Over the past year, Microsoft Ads has made several improvements to its advertising offerings to make the platform more attractive to business owners. Many of these changes replicate features that proven popular on Google. Last week, Microsoft Ads opened up its beta for responsive search ads to all advertisers on the platform.

Creating the perfect ad depends on many different factors related to the target consumer. The best messaging to use for an advertisement depends on why the target audience wants the product, what purpose it serves, and similar considerations. Rather than making dozens of ad variations to cover every possible scenario, Microsoft Ads is experimenting with responsive search ads that create these variations for the advertiser. 

The responsive search ads work by having the advertiser create several headlines and ad copy pieces. The system will mix and match these elements to create dozens of ad variations. Then, by using data from the campaign, the system will pick the modifications that are most likely to result in a positive action from the target individual that sees the ad.

As Microsoft explained in the post announcing the expansion of the beta test, “The best- performing ad combinations are automatically identified and reported to you, while the underperforming ads aren’t shown again. Adapting your ad’s content to match what potential customers are searching for can help improve your campaign’s performance.”

While the variations are created automatically, Microsoft has a system where advertisers can choose elements they want to give a higher priority. Advertisers can pin headlines and descriptions that they want to show in the top positions. It’s not perfect, but it provides the advertiser with some control over how RSA ads are displayed. Microsoft recommends pinning positions 1 and 2 for headlines and position 1 for descriptions if you’re concerned about order.

Responsive search ads were initially introduced by Google last year. Though it’s copying a function that can be found on Google, there are good reasons for advertisers to consider duplicating their RSA campaigns on Microsoft Ads. Google accounts for a hefty chunk of digital advertising, but not all of it. By using the best tactics on a different advertising network, marketers can reach audiences they would miss if they only worked with Google or Facebook. 

There are three main benefits of using these responsive search ads. It saves time and eliminates a lot of the operations needed to create variations manually. One responsive search ad can generate more than 32,000 ad combinations, saving time and space on A/B testing. Responsive search ads are also highly adaptive, so the text ads closely match what the target audience is searching for in a query. Most importantly, the format improves ad performances. According to Microsoft, “Responsive search ads can drive higher click-through rates (CTRs) and conversion rates (CVRs) due to the improved ad space, higher volume, and effectiveness.”

The expansion of the beta for responsive search ads is one more reason for business owners to include Microsoft Ads in their PPC campaign. For more recent news about PPC ads, read this article on the company adding campaign level associations to the platform.