What Are Google Responsive Search Ads? [Full Tutorial]

What are google responsive search ads [Full tutorial]?

In order to improve your ad campaign performance, Responsive Search Ads have been created by Google Ads (Formerly known as Google AdWords).

What are they? How effective is this?

Is it going to boost your ROI better than simple Text Ads?

Today we are going to answer those with some practical examples.

So, keep reading till the end to be a responsive search ad expert.

What Are Google Responsive Search Ads?

Most people talk about Responsive Display ads and do not even know about responsive search ads (RSA).

They mostly use expanded text advertising for search-based campaigns.

This is because these types of advertisements are quite new and in a beta version to test and get feedback from the public.

RSA can be expanded up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions.

Responsive Search Ad Headline And Description

But it will not show all your headlines and descriptions at the same time.

It just shows the three most relevant headlines and two descriptions based on the past performance of a given campaign.

That means it does some A/B testing on behalf of the advertiser itself and reduces some workload. (More on that on the benefits of the RSA section). 

What is the best part?

Responsive Search Ads (RSA) can make up to 32 760 permutations if you use all 15 headlines and 4 descriptions. 

Of course, It doesn’t mean RSA will check all the combinations till it reaches 32 760 number.

It gets better and better over time in learning how a visitor behaves when they see your certain ad.

Although it costs a little bit more expensive, to have more headlines and descriptions.

The more headlines and descriptions you have, the more chances you have the best performing ad combinations to work for you.

With this type of advertising strategy, unlike the simple Text Ads, Google ads try to avoid redundancy to pick the best option for you.

According to Google Ads, you should have at least 2 expanded text ads and 1 responsive search ad per ad group.

And for one ad group, you can have a maximum of 3 RSAs.

Which I think is more than enough to test the best variation for you.

How To Create RSAs in Easy Steps?

  • Go to Google Ads dashboard
  • From the Ads and Extensions tab click on Ads Ads and extensions tab
  • Then plus signCreate Search Responsive Ad
  • Choose responsive search advertisingResponsive Search Ad
  • This is how your page should look likeResponsive Search Ad Dashboard
  • Once you click, it asks you to select your Ad Campaign and Ad Group, choose them
  • If you created text advertisements before, it shows 2 of your text ads inline with one RSA. Otherwise, it shows a blank page in all of them2 text ads and 1 responsive search ad
  • Fill in the “Final URL” section. Here, you have to put a dedicated landing page URL for people to click your link. (Cross-domain redirect users should enter that into a tracking template)

Final URL

  • The display URL section is used to give an idea for visitors to know which section of your website they are in. They are green URL texts that you see below the Title which are 15 characters long each. Display URL of responsive search ads
  • Now start typing your headlines. There are 7 blank rows available for your headlines, each one is 30 characters long.Responsive Search Ad headline and description But if you want to add more headlines, it can be added up to 15 numbers. Each one of your headlines should be relevant, unique, and try to avoid redundancy and don’t repeat the same meaning over and over. Make sure to check out the responsive search advertising tips section below…
  • If you want your relevant headlines and descriptions to appear in every ad and for certain positions you can pin them. You can pin your headlines in any positions from 1 to 3Responsive Search Ads Headline pinning If you pin “Apartment Sales” in position number 1, all ads will have “Apartment Sales” in Headline 1. But if you also pin “Commercial properties” to Headline 1, it will show either “Apartment Sales” or “Commercial Properties” in the first position. So, we can conclude from here that if you put pins in all places of 3 headlines and 2 descriptions, your unpinned texts won’t show up.
  • You can add 2 descriptions up to 4 pieces, each one is up to 90 characters, and pin them as you wish.Responsive Search Ad Description
  • Now, once you filled all the fields you can see the Preview of your ad for mobile and desktop devices. You can also see them in different formats but not all combinations are shown. Preview Of Responsive Search Ads
  • You can also see your Ad Strength score generated by Google Ads. It evaluates your headlines and descriptions’ relevance, popularity, uniqueness, and diversity. Google ads can also give you suggestions in the advertisement creation process. Make sure to get a higher score.Responsive Search Ad Ad Strength Indicator                       But getting a higher score doesn’t mean your search ad will convert all the customers out there. Remember, the Ad Strength indicator tries to evaluate from a robotic standpoint and it may have flaws as well. Always make your own research before you post anything.
  • Now, click SaveSave Responsive Search Ad

If you want to add more RSAs you can create up to 3 numbers in a single ad group (but not recommended).

