3 Responsive Search Ads Testing Experiments to Boost Your PPC Campaign

Written by - Sandeep Kumar |  Digital Marketing, Google Ads |  October 19, 2022

Responsive Search Ads Testing Experiments
Sandeep Kumar
I firmly believe that if anyone can change the world, it's entrepreneurs. Sandeep is on a mission to help entrepreneurs be successful in their marketing campaigns. He believes in his client’s success more than his own. His love for mountains makes him travel to a hill station almost every month.

3 Responsive Search Ads Testing Experiments to Boost Your PPC Campaign

6 min read

As a marketer, you constantly need to experiment with your advertising strategies to gauge which suits best to your marketing goals. Responsive search ads are one such type that you need to test for the effectiveness of your PPC management campaign. Testing for responsive search ads can be challenging yet beneficial. 

Many advertisers and marketers were disheartened when Google decided to phase out the Expanded Text Ads (ETA). Yet there are plenty of opportunities for individuals willing to put RSAs to the test, particularly when combined with broad match intelligence. However, it would be complicated to understand what to do if you haven’t closely monitored these changes. 

Through this blog, we’ll walk you through three experiments you may run the next time you create a responsive search ad for a PPC campaign. 

Before we start, for all the new readers of our blog, let us first be familiar with what responsive search ads are and how they work.

How Do Responsive Search Ads Work & What Are They?

Responsive Search Ads (RSA) are an ad type where an advertiser can write multiple titles/headlines and descriptions for one search engine ad. Unlike expanded text ads, you can provide up to 15 titles and 4 descriptions for a single search ad. Responsive search ads aim to provide users with different combinations of headlines and descriptions depending on their individual queries and search history. The more headlines and descriptions you add, the more chances Google Ads has to serve advertisements that more closely match the search queries of your potential customers, which can enhance the effectiveness of your ad campaign.

Google will display 32,760 different variations of the advertisement by shuffling between the titles and descriptions. A maximum of 3 headlines and 2 descriptions can be chosen from each ad to appear in various arrangements and orders. When a user’s search term properly or closely matches a portion of your ad, that portion may automatically appear in bold. The most effective title and description combination will then be chosen by the search engine and used most often. 

Responsive Search Ads Work

RSAs are a simple and strategic way to develop an efficient PPC marketing plan. You can boost customer engagement and reach more potential buyers through responsive search ads.

What Should You Know About Responsive Search Ads Testing?

Initially, with ETA testing, you’d run two (or more) ads with fixed headlines and descriptions, compare their CTRs (click-through rates), or maybe keep track of any conversions that occurred on the landing page. Testing with ETA was not too difficult. 

This strategy worked because ETA typically:

  • Presented itself consistently in the same way to every user.
  • They both answered the same questions.
  • Impressions didn’t matter as much in the testing.

When all other factors are kept constant, an RSA receives 4X more impressions than an ETA.

In other words,

  • Due to higher ad rank, RSAs serve a lot more queries.
  • A dip in conversion rate results from the increase in impressions.
  • Marketing professionals should keep an eye on conversions per impression (manual bidding) or conversions that fall within a target cost per acquisition (CPA)/return on ad spend (ROAS).

Let’s now get started with the experiments:

Experiment No. 1: Mix-And-Match v/s Pinning

Examining the impact of pinning on your campaigns should be the first test you should conduct. 

To determine which headlines and descriptions elicit the best response from readers, RSAs test numerous combinations. While by pinning, you can instruct Google where the headline and description should appear. 

How To Run This Experiment?

Create two similar responsive search ads. You can then add 15 headlines and 4 descriptions as you like to each ad. Ensure that all the headlines and descriptions are the same in both ads.

Once you’re done with this, pin a few headlines and descriptions in one ad while leaving the other unaltered.

Findings

Research has proved RSAs with all elements pinned can get excellent CTR and conversion rates, but when you don’t pin (or pin sparingly), these rates increase even more.

Experiment No. 2: Segmenting By Message

The second experiment we have is segmenting by message, and it is likely the most crucial component of RSA testing. 

The importance of messaging has recently increased due to ad platforms managing more campaigns through automation.

How To Run This Experiment?

As you know, you can design a maximum of 3 RSAs per ad group. Therefore, for this experiment, you might consider reaching a peak.

Each ad group should use a broad match and have a unique theme built around a set of keywords. You might address different personas, pain points, or even suggestions for topics.

Findings

You should learn from this experiment what topics and queries generate responses. Understanding what your clients seek and want to hear is crucial. Since everyone at Google utilizes the same underlying automation, it’s one way to level the playing field and get an advantage over your rivals.

Experiment No. 3: Pseudo-ETAs With A Control RSA

Even though it could be argued that re-creating ETAs by pinning nullifies the purpose of RSAs, some advertisers continue to yearn for that control. Chris Ridley deserves credit for coming up with this strategy of dealing with the restriction of three RSAs per ad group.

How To Run This Experiment?

For this experiment, design two pseudo-ETAs by pinning two descriptions and three headlines. The third advertisement is an actual RSA in which nothing is pinned, and you use the available space to test out fresh messaging.

Findings

You can use this experiment to benchmark the effectiveness of pseudo-ETAs (particularly in terms of CTR). This can be useful for advertisers who constantly need to display specific information, such as those working in regulated industries.

When Used Correctly, RSAs Drives Better Performance

Unfortunately, Google won’t tell you which ad appears for a specific query. Also, it doesn’t show performance based on headlines and descriptions. While determining RSA performance involves a bit of guesswork, you can still structure your campaigns using Google’s data.

RSAs Drives Better Performance

What Are The Elements You Should Keep In Mind While Structuring RSAs?

  • Despite the fact that Google provides feedback through ad strength, you still shouldn’t feel compelled to adjust your advertising per Google’s suggestions to increase your ad strength score.
  • It might be tempting to stuff your ads with several headlines and descriptions, but remember that the more elements, the more guesswork is involved.
  • The structure and messaging are accountable for half of the campaigns’ results. Therefore, structure your RSA account with all the fundamentals, including positioning and good website experience. Also, collaborate with your clients and stakeholders to establish realistic expectations.

Conclusion

RSAs are one of the best illustrations of Google’s automation innovations, which call for a mindset shift. However, you need to be patient while optimizing your campaign’s outer edges (including the structure, creative, and data). With RSAs, there’s a great opportunity for PPC agencies with bright and imaginative advertisers to prosper.

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