Responsive Search Ads (RSAs)

How to RSA… Wait, What!?

Over the past few months you may have heard some chatter about RSAs, also known as Responsive Search Ads. RSAs leverage Google’s machine learning algorithm, allowing marketers to easily test ad copy messaging.

How Do RSAs make Ad Copy Testing Easier?

The new responsive search ads format will ultimately give you the opportunity to create more ads per ad group, easily and at scale. Doesn’t that sound great? I think so; below are some key benefits of this new ad format:

  • Efficiency: Now you can save time by creating one ad with multiple headlines and descriptions. Responsive Search Ads can display up to 3 headlines and 2 descriptions at the same time but we can test up to 15 headlines (30-character limit) and 4 descriptions (90-character limit) in one ad. Over time, Google Ads will test for the most effective combinations and learn the combinations that are most relevant for different queries.
  • Flexibility: RSAs adapt to different device widths. This gives you more room to share your message with potential customers. Remember, Google will build and serve the ad combination based on what it has learned to be the most relevant message to that individual customer and their specific search.

  • Control: Machine learning is a major factor but you are still in control! Although Google will pick the ad copy and the precise combination to serve, you still provide the content. Be creative but choose your messaging wisely. And remember—if you need more control, you can pin your headline(s) or description(s) to a specific position.
  • Performance: Google has estimated that ad groups with RSAs have a click uplift of 5-15%. RSA essentially enables you to compete in more auctions and match to more queries, which allows you to reach more potential customers.

Creating Your First Responsive Search Ad

If you’re anything like us, now that you know a little bit more about RSA, you’re eager to give it a test run. One thing to keep in mind: RSA is still in beta as a product, and not all advertisers have access to it. Before getting started make sure you can access the RSA option under the Ads section in your Google Ads interface, or contact your Google representative to request to be whitelisted.

Once you’ve verified that you have access to the feature, follow these simple steps to implement your first RSA ad copy.

  • Create your content directly in the Google Ads interface, editor or upload in bulk if you are implementing more than one ad at a time. Your content—headlines and descriptions—should be unique, include 1 keyword, and highlight different aspects of your business. Remember—the more headlines and descriptions you provide, the more potential combinations your ad will have, leaving you with more possibilities and deeper insights.

  • “Pin” a headline or description. Although not necessary, RSAs allow you to pin a headline to 3 positions (position 1-3) and descriptions to 2 positions (position 1-2), which is effective if you have text that must appear in every ad. For instance, if you want to test different calls to action, you can pin all CTAs to headline position 1 or 2. By setting your CTAs to be tested as headlines 1-5, with headlines 6-10 dedicated to unique messaging (like the name of your service or business, promotions, etc.), you will have efficiently created a quick multivariate CTA test.
  • Test longer and shorter variants of your headlines and descriptions instead of focusing on maximizing character limits. As with all ad copy, think of your business first, the message you want to convey, and the audience you need to reach, and write your ads accordingly.

Incorporating RSAs into your marketing mix might be a great opportunity for your business, but you need to make sure it’s generating positive results. The work only really begins once your ads are live. From there, you will have to track and report on results.

Remember, this is a test against your existing ads. With that said, we recommend ad groups to have at least 2 expanded text ads (ETAs) and 1 RSA. Don’t be afraid of comparing your RSA against your existing ETAs.

Once you have sufficient data to meet your needs, you will be able to decide if RSAs make sense for your business, paid search campaign(s) and/or individual ad group(s). Revise and create more ads as needed, and don’t forget—the most effective paid search campaigns never stop testing.

Do you want to start experimenting with RSAs and other ad formats? Reach out to us today and learn how we can help you grow your business!

