On July 1, 2022, expanded text ads (ETA) were completely phased out of Google Ads. Advertisers can no longer create new and edit existing ETAs. The responsive search ad (RSA) era is upon us, and advertisers must now manage this new transition into an RSA dominated world. In the expanded text ad era of Google Ads, the way you improved your ads and got a higher click through rate (CTR) was by testing out different ad copy. RSAs require more headlines and descriptions than ETAs, and they give you a lot less control over what headlines show up, what position they’re placed in, and how often they’re shown. Because of this, figuring out how to test ad copy in the responsive search ad era is not the easiest thing to do.
In a previous RSA article, we discussed how to maximize the performance of your RSAs by running a headline pin versus unpin A/B split test. There is another type of A/B test that you can run to further improve the performance of your existing RSA. With this, you’re still testing out different ad copy, but rather than using it to create a better static text, you use it to create a better RSA that includes multiple variations of the same ad copy. This approach to maximizing your RSA’s performance involves looking at the asset details of your current RSA and creating a new RSA that uses the most popular headlines and descriptions to run alongside it.
How to Set Up this RSA A/B Split Test
To set up this test, first click on the “view assets details” on one of your existing RSAs.
Then click on “combinations” and you’ll see a list of the headline and description combinations that have received the most impressions over a certain period. You want this period to be around a month, so you have a large sample size to analyze.
Take the most viewed headlines and descriptions and create a new RSA from that copy. RSAs may not perform as well if you limit them to only 3 headlines, so try to add more of them by rewording or changing the order of your most popular headlines. Ultimately you want to create multiple variations of your most viewed headlines and put them into your new RSA. Let this new RSA run alongside your current one for a minimum of 2 weeks so you have a large enough data sample (or use a statistic significance calculator).
A Brief Case Study
Our agency was running ads for a company looking to hire tutors online, and we wanted to improve the quality of traffic coming onto our landing page. After looking at the asset details of our RSA for the month of June, we saw that headlines that talked about working remotely received a disproportionate number of impressions. We only had 2 headlines in the RSA that had the remote work messaging. The 13 other headlines in the RSA had very generic messaging about becoming a tutor and making an impact. We decided to lean into the remote messaging idea, and we created a new RSA that was tailored to highlighting the features and benefits of tutoring from home. The results of the test are shown below.
Highest volume headlines RSA vs standard ad copy RSA - 14 days of data
The new RSA we created outperformed the old one in every key performance indicator (KPI). By tailoring the messaging of our ad copy based on what combinations were most shown to users, we were able to increase our CTR by almost 4%, even though the keywords we targeted were broad match keywords.
There’s something to be said about the idea of quality over quantity when it comes to the number of RSA headlines you should have. Even if you have an RSA that’s filled with the maximum number of allowed headlines, only a handful of them will truly be of any value to the user. If you look through the asset report of your current RSAs, you will often find that certain headlines receive nearly all the impressions in the auction. It’s better for you to have 6 to 8 headlines that effectively speak to your products and services than it is to have 15 headlines that don’t resonate with your users.
You always want to look for opportunities to improve your ads, even if they are already performing well. In this new RSA world, your role as an ad manager is to find the highest quality headlines in your RSAs so you can improve your traffic and conversion metrics. Even though ETAs are no longer a part of Google Ads, you can still find value in looking through the asset details of your RSAs to find the best ad combinations. If you use the RSA asset report, as well as the insights given in the last RSA article, then you will thrive in this new RSA era.