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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns can be an excellent way to increase traffic, leads, and ROI. In fact, businesses earn $8 on average for every dollar spent on Google Ads.
Although PPC appears a fantastic opportunity, creating profitable campaigns can take time, effort, and money. You could lose money if you don’t have a strong strategy or monitor your campaigns. WordStream says the average small business loses 25% of its PPC budget on wasted spending.
If you work in PPC marketing, you may know how time-consuming these campaigns can be.
Before starting a campaign, you should consider keywords, what your competitors are bidding on, and how much money you’re willing to spend. Following the launch, you’ll need to monitor the campaigns, make necessary changes, and occasionally adjust your budget.
This process can be intimidating if you have a lot of other marketing tasks on your plate.
Fortunately, if you want to reduce these tasks and make room for new projects, many tools are available to help you build, manage, monitor, and adjust your campaigns, bids, and budgets.
Some are inexpensive, while others provide automated features to reduce the need for unnecessary human intervention. These tools are general PPC management, bid management, or reporting tools.
This blog post highlights 12 PPC management tools and software to assist you in developing a less time-consuming and more profitable PPC process.
PPC Management Tools
1. WordStream PPC Advisor
Cost: $264/month for 12-month plans, $299/month for 3-month plans, or $2,928 for an annual pre-paid subscription.
Integrations: Google Ads, Bing Ads, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter
WordStream’s PPC Advisor is aimed at small business owners who want to take full advantage of PPC but lack the funds to hire experts or advisors. The software is compatible with Google Ads, Bing Ads, and other major advertising platforms.
With WordStream Advisor, you can activate the “20 Minute Work Week” tool, which will analyze your PPC campaigns and send recommendations on how to improve them quickly. These changes can then be made using the Wordstream software.
You can create campaigns, identify positive and negative keywords, and make budget adjustments. You can also use the software to create optimized landing pages and track and build reports based on conversion and call data.
WordStream offers a seven-day trial to those who fill out a contact information form.
Cost: $499/month (Pro), $799/month (Pro+). The Enterprise version’s cost is unspecified.
Integrations include: Google, Bing, and Yahoo ads programs
Optmyzr offers slightly more advanced tools for creating and managing campaigns in bulk for marketers or agencies with larger budgets, an interest in running multiple PPC campaigns, or simply wanting more automated features.
This paid platform, like WordStream, allows you to launch, track, and manage PPC campaigns across multiple platforms. According to the Optmyzr website, all versions of the software allow users to automate scripts, alerts, and reports. Each membership also includes biannual product training sessions with Optmyzr representatives.
Automyzr, one of Optmyzr’s tools, allows users to upload and generate campaigns in a bull from data sources such as spreadsheets or integrations.
Once the data is uploaded, a user can use specific criteria such as “brand” or “product” to generate ad names and other elements automatically.
Joe Martinez, named one of PPC Hero’s top 25 PPC experts in 2017 and 2018, highly recommends this software. He claims that the PPC manager benefits both lead-generation and eCommerce accounts.
“Optmyzr enables marketers to easily see performance data in their accounts and make real-time adjustments.” “I can also use their script library to automate certain tasks I have to do regularly,” he says.
He also mentions how the software has saved him significant time over the years. “I can rely on the tool to handle many tedious, high-level tasks, giving me more time to focus on strategy or deeper analysis in the account’s critical areas.”
3. Google Ads Editor
Cost: Free to Google Ads advertisers
Integrations: Google Ads
This downloadable desktop application, formerly known as AdWords Editor, allows you to create, track, and edit Google advertisements.
In addition to monitoring performance, the app allows you to make bulk changes to multiple ads. Preview edits in draft mode before they go live and build or revise your ads offline.
The editor works in tandem with Google Ads, allowing users to create and assign bid strategies to campaigns specific to the Google bod strategy. To manage a Google Ads campaign through the Ads Editor, you must first create one.
If you’re only trying to master one PPC strategy at a time and want to start with Google, this tool could be an inexpensive and simple option.
However, unlike WordStream or paid PPC managers, Google Ads Editor does not provide you with similar automation options or improvement suggestions. As a result, more manual adjustments and monitoring may be required.
4. Bing Ads Editor
Cost: Free to Bing advertisers
Integrations: Bing Ads
While many marketers think of Google as their primary PPC option, Bing PPC has gained traction due to the search engine’s five billion daily inquiries.
Bing, like Google, provides similar software for its search engine’s PPC ads. You can make offline changes to your ads, similar to the Google Ads Editor, and then upload them to the online platform once you regain internet access.
This management tool can also research keywords, manage your bids, and track your performance.
Like Google Ads Editor, this tool does not provide any automation tools and is only available to those with a Bing Ads account or campaign.
5. SEMRush PPC ToolKit
Cost: $99 (Pro), $199 (Guru), $399 (Business), Enterprise edition varies by company
When researching competitors on SEMRush, you can search your domain to see a list of domains that compete with you organically and those that compete with you in paid search. You can also discover which keywords your competitors have previously bid on to determine if you should use a similar bidding strategy.
The “Charts” tool in the ToolKit can also display visual graphs of how various competitors perform.
Another feature is the Keyword Magic Tool, which lets you enter a keyword or phrase and get a list of stronger keywords and information about them, such as search volume. You can then export this data into a document and share it with their team.
SEMRush offers four pricing options. SEMRush’s PPC, search engine optimization, and marketing tools are included in the most affordable plan, aimed at freelancers, startups, and small businesses.
The larger plans are geared toward larger corporations and government agencies. These provide advanced reporting features such as white-label reports and more sophisticated API integrations.
