Responsive Search Ads (and How to Build a Granular Paid Search Campaign)

Image of helping hands with a text overlay of "Responsive Search Ads"

A dealership’s paid search campaigns deliver one of the best returns on investment. A smart strategy prioritizes intent-based searches for a higher impression share — but it’s necessary to remain atop of the changing landscape to remain competitive.


At last year’s Google Marketing Live event, the search giant announced Responsive Search Ads.


Dealerships now have a great opportunity to take up more real estate with an ad:

  1. 3 Headlines
  2. 2 90-Character Descriptions

Compare that to the old search ad framework:

  1. 2 Headlines
  2. 1 80-Character Description

That isn’t all. Google responds (responsive) to the search that triggered to select the right combination to show your best work that best matches the intent of the search.

You can enter 15 different headlines and 4 different descriptions that allow Google’s machine learning elements of its algorithm to better determine the top combinations for each ad.

That creates 43,680 combinations per ad that you set up when you build out this framework.

Building Granular Paid Search Campaigns

When you build granular campaigns — Ford F150 lease is different than Ford F150 finance is different than Ford F150 for sale — you are able to focus on the search intent and consumer expectations.

That means your ad matches the search. Your site content matches the search and reflects what the ad promised. Everything must be in sync. This will directly (and positively) impact your clickthrough rate while dramatically increasing Quality Score and driving down your costs per click.

When you’re ready with the Responsive Search Ad combinations for all types of ads, you get the most cost-effective, most relevant ads that have the best chances to convert because they align with what the consumer wants.

Here’s a hard truth: Most agencies are not prepared for that.

Though RSAs are not showing up all of the time (yet), they will soon. If this strategy update is not on your radar, you’re going to get left behind.

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