Edit or Delete Your RSA

  • Open the Ads and Extensions tab
  • Ads and extensions tab
  • Click the Add filter in the center
  • Responsive Search Ad Add Filter Button
  • Open Attributes and from dropdown-menu open Ad type
  • Responsive Search Ad Attributes Ad Type
  • Choose Responsive search ad and apply
  • Editing Responsive Search Ad
  • Select which RSA you want to edit
  • Hover over it and click the iconResponsive Search Ad Editing Icon
  • Edit your URL, Headlines, or Descriptions
  • Click Save
  • Or Delete your RSA in the same way  

Pros and Cons of Responsive Search Ads


  • A/B testing – The main purpose of RSA is to do A/B testing for you and reduce the workload and time spent on research.
  • Device Responsive – It can adapt to the size of any device. Therefore, it is flexible in showing specific advertisements for specific devices.
  • More auctions – More headlines and descriptions means you can participate in more auctions. As you have more options, you can lower your max. CPC (Cost per click). Out of that lots of options, there might be some queries that meet your max. CPC.
  • Cost per Click (CPC) -By using these types of ads you can get more clicks as it makes your ads relevant to your visitors. That in turn can improve your CTR, your Quality Score (QS), and higher QS can reduce  – Cost per click (CPC). It means your advertising expenses can be decreased.
  • Higher CTR – According to Google, RSAs have 5 to 15 percent higher CTR than standard search ads. But, it doesn’t mean you are going to experience these exact results. So, always make your own research and results may vary depending on keyword profitability or amount of competition, etc.


  • As RSA is a form of artificial intelligence (AI) – It makes combinations from a robotic point of view.AI of Responsive Search Ad And it certainly lacks creativity. As it can’t be creative and can’t feel that some headlines can be catchy. Some words can boost your revenue better than the other. It continues to test until it finds the best combinations. Who knows, maybe 25 756th combination is the best for your ROI. That doesn’t mean you should test that far and burn all your money. If you want to use up to 14 headlines and 4 descriptions to test, the best option is to pick the best ones yourself by narrowing down the options to 3 to 5 headlines and 2 descriptions. And let the remaining work done by responsive search ads. I think this is by far the best option, to make your A/B testing done for you.
  • Might get expensive -The more headlines and descriptions you use, the more expensive it gets. Because more tests should be done. As we said earlier it continues to test your ad campaigns until it finds the best choice. A higher number of headlines and descriptions brings more combinations to test.
  • Headline and Description Permutations Let’s see some practical examples. Let’s imagine we want to choose a keyword for our construction business. We open the Google Keyword Planner and decided to use the “Building maintenance services” keyword for our RSA campaign. Its CPC ranges from 0.87$ to 6.36$. We set our maximum CPC limit to 1.5$. Now, we have two scenarios to choose from 3 headlines and 3 descriptions. 4 headlines and 4 descriptions. How much does each scenario cost? The first one has a total of 36 permutations. So it costs 54 dollars.
  • Responsive Search Ad Permutation calculation The second one has 288 variations and it costs 432 dollars.
  • Responsive Search Ads Permutation calculation Did you see that by just adding 1 headline and 1 description how much your costs can vary? But I think it is a much more chipper way if you pick the most relevant ads and narrow down your list.

Tips on Creating Your Campaigns

Here are some tips that we got from Google ads and some are our conclusions.

  • Provide at least 5 unique headlines that don’t repeat the same meaning
  • Each of your headlines should make sense individually. Because it may come within any combination on its own.
  • Consider using the Ad Strength tool of Google Ads to get an ideaResponsive Search Ad Ad Strength Indicator
  • Don’t use redundant headlines, as it restricts Google Ads systems’ ability to make relevant combinations to users
  • Be sure to add  relevant keywords in 2 of the headlines
  • Add at least 3 headlines without your target keywords. Those headlines are complementary. They should give some assurance and confidence to your website visitors. You can add them to the third or last part of your headlines.
  • Reuse your best performing Text ads to increase your RSA ads performance as well
  • Pinned headlines and descriptions should be unique compared to the other ones.
  • Don’t pin only 1 headline and 1 description as it restricts the ability of the others to be shown for that position. So, pinned headlines and descriptions should be at least 2-3 pieces. Then these pinned headlines and descriptions can rotate among themselves. Google Ads doesn’t recommend pinning for most advertisers, probably because pinning reduces the ability to create better combinations from the remaining small numbers.  
  • If you want your certain texts to show every time, you should pin them in Headline 1, Headline 2, or Description 1. Texts that are put in Headline 3 and Description 2 are not guaranteed to show because of RSAs’ quality of device responsiveness.
  • Don’t try to increase your character count up to the limit all the time. Your Headline 3 or description 2 may not be shown for small device users.


That is basically it, we have seen the ways to build your responsive search ads, tips to follow when creating them, the pros and cons of using them in different situations.

After carefully analyzing it, we can conclude that some businesses may have dramatic increases in their ads spent by reducing workload in A/B testing and time it takes to make reports when comparing different advertisements.

But for some, it may increase redundancy and increase their expenses even more with too much testing that their business may not be able to handle.

At the end of the day, with little research and calculation, you can decide whether this type of advertising is right for you, or you may as well use standard search ads.

Either way, I hope you will take an educated approach and build your business that helps lots of people.

Now, it is your turn. What do you think about this guide?

What you like the most about it or What can I add to this article?  

Let me know in the comments section below…

If you need any help in your PPC management, feel free to reach out to our agency through our contact us page.

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