Create effective Search ads

Write compelling, genuine ad copy

There are certain ad copy best practices that should be taken into account when writing your ads. Namely, you want to show value to a user without coming across as pushy.

Craft messaging that focuses on user needs and benefits

The best way to show value to a user is to think about their needs and benefits. Users respond to ads that include concepts that are important to them.


Responsive search ads are designed to be adaptable and user-friendly. Learn about how to use this format to its full potential.

Focus on what a user gets by visiting your site. Things like reliability or trustworthiness (ex. “official site”), a wide selection (ex. “view our inventory”), and whatever else someone could want before visiting your site. Although those specific benefits will vary from industry to industry, start the ad copy writing process by thinking about your users.

Aside from knowing your own business and your customers, there are plenty of other ways to get insight into what users care about.

  • Look at behavior reports in Google Analytics to see which pages on your site are most appealing to new or returning users.
  • Use language from successful pages on your own site as inspiration for your ad copy.
  • Use the Search terms report to see how your creative messages performed when compared to the actual searches that triggered them.

Think about why you would want to be a customer of your business, and do what you can to capture that in your ad copy.


When creating responsive search ads, consider reusing existing headlines and descriptions from your high-performing Search ads. The same content that worked in your existing Search ads will work well in your responsive search ads, which can help improve performance.

Tie your headline and description line’s messaging to your keywords

When writing headlines and description lines, try including text from your keywords that serve most often in your ad group. This increases the relevance of your ad combinations for users, which can improve the effectiveness of your responsive search ads.

For example, if there are five keywords in your ad group and three of them have the most traffic, try adding those three keywords to your headlines to get your Ad Strength to the next level and improve the performance of your ad.

Case Study

Swoop logo

Established in 2018, Swoop is one of Canada’s leading ultra-low fare airlines. With the goal of driving more bookings and revenue at a profitable rate amidst changing search behavior, the company turned to responsive search ads as a way to reach and engage more customers with relevant ads. To generate ad combinations that were relevant to potential customers, the brand included its best performing keywords in its ad copy. As a result, Swoop saw a 71% increase in revenue and 61% more conversions.

Avoid generic sales language in your ads. Use more specific and relatable calls to action

Once you’ve identified some benefits that your users could respond to, it’s easy to see why generic sales language might not be appealing. Things like “call us today” create a false sense of urgency. There’s not really a benefit to the user, so why would they want to call today?

Non-specific or generic calls to action (ex. sign up today, book today) can sometimes show decreased engagement with ads. Time-sensitive ads can be great, but they can be even better when you provide a reason for that urgency. Saying something like “sale ends in XX hours” (through the usage of a countdown) can be very effective. Make any urgency earned and valued.

Estimates tend to be free, so it might not benefit a user to know that your estimates are also free. Similarly, signing up for a newsletter is great for you, but a user might not see it as a benefit. Having a clear call to action is great, as long as that action actually benefits a user.

And a final point: make your offers to customers relatable. Think about where someone is in the buying cycle based on their query. Know when a user probably wants to browse inventory and when it seems like they’re ready to actually make a purchase.

Check Ad Strength for insights into how users may react to your ads

Ad Strength is a crucial metric to use when creating responsive search ads. It provides you with feedback to help you focus on providing the right messages to your customers. Ad Strength includes both an overall rating that indicates the effectiveness of an ad and specific action items that can help you to improve. Try to increase the Ad Strength of your responsive search ads to “Good” or “Excellent” by using the action items.

Add the Ad Strength column to your ad reporting to see the overall ratings for your ads and identify ways to improve. Google’s ratings aren’t as important as your business metrics, of course, but this column can be a quick way to focus your efforts.

Case Study

MyFlightSearch logo

Online travel agency MyFlightSearch focused on creating responsive search ads with ‘Good’ and ‘Excellent’ Ad Strength by including popular flight-related keywords and using unique headlines. Coupled with Smart Bidding, responsive search ads helped MyFlightSearch increase conversions by 14% and improved its cost per booking by 15%.

Review campaign level asset reporting

Campaign level asset reporting helps you understand which of your assets resonate most with your customers. Review this report on a regular basis to help optimize your ads. You should replace “Low” performing headlines and descriptions with new ones that are based on your “Best” performing headlines and descriptions. Keep your “Good” headlines and descriptions and see how they perform against the new ones.

Next: Create messaging that reflects your brand and the products and services you offer



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