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Responsive Search Ads (RSA): Successful Google Ads ads like a pro

by Sorbaioli
Responsive Search Ads (RSA): successful Google Ads ads like a pro

If you have a Google Ads account, you have certainly been made aware: from June 30, 2022, you will no longer be able to create or modify expanded text ads (ETA), and Responsive Search Ads (RSA) will therefore become the default format.

What does that mean ? Concretely, that you will lose a little control over your advertisements on the search network. But is this such bad news? Not necessarily.

Indeed, Responsive Search Ads is a great product. In his book “ Unlevel the Playing Field”, Frederick Vallaeys tells us that:

  • 74.8% of advertisers who have tried RSA ads are still using them,
  • 24.9% have not tried it yet,
  • and only 0.3% of advertisers stopped them.

These figures are proof that the performance of RSA ads has satisfied advertisers who have tried them.

In this article, I’ll give you everything you need to know to create and optimize your RSA Google Ads ads like a professional. First of all, let’s quickly recall what Responsive Search Ads are, and how they differ from their elders, Expanded Text Ads (ETA).

What are Responsive Search Ads (RSA)?

ETA vs. RSA, or Google Ads “before” and “after” ads

Historically, Google Ads advertisers had to write each ad individually, from A to Z.

  • BEFORE: with Expanded Text Ads (ETA), the advertiser wrote the ad in its entirety, filling in 3 titles, 2 descriptions and 1 URL to display.
  • AFTER: with Responsive Search Ads (RSA), the advertiser writes 15 titles, 4 descriptions and 1 URL to display. These elements will be automatically “mixed” by the Google Ads system to match the user’s request as closely as possible.

A “mix and match” provided by artificial intelligence

The purpose of Responsive Search Ads is to be able to better match the intentions of Internet users.

  • Rather than letting the advertiser create “frozen” ads,
  • the Google Ads system will “draw” from the 15 titles and 4 descriptions proposed by the advertiser to serve, in real time, the text advertising that will be the most relevant to the intention of the Internet user doing the search.

The combinations of titles and descriptions are automatically chosen by Google’s artificial intelligence, which adapts your ads for each request in order to make them more relevant, more attractive, for more requests.

This new approach to ad creation is in line with the trajectory that the Google Ads platform is taking, namely, injecting a lot more automation and artificial intelligence.

How to properly write your Responsive Search Ads (RSA) ads?

Take inspiration from the system’s suggestions

Overall, the process of creating ads may be simplified with Responsive Search Ads, you still have to manage to fill in 15 titles and 4 different descriptions!

One of the first ways to avoid blank page syndrome is to simply look at the suggestions made by the system itself.

It will tell you, depending on the keywords you are bidding on, certain phrases that you should add to your ad titles. Google Ads also explores your landing page to suggest other titles, inspired by the content of your site.

The AIDA method for consistent copywriting of RSA ads

How to write ad elements that can be combined with each other, in a coherent way? A trick is to go back to the basics of advertising…

When it comes to advertising copywriting, one of the ancestral methods that is used is AIDA:

  • Caution _
  • Interest _
  • Desire _
  • action _

You can use this structure when writing the different titles of your RSA ad.

For example :

WARNING “Do you pay more than €3,000 in taxes? »
INTEREST “Save up to 30% on your shopping”
DESIRE “Free yourself from daily chores”
STOCK ” Register today “

The SONCAS method to vary your titles & descriptions

The AIDA method is structured around only 4 elements…so you can fill in the other 15 ad titles by following another known business approach.

In sales, there is a method that maps the various motivations that can induce a customer to buy. This is the SONCAS method.

You can use this one-size-fits-all method to create ad assets that will resonate with most people exposed to your ads.

These 6 motivations can already easily inspire you between 6 and 12 titles among the 15 offered by Responsive Search Ads.

For example :

SECURITY ” Satisfied or refunded “
PRIDE “Enjoy the vacation you deserve”
NOVELTY “State of the art technology”
COMFORT “Product returns 100% supported”
MONEY “Pay 20% less than the market price”
SYMPATHY “Let’s talk about it over a coffee!” »

Use Ads Customizers in your RSA ads

Of the 15 headlines that are available to you in Responsive Search Ads, consider writing a few with ad customizers. These allow you to automatically personalize the text of your ads on the Search Network.

