Responsive Search Ads Roll Out + Image Extensions

If you’re a regular user of Google’s advertising platform, you’d be familiar with extended text ads (ETA) – Google’s longstanding premier text-based advertising format. 

Depending on how much you use the platform, you may already have a handle on responsive text ads (RSA)  – ETA’s machine learning enabled successor.

An early version of RSA was trialled back in 2018, however it wasn’t until the beginning of 2021 that Google announced that RSA would be the primary format for text ads going forward. 


What Do You Need To Know

RSA and ETA have coexisted for the past year, although the writing has been on the wall for ETA. 

Google has been fine-tuning the machine-learning capabilities of their advertising algorithm and will be phasing out ETA in order to utilise RSA that can be rearranged and served in different formats to best appeal to a wider range of users. 

Why Now?

Google explained the reasoning for the transition to RSA in an August 2021 statement, “The ways people search are constantly changing. In fact, 15% of search queries every day are new searches that we’ve never seen before. As consumer trends shift and evolve, it’s more important than ever to make it easier for people to connect with your business through relevant and helpful ads.”

“Automation is key to keeping pace with these trends. Responsive search ads are a great example of how this is done – they combine your creativity with the power of machine learning to help you show more relevant ads to more people. This is a powerful combination: advertisers that switch from expanded text ads to responsive search ads, using the same assets, see an average of 7% more conversions at a similar cost per conversion.”


So What’s A Responsive Search Ad?

RSA uses Google’s machine learning to pull from a selection of headlines and descriptions to create an ad that best appeals to a particular search. 

So, in order to create an RSA ad group, you’ll need to submit 3-15 headlines (30-character limit), 2-4 descriptions (90-character limit) plus a URL leading to a landing page. 

While you can submit up to 15 headlines, only three will be used to serve an ad. Submitting more potential headlines gives Google greater freedom to customise your ad to different users. 

You don’t know which headlines will be selected and which order they’ll appear in, so if it’s imperative for particular information to be included in your ad’s headlines, you can limit the number of headlines so you know that the important info will be included. Or, you can still submit more options and ‘pin’ the headlines containing essential info to appear in certain positions in the ad.

From Google’s PSA, “Pin headlines or descriptions to specific positions in your responsive search ads. This is useful if you have certain messages that always need to be shown. If you need to use pinning, try to pin at least 2-3 options to a position.”

Same deal with descriptions – you can submit up to four, however only two will be used to serve an ad. This means you can increase Google’s power to customise to different searches by submitting more options, and pin certain options if necessary.


Creating Responsive Search Ads

In order to set up an RSA, you’ll need to submit:

You’ll need to build out your ad groups then click the ‘Ads & Extensions’ button in GA4, select ‘Responsive Search Ads’ and then input your chosen headlines, descriptions and the URL to your landing page. 


Automated Relevance

Google has managed to stay at the forefront of digital advertising through ruthless maintenance of relevance. 

RSA are designed to automate the personalisation process – retaining relevance for more and more different searches – thus, automated relevancy. 

Google promotes the idea of automated relevancy as the future of digital marketing, and RSA square up nicely with this thinking. 


In Other News, Image Extensions…

In keeping abreast of other Google advertising developments, you might have come across image extensions. 

According to Google, “Image extensions allow advertisers to upload rich, relevant visuals to complement their existing text ads. Image extensions can help drive performance for advertisers, with compelling visuals of products or services that enhance the message of their text ads.”

In order to use image extensions, you’ll need a Google Ads account that’s been active for more than 90 days with active campaigns, running active search campaigns so that there are active text ads.

When your ad is served on the Google search page, customers will now see your headlines and descriptions, landing page URL plus your image.


Image Requirements

You can upload up to 20 images that are relevant to your keywords. You should upload images with both square (1×1) and landscape (1.91×1) aspect ratios. Square images are essential, but uploading landscape images also is recommended. 

File formats can be JPG, PNG and static GIF. Maximum file size is 5120KB. Images need to follow a set of creative guidelines which can he viewed HERE.

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Google Discovery Ads 101

Discovery ads were introduced by Google in 2019 and in 2020 were made available to all advertisers globally.

