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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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 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.
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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