RIP Extended Text Ads.

Chris Winn


RIP Extended Text Ads – How to write great Responsive Search Ads in 2022

So the beloved Extended Text Ad is being ‘sunsetted’ in June 2022, meaning that soon the only option we’ll have as advertisers is to use Google’s smart ad format, the Responsive Search Ad.

For those who don’t spend their days trawling through the Google Ads interface, Responsive Search Ads were released by Google in 2018 with the aim of taking away the manual effort involved in the creation and optimisation of search ads. Essentially, we supply Google with a number of possible ad headlines and descriptions, and then use their algorithms to work out which is the best performing combination. Although these came under a lot of fire when they first came out, they have now started to perform pretty well – so much so that the manual option of writing our own search ads is now being taken away.

So does this mean we’re losing all control or our ad copy? Nope! Ever since the RSA was released, we’ve been working with an RSA formula that works really well for the majority of the accounts we manage, and we’ll share that with you below.

One of the key features of the RSA is the ability to pin headlines and descriptions to set positions, ie, if you pin a headline to position 1, it will only ever show in position 1 (ie, the first one that appears). Same goes for headline 2 & 3, as well as description lines 1 & 2.

Hold on a minute – does this mean we can just set one headline for each position and one description for each position? Well, yes, it does…but Google will often label your ad as being a ‘Low Quality’ which no one likes to see. And more importantly, you won’t be doing any testing at all, and there is always potential for improvement! So we find that we are best off providing a few options for Google to play with.

Our generally approved headline format is as follows:

Headline 1: Keyword Focused

Headline 2: Features & Benefits (or any special offers)

Headline 3: Calls To Action

We recommend having at least 2 options for each headline position, but by keeping them pinned to set positions, you will always be sure that your ads will use a logical format, and indeed, a format that is proven to provide optimum performance.

It’s important to bear in mind that Headline 3 often does not show, so if it’s really important to get a CTA in there (which it is in many cases, then make sure you pin your CTA’s to Headline 2 instead)

Here’s an example for an e-Commerce website selling cycling gear – in this example, the keyword is ‘thermal cycling jersey’:

Headline 1: Thermal Cycling Jerseys (Keyword Focused)

Headline 2: Winter Sale – Up To 40% Off (Offer)

Headline 2: Highest Quality Materials (Feature)

Headline 2: Next Day Delivery (Benefit)

Headline 3: Order Online Today (CTA)

Headline 3: Shop Online (CTA)

Headline 3: Keep Warm This Winter (CTA)

Description 1: Key service/product description, with benefits, include keywords where possible.

Description 2: More generic company focus. Include Call To Action.

Again, it’s important to remember that quite often the Description 2 won’t show, so make sure you pack all your A1 content into your D1!

For example:

Again, we recommend having 2 versions for each, and revisit periodically to see if you can find any room for improvement. 

Description 1: Discover our range of high quality thermal cycling jerseys to keep you warm this winter.

Description 1: High quality thermal cycling jerseys to keep you warm on your bike this winter.

Description 2: Free next day delivery on all orders over £50. Order online today!

Description 2: Browse our extensive range of cycling kit and order online today.

Following the above format will ensure that your ads are always shown in a logical, proven high performance format, include all your key benefits and are keyword targeted, essentially, ticking all the boxes of high performance PPC ads, and you’ll be one step closer to PPC success!

So there we have it! That’s our guide on how to write great responsive search ads for 2022. Any questions on any of this please feel free to get in touch, we’d love to help!


Chris Winn


Chris has worked in PPC for nearly 10 years and has worked across hundreds of Paid Search and Paid Social accounts. He is also a chartered accountant and has spent time living in Spain and Australia before settling back in the UK. Outside of work, Chris can be found marathon training, cycling in the Surrey Hills and listening to old school Ibiza anthems.