New search ad format may provide better matching

If you run a search advertising campaign, it’s a good idea to match the advert as closely as possible to the search. This means that in an ideal world, you’d have a separate advert for each search term. Indeed, the Single Keyword Ad Group is the strategy of choice for many search advertising professionals, and one which we try to follow.

However, the difficulty with this technique comes when you’re using ‘modified broad match’ keywords, i.e. when you specify that the ad should show for any search containing those words, in any order, whatever else is in the search. This is the best way to get your advert to show for the ‘long tail’ of unpredictable and rare searches which can often account for more impressions than the plain exact match keyword for your subject. However, if you don’t know in advance what search term was triggering your advert, how can you write an advert to match it well?

You can’t of course. But now Google is at least giving us a better chance. ‘Responsive Search Ads’ allow us to specify a whole list of components from which the advert can be assembled, with the promise that the ad will be better matched to the search term.

As an example, supposing you specify that your ad shows for every search containing the words ‘blue’ and ‘widget’. Prospects might type in ‘fast blue widget’, ‘long blue widget’, ‘cheap blue widget’, etc., but as you don’t have the time to list – or can’t predict – all of these terms, you write a single advert which simply talks about blue widgets, and show it against all of those searches.

With Responsive Search Ads, you can write ads for ‘fast blue widget’, ‘long blue widget’, ‘cheap blue widget’, and Google will work out the best one to use, on the fly.

This is very simplistic, of course – if the issue was that simple, you’d have separate ad groups for each of those alternatives. What’s more likely is that Google will be able to work out the best advert for many more searches than you can predict.

Responsive Search Ads require us to provide at least five headlines, and multiple description lines. You can ‘pin’ certain ones so that they always show. Look out for Responsive Search Ads becoming available in your account, and give them a try. We’ve had the opportunity to test them with a couple of our clients for several weeks, and they’re very interesting.