You can try out SEMRush features such as the Keyword Magic Tool here. To use these free tools, you must create a free account by providing an email address and a password.
PPC Bid Management Tools
1. MarinOne Search
Cost: Plans often start around $499/month. Marin does not specify specific pricing.
Integrations include: Google, Bing, Yahoo, Facebook, and Twitter
MarinOne Search provides bid management features for ads on Google, Bing, Yahoo, Facebook, and Amazon. According to Marin, the software “allocates budgets and calculates bids” by utilizing a large pool of data and patented machine-learning algorithms.
To learn more about Marin’s impact, visit its website, which features case studies on how the software has aided major clients such as Nissan, Dell, and Jeep.
Cost: Varies by company. Kenshoo provides free demos and quotes.
Integrations: Compatible with platforms including Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Apple Ads.
Kenshoo provides budget management, search, social, eCommerce, and app-based advertising tools. Bid management features in the software allow you to create and modify various bids, including rules-based and model-based bids.
Kenshoo’s platform allows you to integrate data directly from Google Ads and other online ad programs. The data can be displayed on various dashboards, including one that compares spending, revenue, ROI, and conversion.
Kenshoo claims to use award-winning machine-learning algorithms in its dashboard interface to provide users with bid suggestions and budget and ad performance forecasts.
Kenshoo’s website describes its software as enterprise-level, but it also claims to offer plans and paid tools for startups.
Prospective customers can request information from Kenshoo by visiting their website.
3. Acquisio Turing
Cost: Varies based on your company’s ad spend, the number of accounts that will be managed, and the contract length determined between the company and Acquisio.
Integrations include Google. Bing, and major social networks.
Acquisio’s bid and budget management tool continuously analyzes and adjusts bids and budget distribution using machine learning algorithms.
Acquisio claims that the algorithms are trained to automatically adjust budgets based on seasonality, day of the week, time of day, and ad platform.
Due to the flexible pricing plans, this software may be useful for businesses from startup to enterprise level.
This software may be useful for marketers who have multiple accounts or are too busy to monitor bids and budget distribution regularly.
Thanks to machine learning tools, you may save time on tasks such as bid research and number crunching. This extra time could be used better by working on other worthwhile projects.
PPC Reporting Tools
1. Google Ads Performance Grader
Cost: Free with a short registration
Integrations: Google Ads
This WordStream tool, formerly known as the AdWords Performance Grader, can assign a percentage score to your Google Ads campaign based on criteria such as text and keyword optimization, quality, click-through rates, impressions, and landing page optimization.
The report also provides additional information or a sub-score for each piece of criteria.
The report also notes how well campaigns are performing compared to the previous month to assist users in benchmarking.
You can link this tool to your Gmail account and automatically receive the grades for ads associated with your email address after registering and providing a small amount of company information.
Integrations include Google Ads, Bing Ads, Twitter Ads, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
This software could be useful for marketers or agencies looking to create white label analytics dashboards for their clients. ReportingNina, in addition to the portal, can schedule and send automated reports to marketers or clients via email.
When Google Ads and/or Bing Ads are integrated, a marketer or client with access to the white label portal will see a dashboard that pulls in all the information from these third-party platforms.
Thanks to this integration feature, users can see all of their important data in one place. In addition to PPC, data from Twitter Ads, Facebook Insights, LinkedIn Ads, MailChimp, and other accounts can be integrated.
Cost: Octoboard offers seven plans with annual and monthly commitment options. Annual plans are $5 to $150 monthly, and no-commitment plans fall between $18 and $210. Each plan allows a different number of clients and access to a different list of features.
For marketers and their clients, Octoboard offers a variety of customizable and white label reporting templates. You can use the software to create reports and dashboards that can be sent to an unlimited number of recipients. In addition, the software provides report templates that can be embedded on a website.
Octoboard already has templates that specifically report on Google, Bing, Facebook, and LinkedIn PPC for those who need to report to their team or clients but don’t have time to create a nice visual.
To try out the software, go to their homepage and select one of the templates. When you enter the template, the site will prompt you and provide instructions on how to integrate your data.
The software, like ReportingNinja, includes automation tools for creating and sending templated reports on a schedule.
On the Octoboard website, you can register and preview specific reports containing your data for free. However, you must subscribe to one of its monthly or annual plans to gain more access.
Integrations include Google Ads, Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, Youtube, LinkedIn Ads, and Twitter Ads.
DashThis, like ReportingNinja and Octoboard, allows users to connect PPC and SEM tools to the platform so that all performance data appears on a single dashboard.
This feature could be useful if you need to use two or more tools to monitor your PPC ads, traffic, and other campaign data.
The platform enables users to create and customize these overarching dashboards.
When creating a dashboard, DashThis provides three templates to choose from: periodic, rolling, and campaign. While the Campaign dashboard collects data about a specific campaign, the Rolling dashboard displays live data, and the Periodic dashboard displays data for a specific period.
DashThis also provides a library of pre-built KPI widgets for tracking and reporting on metrics such as cost-per-click, cost-per-acquisition, conversion rate, impressions, ROI, and return on ad spend. Users can also create their custom widgets.
This software would be a good choice for agencies looking to save time on PPC or SEM marketing reporting processes. They can use a dashboard to share and report live data to their clients or colleagues after creating one.
DashThis also provides a low-cost individual subscription for $39 per month, allowing users to launch up to three dashboards.
Building Your PPC Toolkit
Before subscribing to one or more of these tools, consider your company’s budget and the number of accounts you’ll manage. If you work as a marketer for an eCommerce PPC agencyor a large corporation, you may prefer enterprise software that includes all the necessary management tools. If you’re a startup or a freelancer, you might want to stick to the more affordable resources on this list.