A Guide To Creating Responsive Search Ads

Posted in: PPC

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Being tasked with writing ad copy for Google Ads can be intimidating. “Where should I begin?” “How many headlines do I need?” “How many CTA (call-to-action) phrases should I include?” Those are some initial questions that may come to mind when writing ad copy. 

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In this article, I have included a few best practices to keep in mind when embarking on the journey of creating an ad through Google. As a member of the PPC team at Go Fish, these are the items I think about every time I write ad copy. Hopefully this can serve as a guideline next time you are tasked with writing ads for Google!

What Are Responsive Search Ads?

Responsive Search Ads are the primary ad type in Google Ads now that Expanded Text Ads have been sunset. Google defines RSAs as “an ad that adapts to show more relevant messages to your customers”. Within the ad, you can provide Google with up to fifteen headlines and four descriptions, which allows Google to test several different combinations of these based on the user’s search query. Google will then optimize these combinations for performance.. 

After the initial ad has been created, Google will rate the ad strength as either “poor, good, or excellent”. Based on the score of the ad, you will be given more specific options on how to optimize. Ideally, we want to optimize the copy for an “excellent” score. There are a few items that should be included in the RSAs based on best practices, which we dig into below! 

responsive display ad fields


1. Keywords

The most important tip for RSA copy would be to Include the ad group keywords in the headlines and descriptions, as this is key to ensuring a high optimization and quality score. We want to make sure to include as many keywords  as possible, and consider splitting keywords into new ad groups if this will allow a more customized RSA. In order to increase your ad strength to “excellent”, Google will take into account how many keywords you include in your headlines and descriptions. If possible, try to include all keywords you’re bidding on inside your ad copy. If this is not possible, focus on including the most popular keywords so that you ensure your ad is showing up for the right search results or potentially split additional keywords into a new ad group

ad strength score


2. Call to Action (CTA) Phrases

Including CTA phrases, such as “Contact Us Today”, “Schedule A Demo”, “Call Now” is essential to any ad. If your main business goal is to generate leads, CTA phrases encourage those conversions that you are aiming for. These phrases can grab the attention of your audience and be the reason why they take the extra step to check out your website or fill out a form on the landing page. The amount of CTA phrases you use, as well as, the type of phrase, depends a lot on your business goals. A good rule of thumb is to include two CTA phrases for headlines and to add CTA phrases onto the end of your descriptions. 

The most common CTA phrases we use at Go Fish are:

  • Learn More!
  • Contact *Business Name* Today!
  • Call Now!
  • Schedule A Demo
  • Talk To Industry Experts

3. Landing Page Copy

The last tip I have for writing ad copy is to include verbiage directly from the landing page associated with the ad. It is important for a brand to have consistent messaging across all platforms. Using phrases from the landing page and adding them as headlines and descriptions is the best way to ensure you’re sharing the same message for the user.. This builds brand awareness and placement inside of the consumer’s mind, and they will have an easier time remembering your brand offering.Using consistent messaging between the landing page and the ad will also make writing ad copy a little easier on your part. It’s effective and efficient! 

4. Ad Copy Testing

Once you have a good idea about what ad copy to use, you should utilize the ad variation tool within Google ads. This tool allows you to test different headlines and descriptions that will show up 50% of the time, while the original ad copy will show  up the remaining 50%. After the ad variation has been created, Google will begin to collect data on both ad variations and determine if the results are statistically significant or not. You can then decide if you would like to apply the new ad copy based on the data that Google provides.


Overall, understanding how to create a fully optimized responsive search ad plays a huge role in launching an excellent search campaign. Hopefully, these best practices make the task of writing ad copy seem a little less intimidating now that you know where to start! Happy copywriting! 

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