an ETA.

RSAs allow you to create up to fifteen different headlines and four different descriptions. This is great because you can tailor headlines and descriptions to better match queries, but you lose control over RSAs because Google never discloses the exact combination of headlines and descriptions it will serve at any one time.

While RSAs allow for longer headlines/descriptions, they are still limited to the same number of characters as ETAs (up to 30 characters for headlines and up to 90 characters for descriptions).

In general, both RSAs and ETAs offer advantages and cons, so try both.

The Advantages and Drawbacks of RSAs

By dynamically modifying their headlines and descriptions, RSAs effectively differentiate themselves from ETAs. For example, their variety results in a lack of control in advertising language, and their expansive nature may necessitate additional time to generate these.

While an ETA can be quickly generated with a few descriptions and headlines (if these flaws are avoided), we’ve noticed that RSAs take longer to produce due to the additional material necessary. Fortunately, Google is assisting us in the creation of this advertising.

Up to three headlines and two descriptions may be included in an RSA. If space allows, you can select a headline or description that will appear in the SERP. Pinning is not suggested until absolutely essential because it prevents Google from automatically testing your Responsive Search Ads versions.

RSA Best Practices

  • With a single RSA, include up to five adverts per ad group.
  • Finish the complete advertisement (all fifteen headlines and all four descriptions whenever possible).
  • Include top-performing keywords in the ad copy.
  • To keep the audience interested, refresh the advertisement copy on a regular basis.
  • The initial letter of each word should be capitalized.
  • Use Dynamic Keyword insertion.
  • Utilize ad extensions.
  • Use Google’s randomized previews in the bottom right corner of the screen to view your ad.

RSA’s Don’ts

  • Keyword stuffing.
  • Incompatibility of headers/descriptions. Make sure your copy is cohesive.
  • Using three headlines with two descriptions.
  • Repetitive wording.

Responding to the Switch

1. Use RSAs Regularly to Test a Variety of Messages

Advertisers should continually update and test many versions of their advertising, which is a major issue that Google is striving to address. While this is a time-honoured good practice, many advertisers ignore it, and as a result, their accounts suffer.

Ad copy testing is used by Google to ensure that a message is more relevant to a certain search or user. Because some firms loathe creating three or more advertisements per ad group, Google’s Responsive Search Ad type fills the void. Rather than needing marketers to make multiple ads, RSAs test a broader range of concepts using their headlines and descriptions.

2. Expanded Text Ads Should be Created and Tested

Despite the fact that RSAs can lead to more testing and better advertising, advertisers should continue producing ETAs and augmenting them with RSAs.

A “handwritten” advertisement outperforms Google’s machine-written equivalents on a regular basis. Google’s daring choice to default ad generation to RSAs is a bold move meant to increase adoption for new advertisers who may not comprehend the distinction. In general, advertisers should use Responsive Search Ads to supplement their ad groups and test two to three ETAs per ad group. You can use Google’s automated ad text testing to fine-tune your ad language.

3. Consider Pinning-Worthy Headlines

Text advertisements can be created using RSAs by putting headlines in the first, second, and third spots. Advertisements with pinned headlines have performed admirably (but not all headlines).

4. Use Google’s resources

Make use of their ad strength. This Google Ads tool rates your RSAs (from Poor to Excellent) based on their relevance, quantity, and diversity of ad copy. It then gives you suggestions on how to enhance your score. Your headlines/descriptions may be too brief, or you may have forgotten to include your ultimate URL. Advertisers who raise the quality of their Responsive Search Ads from ‘Poor’ to ‘Excellent’ gain an extra 9% more hits and conversions.

5. Indicate a Location Source

Increase the relevance of your adverts by using location insertion. If your company serves a large geographic area, a single headline can be used to describe all cities and villages. Instead, add code to your headline. Check that your headlines are capitalized correctly and that your campaign’s location targeting is set up correctly. Additionally, fill out the default text field with phrases you want to use if no location is recognized.

RSAs for Google Ads Evolution

RSAs have grown in importance in ad effectiveness across several verticals, serving as both a big conversion driver and a source of impressions. RSAs were established initially to generate traffic and test headlines and descriptions for Expanded Text Ads. With more match types and a general trend toward AI and Smart Bidding, RSAs are critical for ensuring you’re reaching the proper audience. RSAs have an advantage over Standard Text Ads in that they can display different headlines and descriptions based on search history and intent.


With such information overload, we’re sure that you are now more knowledgeable about Google’s new RSAs. At the same time, you’ll be more equipped to adapt to this change. As you make the switch, note that the full impact of any change to the Google Ads platform will become clear over time, which allows you to acquire the necessary knowledge and advice. This way, you can maximize your efforts while avoiding any negative consequences on your performance.

For reliable Google Ads Management services in Toronto, New Digital Marketing Agency offers a data-driven approach to optimizing your performance. With your goals and our guaranteed results, we can reach higher levels for your business together. Work with us today!

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