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Advanced RSA Optimization and Why It’s Necessary for Search Marketers

With the deprecation of ETAs (expanded text ads) in June 2022 on Google, and February 2023 for Bing, RSAs (responsive search ads) are now the required ad type for paid search campaigns. Marketers can no longer edit, add, or enable ETAs. Advanced RSA Optimization (ARO) is designed to deliver efficiencies, actionable insights, and advantages for marketers.

What are RSAs?

An RSA is a type of search ad that allows marketers to provide up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions at once. Google then optimizes the ad based on which headline and description combinations perform the best through machine learning, ultimately serving the best ads to each consumer. Note that advertisers can pin headlines to specific positions if desired, though that does limit the amount of machine-learning based optimization Google can provide. Effectively, RSAs allow marketers to serve multiple variations on an ad from a single ad. Google "strongly encourages" advertisers to transition to RSAs following June 2022 instead of relying on stale ETA copy. 

Why is ARO important for brands and marketers?

ARO enables more control and personalization over the experience with your consumer on search engines. This provides the opportunity to personalize an ad for a consumer while maintaining control over a brand’s messaging. In addition, there are efficiencies from a management and profitability perspective, too. If your organization is partnering with an agency, this allows for less time management on manual optimizations that can be used for increased strategic targeting.

How can marketers implement ARO?

Implementing ARO will provide benefits to brands that want to maximize their search campaigns across search engines. In order to gain efficiencies in campaign management and deliver profits to reinvest back into brand, we recommend following the outlined steps below:

Step 1: Reorganize

Gather ad copy from existing ads or pull together new brand, generic, and category-specific copy. Using this copy, organize headlines 1-15 by grouping brand, generic, and category copy together. For example, an account can have headlines 1-3 consisting of brand copy, 4-9 with generic copy, and 10-15 with category-specific copy. With generic and brand copy consistent throughout the whole account, edits and uploads with a bulk sheet become much simpler.

When implementing ARO, you can have a mix of 'static' headlines (company-wide value propositions that can be consistently applied across the account), and more customized headlines tailored to the specific keywords in an ad group or campaign. The generic copy will be the same across the whole account. If pinning, it is best practice to only show the brand name once across all headlines. Therefore, pin brand copy as headline 1, 2, or 3.

Step 2: Subcategory Curation

Once all of the generic and brand copy is loaded, it’s time to pay attention to the more specific copy. With ARO, there should be a portion of your 15 headlines that is category specific and a portion with generic copy. Generic copy should be relevant account wide, while category-specific copy is relevant to the campaign and ad group. The subcategory curation focuses on how to implement headlines that are specific to keywords and ad groups. Each category will have the same organized category-specific headlines. This could include gender, material, products, or copy related to the specific category. For example, an apparel retailer might consistently use headline 10 for a copy formula like “Shop our Assortment of High-Quality [category] for [gender].”

Step 3: Account Optimization

Another benefit to working with ARO is that you can test, learn, and change ad copy in your account extremely quickly and efficiently, which previously took a lot of time to manage. For example, it’s not uncommon to have 20,000 RSAs in an account due to the large number of variations in products as well as campaign structure. If you need to make changes or additions to RSAs in the future, if you’re using ARO, it will take a matter of minutes instead of weeks. From an account-wide organization perspective, this also enables the best practice of matching headlines and descriptions specific to the ad group.

How ARO Can Improve Your Search Campaigns

In summary, ARO offers advertisers a lot of benefits by:

  • Leveraging Google’s machine learning by providing the maximum number of headlines and descriptions possible, while still being specific to the ad group.
  • Allowing the account to accumulate more insights about different learnings and metrics on Google.
  • Simplifying bulk sheet creation and mass copy updates by standardizing which headlines/descriptions are generic vs. category-specific across all ad groups

Ultimately, ARO gives a competitive advantage for brands by increasing efficiencies and learnings. To learn more about our paid search services, please visit our dedicated solutions page here.