The idea behind their introduction being a fresh way for consumers to discover and engage with new brands as they scroll through content across various interfaces.

For advertisers, Discovery ads represent an opportunity to run a single, user-friendly campaign that can reach broad new audiences across multiple Google feeds.

According to Jerry Dischler, Google’s Vice President/ General Manager, Ads, “For the first time, you can reach up to 2.9 billion people as they explore their interests and look for inspiration across multiple Google surfaces.”

“86 percent of online consumers say they’re on the lookout for shopping ideas as they watch videos or explore content across the web. With Discovery ads, you can rely on Google’s understanding of consumers’ intent across our properties to engage these audiences as they scroll through their favourite Google feeds—no search query needed.”


What Are Discovery Ads (And Where Are They Shown)?

Discovery ads are personalised ads that are shown to consumers on the YouTube app, the Google search app and the Gmail app. They’re meant to reach consumers in the moments when they’re most ready to discover new products and services.

Google uses customer intent signals to determine when they’re most likely to engage with a brand and serves Discovery ads in their feeds in these instances.

YouTube: Discovery ads are shown in the Home and Watch Next feeds in YouTube

Google: Discovery ads are shown in the Google Search app feeds of hundreds of millions of users.

Gmail: Discovery ads are served to Gmail users as they scan the Promotions and Social tabs in their Gmail inbox.


How Are They Different?

Discovery ads differ from other types of Google ads in several ways. They incorporate high-quality images, so from a consumer’s perspective they’re more visually-orientated in nature.

For advertisers, the biggest differentiating factor between other types of Google ads is that Google’s uses their AI knowledge of users to control headlines, images and messaging in order to determine which combinations convert best.


Benefits To Advertisers

Discovery ads work well for retargeting, as the same users that Google determines are the right fit for your brand are served ads across multiple feeds. This leads to users becoming more familiar with your brand’s products and/or services and allows brands to build trust faster.

Creating a Discovery campaign allows you to serve consumers visually rich ads natively across various Google platforms at scale. Discovery campaigns can allow you to unlock a new level of consistency in your advertising, as Google’s powerful user knowledge and rich streams of data ensure that your ads align with the right users more than ever.


What Do You Need To Set Up A Campaign?

When setting up a Discovery campaign, you’ll need to upload the following creative assets:

Headlines: Three to five headlines up to 40 characters long.

Descriptions: One to five descriptions up to 90 characters long.

CTA, Final URL, Business Name: One of each.

Images: At least one landscape image, one square image and a square logo, each up to 5MB.

Let’s Get Started

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Create A Killer Email Marketing Strategy For 2022

It’s 2022 and email marketing strategy remains one of the best ways for a company to stay in touch with an audience, customers and clients. It’s tried and tested, and it still works.

While email marketing has been around for a long time, the medium has evolved. And so has the ways it’s used by individuals, companies, brands and marketers.

For a brand to truly connect with the individuals that make up their mailing list, it’s absolutely necessary to stay well abreast of current email marketing trends.

The sort of email marketing that was the norm even a few years ago wouldn’t get a look-in these days. Individuals have wised up, and so have their inboxes. Send a marketing mail that comes across too ‘spammy’ and it’ll likely get filtered out into your recipients’ junk mail or promotions folders.

Fine-tuning your mailing list parameters, connecting better with audiences, offering more of what they want and personalising your marketing emails are all important factors when it comes to making the most of this channel.


Make A Plan

It sounds simple, but it’s the cornerstone of an effective email marketing strategy. Rather than sending out marketing eDMs haphazardly, formulate a clear set of goals that you’re looking to achieve by communicating with your customers/ audience through this channel.

Goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely (S.M.A.R.T). Setting and monitoring a clear structure of goals will allow you to more effectively monitor the outcomes of your plan.

Your plan should include getting to understand and know your audience better and tailoring the tone and style of your content to suit accordingly.

Think about what your audience gets to of receiving your emails – hint, it’s interesting information, rather than constant sales pitches.

It’s fine to let your readers know about new products, but writing style and tone count for a lot. If your eDMs come across as a hard sell, you risk losing the trust and interest of your readers.


