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Microsoft opens responsive search ads beta to all advertisers

All advertisers can now start testing responsive search ads in their Microsoft Advertising accounts. With responsive search ads (RSAs), first introduced by Google last year, the ad systems automatically serve up a combination of headlines and descriptions provided by the advertiser.

What are RSAs? Advertisers can input up to 15 headlines and four description lines in each ad via the web interface, Editor, the bulk API, or you can import existing RSAs from your Google Ads campaigns. The ads are served dynamically in combinations of up to three titles and two descriptions.

An ad strength gauge appears in the RSA editing window as a rough indicator of RSA performance.

The ad strength indicator updates as you enter headlines and descriptions.

Microsoft suggests inputting at least 8 to 10 headlines that do not contain similar phrases and at least two descriptions that are distinct from each other with clear calls to action. Because the combinations can serve in any order, you’ll want to be sure your headlines and descriptions work together in various orders.

Pin for priority. You may pin headlines and descriptions that you want to show in the top positions for some control over how your ads display. Microsoft recommends pinning positions 1 and 2 for headlines and position 1 for descriptions if you’re concerned about order.

Performance and reporting. “The best performing ad combinations are automatically identified and reported to you, while the underperforming ads aren’t shown again,” Microsoft Advertising said in the announcement Friday.

Microsoft says you should regularly review RSA performance results in the combination report page.

Why we should care. With Google and now Microsoft enabling, and promoting RSAs, expect the machine-learning powered format to eventually become the standard. RSAs are the direction that text ads and ad testing will continue heading — with the ad systems dynamically determining creatives at the time of auction and adjusting based on historical performance.

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