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AdWords Responsive Ads

Updated: Sep 6, 2018

What are Responsive Ads?

Google has released a new, larger Responsive Ad format for standard Display campaigns as well as Smart Display campaigns. As Google puts it, “We built responsive ads for display to help your ads adapt to the increasingly diverse mix of content types and screen sizes.” The Responsive display ads adjust automatically to fit into available ad space across the Google Display Network (GDN).

What are Responsive Ads

These Responsive ads are an alternative to text ads which can reformat to fit different sizes and placements and will be tailored to match the defined campaign goal. Responsive ads offer up to 15 headlines and 4 description lines. Dynamically combining up to 3 headlines and 2 descriptions in any given ad auction. To create a Responsive Display ad, simply upload your assets which are images, headlines, logos, and descriptions and Google will automatically generate ads to be shown on the Google Display Network. Google is also providing the opportunity to the advertisers to provide appropriate logo and images which can help in building targeted ads instead of picking up random images to populate richer text ads on the display network as it did previously.

There is an option in the new version of responsive ads which is to pin assets. The ads which are pinned to first position in headline and descriptions are the only ones that are allowed to show in this position. Pinning the assets limits the automated combination. However, if no pins are used all headlines and description lines will be rotated and various combinations will be used.


  • The “one size fits all” format of new responsive ads will save time and money of the advertisers as they will not have to make variations of the same ads to fits different requirements.

  • The responsive ads can automatically adjust its size to fit any available space.

  • These ads are device friendly which means they can adjust to different devices. According to the availability of the ad space these ads could be shown more freely on mobiles or tablets harmonizing with different screen sizes.

  • When different assets will be uploaded in the Google Ads, Google will determine the different combination of assets based on prediction from the performance history.


  • The new responsive ads have more streamlined approach but it cuts down the advertiser’s control and optimization abilities.

  • Unlike previously, the advertisers cannot set ads according to the ad groups or campaigns to analyze the performance.

  • It cannot be reported how the individual combinations of responsive ads are performing in different ad format be it image, text or native.

Changes in Format:


  • Character limit of each headline is 30.

  • Displays up to 3 headlines instead of two.

  • 15 headlines can be added per ad group.

  • Google Ads will rotate headline to test performance of different combinations.


  • Character limit is increased from 80 to 90.

  • Can display up to 2 description lines.

  • Google Ads recommends providing at least 4 different lines.

c. There is no change in Final URL and Display Paths.

Best Practices:

  • Using longer editorial style headlines.

  • Using simple images that makes sense at one glance on any device.

  • Writing headlines that are relevant to the keywords in the ad group and including at least one of the keywords from your ad group in the headlines.

  • Choosing the callouts and discounts carefully to display on responsive ads.

  • Since these ads have more room for content, the extra space should be carefully utilized to get the ad’s message across.

  • The headlines should be distinct from each other, spotlighting different features, benefits, offers, calls to action and so on.

Using some of the best practices of this new feature will not only save extra effort, but will also allow an advertiser to focus more on increasing the performance. Although the responsive ads do lack in providing any control or optimizing option, the other advantages of this new feature especially its easy setup is certainly giving advertisers a good reason to switch.

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