Responsive Search Ads vs Dynamic Search Ads: Which Is Better? [Comparison]
In the online advertising world, not all businesses have the time and resources to create their own ads.
Some do not have enough time to pay attention to the marketing side of the business.
Others are already managing PPC campaigns and want to expand their businesses even further.
In whatever business phase you are in, there are two great options available for you that can serve your needs and even bring more results than traditional advertising.
Today we are going to compare responsive search ads vs dynamic search ads and when one can be better than the other.
Before that, let’s quickly talk about their basic features.
Brief Introduction to Both
In responsive search advertising (RSA)
you can create several headlines and descriptions, then Google ads mix and match them by making ad combinations.
Those ad combinations in turn are directed to final URLs or landing pages that you want to show to customers.
You can also create your display URL, to show them in advance which page of your website they can be in, once they click your ad.
Dynamic search ads (DSA), on the other hand, can give you less freedom when it comes to choosing your headlines, final URLs, and display URLs.
They are automatically generated by Google ads by crawling your certain pages and finding the most relevant keywords for a specific search query.
There are only a few things that you can do yourself.
You can write your descriptions and direct your users to certain pages of your website.
In order to target only certain pages, you need to take one extra step by creating your DSA page feed.
Although you experience less control with DSA, that doesn’t mean this isn’t a great tool to use.
Actually, this is found most useful in finding both existing and new keywords in your industry.
Differences In Their Structure
A new RSA campaign has seven headlines and can be added up to fifteen numbers.
They have thirty character counts each.
Whether you have short or long headlines, depending on the screen size of the user, the most appropriate headlines can be shown.
DSA campaign, headlines are auto-generated by Google ads itself, from the keywords that you have in your landing pages.
You can choose any final URL for the RSA campaign and there are no limitations for that.
For the DSA campaign, Google ads generate the final URL depending on the keyword a certain landing page has.
RSA campaign display URLs can be customized and you can add your categories and sub-categories to show a visitor to which page they can be directed once they click the ad.
Each category section extends up to 15 characters.
DSA campaign display URLs is auto-generated
RSA campaign can have up to four descriptions; writing at least two is required.
Their character counts are up to 90. Depending on the screen size one or two descriptions can be shown at one time.
DSA campaign has two descriptions that extend up to 90 characters.
These descriptions should match with any generated headlines, final, and display URLs because they are the only ones that can be shown in every generated ad.
Control in your Ads management
While with RSA ads are generated from within 15 headlines and 4 descriptions, with DSA they can be generated from your entire website.
Here you may think, responsive search ads can give you a little bit more control compared to dynamic search ads.
But those are with default setups, if you can customize and upload your DSA page feed you can also control which page to generate your ads from and which page not to target.
In this way, you can gain more control by narrowing down your landing pages list and using a more targeted approach.
Even after all of these attempts, you are putting the Google ads in the driver’s seat in generating your headlines and selecting the URLs for you.
But don’t come into a conclusion too soon, keep reading…
Finding Relevant Keywords
Finding relevant keywords for headlines is one of the most important things that you can do when creating your ads.
With RSA you are finding keywords from the top of your head or getting them from other best performing search campaigns that you are running.
While they may be relevant or even the best keywords in your industry, there is almost always a chance that you might miss something down the line.
By creating only 15 headlines, I think you have no doubt that you might be missing something.
However, DSA can help you in finding relevant keywords, that exist now in your industry or keeps coming in the future.
It just doesn’t stop, it keeps generating new and new keywords that you even didn’t think would be relevant for your campaigns.
Give it the right direction from which pages to generate your ads from and that’s it.
It generates them on autopilot, without you making any keyword research.
Quality of your Advertisements
As a form of artificial intelligence (AI) controls both of these ad campaigns more or less, you want to make sure that your advertisements are as relevant as you create them yourself.
In responsive search advertising, you can create your headlines and descriptions yourself.
But the ad generation process is done by making them in different combinations and selecting the most relevant ones based on user behavior in the past.
So the quality of your ads can be no more relevant than you planned them to be.
Because there are only limited ways that you can describe your products with your given information.
Dynamic search advertising can be more creative here.
If you target the right landing pages, it can generate your ads with NO limitations on their relevancy and quantities.
But you can easily mess things up if you don’t direct them to the right pages.
However, if everything is customized from the beginning and irrelevant pages are removed from your DSA page feeds, this can be a good option to consider.
How Important Is Website Quality?
Your website quality doesn’t make any difference with RSA campaigns.
Because you are basically giving an order to the AI what things to show in the paid results page and where to direct your users once they click it.
Then they do it, whether it is a good or bad website.
DSA campaigns, on the other hand, require you to have a more organized and clean website.
As it also generates your ads by their categories and sub-categories, it finds relevancy by considering those factors as well.
Imagine you have a “SHOES” category and in this category, you have a landing page about “WATCHES”.
And someone made search query as “wrist watches for men”.
Now, there can be two possible scenarios:
In the First scenario, Google crawls your page and finds it relevant, so it brings it up to paid search results.
