Responsive Search Ads

Responsive search ads (RSAs) have become a core element of Google Search advertising, boasting increased flexibility, reduced human effort, and potentially improved ad performance. While some advertisers preferred the control of expanded text ads (ETAs), Google essentially eliminated ETAs in 2022 in favor of responsive ads.

In this article, we’ll cover the differences in these search ad types and tips for creating effective RSAs for your search advertising.

The Difference Between Expanded Text Ads & Responsive Search Ads

Expanded text ads were the dominant ad type for Google Search advertisers for many years. ETAs allowed up to three headlines and two descriptions that would appear in the same order as the advertiser published them. While this provided a predictable ad experience, advertisers needed to create multiple variations of an ETA to test different headline options.

Google eliminated the expanded text ad type in 2022 in favor of responsive search ads. ETAs active before June 30, 2022 are still eligible to serve though advertisers can no longer create new ETAs or edit existing ones.

Responsive search ads offer a more dynamic experience powered by Google Ads’ machine learning and were the default ad type for a few years before ETAs’ deprecation. With RSAs, advertisers provide up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions per ad. Google will then display a maximum of 3 of those headlines and 2 of those descriptions, using performance data to determine the optimal combination and order of those elements.

Responsive Search Ads Best Practices

  • Ensure your ad elements (headlines and descriptions) are relevant and engaging, including a call to action. Ad elements that contain popular words from shoppers’ searches often perform well.
  • Provide as many relevant headlines and descriptions as possible. According to Google, “the more headlines and descriptions you enter, the more opportunities Google Ads has to serve ads that more closely match your potential customers’ search queries, which can improve your ad performance.”
  • As you update ad elements, the Google Ads interface provides anticipated ad strength and performance recommendations. While you can incorporate or ignore the feedback, the recommendations can serve as a guide to improving your RSA.
  • RSA’s headlines and descriptions by default can appear in any order. If you want more control over where certain elements can appear, RSAs offer “pinning”, allowing advertisers to set where certain elements are eligible to appear. If you utilize this feature, try pinning more than one element for those slots for greater flexibility and performance.


Responsive search ads have become Google’s primary ad format for search advertising, replacing eliminating expanded text ads. ETAs active before June 30, 2022 can continue to run for now though are unable to be edited. Look to leverage RSAs for your search advertising moving forward.

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Taylor Brown

Taylor is the owner & digital strategist of Go-To Man Marketing. With a passion for digital marketing and analytics, he's helped clients to grow their businesses for more than a decade.

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