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Responsive search ads

15 Tips On How To Write Effective Google Responsive Search Ads

Responsive search ads are the latest text ads released by Google Ads. They work in the same way as other text ads like the old standard text ads and the newer expanded text ads.


Like expanded text ads you get headlines and description lines, a display url and two path fields. And for each you get the same amount of character spaces, which is 30 characters for each headline and 90 characters for the descriptions. And for the path fields you get 15 character spaces for each.


But the major difference with responsive search ads is that you get 15 headlines and four descriptions , which is far more than you get with expanded text ads. With expanded text ads you get only three headlines and two description lines


So it’s a no brainier that you need to have responsive search ads in each ad group in your campaign. And here are my 15 tips to help you write effective ones.


1. High search query relevance


Make sure to include the keywords that people are using in your responsive search ads. People are more likely to click your ad if they see their keyword or search query is included in the ad, especially in the headline. The most ideal place to include the keyword is in Headline one because that is the most visible part of the ad. It is also the most clicked and appears most prominently in the search auction results.


Search query relevance


2. Product or service

So, what are you selling and how is important to your prospects? What are the features of your products and services and how are you going to highlight them? Are you selling cameras, cars, flowers, an accountancy service and so on? If so, make it clear in the ad and don’t keep people guessing. When a searcher clicks your ad they should be sure of what they will see and get more info about the details of the product or service.

Product or service


3. Problem you’re solving and benefits

More important than features are the benefits that your products and services provide. These are the problems you’re solving for your customers and you need to step into their shoes to understand more. Look at how your offerings add value to the customer and how it can help them save time, save money, feel better, save more and so on. So the goal of your responsive search ads is to help solve their problems and improve their lives.

Problem you are solving


4. Brand

If you have a strong brand in your market then it’s important to emphasise it. Customers are more likely to go with a strong brand than an unknown one and you will also see better click through rates. There are multiple ways to emphasise this in your ad and the main headline is one of the most suitable. So you can add the brand to headline one or two and include the brand name as it is or include ‘Official’ after the name to let people know they are going to the right website. The reason you want to do this is because there likely are other advertisers appearing for your name especially if it is a strong brand.



5. Slogans and tag lines

Do you have short and striking phases that represent your business, products and services? If so, add them in your responsive search ads headlines and descriptions. Include phrases that portray your brand such as trademark symbols, punctuations and title/sentence cases.


Slogans and titles


6. Call to action

The call to action is one of the most important things to add in your responsive search ads. Ideally you should have one call to action per ad but if you have two then that is fine, as long as they are not contrary to each other. The question you need to ask yourself, is what do you want your customers to do. Do you want them to call your business or place an order on your website? Then make sure you make it explicit in the ad and make it as prominent as possible.


Call to action

The headlines, especially headlines two or three is where you should add the call to action. Leave headline one for the keyword because that makes your ad look relevant to the searchers query. And make sure you add some urgency to the call to action to get people to call now or purchase now and give a time limited offer if possible. Also, think about what stage of the customer journey the user may be when searching for your products and services. The keywords you choose will help you with this and then you can set the right call to action.


7. Trust

Trust is a highly valued commodity on the internet. It takes a long time for customers to trust a brand and choose it consistently over other brands. So, it’s imperative that advertisers create and retain customer trust. That happens only when the business delivers on its promises and customers believe they are receiving great value. But before that, there exists a Zero Moment Of Truth (ZMOT) when a customer first comes in contact with a business. And this happens when a shopper wants to know, buy, or do, during a Google search.

So, the question to answer is, why should customers trust you? Do you have certifications and accreditations that you can show in your ads? How many years experience do you have in the industry? Are you collecting customer reviews and are they mostly positive? All these things help to build and maintain customer trust and you should be developing them everyday.



8. Inventory and selection

What inventory and selection do you have for your products and services? And how can you highlight this in your responsive search ads? So you should highlight the categories, options and selections that are available for your solutions. It’s not necessary to go into great detail about the selection and inventory and it’s not possible anyway with the character limits available. Therefore your website will provide more in-depth information. Examples include how many four star hotels you offer and the number of different options that your product has.


Inventory and selection


9. Support and customer service

Customers want to know there is someone at the other end that can help when they hit a dead end. As most products and services do go wrong from time to time, it’s inevitable that they will want to reach your business. So you can give them peace of mind by stating it in your responsive search ads the type and level of support you provide. If it’s phone support, make it clear in the ad and provide a number in the call extensions and location extensions. With one click they should be able to get through. You should also state the costs and availability of the support that your business provides. If you have a freephone 0800 number, then include that in the call extension and likewise if you offer 24/7 support. One of the main headlines would be a good place to include this.

Support and customer service


10. Warranties and guarantees

What assurances can you offer your prospects? Doing so will give them peace of mind knowing that if anything go wrong they are covered. There are many different guarantees you can create for your products and services including low price guarantees, money back guarantee, 100% satisfaction guarantee and so on. A good placement for this would be in one of the headlines in your responsive search ads

Warranties or guarantees


11. Delivery and returns

Delivery info is one of the most important factors when people are purchasing online. They want to know instantly how much it costs and when they will receive their order. Whether you’re a pizza delivery company, an online pharmacy or sell groceries online, this should be explicit in the responsive search ads and on the website. Many searchers will click an ad just to find out how much the delivery cost of a product is when this can be avoided by displaying it prominently in one of the secondary headlines. So you can prevent a lot of wasted budget this way.

Some powerful delivery options include ‘free delivery’ and ‘same day delivery’ and these work effectively with a good call to action. Also, customers want to know how to return the products and at what cost. This will be mainly available on the website but could work well too in the ads.

Delivery and returns


12. Pricing and fees

You should think carefully about putting your pricing and fees in your responsive search ads. Firstly, you need to think about what stage of the customer journey the searcher may be in when searching for keywords in your ad groups. It’s best to highlight pricing when they are closer to the purchase, so all keywords in each ad group should be closely aligned. Adding pricing also helps prevent people that are unlikely to afford your products or services from clicking your ads and costing you a lot of money. So, prices and fees can help you select your target audience. Another place where you can place prices for your offers is in the price extensions. This allows you to add more detail but be aware that price extensions don’t appear in all auctions.

Pricing and fees


13. Incentives and discounts

You need to give people a very good reason to click your responsive search ads and purchase from your business. Give them a good incentive to do so and make it immediately available. Some good incentives include discounts and deals and these can be quantifiable and non-quantifiable. Quantifiable deals are usually more effective, for example mentioning the exact amount that people will save rather than a percentage discount like ‘Up to 30% Off’. Also the bigger the incentive the better, for example giving a 90% discount works better than a 50% discount.

Incentives and discounts


14. Payment details

What payment options and schedules do you offer your customers? Do you offer a fast & secure payment option on your website or offline? If so, state it in the ad to help encourage people to click through and purchase from your business. Give them the confidence to purchase from your business online with the knowledge that their details are private and secure. You should demonstrate and offer a better payment experience than your competitors and show it clearly in the responsive search ads and on your landing pages.

Payment details


15. Awards, ratings, reviews

Reviews, awards and ratings are a key part of advertising in Google Ads. Both quantifiable and generic reviews and ratings are important and should be included in your headlines and descriptions. Check your customer testimonials to find how they describe your products and services and incorporate their voice in your ads.

Awards, reviews and ratings

I'm a Certified Google Ads Expert and Marketing Author and in this blog I share my latest tips and secrets on how to promote your business successfully on the web and increase customer loyalty, retention and advocacy on Google Ads.

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