RSA Optimization Series: Part 4 – PPC Tools to Make RSA Creation, Optimization, and Management Easy

By Brad


Ads, General

We’ve been hard at work for the past several months to bring you tools to efficiently manage the transition from ETAs to RSAs and their ongoing management.

During that time, we’ve done a significant amount of analysis on ETAs and RSAs, which you can see throughout the RSA series:

In part 4 of the series, we’ll walk you through how the RSA tools we’ve recently created help with the transition away from ETAs.  These tools work for both our Google Ads and Microsoft Ads platforms.

A transition to an RSA world will typically involve 3 stages:

  • Stage 1: Creating one or more RSAs in every ad group where ETAs exist.
  • Stage 2: Monitoring and analyzing the RSAs performance across your whole account.
  • Stage 3: Ongoing management of the RSAs based on their performance, your goals, etc.

Let’s delve into the Adalysis tools that will help with each of the above stages.   

Stage 1: Populating your account with RSAs

To fully populate your account with RSAs, you will typically first need to know the following:

  1. The ad groups where you want to create RSAs. You probably have some ad groups that already have RSAs. You’ll now need to find the ones that don’t.
  2. Do you want to fully pin the RSAs to take control over the ads (hence replicating how ETAs work)? Or partially pin the ads instead? Or just leave it all to Google to control? You can also consider a combination of these options, such as creating two RSAs in each ad group using full pinning in one and no pinning in the other. This setup will allow you to test if pinning would produce a better result in some of your ad groups.
  3. Once you’ve decided on your pinning strategy, you are now faced with the task of bulk creating the RSAs in each ad group. You’d want to ensure the new RSAs are relevant to the keywords in the ad group and, hence, it’s best to create the RSAs by inheriting the ETAs ad copy.

Adalysis addresses all the above challenges with the following tools that can make it all happen with a few button clicks.

Your dashboard alerts will show you which ad groups do not have any RSAs within them. 

RSA Alert Missing RSAs

This will list the ad groups in which you should create one or more RSAs. You can further filter the list of these ad groups based on any additional criteria you might have (campaign or ad group label, name, etc.)

You can then use the tool below to create one RSA in each ad group using the ETAs ad copy in that ad group.

RSA Tools 1 Bulk RSA Creation

(Ad group screen > Tools > Create ads > Create RSA ads from ETA ads)

This tool will allow you to:

  • Construct the RSA assets (headlines and descriptions) from one or more ETAs in an ad group (you will specify the priority order in which the ETAs are used).
  • Specify additional assets to be used that are not in the ETAs.
  • Create either an RSA with no pinning, full pinning, or both versions! Creating both versions will allow you to run 2 RSAs per ad group (where one behaves like an ETA) to compare their performance and assess whether or not pinning yields better performance.

If you prefer to create the RSAs by directly copying a chosen set of ETAs, there is another version of this tool that allows you to do exactly that!

The above power tools will help make the initial transition from ETAs to RSAs seamless and easy.

Stage 2: Monitoring & Analyzing RSAs

Once you have RSAs in all of your ad groups, you now need to monitor their usage and performance. You will typically need to know:

  • Each asset’s performance rating when aggregated across multiple RSAs (for a better picture of how it’s performing).
  • How well the RSAs are doing against ETAs.
  • How often you are using each asset, and how often they are being seen by your customers.
  • If any RSAs (or their assets) are disapproved.
  • How often you are pinning, what assets are pinned and where.

You can easily find the answers to all the above questions, and more, using the below tools:

The Ad Inspector

RSA Tools Ad Inspector

(Dashboard > Ad Inspector)

This tool will let you see a breakdown of your RSA assets across your whole account. You’ll be able to quickly see:

  • The distribution of the headlines and descriptions counts across all your RSAs.
  • Your asset performance ratings breakdown.
  • How often you are pinning headlines and descriptions.
  • Your RSA Ad Strengths distribution.

The charts are interactive allowing you to click into any grouping to analyze them or make changes. This is a convenient high-level view you might need for your initial RSA analysis. However, we’ll sometimes need to zoom further into the assets that are being used. This is where the RSA Asset Manager can help.

The RSA Asset Manager

RSA Asset Manager

(Ads screen > Manage RSA Assets)

This tool will show aggregated usage statistics for every asset used by an active RSA.  Using this tool you’ll be able to see:

  • How often each asset is used and where exactly it is used.
  • How often each asset is pinned and where exactly it is pinned.
  • An impression weighted performance rating of each asset to enable you to quickly assess how well it is doing across the whole account.

