Google Ads: responsive text ads and text ads

Posted on 11/09/2018 by Team Hallam

Following the development of Smart Display Campaigns, it is great to see new additions for Search Campaigns Text Ads. So what are these new additions and what do they mean for Paid Search?

Responsive text ads

The basic premise of Responsive Text Ads is to get the right ad in front of the right audience. Advertisers will be able to write up to 15 different headlines and 3 description lines. Then Google will use machine learning to display the best ad combination to searchers based on the search query. There will also be the option to ‘Pin’ a headline meaning that it will show in every ad variant.

Whilst best practices for Responsive Text Ads will become clearer once more results and data is released, in theory the fundamentals of Text Ads remain: include keywords in headlines, offer as much unique content as possible and always keep relevancy in mind.

Google machine learning logo

Whilst this seems to be a step in the right direction for integrating Machine Learning into the Google Ads offering, there are concerns regarding the lack of control the advertiser actually had over what ads are displayed. This will certainly be of concern for those accounts with limited traffic, due to the lack of data for the Google Machine Learning Technology to learn from. However, for larger accounts it will allow them to gain valuable insights into ad copy variants without the need for A/B testing.

Expansion of text ads

Following in the footsteps of Responsive Text Ads, Text Ads will also be expanding on the size of their content. According to Google, they want to implement the advantage that Responsive Text Ads offer advertisers in giving them more room to convey their message to existing Text Ads. Therefore, Text Ads will be moving from facilitating 2 headlines to 3 headlines and they will also be increasing the description character limit from 80 to 90.

Screenshot of the new text ads edit box
A screenshot of the new text ad edit box in Google Ads

This is the biggest change for Text Ads since the move from Standard to Extended in 2016, when the standards were changed to 2 headlines and an extension in description line length.

Experts agree that whilst this is unlikely to change the foundations of headline content, it will facilitate bigger and more creative ad copy testing. Advertisers will be able to pull enticing copy from their descriptions and bring them up to headline position, and the additional 10-character description length will help to facilitate correct grammar and punctuation.


We have come to accept the format of Text Ads, which whilst originally called Expanded Text Ads have now become to be seen as standard, and I expect that these changes will be equally as easy to adapt to.

The only issue I foresee is the relevancy and quality of the additional ad copy being used. Additional ad space should be used effectively, otherwise it will be of no benefit to the advertiser and may actually hinder the impact of the original text. Advertisers will need to ensure they take into consideration what content is vital to get across to their audience via the ad, and what can be saved for the landing page. A mindset focusing on the quality and not the quantity of the ad size will be essential for making the most of these new additions to Search Campaigns.

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Google Ads: responsive text ads and text ads

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