The use cases of ad customizers can be very advanced if you combine them with your own data feeds (ex: a list of brands, prices, promotions, colors, etc.). So you can serve “tailor-made” messages, tailored to each search, with hundreds of variations for a single RSA.

In its simplified version, Google Ads offers you the possibility of easily boosting your Responsive Search Ads ad titles according to:

  • of the keyword searched by the user: {Keyword:}
  • its geographic location : {LOCATION(City)}
  • countdown : {COUNTDOWN()}

All you have to do is start typing “{” in a Title field for the system to offer you the 3 insertion options presented above, so that you can configure them directly from the interface.

Optimize your Responsive Search Ads (RSA) ads

Ad effectiveness score

Creating your Responsive Search Ads correctly is a good first step. But how to optimize them afterwards? Fortunately, Google Ads has created a new metric, called “ad effectiveness”.

The latter rates your advertisement as “Excellent”, “Good”, “Average” or “Poor”.

To do this, Google looks at whether you follow the “best practices” of Google Ads copywriting to assign this score to your RSA:

  • Use 100% of the 15 titles and 4 descriptions provided?
  • Do you pick up the keywords you are bidding on?
  • Are your titles & descriptions varied, different ?
  • Are you giving more freedom to the artificial intelligence, without “pinning” one of the titles so that it is constantly displayed at a given position?

Performance of ad elements

Although Google gives you an “ad effectiveness score”, this only assesses your level of adoption of best practices. It is not intrinsically correlated to your performance.

That’s why the system has provided an asset report for Responsive Search Ads.

Once an element of your ads has accumulated more than 5,000 impressions over 30 days, Google Ads independently evaluates the performance of each element of your RSA ads.

Each eligible item is assigned an assessment made automatically by the platform, based on its past statistics.

Do A/B testing with Responsive Search Ads

To improve your campaign results with more effective RSA ads, you’ll need to go through the traditional A/B test.

Before Responsive Search Ads, Google Ads account managers used to add multiple text advertisers within their ad groups to determine if one ad was performing better than another.

With Responsive Search Ads, the method varies. It’s no longer just about creating multiple RSAs, but about “pinning” different titles between your ads, to “force” different combinations to display, for experimentation purposes.

For example, you can test different copywriting tones, or see if an element judged as “Excellent” has more impact at a given position.

When interpreting the results of your tests, do not limit yourself to the traditional CTR. Indeed, Responsive Search Ads, due to their greater flexibility, are used to entering more auctions than traditional ETA announcements.

Your advertisements are therefore broadcast more frequently, which logically generates additional impressions and conversions. But it is above all the additional conversions that interest the advertiser!

For each of your tests, compare the following metrics to appreciate both the efficiency and the incremental volume brought by each variation:

  • impressions in absolute value
  • absolute value conversions
  • the CTR
  • Conversions/Impressions ratio


Responsive Search Ads are about to become the new standard for your Google Ads campaigns. Like many other features of the platform, ads are intended to embrace more and more artificial intelligence, in order to better match the intentions of Internet users, and to maximize the performance of advertisers, without them having to to make more effort.

To write them correctly, you can draw inspiration from proven copywirting methods in sales & advertising. Google also gives you automatic indications, in terms of suggested titles, compliance with best practices and the individual performance of each element of your ad.

The fact remains that advertisers must continue to have a continuous optimization process through A/B tests, in order to make Responsive Search Ads an asset to generate more conversions & business impact.

To close this article, I suggest you see a video summary of how to optimize Responsive Search Ads ads, directly published by Google.


Responsive Search Ads FAQ


The minimum required is 3 titles to be able to save your Responsive Search Ads ad.

However, it is strongly advised to fill in all 15 headlines, as tests have shown that the more headlines an RSA ad has, the greater the volume of conversions it generates.


Google offers advertisers who want more control over their ads the ability to “pin” the titles of an RSA ad to a given position. In some cases, it is even mandatory (eg legal obligations of an advertiser who sells regulated products).

Nevertheless, if you can, it is advisable not to pin your titles to free Google’s artificial intelligence from all constraints. This has a positive impact on your CTR (click-through rate), CPC (Cost per Click) and CPA (Cost per Conversion).


According to Google, each increase in ad strength corresponds to approximately a 3% increase in clicks.

  • So going from “poor” to “average” should result in about 3% more clicks,
  • and going from “Average” to “Good” will result in 3% more clicks.

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