Let’s learn about ad A/B testing and how you should A/B test your RSA.

What is A/B Ad Testing?

how to ab test responsive search ads

In simple words, A/B ad testing tests different ad copy and finds the best one. Currently, most PPCs add multiple ads in a single ad group and set the ad rotation to Optimize: Choose the best performing ad. This way, Google displays the best-performing ads by itself.

For the most part, people focus on CTR or conversion rate when testing their ad campaigns. However, a higher CTR does not mean a conversion, and a maximum-converting ad may have fewer clicks. So, it is recommended to consider CPI (Conversion Per Impression) to find the best ads that efficiently meet your goals.

However, when the traditional testing approach is used for RSA against other ad formats such as ETA (Extended Test Ads), RSA performance looks poor. In most cases, RSA has a high CTR, but a lower conversion rate, which makes RSA look inefficient.

As more information arrives on this subject, it appears that with traditional testing approaches, the true power of responsive search advertising remains hidden.

Let’s learn about this.

Ineffectiveness of Traditional RSA A/B Testing

RSA is more eligible to serve in search ad auctions that were not previously eligible by ETA due to RSA’s automated nature and larger character count. As a result, comparing RSA to ETA is unfair. In rare circumstances, RSA will appear for queries completely unrelated to the ETA. Instead of comparing RSA performance to ETA, start evaluating incremental improvements at the ad group level to fully understand how RSA affects performance.

How to A/B Test Your Responsive Search Ads

Here is a Case Study of Metric theory:

They divide ad groups into two segments based on their fair distribution of impressions and click volume. Next, they went on to run three ETAs in each ad group in our control group. After that, one RSA was added to each ad group in our test group, in addition to the three ETAs.

When comparing RSA ad groups with non-RSA ad groups, a definite positive trend in CTR and CVR was noted for ad groups with RSA.

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Source

They found greater gains in clicks and impression volume for ad groups with RSA when we looked at a period-by-period analysis:

Impressions and click volumes for the control ad group remained essentially stable over the period, leading to the assumption that RSA had a beneficial effect on increasing overall impression and click volume for this ad group.

It is seen that RSA outperforms ETA when comparing key ad copy rating metrics in this scenario.

Anyone would be missing out on the necessary information that RSA is generating additional impression increases in an ad group if they were to rate it solely on the ETA.

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This is just one example of how to assess the effectiveness of your Responsive Search Ads.

Best Practices for Responsive Search Ads A/B Testing

1. Don’t Obsess With The Power Of Ads

Google provides quick feedback in the form of an Ad Strength indicator when you create a new RSA.

Even before your RSA goes live, Ad Strength is a best practice score that measures the relevance, quantity, and variety of your responsive search ad content.

According to the Google presentation, every 3% increase in ad intensity equals a 3% increase in clicks.

Moving from ‘poor’ to ‘average’ will result in about 3% more clicks, and going from ‘average’ to ‘very good’ will result in another 3%.

The ad strength meter is a best practice statistic that should only be used when starting a new RSA. However, it’s important to note that this is a ‘best practice’ score that has nothing to do with actual performance.

It’s possible to have keywords with low quality scores that lead to important conversions for your account, just as it’s possible to have ads with low ad strength outperform ads with higher scores.

Try to stick to Google’s standards so that you have the best chance of winning the next exam.

But don’t get too caught up in striving for perfection. Your asset’s performance grouping label will represent its actual performance, so let’s look at that next.

2. Optimize By Performance Label

Asset labels give you insight into which parts of the text are performing well and which you should consider changing after your RSA has garnered approximately 5,000 impressions at the top of the search page over the previous 30 days.

Google has a handy table that explains what the various performance clustering labels mean.

The most important thing is to replace any assets marked with a ‘Low’ label, as well as any assets that haven’t received any impressions after more than two weeks.

Keep in mind that the data in this asset report is based on real results. This is more relevant than the ad strength score when optimizing.

3. Test Ideas

Create multiple RSAs, each with a unique core message. The brand name, distinctive value proposition and call to action are aspects of the core message of any ad, whether RSA or ETA.

Since your brand is your brand, and most advertisers don’t have much time to get creative with it, value propositions and calls to action are ideal ones to play with.

Messages that were displayed effectively on the first try were tested in different placements on the second try.

This can be achieved by tethering a group of assets to various places, such as a specific title or description.

Google also allows you to pin multiple assets to a place, so if your value proposition has four assets, you can pin all four assets to the selected area. When doing A/B testing, you may find that embedding the value proposition into heading position 2 works well.

However, there is something you should consider about embedding.

The data shows that advertisers get the highest CTRs when they let the algorithm run uninterrupted. In this situation, the CPC and CPA are also lower.

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When marketers want more control, they must provide computers with at least two alternative texts for each embedded location.

The most significant negative impact on CTR, CPC, and CPA is embedding a piece of text somewhere.

Embedding multiple assets seems to provide a reasonable mix of control and performance.

4. Vary the Title

The Ad Strength Indicator takes into account how many versions of your title and description you provide. Creating 15 titles may be difficult, but it is well worth it.

It was found that advertising with more title variants resulted in more conversions per ad. So, when it comes to RSA A/B testing, the more headlines, the better.

There he is. Follow this in your responsive search ad A/B testing.

Tips for Creating Responsive Search Ads

1. Add required headline

2. Avoid redundancy

3. Make sure all combinations make sense

4. Highlight the key value proposition

5. Be smart with keyword insertion

6. Pin Your USP

7. Track performance

Growing Advertising Automation

Google Ads has grown significantly in recent years, and the company continues to introduce new features and ad formats that rely heavily on machine learning and automation to optimize performance. Users need to give more power to take advantage of the insights and optimization capabilities, and responsive search advertising is the latest contribution.

There will always be conventional advertisers among us who like nothing more than manually analyzing results and fine-tuning ads. There’s no doubting the value of the human touch in crafting highly targeted ads that resonate with specific audiences.

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However, most companies today lack the time or resources to manually target and optimize their ads on a large scale. And, because additional big data insights can be accessed to aid real-time ad targeting, it would be foolish to ignore this resource and risk falling behind the competition.

A variety of bid management solutions and predictive advertising technologies are now available that make it easy to automatically compile and retrieve insights from consumer data to optimize bids and reduce wasted advertising spend. Advertisers who use machine intelligence and automation to outperform and outperform their competitors are already reaping the rewards.

Machine learning and automation tools in Google Ads are no exception, and they arrive at an ideal time for most busy advertisers. Responsive search advertising is just one illustration of where ad development, optimization, and bid targeting is headed. Advertisers who choose to embrace and take full advantage of the new technology will be the first to demonstrate its benefits. Automation and machine learning will be the way of the future in advertising in the long run.

Conclusion

While A/B testing has long been a popular means of experimenting with ad variations, the arrival of responsive search ads requires a change in A/B testing as the old method of sending multiple ads to ad groups may not produce results.

Keep in mind that perception is influenced by factors other than keywords. And you should keep this idea in mind as you A/B test RSA ads to find the ones with the best improvements.

If you have a pop-up campaign on your website, you can easily do A/B testing with Poptin to see what works best for your customers.