Make A Schedule

Making and sticking to a schedule consistently is one of the most important aspects of your email marketing plan. Tracking the frequency of your mailing schedule means you can ensure you’re not contacting your mailing list too frequently – which can become annoying and result in unsubscribes.

Be sure to make use of the engagement reports in the email marketing tool you use in order to monitor the open rate, click through rate and number of unsubscribes after each mail out. Track this important information and use it to adjust your schedule if necessary.


Layout & Design

Emails that are visually appealing, uncluttered with a clear and concise message do better. Keep your primary message short, clear and right at the top – marketing emails are no place to bury the lede.

You might choose to use a template upon which to build all of your marketing emails. This way you can incorporate familiar fonts, logos and images that help with branding and will look familiar to your readers. This look and feel can carry across to some of the other content you share on social media.

You can mix up the fonts and layout a little, but it helps to have a recognisable ‘look’ to your emails. When adding images to your emails, refer to the guidelines set out in your email marketing tool of choice with regard to image size, in order to ensure your emails will render correctly and be easy to read.

Get Personal

Personalisation of emails has been a big trend over the past couple of years and this will only continue through 2022.

As a starting point, you want to be addressing recipients by name. This could be at the top of the email, or perhaps within the subject line. Your email marketing tool of choice should have a few options for adding in the first names of recipients from your audience lists.

Another option to help open up communication is to include a reply-to address that allows recipients to respond to your marketing emails with any queries. This can be a good way to foster real communication, although a little time intensive in some instances.

Rather than signing off your marketing email with just your brand or company name, consider creating a more personal signature with a contact from your company that recipients can reply to directly.


Evaluate Performance

Monitoring engagement reports after sending your marketing emails is the only real way to see what works and what doesn’t and learn how to improve performance.

The metrics to track are open rate and click through rate – you’ll also want to track whether or not members of your audience are unsubscribing after receiving particular emails.

Open rate will vary depending on the size of your audience and how engaged they are. Anywhere from 10%-30% is within the normal range.

A catchy, well-written subject line is one of the most effective ways of boosting your open rate. If you’re offering a sale or special deal, try to fit that into your subject line.

Click through rate refers to the number of recipients that click through to links within your marketing emails. These numbers are generally smaller, but can offer very good insight into the sort of content that your audience is most interested in.


Timing Counts

As with everything in marketing, the truth is in the data. Depending on your particular audience, there will be a most effective time to send our your marketing emails.

In most instances, the most effective times to send out emails are midweek mornings, with Tuesday and Thursday mornings proving to be the best times to send to get in increased open rate.

If most of your audience are professionals on traditional work schedules, aim to send out your emails around 9-10am.

Different times will work better for different types of audience, particularly if your readers are spread across different time zones. Experiment with different timing and of course refer to past performance in order to boost your open rates, click throughs and engagement over time.

Let’s Get Started

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Get A Head Start On 2022

Six steps to hit the ground running this January, get a head start on 2022, and ensure this is the year you achieve your digital marketing goals.

1: Clean House

The last week or two of December can be a funny time in the marketing world. A lot of clients are winding down for the year, and getting people to answer the phone or reply to emails gets less and less likely the deeper into the month we get.

On the other hand, summertime and the Christmas – New Year holiday period in particular can be the peak sales period for some of our clients, so there’s certainly some conflicting energy, depending on who you’re talking to.

Whether your company is winding down or gearing up, the final weeks of December are an equally important time to ‘clean house’ and ensure that your messaging is on-point the moment January 1st rolls around.

Now’s the time to go through all of your ad copy, website and social media campaigns and scheduled posts to remove any references to 2021 and prepare updates that refer to the new year.

Even if your copy doesn’t contain direct references to the past year, it’s a good practice to refresh your customer-facing messaging, ready for a fresh start in 2022.


2: Personalised New Year Email

The beginning of a new year is a good time to reach out to past customers or clients on your mailing list. Reach out with a personalised message to thank them for their past custom, to wish a happy new year and to let them know of any updates or changes to your business, new products being launched or any promotions you’re running.

Message timing is important. Lots of companies schedule promotional eDMs to send on New Year’s Day, so it’s a good idea to send yours a few days early to help avoid it getting lost in a flood of messages.

