Top 4 Responsive Search Ad Strength Hacks You Need and Why You Need Them
We recently took a deep dive into how ad strength affects the performance of Responsive Search Ads. We embarked on a journey to improve the ads of one of our B2B Tech clients from “poor” to “excellent” in order to improve our overall performance. With the knowledge gained from the process, we now have a solid foundation and unified approach for writing and editing RSAs.
There were four key RSA optimizations confirmed through live 8-figure B2B campaigns: unpinning assets, keywords, the number of headlines and descriptions, and the uniqueness of those assets. Once implemented, these optimizations gave us the “excellent” ad strength we were striving towards.
In many cases during our RSA improvement process, unpinning headlines would get us to an “excellent” ad strength right away. In some other cases, we had to do much more. This goes to show that unpinning assets is the quickest and most impactful way to improve ad strength. While you can’t always avoid pinning your headlines and descriptions, it’s a good step to take if you can. When you pin to specific positions, you’re limiting the number of ad combinations that can be served. By unpinning, you’re allowing the system to show the most relevant ad. If you’re struggling to find assets you can unpin, try pinning more than one to the same spot. This allows for a little flexibility on ad combinations while still maintaining some control.
The second biggest opportunity in improving ad strength is adding keywords to your headlines and descriptions. If you’re thinking that you already know this, that is true. But you may not know that using the right keywords can move your ad strength up to two levels. It’s important to note that your highest volume keywords will have the most impact. Often enough, creating multiple headlines with different low volume keywords was not quite as effective as fewer headlines with high volume keywords.
If you want to take it up a notch, utilize some MarTech and let Google insert keywords for you. With Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) your ad copy will automatically update with the keyword that caused your ad to show. Using keyword insertion in a headline or description does count toward the number of keywords you’re using, so it raises ad strength. Keep in mind that DKI is a helpful tool, but should be used with caution. Make sure all keywords in that ad group will make sense when inserted into your headline and won’t cause any grammatical errors. DKI can increase impressions, but if your keywords aren’t properly aligned, you may not see the conversions following behind.
3. Headlines and Descriptions
Responsive Search Ads allow for 15 headlines and 4 descriptions to be provided. The more you use, the better. In fact, we’ve been told by the product team to have 10 minimum. If our client’s ads didn’t have every spot filled, we added more. We then watched the ad strength rise with the addition of every headline. By providing more headlines and descriptions, you’re giving the system more options to choose from to create the most relevant ad possible.
4. Be Unique
When you’re adding headlines and descriptions, make sure to keep them unique. Google won’t serve ad copy that’s redundant. So it’s important not to be too repetitive when writing. It’s also another way to increase the number of ad combinations that can be generated. Which, in turn, increases relevance. We used a variety of headlines including, but not limited to, brand messaging, product features, calls to action, and offers. Check out our RSA headline template that we created to help guide the writing process.
Putting It All Together
In the end, we were able to take 28 of the 30 “poor” responsive search ads to mostly “excellent”. After our improved RSAs ran for 77 days, we saw the increase in performance that we were hoping for. We achieved more clicks at a lower cost thereby improving our cost per conversion by 38%. We can confidently say that there are advantages of optimizing RSAs for ad strength.
It’s important to remember that not every “hack” is going to work every time. We couldn’t use competitor keywords in ad copy and sometimes headlines or descriptions had to stay pinned. We always had to do what made most sense for our B2B Tech client’s ads. The important thing is that we now have a good understanding of what elements make an ad “excellent” and how they can be used to improve ad strength.
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