Google Responsive Search Ads

Photo by Caio Resende from Pexels
Google’s Responsive Search Ads is the latest text ad iteration Google rolled out in 2019. Google is always testing new text search ads formats. For example, years ago we had a simple text ad where advertisers could have one or two headlines, and one description. A few years back Google rolled out expanded text ads, which allowed advertisers to have up to three headlines and two descriptions. This was by design to increase the performance and click through rate. Now, Google has rolled out a new search text ad format called Responsive Search Ads.

Table of Contents

What are Responsive Search Ads

Responsive Search Ads is a text ad format on Google, where an advertiser can upload multiple headlines and multiple descriptions and Google will automatically assemble search text ads that drives the highest performance, in this case, click through rate.

As advertising is leveraging machine learning and automation to maximize performance, this is a prime example of this. By uploading multiple headlines and descriptions, Google will test different combinations to identify which combinations drive the best return for the advertiser.

Prior to responsive search ads, an advertiser would have to manually create many different iterations of search ads and monitor the performance to see which combination will yield the best result. With Responsive Search Ads, Google will do the heavy lifting and generate the best performing ads for the assets that were uploaded.

How to Use Responsive Ads

Creating Responsive Search Ads is extremely easy. As you can see through the screenshots you simply upload multiple headlines, descriptions, a display URL and a final URL.

One very important aspect of Responsive Search Ads is the ability to “pin” an element of the ad. For example, if you’re creating ads for a branded campaign, you can “pin” your company’s name in the first headline. This will force Google to always show the company name in the first headline, to show users that you are the owner of the brand.

The ability to pin in Responsive Search Ads is very helpful and should be considered based on the campaigns you’re running.


Responsive Search Ads

What to Expect

At our agency, Rise Marketing Group, many of our clients are testing responsive search ads, with success. Generally, we see a high click through rate (CTR) and lower cost per clicks (CPCs). Click through rate and CPCs are usually correlated, the higher CTR will drive lower CPCs as Google will reward top performing ads with lower CPCs and generally, higher positioning.

Based on the success we see, we would recommend all search advertisers test responsive search ads.

Key Points

  • As you create responsive search ads, test them against expanded text ads, to insure that the new ad format will drive more performance than the existing ads.
  • Use the pin functionality when it makes sense. I would highly recommend this for branded campaigns, to insure that the branded name is pinned within the first headline of the ad, so the user knows they will go to the intended website, upon click.
  • As you’re evaluating performance, also consider the conversion rate and cost per conversion of the responsive search ads against expanded text ads.
  • I believe that responsive search ads will eventually be the new norm for text ads, and it’s best to get in early, before Google may start mandating adoption. This is to be determined, but this happened with the migration of text ads to expanded text ads. Expanded text ads was a beta, then it eventually was the standard for ad formats.

Helpful Google Ads Resources

For more helpful resources, check out the blog posts and articles below.

Google Ads Support

Google Ads Management

Google Ads How to Guides

Google Ads Optimization Tips

Google Ad Formats

Ben Lund

Ben Lund

Ben Lund is a 14+ year digital advertising vet who founded Rise Marketing Group. Outside of managing his agency, he offers advertising courses on SkillShare and routinely shares his best practices on

Ben Lund

Ben Lund

Ben Lund is a 14+ year digital advertising vet who founded Rise Marketing Group. Outside of managing his agency, he offers advertising courses on SkillShare and routinely shares his best practices on

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Need More Advertising Help?

While I am sharing a good amount of free information through DIY Digital Strategy, if you need more help, feel free to drop me a line on my contact page, as my agency Rise Marketing Group helps clients of all sizes.
Even if you’re not interested in full service advertising management, I would love to hear from you! Ping me a line at and I’ll be sure to follow-up to see how I can help.