Why you should take responsive search ads and its implications on search results into consideration

Every day on Google, internet users conduct over 3.5 billion searches. And there are 644 million active websites. So, the question for many companies is how do I get noticed? How do I even get found? Nearly all companies take into account on-page and off-page SEO, content marketing, and web design. Yet other companies branch out and create paid ads to drive traffic to their site irrespective of traditional SEO.

Paid ads and the new ad in town

There are many platforms that allow you to create paid advertisements–from Facebook to LinkedIn to Instagram–but we’ll focus on Google. Paid advertisements are just that–you pay Google so that you appear in the ad spaces at the top of the Google SERP. We won’t get into the nitty gritty of pay-per-click (PPC) versus pay-per-impression (PPM) advertising, but the bottom line is that Google ads can get expensive. Do they work? Yes, if you know what you’re doing. Check your metrics!

In January of 2017, Google decided no longer to support Flash player ads. Then, summer 2018, Google announced it would roll out responsive search ads. Google constantly tries to come up with improvements and innovations, so is this new AI-generated advertising a good thing for your company? And should you care? Should you consider the implications and impact on your business?

What do responsive ads do?

Responsive search ads allow you to show more text and more relevant messages to your customers. That’s the Google official line, of course. It’s still new. Google ads now automatically tests different combinations of your messaging to find the message that performs the best over time. All of this sounds good. Basically, what Google is saying is that more people will see your advertisement, which means more people are likely to click on your advert and potentially buy your product or service or visit your blog–whatever metric you’ve set up your ad to do.

What are the benefits of responsive ads?

Google notes that responsive ads allow you to show a more relevant message to the customer. You can provide a more flexible message (with three headlines and two descriptions) and your advertisements adapt to form the best combinations that work for you. Furthermore, you can control and restrict the parameters if you really want. Responsive ads increase the performance of your ads by increasing clicks by 5-15%, which is pretty good. In short, Google asserts that responsive ads reach more potential customers, matching your results to more relevant queries. Their tagline description is ‘show the right message to customers at the right time.’

Further benefits are there’s a new larger advertising format, which means you take up more real estate in the Google SERP, which means people may notice you more. And it’s all generated by machine learning.

Responsive Search Ads example
Credit: Google

The idea is that ad creation can now be less time consuming and you can monitor the performance of each asset. You can now replace your weakest performing assets and test new ones, which means you’re optimizing for the best performing message.

Currently, these ads are only available in English, Spanish, French, and German with plans to expand to more languages soon.

How does it work?

If you need more information on how to create these advertisements, read our blog post, ‘New Google responsive search ads will show 90% more and feature higher relevancy’ here which includes the video of Google’s academy advice.

But, basically, you write the text assets by creating your headings (3-15 of up to 30 characters), then you provide your descriptions (2-4 of up to 90 characters), and, finally, you present one URL. At this stage you can create parameters or just let Google do its magic.

Should I be worried? Should I change my SEO strategy?

If you’re worried, ask you SEO agency what their take on this new feature is and what they are doing to ensure that your website is staying ahead of the curve. However, unless you create paid ads–or that is part of your SEO package–then it shouldn’t really affect your rankings. Most people who conduct Google searches are aware of which results are from the SERP and which are paid ads these days. So, if you were ranking for a certain keyword prior to this change, you’re still likely to rank for it afterwards.

But, if you’re creating paid ads, this feature only seems to enhance Google’s offerings. New responsive search ads seem to take the guesswork out of optimizing your content. You can see in real-time what is and isn’t working–and you have the option to tweak your messaging until it’s just right.

Once your ads are set up, the only thing you have to worry about is if your ads are giving you as much ROI as, say, your content marketing since 70% of consumers would rather learn about products via quality content and 68% of consumers spend time reading blogs from brands they’re interested in.

Bottom line: Be aware of the change, but leave the worry to your SEO agency.

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Elaine, an SEO Specialist and Content Writer

Elaine Frieman is a UK-based professional editor, freelance writer, and former marketing agency content writer where she wrote articles for disparate clients using SEO best practice. She enjoys reading, writing, walking in the countryside, checking images for alt text, spending time with other people’s cats, and going for afternoon tea.