Google Ads

Google Data Studio: Revolutionizing the Data Visualization Game

What is Google Data Studio?
Google Data Studio is one of the newest additions to the Google Analytics 360 Suite. This interactive data visualization tool was moved out of BETA stage in late Spring of 2017 and continues to evolve weekly. The easy to use tool allows marketing professionals to pull information from multiple data repositories into one centralized, live, visually appealing, interactive dashboard. Google Data Studio dashboards allow its original owner to share important data sets while maintaining control of what information can be accessed. The Data Studio dashboards are perfect for internal use but are equally as valuable for client reporting. Typical to most Google products, the dashboards are saved automatically online within your Data Studio account and can be edited by multiple users at the same time. In a nutshell: Google Data Studio allows all businesses (large or small) to visualize data in a simplistic and efficient manner!



Why Should You Use Google Data Studio?
Google Data Studio is an incredibly powerful visualization tool. The ability to bring in data from multiple sources on one page at the same time gives you the flexibility and ease to consolidate reporting platforms. Are you interested in seeing how your Paid Search efforts have changed Month-over-Month, but also want to see Year-over-Year results at the same time? Not a problem! Or are you trying to determine which channel converts best on a mobile device? After implementing a few filters within your report, this information is only one click away! There are countless reasons why we believe marketing professionals everywhere should be taking advantage of Google’s new reporting tool. Below are the top 5 reasons why we have adopted Google Data Studio as our primary reporting tool here at Charles River Interactive.

1. It’s FREE!
Google Data Studio is free of charge. All you need to do is create a Google account. While in the BETA stage, Data Studio only allowed a maximum of 5 reports, limiting its abilities to be used by marketing agencies and small businesses alike. Google has since removed this limitation and you are now able to create as many reports as you need. Comparable products such as Tableau, Qlikview, FusionCharts, Plotly, and many more can cost over thousands of dollars a month.

2. Endless Customization Options
Let’s be honest, reporting can sometimes be tedious… but not anymore! Google Data Studio provides you with the ability to change colors, fonts, background images, and essentially everything you need to make your reporting look top notch. Here at Charles River Interactive, we understand everyone prefers to look at data differently. Google understand this as well and thus has provided multiple options on how you are able to present your data. Pie charts, pivot tables, line graphs, bar graphs, tables, geo maps, scatter charts, area charts, bullet charts…. Google Data Studio has you covered.

3. Calculated Fields
Are you looking to transform, categorize, and make calculations within your data? Are the default dimensions and metrics from your data repository just not enough? Calculated fields give you the ability to create new dimensions and metrics in your data source that perform arithmetic, apply mathematical formulae, extract or transform text, or return new information based on logical comparisons. Once the calculated field has been established, you are able to use the new dimensions and metrics in charts and filters, just like the default fields. This means grouping pages, creating ratio formulas and custom naming conventions can now all be done within the visualization tool itself.

4. Community Connectors
Out of the box, Google Data Studio natively connects to other Google products such as Analytics, AdWords and Sheets. However, at Charles River Interactive we understand that many businesses operate and report on multiple different data sources outside of the Google family. This is where the power of Data Studio Community Connectors comes in! The best way to think of a Community Connector is to visualize it as a pipeline between Data Studio and your favorite web service, where your data is stored. As mentioned before, Google continues to make small upgrades to the Data Studio platform and one of those upgrades includes an option for third-party connectors such as Supermetrics. These third-party connectors allow you to easily bring in data from sources such as Bing Ads, DoubleClick, Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads, Twitter Ads, and Yahoo Gemini to name a few. Once the third-party connection is setup, the process for creating reports is the same as when you are using a Google data source.

5. Sharing Capabilities
Google Data Studio is built to efficiently optimize collaboration capabilities. Much like a Google Doc or Sheet, Data Studio allows you to seamlessly share your report with others by simply sending them a URL link. Data Studio also provides you with the ability to control how each user can interact with the dashboard by assigning “view” and “edit” limitations. These sharing options give you (the report owner) total control and allow you to easily collaborate with clients and teammates without having to exchange password information that could in turn provide access to your Google Analytics account.