This tool will also allow you to manage an asset across multiple RSAs at once. You can edit, delete, pin and unpin an asset in all RSAs that use it. 

The RSA Alerts

You’ll also want to be alerted to future issues with the RSAs without you having to constantly hunt for them. We’ve added 3 more alerts to keep you updated:

RSA Alerts 2

We’ve also added many ad filters to make life easy for you in finding RSAs that meet specific conditions e.g. use full or partial pinning, have a specific number of assets, etc.

RSA Ad testing

When you add RSAs to an ad group, you’ll want to know how well they perform against the ETAs in that ad group and/or against each other (in the case of using multiple RSAs).   We’ll automatically start an ad test for every ad group and let you know when you have achieved statistical significance (just as we do now with ETAs). If you have a mixture of ETAs and RSAs, you will see test results showing both ad types before you decide whether to pause a losing ETA or edit an underperforming RSA. 

RSA Ad Test Results

Stage 3: Ongoing RSA Management

Once your RSAs are running and stable, there will be times when you need to make changes across multiple RSAs. Such scenarios include:

  • When you want to test a new offer. You’ll need ways of adding new assets across multiple RSAs. 
  • When offers expire or are no longer appropriate. You’ll want to be able to quickly remove an asset across multiple RSAs. 
  • When you’ll just want to edit an asset across multiple RSAs to update the offer. 
  • When you want to highlight a promotion by pinning an asset across multiple RSAs. You will need to see how an asset is currently pinned and be able to bulk modify the pinning for that asset.

The ability to manage assets across multiple RSAs can be achieved with a couple of tools:

Adding new assets

This tool will let you add multiple headlines or descriptions to a selected list of RSAs.

(Ads screen > Tools > Edit RSAs)


Modifying existing assets

The RSA Asset Manager (mentioned above) allows you to do the following across multiple RSAs:

  • Edit or remove an asset.
  • Pin as an asset in all ads that use it (or unpin).
  • Change the pinning position in one or more ads e.g. from headline 1 to headline 2.

The combination of the above tools will make bulk managing assets incredibly easy for you. 


In July, you will no longer be able to create ETAs. RSAs will be the ad type you must use going forward. The transition is made much simpler with a set of new power tools from Adalysis that automate much of what this transition involves.

With these tools, you can easily create RSAs from your trusted ETAs across your entire account. The alerts will keep you informed when you need to examine and fix an issue, while the remaining tools will help you get an overview of your RSA data and manage changes across all of them. 

If you are not an Adalysis subscriber, you can try out these tools, and many more, by starting a two week free trial

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  • John Cammidge

    Great article, as always, Brad.

    Have you noticed that the assets in Google ads show as “unrelated”, even when there have been 5,000+ impressions?

    According to Google – “The ‘Unrated’ column represents how frequently the asset appears without a rating. This can happen if there aren’t enough assets of the same type within the same ad, or the asset hasn’t received enough impressions to have a performance rating.”

    Therefore, would you create assets of the same type within the same ad in an attempt to achieve a rating? And would this strategy be needed for Adalysis too?

    • Brad

      Hi John,

      I have not seen this often at all. Generally, if there are 5,000+ impressions, there is a rating. Is this something you’re seeing often?

      Personally, I’d rather add assets that are based upon what the ad needs – an equal amount of relevancy, benefit/authority, and CTA headlines as opposed to overloading one asset type in order to get a rating. If you have too many CTAs in the RSA, then you will see RSAs that only have CTAs in them and the ad isn’t that appealing to a user and causes poor CTRs and conversion rates. I find that if you are not going to utilize pinning, using an equal number of different asset types by the type of ad line/experience you are creating is more important than trying to force a rating from Google.

      • John Cammidge

        Hi Brad,

        We have seen some accounts with 5,000+ impressions and still no rating. I’m looking at an account now, and the top asset has 35,000 impressions, used by 44 ads, and still no rating.

        I agree. The adverts we write are for the user, not for Google. We always include benefits and CTA’s and try to ensure we aren’t repeating ourselves in ads. We pin 3/4 headlines in position 1, and 3/4 in position 2, then we typically leave the rest unpinned, so they show in headline 3.

        I was just wondering if Adalysis uses its own formula to calculate asset performance? I guess I’m asking because I see asset performance being used for A/B testing. Would you agree?

        • Brad

          Hi John,

          Since we can’t get any data from Google as to an asset’s performance, we don’t have our own calculation. It’s also why the Google rating doesn’t mean a huge amount since it doesn’t really give an idea of why it’s good or poor.

