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The Ultimate Guide to Google Responsive Search Ads for Contractors

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Google Responsive Search Ads - Relentless Digital LLC Team

The Google Ads platform allows contractors and small business owners like you to easily create search ads that target potential customers so you can expand your clientele. During the ad creation process, however, you’ll find that Google offers numerous types of search ads, with one taking over in the near future. So what are Google Responsive Search Ads, and what do you need to know before creating one?

At Relentless Digital, we specialize in Google Ads for plumbing contractors and HVAC businesses, so we understand how to curate compelling ad copy for your target audience. Below, our digital marketing experts discuss everything you need to know to create Responsive Search Ads that convince users to convert.

What Is a Responsive Search Ad?

The Google Ads platform offers numerous types of campaigns you can run, depending on your goals and how you want your ad to display. Responsive Search Ads (RSAs) are one of Google’s newer releases that allow Google’s machine learning to automatically optimize the layout of your ad in real-time based on performance metrics.

Essentially, you create multiple headlines and descriptions (up to 15 headlines and four descriptions) for Google to choose from each time it displays your ad. If you enter the maximum number of headlines and descriptions, the algorithm can choose from over 43,000 different combinations when optimizing your message based on engagement metrics.

As your campaigns reach different ad groups, Google’s machine learning will pick up on the most successful combinations in terms of conversions. While a lot of data and configurations go on behind the scenes, the final result for a Responsive Search Ad looks just like the traditional Expanded Text Ads with up to three headlines, two descriptions, and a display URL.

Responsive Search Ads vs. Expanded Text Ads

Expanded Text Ads only allow you to create three headlines and two descriptions pointing toward one final URL. The combination of these headlines and descriptions never change, so they will not respond to metrics, user interests, or anything else. While you may have more control over how the final ad appears, you will not achieve the same level of optimization and performance as you can with Responsive Search Ads.

Responsive Search Ads vs. Dynamic Search Ads

People often confuse Responsive Search Ads with Dynamic Search Ads due to the similar names. While Responsive Search Ads adjust the combination and layout of your ad to fit screen sizes and user interests, Dynamic Search Ads adjust the actual content based on user information, like their search history. For example, a Dynamic Search Ad may give a user a link to your plumbing service page if they’ve Googled the word “plumbing” recently.

Responsive Search Ad Benefits

Responsive Search Ads provide numerous benefits over traditional Expanded Text Ads. With the automatic generation of multiple ads, plus the ability to create more headlines and descriptions, you can enjoy the following:

  • Reduced manual hours: As a busy contractor, you don’t have time to spend days contemplating whether your ad copy is good enough for publication. When you create ads based on the responsive framework, you can let AI technology do the work for you. Simply add all the copy you can think of and let Google Ads optimize it.
  • Better performance: Google Responsive Search Ads improve ad performance by creating ad combinations and measuring results to find the most successful ad groups for each of your audiences.
  • Real-time optimization: You likely don’t have time to log in to your Google Ads account every day to view metrics and manually optimize ad copy. Instead, Responsive Search Ads automatically optimize in real-time so you never miss out on wasted opportunities.
  • Opportunity to reach wider audiences: The large number of ad combinations allows your business to target more audiences. For example, you can create copy that advertises plumbing services, AC repairs, roofing replacements, and more, all in one ad group.
  • Higher ROIs: Better performance levels mean better returns on ad spend. As your business enjoys an increased click-through rate, all your metrics shoot up, including your return on investment.

Preparing for the Change in Google Ads

Since the initial release of Responsive Search Ads, Google Ads began slowly phasing out Expanded Text Ads to prioritize the new, fully optimized system. Starting on June 30, 2023, you will no longer be able to create or edit Expanded Text Ads (ETAs). After this date, Responsive Search Ads will be the only search ad type.

If you have existing ETAs that you wish to keep active, they won’t go away after June 30. You can still keep your old ads, but you won’t be able to make adjustments. Any new ads you create must be Responsive Search Ads, as they will be the default ad type.

How Does This Transition Affect Ad Strength and Strategy?

If you already have existing ads, don’t let this change in the Google Ads system scare you. Responsive Search Ads offer ideal flexibility and results without any added work. Simply translate all the best practice lessons you’ve learned from your prior ad type into the new search ads to see your work pay off.

If you have successful ETAs, allow them to continue performing well. If your previous campaigns yielded poor results, use this opportunity to reshape your strategy. You can find endless free Google Ads support resources, like this article, to help you create high-converting Responsive Search Ads.

How to Create High-Converting Responsive Search Ads

Now that you understand what Responsive Search Ads are, how they work, and when Google will begin phasing them in as the default ad type, let’s discuss how you can create a successful one. While Google Ads may optimize your content for you, you still need to create engaging copy that works well within the guidelines. Use our tips below when creating your headlines and descriptions.

Creating Engaging Headlines

Headlines are the first thing your users notice when looking at your ad. You want to create as many unique, engaging, and succinct headlines as possible. Google Ads considers your various headlines when determining your ad quality score and ranking position, so they need to stand out.

