Why You Should Be Using Google Responsive Search Ads

Victoria Berezhetska
Content Lead
14 minute read
Victoria Berezhetska
Content Lead
14 minute read

Every marketer knows the value of having Google search ads. Consumers are out there looking for products and services, and using Google Ads puts you right in front of customers when their interest is high. Recently, Google unveiled Google responsive search ads—a new way to approach these ads that use machine learning technology to take extra work off your plate.

The rollout of Google responsive search ads (RSA) has taken a tremendous work burden off the shoulders of businesses and marketing teams. Now, marketers can utilize hundreds or thousands of combinations of Google Ads headlines and descriptions without doing any heavy lifting. 

By mastering this approach to paid search, you have the potential to improve your Google Ad capabilities by turning over the testing and optimizing of search ads to machine learning technology. 

What Are Responsive Search Ads?

Google responsive ads are a strategic way to upgrade your Google PPC ads. Marketers will come up with multiple Google Ads headlines and descriptions for their ad campaigns; then, Google tests different combinations of these headlines and descriptions to see which ones are most effective.

Furthermore, Google adjusts these tests depending on user history, meaning different users could get varying ad messages if search engine’s algorithms believe they are more likely to respond to them.


Marketers begin by submitting between 3 to 15 Google ads headlines and 2 to 4 descriptions to Google Ads. Out of these multiple options, Google will use Smart Bidding and Smart Creative solutions powered by machine learning to analyze multiple signals in real-time and attempt different combinations that can target the right customers.

Why You Should Be Using Google Responsive Search Ads

If you submit a maximum of 15 headlines and 4 descriptions, there are literally tens of thousands of potential combinations. While this could seem overwhelming to a marketing team of any size, the incredible number of variations is the key benefit of using Google responsive ads. 

While expanded text ads no longer exist within Google Ads search campaigns, some advertisers had to face the possibility of managing their existing text ads at the time was reduced to a minimum.

Let’s take a closer look at the principal differences between regular and responsive text ads that replaced them.

Google Responsive Search Ads vs. Text Ads

Most marketers are well-versed in the text ads Google offers. Some time ago, traditional text ads were the only option for search campaigns. Since then, a lot has changed, and Google RSA ad has come into play. Let’s examine in more detail how these two ad types differ.



Advertising Type


Responsive Search Ads

Expanded Text Ads

# of headlines

Up to 15


Length of headlines

Up to 30 characters

Up to 30 characters

# of descriptions

Up to 4


Length of descriptions  

Up to 90

Up to 90

Mobile optimization





Can only be paused, resumed, or removed


As of June 30, 2022, advertisers can no longer create or edit traditional text ads. While Google dropped the support for expanded text ads, marketers can still pause, resume, or remove these ads and review performance reports.

For that reason, the search engine actively encourages marketers to transition to a more advanced ad type – RSA ads – that requires no prior testing since all the testing is done automatically with Google responsive ads.

While the difference between these two ad types is not as big as it may seem, Google stresses that search patterns and trends drastically change, and around 15% of search queries are brand-new searches that the search engine has never seen before. Therefore, keeping pace with these patterns and trends is essential for the success of search campaigns.

With all the Google ad components specific to responsive Google Ads, businesses can serve the right marketing messages tailored to particular queries while driving incremental conversions. 

But if you look at the expanded text ads examples and Google responsive ad examples, chances are you will notice a minor difference between the two.


Source: Instapage

Google expanded text ads examples

Source: Google Ads Help

RSA Google ad

The principal difference is in the efficiency of the ad efforts backed by insights and tools used by Google.

Dynamic Search Ads vs. Responsive Search Ads

There’s no denying that Google responsive search ads resemble Dynamic Search Ads in how they’re more tailored to specific trends in search queries than expanded text advertising. As a Google search ads format, dynamic search campaigns pull information and content from the websites for future use in display ads.

Here’s an example illustrating how Dynamic Search Ads show and generate content for digital campaigns:


Source: Google Ads Help

The basic principle of how this ad format works is the following: when consumer searches for terms that are clearly tied to the publications, titles, and regularly used phrases on the website, Google Ads select a specific web page and generate a relevant Google ad headline for the advertisement.

How Do Responsive Search Ads Work?

First, marketers should pay close attention to crafting headlines and descriptions. In other words, the more Google ad components you add, the more opportunities the search engine will provide regarding serving ads that closely match the search terms of prospective customers while significantly improving campaign performance.

Apart from automated A/B testing, Google Ads offers the Ad Strength feature that provides feedback on how marketers can improve ad components so that they resonate even more with prospective clients. 


Source: Google Ads Help


After entering all the required Google ad components, Google assembles the submitted ad copy into multiple variations without redundancy. For instance, a single responsive search advertisement can have up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions.

Following that, Google chooses a maximum of three headlines and two descriptions to appear in varying combinations and orders. Marketers must pay close attention to the keywords used for this ad format, and that is because part of the ad copy can match a customer’s search query. When that happens, this part of an ad copy can appear in bold, stirring up the user’s attention even more.

