Full guide to Google’s latest Smart Creatives

Writing and testing ads has been one of the toughest and most time consuming tasks of advertisers till now. This is why Google centered its machine-learning technology to solve this problem. Smart solutions from Google have tackled the intricacy of bidding, the complexity of attribution, audiences and now creatives.

Smart Creatives for Search

The most common solution for Google search is called Responsive Search Ads. They are an open beta, which means advertisers can start implementing them directly without whitelisting. In one of my previous articles I described them as an opportunity to include all your main unique selling points in one ad. The format allows up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions. These all rotate in combinations to show the highest converting variation to the user.

How does Google what to be shown?

The process of rotation is not equal. Once you launch your Responsive Search Ad you will see that some combinations have been shown multiple times, whereas others, not so much. This is based on machine learning assessing the performance before the auction taking place. By using simulations Google’s technology can estimate what combination has the highest probability of winning. This is based on landing page, queries history, ad extensions and other ads in the account, as well as ads from similar advertisers.

Reporting and analytics

Against every responsive ad in your dashboard you will see a clickable link saying “Asset performance”. This will show you how different ads looked like when shown to the user in some of the top combinations. You will also see as a percentage of how many times the ad has been served in this combination. Based on this data you can tweak and adjust your ad copy to achieve even better results.

How to implement Responsive Search Ads?

One easy way is to use the Recommendations tab. There you will see which ad groups are eligible to serve RSA. You can have the new ad type in every ad group, but typically Recommendations will show the ad groups with highest volume. What I find fantastic is that you can easily download the opportunity. Google will automatically pull headlines from your best performing extensions and landing page copy. With some shaping and adjustments you can upload this data back in Google Ads via Google Ads Editor and have an RSA running in just minutes.

Common pitfalls

Try using unique headlines. Ads composed of repeating message sound strange and do not perform so well. Try using as many unique selling points as possible. Include synonyms of your keywords, so that when the headlines appear together they don’t look repetitive. Also take inspiration from your search queries report and find how users come across your ads and what messages get them to click.

Dynamic Search Ads

To take the automation further you can try Dynamic Search Ads. They automate your top headline and your landing page based on what the user is searching for. These are great for a large website with a lot of pages and products. The automation will try to serve the user the page closest to their initial search to maximize the probability of conversion.

Dynamic search ads work without keywords, so the match i between your landing page and the search query. This allows your ads to match to searches which your current keyword choice might otherwise restrict. You can get keyword ideas from the new matches as well as restrict irrelevant searches with negative keywords.

DSA will trump over your broad, broach match modified and phrase campaigns. This means whenever there is a possibility for an ad to be served from your DSA campaign and your other campaigns, Google will choose the one closes to the user’s quirie – most likely a DSA. The only case would be if you have an exact match keyword you are bidding in somewhere in your account. In that case, Google will always choose ads from this ad group to show, because they would be closest to the initial quirie.

Responsive Display Ads

Responsive Display Ads are the best solution to get maximum coverage across Google Display Network, as they mix and match assets provided by the advertiser to create millions of combinations and sizes of banners. Traditionally banner ads are created by professional designers or via platforms like Bannersnack and Canva. Usually advertisers run ad with 10 different sizes – square and rectangular. However the placements for ads on GDN vary in size and only in the UK there are almost 200 different banner sizes. This discrepancy leads to missed opportunities for coverage and higher display clicks.

What do I need to run a Responsive Display Ad?

The ad creation time has been cut down to minutes with a very user friendly interface. Advertisers can scan their website and Google will extract images and logo out of its pages. They can also use a huge database of stock images, or upload their own.

It is crucial to provide as many creatives as possible, to take advantage of the testing capabilities of RDA. Recommendation is one image(cut in square and rectangle), one logo, a description, a short headline and long headline as well as business name. You can upload up to 15 images and five different logos.

What’s absolutely crucial is to make sure your images and logos are of superiour quality. Choose high definition, but not too heavy files. Make sure the image shows your product or how the product is being used. Vague images which could be read in multiple ways can lead to misleading users. If you are selling insurance, use an image of someone signing the insurance and his car/pets/family in the background looking safe and happy. Avoid CTA buttons, text and signs overlaying the image. This makes the ad too heavy and not aesthetic.

New: Videos in Responsive Display Ads

Since recently you can also add a video to your RDA and have it served on YouTube. The video must have been uploaded on YouTube on a channel which is linked to your Google Ads account.

Where would my Responsive Display Ads show?

Responsive display ads have the benefit of serving across all the main Google properties: GDN, Gmail and YouTube. You can now easily track performance by using the assets report. This report shows you which image and text have been used most often. You will not be able to see the combinations, as they are thousands. This can still give you an idea of what corresponds well with your audience.

Dynamic Remarketing

Responsive Display ads can also be used with product feeds to show specific products users have browsed on your website in ads. This highly personalized advertising can be very effective for driving lower-funnel results(online sales, for example). Until now advertisers used dynamic ads, which still had size imitations and didn’t cover all available placements. With Responsive Display, they can increase coverage.

All the views in this article are exclusively mine and I am not an official spokesman of Google.

About me: I am an experienced digital marketing professional and a Googler. I have taught over 3000 people in online marketing, sales and PPC. Get my new book. I blog weekly and teach on Udemy with more than 2,700 students enrolled in my online course. Subscribe to my YouTube channel. Follow on Instagram and Twitter @odolena