Ad Copy Testing Made Easier with Responsive Ads

Responsive ads, the new Google Ads ad format, have arrived. Responsive ads are an exciting feature that allow serving ads with up to three Headlines and two Description fields, each with 90-character limitations instead of 80.  

You can also create up to 15 Headlines and four Descriptions, and then Google Ads will automatically test different variations while learning which combinations perform best. The goal is to be able to test different messaging in bulk and improve your campaign’s performance. This is part of Google’s ongoing push for automation and machine learning to do more of the ad copy testing across accounts. 

In this post, I'll go through the benefits of Responsive ads, how to create them, as well as what to keep in mind to ensure they not only serve but also have a positive impact. 

What you can expect to gain   

  • Flexibility. Ads that adapt to show only the top performing Headlines and Descriptions.  
  • Time. Test multiple messaging at once and find what works best for your goals. 
  • Space. Get the chance to dominate the landscape, and overshadow your competitors.  
  • Extend your reach. Multiple Headlines and Descriptions come with the opportunity to compete in more auctions and match more queries.  
  • Improve performance. Attract more clicks and conversions and apply learnings to the rest of your account.  

How to create Responsive ads 

Provided you have access to the beta, you should see the relevant option (picture below) when you navigate to create new ads. 


Responsive ads 1 

After choosing to create a new Responsive ad, you are directed to the below page, where you enter your different Headlines and Descriptions. The more options you provide, the more likely the ad will serve. The learning period for Google Ads will also be quicker. 

Responsive ads 2 

Below is an example of how a Responsive ad for an airline, that contains three Headlines, would appear.

Responsive ads 3 

Here are Six Things to Be Mindful Of

1. Headlines need to make sense. Headlines can show in any order however this depends on what Google determines is the top performing combination. Therefore, make sure that they make sense individually or in any possible combination.

2. Use the pin. You do have the option to pin Headlines and Descriptions to specific locations. If you pin just one to a position, this will be the only asset showing in that spot. Better to pin a number of assets to provide more options for Google.

3. Mind the language. Responsive ads are currently only available in English, French, German and Spanish.

4. Variety. If your Responsive ads are under review for more than one working day, they won’t show. To fix this, make sure that each ad has at least five different Headlines, and two Description lines that don’t repeat the same or similar phrase.

5. One ad per ad group. Based on Google guidelines, there should only be one Responsive ad per ad group. There should also be at least one expanded text ad in the same ad group.

6. No serve guarantees. Google does not guarantee that the ads will actually serve after their creation.

What you can do to increase possibility of ads showing and generating positive results

1. Be creative. Provide at least eight to 10 Headlines. Remember that the more options Google has, the better the chances  are for the ad to serve. Avoid trying to maximise the character count in each Headline, and instead, create Headlines of different lengths.

2. Use your keywords wisely. Ensure that your keywords are included in at least two Headlines, while also having three Headlines that don’t include your keywords.

3. Test all the things you always wanted but couldn’t. The idea behind this type of ad is to be able to test in bulk, so try highlighting any service benefits, problem solving and relevant information that makes you stand out. Previously due to the characters limitations, this option wasn't available. 

In PPC, Responsive ads allow us to test bulk messaging in ads that have the potential to dominate the landscape and improve overall performance. In short, this should be a testing priority for all.