The story around RSAs (responsive search ads) is fantastic. You should add several keywords to an ad group and then write an ad with a variety of assets. The magic of Google Ads will then create ads in real time to find what overall combination of assets works best for your account for that specific search.
While this story sounds great, with poor ad group organization, the story can quickly fall apart. Proper ad group organization should not be neglected as you create and test RSAs.
For example, here are the keywords and RSA assets in an ad group for a hotel based in New York City.
This advertiser expected that if someone searched for NYC dog friendly hotel, Google would show the dog friendly asset and that if someone searched for Broadway theatre hotels, the Broadway theatre hotel asset would show in the ad.
If we expect Google to serve ads in this manner, then we would also expect to see a similar number of impressions for the RSA asset that is paired with each keyword.
Unfortunately, that did not happen. Despite the NYC dog friendly hotel (their top converting keyword) keyword being by far their most searched for term, the dog friendly asset has less than 25% of the impressions compared to the keyword. In addition, that asset was also displayed with other keywords, such as Hotels Near Javits.
This single ad group had an OK CTR and Conversion Rate.
After seeing the analysis of the keyword and RSA asset data, they decided to reorganize this single ad group into several ad groups. Each RSA was customized with assets for a small, specific set of keywords. Here are the results of the reorganization:
Their conversions almost quadrupled from pairing RSA assets to their specific keywords. While this is an extreme example, we’ve seen many cases of 50%-100% improvement in conversions by ensuring that RSA assets are paired correctly with the keywords in the ad group.
RSAs can be effective, especially when using a combination of pinning and RSA testing. However, a properly organized ad group can dramatically increase your overall CTRs and conversion rates while lowering your CPAs. RSAs have not changed the way ad groups should be structured.
RSAs give you more options for ad serving, but it is called an ad group for a reason. The ad is what the user sees. Your keywords determine which specific ad should be displayed. When your keywords and ads are relevant to each other, then you have an effective ad group. The assets in your RSA should be relevant to all the keywords in the ad group.
The next time you’re improving your RSAs, look at the keywords in your ad group and compare them to your assets. If you see mismatches, you should create more granular ad groups to ensure your RSAs are properly paired with your keywords so that RSAs can perform well for your account.