Finally, the search engine tests the most suitable ad combinations and learns which are the most effective and relevant for various queries.

Here’s a short step-by-step tutorial featuring responsive search ads examples and various Google Ads description examples that explains how to go about creating multiple variations of headlines and descriptions.

Benefits of Responsive Search Ads

Why is having so many combinations so valuable? Because while thirty-thousand ad varieties could drive the average marketer mad, it is a treasure trove of value when used with Google machine learning.

Implementing Google responsive ads means that Google is testing these wide varieties, then using certain ones more when they are effective. So once an ad is run multiple times, it’s one of the best out of thousands. Depending on the user, these combinations can also be applied differently, meaning there won’t be one “winning” message but several effective Google Ads for multiple audiences.

Google also does all this testing and optimizing for free—you still only need to pay per click like regular Google Ads. So, it’s clear why so many marketers are eager to use Google responsive ads.

1. Personalization Opportunities

Relevant and unique marketing messages are delivered through personalization and backed by user experience. As one of the primary advantages of Google responsive search ads, personalization helps businesses gain a competitive edge. After all, about 90% of consumers in the U.S. find personalized experiences especially appealing when it comes to interacting with advertisements online.

The principle of how Google responsive search ads are displayed is directly linked to consumers’ search history, previous clicks, the type of device they use, and keywords used in a search query. Therefore, Google responsive search ads can be customized based on the customer’s current or regular location, interests, clicks, etc.

Simply put, search ads enable businesses to provide prospective customers with a more personalized ad experience.

2. Mobile Optimization Capabilities

When a user is browsing the internet searching for specific products or services on their mobile device, the size of the ad’s title and description might not fit into the screen. While that’s highly unlikely today, mobile optimization is still an essential part of the process, especially when successfully displaying a marketing message can significantly increase CTR across all device types. 

3. Automated A/B Testing

As previously stated, Google responsive search ads generate numerous combinations of ad copy for search campaigns. That means that Google runs automatic testing while eliminating the need for advertisers to analyze their CTR or ad impressions. In fact, it’s not uncommon for search ads to deliver significantly improved performance and yield better results, like 5% higher CTR and 6% more clicks.

4. Multiple Ad Auctions

The ad auction is used every time a search ad is suitable to appear on SERP. The auction specifies whether the Google responsive search ads appear and which positions are the most appropriate for them on the page.

Here’s what the auction process looks like:

  1. While a consumer is searching for something, the Google Ads system identifies all advertisements that contain keywords that match the search query.
  2. The system disregards ad campaigns that aren’t eligible. For instance, if a campaign targets a different country or violates the ad requirements.
  3. As a result, advertisements with the highest ad rank, which depends on the ad quality, initial bid, context of the user’s search, and other factors, are displayed.


Source: Google Ads Help


Since the auction is repeated for each search, it may produce different results. For instance, it may influence the ad’s position or whether it appears on the page. But marketers should remember that such fluctuations are normal, and the results won’t keep you waiting if you follow the ad requirements.

5. Continuous Asset Optimization

The Asset Details report lists all the assets used in the responsive search ads and helps marketers to compare them. With access to ad-level performance reports, you’ll be able to determine which assets must be replaced and which are the most efficient at increasing ad performance.


Source: Google Ads Help


The combinations report displays all of the ad variations generated by the responsive search ads. This report helps marketers to see how many impressions they’re getting and which combinations are most frequently displayed.

Google’s campaign-level assets report enables brands to get a detailed view of ad campaigns through the campaign performance rating. It shows the ad assets that are used, which are underperforming or performing the best. 


Source: Google Ads Help


Naturally, there are many advantages, and a few drawbacks, for businesses using responsive ads. Let’s take a closer look at some of the drawbacks.

Cons of Using Google Responsive Ads

While there are many clear benefits to using responsive ads through Google, there are also a few disadvantages worth mentioning. For example, because all the optimization of Google responsive ads is automated, there is no human oversight, which may not sit right with some. While examples of machine learning algorithms going horribly wrong are few, they may be seen as risky to some.

Another drawback is that there needs to be more transparency with responsive advertising on Google. While marketers can submit their preferred headlines and descriptions, there is no reporting on which combinations were most successful. Marketers will only know the success rate of their campaigns as a whole—there is no attribution data for individual combinations of headlines and descriptions. Some marketers may prefer the knowledge that comes from A/B testing results.

So, for some traditional marketers, or those who like having their data reviewed, Google responsive ads have some drawbacks. But overall, these ads offer a tremendous opportunity to let machine learning present prospects with optimized ad messages that appeal directly to them.

How To Enhance the Efficiency of Google Responsive Search Ads 

If you’re planning to use Google responsive search ads, there are a number of best practices you can follow to get the most out of your efforts. 

Utilize Cutting-edge Reporting and Feedback Tools

Businesses equipped with the following reporting and feedback tools can create more impactful responsive search ads:

  • Make the most of the ability to review ad copy combinations.
  • Utilize reporting for ad assets and best combinations to determine what appears most frequently on the SERP
  • Evaluate ad relevance and diversity of the ad copy using the Ad Strength tool.
  • Get real-time updates on ad strength and identify areas for improvement before your campaigns go live.


