Where Google got more inventory to show Responsive Search Ads ads may surprise you

Advertisers know that to be effective with Google search ads they must be able to stand out in a competitive environment, and that often means having ads that qualify to be shown in the coveted positions above the search results. And since PPC is hardly a secret anymore, there are always more advertisers willing to compete for those few highly desirable ad slots. So when we hear that we can show our ads on new inventory when using a new Google Ads feature, like Responsive Search Ads (RSAs), that gets our attention. So where exactly is Google getting this new inventory that they say Responsive Search Ads (RSA) ads may qualify for? And what is the right way to evaluate the performance of this new inventory? Let’s take a look. Ad tests need to limit the variables: When we do A/B ad tests through our tools in Optmyzr (my company), we firmly believe that we should compare apples to apples. In a perfect world, we would be able to replicate the exact same conditions for a search multiple times and show a different ad variant every time to get data about which ad drives the best results, whether that result is the best CTR, conversion rate, or conversions per impression (a combination of the previous 2 metrics). But we don’t live in a perfect world so we have to sacrifice a bit of precision and try to limit the variables of our tests as much as possible. In Google Ads, that is really, really difficult because there are a lot of factors that change and that we can’t always control for. In some cases, the best we can do is to compare similar ad formats (e.g., expanded text ads) within one ad group where it is targeting the same audience. While that may sound like an apples-to-apples comparison, it’s often not because the ad group has different keywords, that match to even more different queries, and the ads are shown to entirely different people.

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