If you’re ready this post January 1st, it’s not too late! A few days into January can actually be a great time to reach out with a better chance of your email being seen. Add a tempting discount code or offer and be sure to mention it in your email’s subject line to boost your open and click rate.


3: New Products Or Offer Promotion

Get a head start on 2022 with an announcement of any new products, or otherwise a special offer to boost interest and keep customers engaged with your brand. A lot of customers will be enjoying a break from work over this period and tend to remain in a post-Christmas free spending mode more so than at other times of the year.

Offer discounts to loyal customers, cater to online shoppers with free shipping or create bundle deals to encourage stronger sales.


4: Review Last Year’s Strategy

The best marketing strategy is one that’s honed, updated and perfected based on past performance. Spend some time carefully reviewing your digital marketing efforts through 2021, analyse what was successful and what wasn’t.

Rather than starting from scratch, get a head start on 2022 by utilising your most successful offerings from the past year. Successful campaign ideas can be tweaked and reinvented, saving you time, money and offering a surer path to success.

In order to bring about return business, it’s important to stay top of mind. Sending out a seasonal thank you message can be a great way to bring your brand back into focus for these potential return customers and motivate them to continue doing business with you.


5: Make A Checklist And Use It

Compile a clear list of website and ad campaign updates that need to be made. Ensure that campaigns are set to run for the correct periods of time with the correct spend.

Add social media posts and content marketing ideas to your list and ensure that all tasks are delegated appropriately and clearly. Consider utilising an application like Asana to help your team organise, track and manage workloads.

Consider making your checklist in a Google Document that can be shared with your team, checked thoroughly and updated regularly.


6: Get Proactive

Resist the urge to settle into the late December – early January malaise! There’s no sense spending weeks and weeks putting your new year’s plan into action. If this is a slower time of year in your office, all the better to dedicate more time and energy to getting the year off to a strong start.

Once you’ve identified marketing goals for the year, it’s time to determine budgets, begin implementing campaigns and, if necessary, modify goals and strategy dependent on ongoing performance.

Let’s Get Started

ClickedOn are always here to help if you have any questions around digital marketing.

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Holiday Season Digital Marketing Strategy

As we gear up for a busy few weeks of office Christmas parties, end of year catch-ups and social obligations, the normal order of things tends to go out the window and it can be easy for productivity to take a dive.

Depending on your industry, you might be receiving or sending a flurry of invoices or attempting to tie up long term projects before the end of the year.

It can be a notoriously tricky time to get things done, as many businesses begin to wind up for the year in time for a holiday break.

Whether the Christmas period is traditionally a busier or quieter time in your industry, it’s absolutely worth taking a proactive approach to marketing in order to drive more engagement and avoid leaving sales and revenue on the table this season.

1: Start Now

Many businesses procrastinate when it comes to developing and implementing a holiday marketing strategy. If the season is typically a big sales driver for you, no doubt you’ve already been engaging your customers.

If not, there’s no better time than now to reach out to your customers and clients. Many shoppers leave Christmas spending to the last minute, so promoting some enticing deals over the next couple of weeks could capture a good share of this additional business.


2: Adjust Christmas Ad Bids & Budget

Most industries can count on seeing a fairly dramatic change in consumer behaviour, purchasing patterns and response to digital advertising during the lead up to the Christmas holiday period.

While retail and traditional e-commerce businesses might do some of their best sales for the year over the coming weeks, other industries see a flattening in advertising ROI until January when their customers have returned from leave and business reverts to usual.

It’s a great idea to use longitudinal data from previous years to help set your ad bids and budgets properly to ensure the best results and return on your ad spend. If the holiday season is a busy time for your business, now’s the time to bump up your budgets and bids, whereas if it’s the opposite, cutting down on spend until the New Year could allow you to make the most of your budget.


3: Review Ad Copy

With just a few weeks of 2021 remaining, now would be a good time to review all of your ad copy. While you may want to consider running some short term holiday specific ads, it’s a good idea to consider the messaging that you want to run for the New Year.

Take the opportunity now to remove any references to the year just passed, so that you don’t accidentally end up in the position of running outdated ads into the New Year.


