Understanding The Algorithm and Process Behind Your Responsive Ads

  ●   September 17, 2021 | Paid Media, PPC
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September 17, 2021 | Paid Media, PPC

Keen to learn more about the ins and outs of Responsive Text Ads? Our Paid Media Account Director, Nichole Webb shares her insights into the algorithm and process behind Responsive Text Ads, as well as some useful best practices to follow.

What exactly are Responsive Text Ads?

Responsive Text Ads are effectively an intelligent way of serving ads. With a traditional text ad on Google, you would have defined headlines and descriptions that would always appear in the same way every time someone searches, whereas Responsive Text Ads use multiple headlines and descriptions which means Google can show them in different variations each time someone searches. 

Each time Google shows a new variation, it gathers more data to learn from, so as more people search, it can work out the best combination of headline and description and determine what’s most likely to get the user to convert. 

What are the benefits of Responsive Text Ads?

  1. More refined testing 

One of the key benefits of Responsive Text Ads is that you can see how each individual headline and description perform, which can help inform future ads or other strategies. 

For example, from running Responsive Text Ads for one of our clients, we realised that including the word ‘resilience’ resulted in a higher click through rate and strong performance rating – so we’ve transferred this over to their display advertising and banners ads as a learning. We’re also going to experiment across other channels. 

Ultimately, Responsive Text Ads allow you to get more information about how people interact based on the main USPs or callouts that you include, enabling you to better understand what type of ads work best for your ideal customer. 

  1. Greater flexibility

Responsive Text Ads also offer greater flexibility than other ad formats. as you’re not restrained to just one set of headlines and descriptions. It allows you to experiment and play around with lots of different messaging to see what works.

  1. Smart automation

Instead of having one combination of headline and description, with Responsive Text Ads you have multiple that change for every single search. So it means that you don’t have to write multiple variations of ads to test – you can just set up one Responsive Search Ad and it does all the hard work for you.

How are Responsive Text Ads generated? 

Below we outline the process for generating Responsive Text Ads:

  1. The first step in the process is to add in however many headlines and descriptions you want to set up. You have 15 headlines and 4 descriptions available to use, with a minimum of 3 headlines and 2 descriptions required. While you don’t have to meet the maximum, the more variants you use will make for a stronger ad. If there are any headlines you want to make sure will always get visibility, pin them to ensure they will be served by Google. 
  2. Once the ad is set up, Google will then have the option of rotating through however many variations it wants, based on its algorithm.
  3. Run your ad for a minimum of 2 weeks so you have enough data to analyse. A month’s worth of data will generally give you the best insights. 
  4. Once you’ve got the data, evaluate the performance of your headlines and descriptions to determine your top performing assets. 
  5. Pick out the key ad text that has performed best and use these learnings to build new ads or adapt your existing ones if you’ve seen that there’s a particular theme or word that has stood out. You can also look to eradicate messaging that has had little to no impact.

How does Google’s Ads algorithm work?

The Google Ads algorithm uses signals from user behaviour and previous activity, e.g. if the user has shown intent towards a certain product, or an affinity towards a certain brand through their browsing history. Google will also use the data that’s available in your account. If they can see that a user has interacted with one of your ads in a certain way, they can use this learning and apply it to the next person – and so on. The longer you have your ads running for, the more data that can be collected, and the more informed the algorithm will be – which should ultimately mean better results!

Our best practices for Responsive Text Ads

Here are our best practices to follow to get the best results from Responsive Text Ads:

  1. Test as much as you can. Make as much use as possible of the headlines and descriptions available. If you’re only putting in 5 headlines, when you have the option of adding 10, you won’t get as much back from it. 
  2. Embrace the automation. Don’t pin headlines too much, let the algorithm do the work for you. However, if you’re a smaller, newer or lesser-known brand, pinning your USPs can be useful.
  3. Use multiple variations. If you’re creating lots of different Responsive Text Ads over time, don’t fall into the trap of using the same headlines over and over again. Make sure the headlines you include are as unique as possible if you want to maximise your learnings. 

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