Getting Started
So now that you better understand some of the capabilities and power of Google Data Studio, you are probably wondering how do I get started? Luckily, we have put together easy to follow instructions on just how do that.

1. Establish a Google Data Studio account. Most people choose to use the same account as their Analytics & Search Console setups. We recommend this method (utilizing the same account login email as the one you have for Analytics & Search Console) as this will make the sign-up process quicker and easier.
2. Complete the tutorial. Google offers an extremely helpful tutorial to get you up and running. It only takes about 30 minutes to go through the tutorial and by the end, you will know enough to create your own very first dashboard.
3. Explore the Data Studio Report Gallery. This report gallery is a collection of both Google product templates and user submitted dashboards that are available to you, free of charge! We have found these templates to be tremendously useful and instructive when trying to display data effectively.

An example of a Charles River Interactive analytics dashboard

Final Thoughts
In the competitive business landscape we operate in today, being able to make data driven decisions is more important than ever. Google Data Studio provides organizations of all sizes the ability to easily visualize their data in ways that will foster new insights and recommendations. Here at Charles River Interactive we use this tool on a daily basis, we set up reports for our various clients, and we believe that other businesses would benefit immensely from using it as well. So, what are you waiting for? Stop laboring over messy excel spreadsheets and manual diagrams and start creating professional looking reports by leveraging the power of Google Data Studio!

We hope you enjoyed learning more about Google Data Studio and some of its incredible capabilities. At Charles River Interactive, we believe Google Data Studio is revolutionizing the data visualization game. Still have questions? Or want to share what you love most about Google Data Studio? Reach out to our Integrated Web Services team at

Instagram Ad Rollout – More Opportunity for PPC

The world is becoming more mobile every day. According to a national survey 92% of Americans own a cell phone, 58% of which own a smartphone. The result?  We are constantly connected to one another and to the world.

One of the most popular ways we connect on mobile is via social networks. Over the past decade+ we’ve connected virtually on platforms from Friendster to MySpace to Facebook, the latter of which has arguably become a part of everyday life.

Instagram Used by Almost 20% of Cell Phone Users

Instagram is one of the latest in this social media landscape – and originated as an app.  Since being introduced in 2010, it has grown in popularity. According to the Pew Research Center, one in five American adult cell phone owners use the app (roughly 18% of the population).

Like Facebook (Instagram’s parent company), Instagram is now serving ads in users’ feeds that appear “natural”, like a post from a friend or someone that you follow. When one of these sponsored images or videos appears, it will feature a “Sponsored” icon in the top right corner.

Instagram Ad Targeting

Instagram ads are targeted to users by combining data from personal Instagram and Facebook accounts. Ad content will depend on who you follow on Instagram as well as what you’ve already “Liked” on Facebook. If a user does not have a Facebook account (or have their Instagram linked to their Facebook), the ads shown will be less tailored.

Advertising on Instagram is in beta – currently not available to all advertisers – but will be slowly rolling out over the next few months. Large brands such as Adidas and Lexus have created Instagram accounts in the past few years and have already built quite a following. These types of brands can leverage both their natural presence, as well as the ability to advertise to engage users in multiple areas, with multiple messages.

Are Instagram Ads Right for You?

As with Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter profiles and advertising,  not every social media channel will be right for every company. Pew Research Center has broken out some very significant data that will help us to determine whether or not Instagram ads are a good fit. One example is that 43% of cellphone owners age 18-29 currently use Instagram, but only 18% of the  30-49 age bracket does. If your brand targets Gen Y, Instagram could be very successful. If targeting anyone over 30, you may be wasting your ad dollars or may want to at least take a closer look at what appeals to this smaller segment.

CRI is very excited to have the opportunity to reach our audience via new PPC formats and services, and we look forward to testing and analyzing results in the months ahead. Stay tuned for what will definitely be an exciting time in the ever-changing world of online advertising.