  • Create as many unique headlines as you can that dictate different messages because Google Ads will not use headlines that are too similar to one another. Remember, your headlines can speak to different audiences. For example, you can create a specific headline for your plumbing services and one for your 15% off promotion.
  • Use different keywords in a few headlines or Google’s Dynamic Keyword Insertion tool to add terms automatically. Targeted keywords help your ad match a user’s search query. Occasionally, terms may even appear in bold when they match search queries to help potential customers see your search terms amid the sea of search results.
  • Create multiple headlines without keywords, like calls-to-action, to vary your content more. Machine-learning algorithms negatively rank content for keyword stuffing, so you want to include different versions without your targeted keywords.
  • Vary your short and long headlines to give the system more options to choose between when creating combinations based on layout space. A substantial variation of headlines and descriptions offers better visual results for the headline position and ad copy. For example, a short headline will give you more room for a long description.
  • Create at least ten headlines, though shoot for 15 if you can. The more quality headlines and descriptions you create, the more ad format combinations the system can optimize, allowing you to yield more ad strength.

Understanding How to Build Description Lines and CTAs

Once you grab your user’s attention with the headline, you must reel them in with an informative and engaging description. Descriptions should confirm to your reader that you’re the best contractor in the business, so they don’t have to continue searching and can schedule that appointment right away. Try the following tips with your description lines:

  • Use unique ad text in each description that further enhances your ad strength. Think about the different headlines you created, and go into depth about those topics with your descriptions. For example, if you created a headline about 15% off plumbing services, you could include a description of being the most affordable plumber in town.
  • Include CTAs in your descriptions so your audience knows what to do next. Calls-to-action may include calling to schedule a service appointment, subscribing to your blog, etc. As a best practice, use specific, succinct, and engaging CTAs in your headlines and descriptions so your Google Responsive Search Ads can stand out from the rest.

When to Pin Combinations

Google Ads lets you pin headlines and descriptions together to create specific positions. Pinning headlines in a specific position can ensure that you keep relevant assets together.

While pinning your ad details may seem tempting, we recommend using this feature with caution. The Google algorithm understands how to place your headings and descriptions together so that the content makes sense. You don’t need to waste time doing so manually.

Pinning a single headline can reduce your optimization, learning, and testing by as much as 75%. The more you pin, the more this percentage increases. If you want to compete in more auctions and reach a wider audience, we recommend leaving the combination work to Google.

You can pin combinations if you absolutely must keep items together, although you may be better off making the content more vague. While unique content can improve your ad, you don’t want to feel like you need to pin everything.

Using the Google Strength Score

In any PPC advertising with paid media, you want to know whether your search campaigns will actually yield results. When creating search campaigns with Responsive Search Ads, Google shows you a quality score so you can continue developing the content. You should use the strength score as your guiding light, as Google’s platform will use the same considerations when ranking your ad group.

While you may feel that your paid media ads include all the necessary components, Google may think otherwise. The strength score dial shows exactly what your ads need to perform better. Google’s strength meter measures ad quality, content diversity, and relevance.

You’ll see basic scores like “poor,” “good,” “excellent,” etc. Continue working on your ads until you reach the excellent threshold. Using the strength score can help you maximize your ad spend. If you’re unsure how to improve, click the “view details” idea tabs to understand why your ad needs work.

General Dos and Don’ts

Creating successful Responsive Search Ads can take some trial and error. We recommend looking at a few Responsive Search Ads examples to see ideas of how the system pairs ad content. Next, consider these tips:

  • Create at least one RSA per ad group
  • Spend time researching keywords for optimal ad strength
  • Review Google’s ad strength score and continue working until it looks good
  • Refresh copy regularly to keep your ad strength high
  • Use Dynamic Keyword Insertion to place your terms in the right areas
  • Consider using a few Ad Extensions (ad extensions allow users to see extra information)
  • Use the shuffled preview to see how your search campaigns look
  • Test a few ads per ad group
  • Use as many relevant ad assets as you can

While the above tips can help you create high-converting Responsive Search Ads, a few missteps can send you in the wrong direction. Try to avoid common mistakes, such as using too many keywords, pinning multiple headlines and descriptions, and creating super niche content that won’t mesh well together when paired.

Responsive Search Ad FAQs

Before building your unstoppable ad group, review answers to the most frequently asked Responsive Search Ad questions below.

How Many Headlines and Descriptions Can I Create with Responsive Search Ads?

Responsive Search Ads allow you to create up to 15 headlines and four descriptions. While you don’t need to write this many, most recommend creating at least ten headlines and three descriptions to maximize Google’s machine learning.

Does Google Still Support Expanded Text Ads?

Yes, Google Ads still supports Expanded Text Ads (ETAs), though after June 30, you will no longer be able to create or edit ETAs. Your ETAs will remain active, but Responsive Search Ads will take over as the primary search ad type following this shift.

Can I Pin Headlines and Descriptions Together?

Yes, you can pin headlines and descriptions together in Responsive Search Ads, though most advise against this strategy as it reduces the effectiveness of Google’s optimization and learning abilities. Try to create content that can easily mesh together, regardless of how Google pairs it.

When Will Google Begin the Transition to Responsive Search Ads?

On June 30, Google will enact the transition to Responsive Search Ads becoming the default ad type. After this date, you may keep other ad types in your ad group; however, you cannot edit them or create more.

What’s the Difference Between Responsive Search Ads and Dynamic Search Ads?

Responsive Search Ads automatically adjust your ad layout, while Dynamic Ads adjust the content based on user interests. For example, RSAs may pair certain headlines and descriptions together that work well, while Dynamic Ads may display products to users who’ve viewed the item in the past.

Begin Creating Engaging Responsive Search Ads Today

If you’re struggling to create high-converting Google Responsive Search Ads or simply wish to improve your quality score on Google Ads, we can help. Call Relentless Digital today at (262) 393-4241 to learn how our digital marketing experts can help you expand your contracting business.