But, your display URL looks like Example.com/Shoes/Watches.
Imagine what a potential customer would think if she sees your ad.
She would probably think that you are not specialized in only selling watches and she might be in doubt whether she finds watches or shoes from your page.
In the second scenario, Google ads may not select that landing page altogetherand consider it as not relevant to the search query.
Eventually, that would be very hard for that webpage to appear in the paid search results.
So, we can conclude from here that, the more organized and clean website you have, the more relevant your DSA ads can be.
Testing Different Campaigns
With Responsive search ads, as you add more headlines and descriptions, combinations of the ads also increase.
For instance, 4 headlines and 4 descriptions can make up to 288 permutations.
That means up to 288 number of ads can be tested.
Of course, it doesn’t test all your ads and burns your money till it reaches that point.
As it gets better and better over time, who knows maybe your fifteenth or twentieth combination can be considered as the most relevant ad.
The most important point to make here is, you can get your A/B testing done down the road automatically.
Without spending any of your time making reports and as a result, reducing your workload.
Dynamic search ads can also be used for testing your campaigns, but not like how we use RSAs.
Because we usually use them for finding new keywords, we always need them to discover new campaigns with higher ROI.
But here, you need to make some manual research to discover them.
As this advertising method brings up any keywords that are relevant to the search query, there can be plenty of combinations to analyze and those results might be random.
I mean, one can be better than the other, not improving over time.
The other testing method that is often used with dynamic search ads is using several pages feeds for several ad groups.
Based on the performance of certain ad groups you can choose the best ones for future campaigns.
Click-through Rate Comparison
Let’s start with RSA.
According to Google, the CTR of Responsive search ads are 5 to 15 percent more than simple search ads.
That’s probably because Google ads try to make them better and better every time.
DSA campaigns, on the other hand, has seen 26 percent higher CTR than other non-dynamic search ad campaigns.
While these both averages show their clear outperformance than other advertising methods, don’t take them with a grain of salt.
Most of the time both of them come with each other or with expanded text ads that make their results not that transparent.
Possibilities and Limitations
In the previous sections, we have talked about how many permutations new RSA campaigns can make for a particular number of headlines and descriptions.
Now, let’s imagine if we filled out all the blank sections of 15 headlines and 4 descriptions, how much total permutations it would make?
Here is a quick calculation of how we came up with this number.
Up to 32 760 permutations.
Yes, that is how many ad combinations machine learning can test to find you the best performing ads.
Then again, it is the worst-case scenario that is probably not going to happen.
It should be able to bring you good results much earlier than that.
However, the limitations you can face compared to DSA campaigns are, all of the keywords in the ads are made of your personal opinions that you think might be relevant for your campaigns.
So, you are limited to use those small numbers of keywords there.
DSA campaigns give you opportunities to discover new keywords every day.
According to Google ads, 15 percent of searches done on Google.com have never been searched before.
So, you can imagine from here the endless possibilities if you use this advertising method and all are done automatically.
Limitations are, you can’t tell what factors the AI considers when matching a certain search query to your content.
When it comes to accomplishing more in less time, both of them can do a great job.
But, when comparing them to one another, DSA requires less time and management.
Just fill out your descriptions, upload your page feeds and that’s it.
It does its job automatically without any corrections from your side.
RSA on the other hand requires a little bit more steps in ad creation and management.
From time to time you need to remove underperforming keywords and phrases or add better ad combinations from other ad groups to improve its performance.
Which One Brings More ROI?
As we have seen above the click-through rates of each advertising method, we can also conclude what we can achieve in terms of ROI for each one.
We took the CTR as directly proportional to ROI.
As a result, responsive search ads can have 5 to 15 percent more ROI than other standard search ads.
And Dynamic search ads can bring 26 percent more ROI than non-dynamic search ads.
Why do we think so?
Let’s see. Here, we did a little research and assumptions.
If we going to relate the CTR to ROI directly, the lower number of advertisements would be enough to achieve the same number of clicks.
Because, they have a higher CTR, right?
That in turn means, lower ad expenses would be enough for ad campaigns to achieve the same old results with conversions.
Therefore, higher CTR leads to lower expenses, and that in turn leads to a higher ROI.
In the above example, we took only the click-through rate as our changing variable and assumed all other metrics would be constant.
There are also many other factors that can only be specific to you or your industry. For instance, your own conversion rate, Industry competitiveness, etc.
So, do your research and consider every variable before coming to any conclusion.
I think by now, you have some insights into which type of search advertisement to use.
However, you should keep in mind that they are both great options even if they underperform in some areas.
We compared them in a way so that you can implement them to your campaigns by knowing their pros and cons and make wise decisions.
I am sure there are a lot of other metrics to consider as well.
Therefore, as always we ask you to make your own homework before starting any of these campaigns.
Now, which part of the article you like the most?
Let me know in the comments section below…
If you need any help in your Google ads management, you can always reach out to us through our Contact us page.