Google made it official: Responsive Text Ads are now the default ad type in Google Ads search campaigns. The ad format was introduced in 2018.

What is changing for advertisers?

A Google spokesperson has confirmed this update Not Effects on the way ads are served.

Expanded text ads are still supported and advertisers can still create them. The difference is that by default the platform doesn't use Expanded Text Ads when an advertiser creates a new ad.

Google recommends advertisers use additional tools in the ad setup to maximize the performance of RSAs. This includes watching the Ad Strength gauge and continuing to use personalization features such as location and countdown adjustments.

What are responsive search ads?

Traditionally, text ads in Google consisted of headings and copies of text. The advertiser would write them in the order in which they were intended.

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Several independent versions would be created, with Google rotating the versions against each other. How this happens is determined by the advertiser in the settings of a campaign:

Responsive search ads are now the default type for Google ads

Responsive Search Ads change this original dynamic a little.

Rather than showing each ad as a separate version, each part of the ad is viewed as an "asset". These elements are then mixed and matched by Google to find the best combination of headlines and copies of text for a campaign's goal.

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The setup looks like this:

Responsive search ads are now the default type for Google ads

Responsive search ads are marked as this type in the ad section and include a link to view asset details so that advertisers can view all of the assets running in this RSA:

Responsive search ads are now the default type for Google ads

What are the challenges with responsive search ads?

They require a little more consideration during setup. Since the advertiser does not prescribe the order as in a normal text ad, each asset for headings and text copies must make sense on its own, regardless of the combination in which it is used.

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For example, brands sometimes use the multiple headings of a text ad with the intent that they act as a single phrase. While two headings make sense if they are coordinated in the correct order:

Responsive search ads are now the default type for Google ads

However, this requires a little more planning in RSAs. If these were only entered as assets to be confused with, the heading order could appear reversed and it doesn't make that much sense:

Responsive search ads are now the default type for Google ads

Google offers a tool to control these instances in RSAs. Advertisers can “pin” an asset version and specify the order in which it should always be displayed. This feature still gives advertisers control over the order of the assets.

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Is this change a big deal?

Yes and no.

This is probably not a big surprise to many advertisers noticing details on the platform.

Many of us have noticed over the past year that the Expanded Text Ads option has disappeared from the New Ad Creation options:

Responsive search ads are now the default type for Google ads

They can still be found by selecting the Advanced Text option. The screen below contains a link showing the ability to create text ads. This is officially the default now, but many advertisers are already used to it:

Responsive search ads are now the default type for Google ads

Responsive search ads also featured prominently in the Recommendations section and were often asked to add more headings or copies of text. Google has also started making suggestions for them that can be approved or rejected.

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In the Recommendations section, the first prompt looks like this:

Responsive search ads are now the default type for Google ads

When you click the "Show Recommendations" option, you'll see everything that's currently set up for that Responsive Search ad. All suggested items that Google recommends adding are shown with a green flag. Marks can save to add the suggestion or ignore it.

Responsive search ads are now the default type for Google ads

Clicking "Apply" will add Google's suggestions to the asset rotation.

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This is the latest announcement in an ongoing consolidation that Google is undertaking to simplify and streamline account management. They also recently announced that the modified wide match in favor of the phrase match will be Sunset.

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