4: Thanks For Sticking With Us

It’s been a challenging year for many, so now would be a great time to reach out to previous customers to say thanks.

In order to bring about return business, it’s important to stay top of mind. Sending out a seasonal thank you message can be a great way to bring your brand back into focus for these potential return customers and motivate them to continue doing business with you.

5: Holiday Specials & Incentives

A good deal can be hard to pass up, and with plenty of competition at this time of year, offering customers a great value deal or giveaway can be a compelling marketing strategy indeed.

While consumers are largely focused on purchasing gifts at this time of year, offering a percentage off their total sale, of a free voucher or gift for customers that spend over a certain amount can encourage them to do more of their spending with you.

6: Embrace Email Marketing

Many of your clients and customers will be working odd schedules over the coming weeks, so reaching out via email with any holiday messaging or special offers is a great way to get the message in front of them.

Consumers are out to get the best deals around in the lead-up to Christmas, so it’s absolutely worth curating emails that highlight special promotions, sales or offers.

7: Christmas Content

Consider making some non-sales related Christmas themed social media posts to engage with your followers. Interacting with consumers at this time of year builds a stronger connection and can build bridges for communication with shoppers year-round.

Replying to follower’s comments with personalised responses helps send a positive message about your brand to other followers and potential customers.


8: Communicate Opening & Cut-Off Dates

If your business is shutting down at all for a break over the holiday period, be sure to communicate in advance with your clients of customers so that they’re aware of when you’ll be unavailable.

You can set up ‘out of office’ replies on company email addresses that include the dates you will be closed and re-opening.

If you’re working on projects with clients and need to receive deliverables by a certain date, be sure to communicate this well in advance to avoid any confusion or last minute stress.

Let’s Get Started

ClickedOn are always here to help if you have any questions around digital marketing.

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The Biggest Changes To Online Behaviour Post-COVID: Part I

The pandemic has transformed our lives in just about every conceivable way.

It’s little wonder, therefore, that these upheavals have resulted in drastic changes to online behaviours, the downstream effects of which will be played out over many years to come.

One thing to keep in mind is that in many instances, the trends that we’ve seen post-COVID were already in place before the pandemic took hold.

Lockdowns and other restrictions seem to have merely accelerated patterns that were already in motion, albeit at a much slower pace.

A fantastic Mckinsey & Company report describes this phenomenon as us having experienced “a decade in days” in terms of the exponentially accelerated rate of change over a comparatively short period of time.

One thing that is certain is that consumer’s digital behaviour patterns have not and won’t be linear going forward.

We’ve seen changes instituted as a direct result of health concerns, lockdowns and restrictions, but whether or not these changes ‘stick’ to become the new normal will rely to a degree on consumers’ level of satisfaction.

Savvy marketers can face these changes head-on, address new realities and adjust their approaches to directly target new opportunities and to assist consumers along their new digital decision journeys.

Work & Learning

Perhaps the biggest impact for many individuals since the pandemic hit is the way that they, and their families, are spending their days.

Remote work and homeschooling rates are through the roof. Video conferencing company Zoom saw sales increase 326% in 2020, with continued growth this year.

With people spending more time at home and less time out and about, it’s clear why on-the-go spending has decreased.

Marketers looking to capitalise on the changed economy would do well to focus on digital advertising that consumers can view at home on their screens, rather than print and out of home advertising.

Consumers have changed where they’re engaging, so switched-on companies will be meeting consumers where they are.


The surge in online shopping and all forms of e-commerce has been astronomical.

The uptick in online engagement combined with lockdowns and restrictions forcing changes in consumer behaviour proving a death knell for many brick and mortar institutions.

While it’s been hard yards for many smaller players, name brands and companies with established digital trading platforms have seen stability and even periods of relative growth.

The shake-up in consumer behaviour has seen a sharp progression in trends that were already well underway.

The likelihood of current buying patterns remaining in place after restrictions are lifted will be determined almost entirely by how well marketers and companies serve consumers.

Companies that can reallocate resources in order to support customers’ digital shopping journeys, offering seamless, user-friendly interfaces and well-targeted digital advertising will see many new customers stick around as the economy normalises.

Let’s Get Started

ClickedOn are always here to help if you have any questions around digital marketing.

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