Google is constantly changing its advertising platform, and one of its biggest recent changes is the removal of expanded text ads. This opens a new chapter in the life of Google ads.  When creating search ads for your company, responsive search ads are now the standard ad type. But how exactly do you use a responsive search ad?

What is a responsive search ad?

It used to be so easy. You would use the Google keyword planner or any other keyword tool to find the best keywords for your company. After the keyword research, you write the ad’s content and publish it. But what happens when your headlines or descriptions aren’t appealing to your target audience?

This is where the responsive search ad comes in, born to further improve your advertising. The keyword research is the same,  only you then write several headlines and descriptions, which are randomly scrambled together in an ad. The responsive search ad consists of five components:

  • Headline 1
  • Headline 2
  • Headline 3
  • Description 1
  • Description 2

The responsive search ad leaves room for up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions. You do not have to pin them in a position, but it is preferable. Once the headlines and descriptions are written and the keywords have been added, your responsive search ad is ready to be published.

Benefits of responsive search ads 

You might be wondering why Google believed in their responsive search ads enough to retire the long-running expanded text ad. After all, the expanded text ad is so much easier, since you don’t have to think of so many different items for your content. However, there are several advantages to using responsive search ads that make them worthwhile.

Customers see different ads

Having Google mix your headlines and descriptions means that there are several different combinations of your ads. The ‘ad fatigue’, which is when your ads have been running for too long and your target audience starts getting bored of them, won’t happen as quickly. From the customer’s perspective, the ad is always different.

Flexibility in testing which content works best 

In digital marketing, we always want to do some testing to find the best keywords, the best target audience, the best landing pages, and so on. A/B testing is widely used in everything a marketer does. Google’s responsive search ads allow us to test our headlines and descriptions, which means they are giving us an ad that enables A/B testing for the ad content. We can keep the content that works best and rewrite the content that does not work well. 

Continuous optimization of content

By being able to rewrite content that does not work well, we can continuously improve our message to the world. In the past, we wrote something and we did not know if the content performed well, but now we do. This means that we can keep creating better content.

Improved performance

The ultimate benefit of responsive search ads is better ad performance. Google shows the best content to the target audience, which tends to result in a higher click-through rate (CTR). Within Profound, we have seen a significant decrease in cost-per-click (CPC) for several of our clients as well. This was a direct result of changing to responsive search ads. Using this ad type, we can reach more relevant audiences with the same marketing budget. 

How to write content for your responsive search ad

The most important thing to keep in mind when writing content for your responsive search ad is that all the content for every position has to fit together. The easiest way to do this is to have the same type of content pinned to every position of the ad. Within Profound, we use the following content for each headline or description:

Headline 1: Keyword for the product or service you’re offering
Headline 2: Identify your unique selling points (USPs)
Headline 3: Name of the company
Description 1: Write about the service or product you’re offering
Description 2: Write about your company providing this service or product

An example of a responsive search ad

So what does this look like in practice? Let me give you an example of one of our very own ads. As one of the leading digital marketers in the Caribbean, we are now running a campaign focused on several countries in the Caribbean region such as Guyana and Jamaica. You can see one of the possible combinations that Google made in the picture below. What you’re seeing is the following:

Headline 1: The service we’re offering: digital marketing
Headline 2: One of our USPs: that we customize our marketing to the needs of our clients
Headline 3: The name of our company: Profound
Description 1: Your digital marketing agency for all your creative marketing advertisements. In this description, we let everybody know that we can meet their marketing needs.
Description 2: Come to Profound and stay ahead of the competition. The best marketers in the Caribbean. In this description, we describe how Profound can help your company be the best in your market.


And that’s how you successfully implement a responsive search ad. It takes more time to create the content, but it definitely gives better results. Google believes in their new format for search ads, and so do we. What do you think?