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.

Use ad variations to test and iterate creative messages

You can learn about your users’ preferences and improve your performance by honing ad text, especially your headlines. 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 changing your call to action from "Buy now" to "Buy today" impacts your performance. Or you can test changing your headline to "Call Now for a Free Quote" across ads in multiple 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.

Below are some tips to establish a testing framework that’s manageable and repeatable:

  • Be organized. 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.

To understand the impact of your changes before you apply them to a campaign, you can use campaign drafts and experiments to help you measure your testing results.

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 search ads to your campaigns.

Use optimized ad rotation if you have more than one ad per ad group

Google Ads offers two different ad rotation settings:

  • Optimize
  • Rotate ads indefinitely

While there are use cases for each of the two options, the recommended approach is to optimize your ad rotation if you have more than one ad per ad group. 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 ads 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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