Source: Google Ads Help


Embrace Marketing Automation 

RSA marketing automation powered by machine learning allows businesses to reach target audiences at any point in their consumer journey. Simultaneously, it provides valuable content while using less detailed information to protect user privacy. Most importantly, it improves ad performance and increases profits.

Businesses equipped with marketing automation solutions like Phonexa’s Call Logic and LMS Sync can also capitalize on new lead generation opportunities and keyword-level tracking by analyzing phone conversations, tracking inbound calls, tapping into customer needs, identifying all the contact points, and managing the customer lifecycle.

Thoughtful Keyword Usage

You’ll want to use your target keywords when deciding which words to include in every Google Ads headline. If you have used Google search ads before, you should use the same keywords that were successful for your responsive search ads. Make sure you aren’t putting the same keywords in all your headlines. Doing so could lead to repetitive and uninteresting ads. 

Explore Headline Variety

The great benefit of Google responsive ads is that you get to use Google to test all kinds of ad messages. Therefore, you should use different words and phrases to get the most for your efforts. While some of your headlines should focus on target keywords and traditional messaging, you should also try completely different headlines.

Google algorithms do not respond well to redundancy, so the more variety you can include in your headlines, the better. To capture your prospect’s attention, you’ll also want to experiment with action phrases—”Buy now,” “Call today,” and similar expressions.

Pin Whatever’s Important

If there are headlines that you want to be certain end up in your ads, regardless of what the algorithm may do, you can “pin” specific headlines so that they remain in RSA Google ads. That can be useful for important keywords, “Insurance quotes,” or other propositions you want to be sure to highlight, like “Free consultation.” 

By “pinning” an ad asset to a specific position, advertisers can control where the headlines and descriptions will appear in their ads — in other words, pinning guarantees that both will only appear in your specified positions.

Responsive Ad Takeaways

The search engine has allowed marketers to test many Google ad headline and description varieties without extra work or cost by using automation to create responsive ads. Marketers can submit a diverse spectrum of headline copy and let algorithms do the rest.

While some may miss the transparency of A/B testing, the results will be seen in how many clicks and conversions they can achieve for many others. These results will eventually determine the long-term effectiveness of Google responsive search ads.

Schedule a consultation to learn how Phonexa’s call intelligence and lead distribution solutions can complement your Google Ads efforts and help your business optimize campaigns for better performance. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a search ad?

Search ads are the ad units displayed to customers actively looking for specific products or services through search queries.

What are responsive ads?

Google responsive search ads are ad units that automatically adapt in format, size, and visual appeal to accommodate available ad placements. As a result, a single responsive search ad may appear in one ad spot as a small text or as a large-scale image.

What is a responsive search ad?

Google Ads RSA enables advertisers to create responsive search ads that adapt in format, text, size, and visual appeal to display more relevant content to prospective customers.

How do responsive display ads use automation?

Since consumer trends keep changing and evolving, it’s far more crucial than ever to make it simpler for customers to interact and connect with brands by displaying relevant and informative advertisements.

Keeping up with these trends requires a high level of automation. Responsive ads Google offers are an excellent example of how it can be accomplished—they combine the marketer’s creativity with the power of machine learning to enable businesses to deliver more personalized and relevant advertising to more potential buyers.

What’s the advantage of responsive display ads?

Google utilizes extensive machine learning techniques for its ad tools to analyze the emerging trends in search queries and user responses to different ads. Afterward, the SEO optimizes search ads by combining different combinations of headlines and descriptions to improve and optimize ads even more. 

Therefore, one of the principal advantages of using Google responsive search ads is their ability to fit any native or non-native ad placement and deliver the right marketing messages to consumers.

How does Google Ads generate responsive search ads?

Google Ads utilizes machine learning to generate and serve responsive search ads. It allows testing multiple combinations of Google ads headlines and descriptions and identifying the top-performing ad copy that resonates with the audience.

Why should an advertiser consider using responsive search ads?

Advertisers strive to tailor their campaigns to target their audiences accurately. With Google responsive search ads, businesses can ensure efficiency through compelling ad copy variations that guarantee a deeper connection with customers.

What’s the advantage of the reach of responsive display ads?

One of the significant advantages of Google responsive search ads is that they are designed to utilize different ad copy variations for extensive reach, performance, and scale.

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Victoria Berezhetska avatar
Victoria Berezhetska
Content Lead

Victoria Berezhetska is a Content Lead at Phonexa. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, with extensive working experience as a PR specialist and content writer. In her work at Phonexa, she covers diverse topics around digital marketing, including affiliate marketing, call tracking, lead generation, marketing automation, and so much more.

Education: City University of Seattle

Expertise: Affiliate marketing, digital marketing, call tracking, lead generation, insurance


  • 8+ years of experience in digital marketing, specializing in building customer loyalty

  • Deep B2B and B2C content expertise intertwined with strong analytical and interpersonal skills

  • Unwavering drive for growth and commitment to creating impactful content

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