Grow clicks and conversions by using responsive search ads: the new default ad type for Search campaigns

February 18, 2021

The ways people search continue to change—and COVID-19 has only accelerated the pace of change. For example, searches for "takeout restaurants" have grown over 5000%,1 while searches for “online learning” have grown over 400%2 in the last year. Responsive search ads can help you reach more of your customers and grow your business in real time, even as consumer behavior changes.

Using machine learning, responsive search ads automatically identify the best combination of headlines and descriptions to deliver the right ad to the right person. In fact, we’ve seen advertisers that add responsive search ads in their ad groups achieve up to 10% more clicks and conversions.3

Starting today, responsive search ads will be the default ad type for Search campaigns in Google Ads. Expanded text ads can still be created if needed.

Swoop logo

When COVID-19 hit and kept travelers home, Canada-based Swoop saw bookings and revenue decline while searches for terms like “can i travel” and “safe to fly” surged. To adjust to changing search behavior, the airline added responsive search ads in June. It included top performing keywords when creating assets to ensure the brand’s message resonated with potential customers. As a result, Swoop saw a 71% increase in revenue and 61% more conversions.

“Despite the dynamic marketplace brought on by COVID-19, responsive search ads have driven significant bookings and revenue at an impressive ROAS,” says Julien Rouisse, Digital Marketing Team Lead at Swoop.

Moda Furnishings logo

British furniture designer and importer, Moda Furnishings, wanted to increase sales from its e-commerce site. Partnering with its agency, Fluid Commerce, the brand reused content from its expanded text ads to create responsive search ads and added them across its ad groups. As a result, Moda Furnishings has seen clickthrough rates increase 96% while sales have grown over 3,000%.

“We’ve seen significant improvement across all key metrics since adding responsive search ads,” says Jonny Brierley, CEO of Moda Furnishings. “From site traffic to sales, responsive search ads have outperformed expanded text ads.”

360i logo

Digital marketing agency, 360i, was looking for ways to increase customer sign-ups for a large financial services client. Focusing on Ad strength, the agency created unique assets for its responsive search ads by repurposing content from expanded text ads. As a result, 360i saw an 11% increase in clicks and 8% more conversions for key non-branded terms.

"Responsive search ads have proven to be an effective way of achieving incremental gains without sacrificing efficiency," says Brendan Alberts, SVP of Search & Shopping at 360i. "Given the results, responsive search ads continue to be an important part of our Search strategy."

3Q Digital logo

For 3Q Digital, responsive search ads have proven successful for the agency’s clients, resulting in 6% more clicks and 5% higher clickthrough rates than expanded text ads. “We know leaning into automation is the path forward for search marketing,” says Joseph Kerschbaum, VP of Search and Growth Labs. “As a best practice, we now include responsive search ads in every ad group.”

To get the most from your responsive search ads, consider these best practices:

  • Use Ad strength when writing your headlines and descriptions to understand the effectiveness of your ads. Advertisers who improve Ad strength for their responsive search ads from 'Poor' to 'Excellent' see 9% more clicks and conversions on average.4
  • Take advantage of location insertion and countdown customizers to show ads that are relevant and meaningful to your customers.
  • Use Smart Bidding and broad match keywords with responsive search ads to help optimize the performance of your ads while maximizing your reach.
  • Review cross-campaign asset reporting to understand which creative assets resonate most with your customers.

Check out this helpful guide to learn more about creating effective Search ads.

Posted by Sylvanus Bent, Product Manager, Google Ads

1. Google Data, Global English, Jun 17, 2020 - Aug 15, 2020 vs Jun 17, 2019 - Aug 15, 2019
2. Google Data, Global English, Jun 17, 2020 - Aug 15, 2020 vs Jun 17, 2019 - Aug 15, 2019
3. Google internal data, Global, 7/15/2020 - 8/15/2020
4. Google internal data, Global, 7/18/2020 - 8/1/2020

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