Google’s Ad Type update – and what it means for advertisers

Off the back of the recent update on match types (read Croud’s blog on the subject here), Google have also announced that, starting from 18th February 2021, Responsive Search Ads (RSAs) will become the default ad type for Google Ads search campaigns.

What are Responsive Search Ads?

RSAs let you create an ad that adapts to show more text and more relevant messages to your customers. Instead of the current limit of three headlines and two descriptions, you now get to select up to 15 headlines and four descriptions. Google’s algorithm will then automatically test a variety of combinations, giving you insights into which combinations perform best. With Google revealing that “advertisers that add responsive search ads in their ad groups achieve up to 10% more clicks and conversions”, it seems like a move towards an RSA-first approach was inevitable.

Ad type update blog

Our thoughts

It’s not an unexpected change, and this development builds off the back of Google’s increased focus on user experience, ad relevance and automation. 

Since their launch in 2018, RSAs have been commonly featured in many best practice industry guides and Google playbooks as a way to ensure you are maximising machine learning to determine the best combination of ad copy to be served to each user. 

With ever-increasing levels of competition on the search landscape – especially in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic – tailoring the user experience is becoming more important than ever before, and this announcement only serves to highlight this further.

What impact will this have?

In the short term, we don’t expect any drastic changes. RSAs have been widely used by most advertisers over the last few years, and this change will only have an impact on the priority Google gives to the different ad types. However, as with any change to creatives, it’s worth closely monitoring ad rank across your ads over the coming weeks.

It’s also worth monitoring the Recommendations tab, as Google will often surface creative recommendations tailored to your account through this portion of the platform. As well as spotting any gaps in coverage, Optiscore will also provide guidance on turning existing Expanded Text Ads (ETAs) into RSAs, as well as additional copy to test for improving your RSA strength.

Next steps

As you will still be able to build and use ETAs, there is no immediate action required for advertisers at this time and we do not expect this to have any direct impact on PPC performance.

However, as it’s recommended that at least one RSA per ad group has ‘Good’ or ‘Excellent’ ad strength, now is the time to start reviewing your current RSA usage and quality.

If you’re still wondering how to best respond to this latest update, or are simply looking for some PPC advice, get in touch with our team.

by Katie White
18 February 2021



Related posts