Create effective Search ads

Test and optimize creative messages

Well-written creative messages start out as great only in theory. It’s important to establish a robust process for testing Search ads.


Responsive search ads test combinations of ads automatically. Learn about how to use this format to the fullest.

Test and iterate creative messages

You can learn about your users’ preferences and improve your performance by honing ad text, especially your headlines. Responsive search ads test across your different options for headlines automatically. Below are some tips to establish a testing framework for non-responsive ads that’s manageable and repeatable:

  • Be organized. Use Google Ads labels. Something as simple as a calendar can help you to keep a schedule. Document start and end times. 
  • Establish a testing threshold and stick to it. Wait until you have served enough impressions to be confident in your results.
  • Limit how many elements you test within your ads. Make different variations similar enough that you learn from their differences.


  • You can stay on top of your ad testing in two ways:
    • Campaign drafts and experiments help you measure your results to understand the impact of your changes before you apply them to a campaign.
    • Implement 3-5 ads per ad group and at least one responsive search ad. The more ads that are present in an ad group, the more options you’ll have for success in an auction.
    • Ad variations allow you to easily create and test variations of your ads across multiple campaigns or your entire account. For example, you can test how well your ads perform if you were to change your call to action from "Buy now" to "Buy today." Or you can test changing your headline to "Call Now for a Free Quote" across ads in multiple campaigns.
    • Learn what works for you, and keep track of the findings. Don’t repeat tests that you completed six months ago. Test with purpose. Like they taught you in science class in high school: establish a hypothesis; prove or disprove that hypothesis; document results; test again.

Pick the right metrics to gauge the success of your ads.

Don’t fixate on metrics like clickthrough rate and conversion rate. Many ad formats are about driving more impressions, clicks, and conversions for entire ad groups and campaigns. There are many instances where you might end up serving impressions in a low clickthrough rate placement that you might not have qualified for before. A high clickthrough rate isn’t the end goal; it should be all about growing your business.

We recommend you use campaign drafts and experiments if you want to understand the impact of adding responsive search ads to your existing campaigns. You’ll be able to take a look at overall changes in clicks, cost per click, and conversions when adding responsive ads to your campaigns.

Focus your testing efforts on high-value campaigns

It’s important to prioritize your testing efforts on the places that matter most. Think about areas of your account that drive a lot of volume or value for you. You can also focus on ad groups that would benefit the most from a new set of creative messages.

Optimize your ad rotation to prefer the best performing ads

Google Ads offers two different ad rotation settings:

  • Optimize
  • Rotate indefinitely

While there are use cases for each of the two options, the recommended approach is to optimize. Under this option, ads that are expected to attract more clicks are delivered more often into the ad auction than other ads in the ad group. Ads optimized to drive clicks can improve both your competitiveness and your bottom line.


To optimize for cost-per-conversion, use the optimize setting in conjunction with a Smart Bidding strategy.

If you choose to rotate indefinitely, it’s important to stay on top of your tests. Every impression that an underperforming ad receives is a missed opportunity, and those opportunities cost you money.

Ultimately, when you’re deciding the outcome of ad tests, you can use a combination of performance stats. Looking at clickthrough rate alone can be misleading. If the system is showing an ad more often than another, it can mean that it’s better at winning impressions in the auction itself, which is often a strong reason to prefer that creative over others.


Your ad text represents your brand to consumers who search on It’s important to get the messaging right. Write ads that connect with people as they search.




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