          From an ad testing standpoint, what we usually see are labels being used by ad theme, often along with some pinning, and then doing theme testing. We can do all of that within Adalysis.

          There are quite a few ways you can test RSAs with pinning from making them like ETAs to theme based assets to partially pinned assets. As long as you are using labels, you can run the same math you would for individual ad lines and change the key from the ad line to the label for data analysis.

          Any additional data that Google gives away would be very helpful in optimizing ads, so hopefully they will launch some more in the future.

  • John Cammidge

    Hi Brad,

    We dont tend to use labels in the interface as we typically only create one RSA ad per ad group. We test ads by pinning multiple H1, H2 and H3’s, but I guess this is pointless atm as Google doesn’t show a rating for a lot of our accounts anyway. Do you usually create two/three RSA ads per ad group and use labels then?

    • Brad

      Are you testing by pinning multiple headlines and then seeing which gets the most impressions? If so, the issue with that is you don’t know which line is actually getting you better conversion rates.

      We often test by using multiple RSAs in an ad group. In some cases, all the lines are pinned. In others, one ad might be pinned and another unpinned. In yet other cases, the different ads are themes, such as pricing, discounts, locations, offers, CTAs, etc and we’re testing the themes against each other.

      We’re working on an article about testing RSAs that should be out in a week or two.

      • John Cammidge

        Hi Brad,

        Sorry for the late reply. We now test multiple RSA’s per ad group and pin H1, H2 and H3 on all adverts. Essentially, we’re now treating them like the old ETA format.

        Question – How do you know which parts of the unpinned ads work best if you have multiple ads per ad group? Curious to know what method you use to analyse performance in those ads that aren’t pinned.

        • Brad

          Hi John,

          There’s not a method of figuring out what assets are best for unpinned lines. If you have a lot of traffic, Google will give you a performance rating – but that rating could be based on any metric they choose, and might not actually be your favorite line.

          I often will do RSAs by themes (discount vs price, geo vs non-geo, brand headlines vs non-brand headlines, etc) and label all the themes. Then I’ll do multi-ad group testing off of the labels to see which overall theme is producing better results. However, when it comes to examining which individual line of an unpinned RSA is making a huge difference in conversion rates, CTR, etc – there’s not a good method.

          You can sometimes do things like look at your ad group data and the top combinations and then switch the time frames and do the same comparisions to see which combinations seem to produce different results, but that doesn’t always show clear trends depending on how much Google is switching up your top combos.

          • John Cammidge

            Hi Brad,

            I couldn’t agree more. So, in reality, do you think Google advertisers are just better off pinning every headline and description for every advert, effectively treating every ad like an ETA?

            I’m trying to see if there is any long-term benefit/relevance to using unpinned ads in any situation when Google’s feedback is limited. The only benefit I have seen is when I audit a new client’s account, most of the time, their RSAs are unpinned (because most clients worry about poor ad strength, so leave them unpinned). In this instance, it can be useful to see ad “combinations” to give me an understanding of the ads that are being shown most often, helping me write new ‘pinned’ advert content. Apart from that, I see no reason to unpin. Would you agree?

            Of course, if, at some point, Google gives us more meaningful data, it could be worth unpinning.

          • Brad

            Hi John,

            There comes a point (a *lot* of impressions per month) that Google can do a good job more often than not with RSAs. The issue is most ad groups, even for massive accounts, will never hit these thresholds.

            We have seen some good results with pinning 2-3 lines to each headline and not going full ETA-like pinning. However, in many accounts, just doing ETA-like pinning is the best option.

            We have an article coming out soon on RSA testing, and there are a few options with pinned ads vs pinned ads (that might not be fully pinned) that are doing OK for some accounts.

            In the end, the issue is math based. How many impressions does each potential ad combination receive? If all of the possible combinations can’t receive quite a few impressions per month, then Google will never figure out the best ad combos.

  • Austin

    Hi Brad, I found a way to get performance data for RSAs (like CTR, CVR etc) for each individual asset. It’s a bit hard to do at first but I think you might find it interesting.

    Want me to share it with you?

    • Brad

      Hi Austin,

      Feel free to share how you are calculating this data. We’re always open to seeing interesting ways of analyzing data sets.


  • Gary Moultry

    I have benefited a lot from reading this article. Thank you very much for doing this article.

  • Joyce Daniels

    Hi, Brad Keep it up. Your article is very interesting and you also have detailed knowledge about PPC tools. I will also be following these ppc tools to create the best campaign. Thanks and keep writing.

  • Leave a comment

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