SEO

Google shares automatically-created assets FAQ and marketers give their verdict

Google’s automatically-created assets (ACA) for responsive search ads have been causing confusion amongst marketers.

The feature was rolled out in September for general availability in eight languages:

  • Dutch
  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Portuguese
  • Spanish

Now, two months on, the Google team is still receiving questions from perplexed advertisers that it would like to address.

Why we care. As more generative AI tools become available to marketers, choosing the right one can be challenging. The confusion about these tools and their proper usage adds to the complexity. Understanding the capabilities of features like ACA can empower marketers to make informed decisions on whether to incorporate them for optimizing their campaign performance.

Google addresses ACA confusion

Ginny Marvin, Product Liaison at Google, used her X account to answer some of the most commonly asked questions her team receives about ACA:

What’s the point of ACA? “When you enable automatically-created assets at the campaign level, it will create headlines and descriptions for your RSAs. The main goals are to help you save time and provide incremental conversion opportunities with more relevant ads.”

How are ACA used? “RSAs can assemble ad combinations that are predicted to perform best using both the assets you’ve provided and automatically generated assets.”

Where does ACA pull content from? “Automatically created assets are generated from your own content, including your landing pages, existing ads and keywords. Tip: Be sure your website is up-to-date when using this feature!”

Where can I see automatically-created assets? “ACA will be labeled as ‘Automatically created’ in the ‘Asset source’ column in ad- and campaign-level asset reporting. You’ll also see when ACAs are included in Combination reports.”

Can I remove ACA? “Yes, you can review & remove assets you don’t want to serve any more. In addition, any automatically created assets with a ‘low’ performance rating get removed, well, automatically.”

Can I test ACA in Campaign Experiments? “Yep! Draft and Experiments are compatible with ACA. You will see automatically created assets on both the test and control arm, however the control side will serve 0 ACA impressions.”

Should I just rely on ACA? “ACA should augment, not replace, your existing assets. Keep the assets you’ve already created and continue to provide as many as you can (up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions). Note that ACA don’t count toward these asset limits.”

Marketers give their verdict

Thomas Eccel, SMX Next speaker and Senior Performance Marketing Manager at Jung von Matt IMPACT, advised that while ACA can be a great source of inspiration, this feature needs to be closely monitored. He told Search Engine Land:

  • “RSAs can work in my opinion to get inspiration of which Headlines and Description Google think could be potentially driving conversions for my account.”
  • “I would not blindly active them on all accounts: do not activate them for accounts with high brand-control or for accounts where only some specific texts and wordings are allowed.”
  • “If activated I would advise to closely monitor the asset creation and the sense of texts to not find surprises.”

Sarah Stemen, MBA, paid search expert and board member of the Paid Search Association, also shared her findings regarding ACA after experimenting with them in beta:

  • Risk awareness: “I got client permission before we tested this (whenever you are testing something like this NEVER test this without making the risks very clear to ALL stakeholders, everyone MUST be on the same page).”
  • Monitor daily: “These are indeed pulled from the website which means if you are running a sale on the website a headline will be pulled! If this is a short term sale you risk this headline or description running until the asset is removed by Google so YOU need to monitor this.””
  • Headline issue: The platform will generate headlines longer than the rules (I see this as an advantage).”
  • ACA can be boring: “I know, I know we complain that the automatically created anything is ‘bad’ but during the time we tested this in our account +95% of the assets were harmless. Mostly the assets were boring.”
  • Human created assets win: “None of the automatically created assets performed better than the human created assets (note when I say perform I mean ‘had more impressions’ because RSA assets don’t perform the ad unit performs).”
  • Watch for case inconsistencies: “All title case human written assets vs sentence style assets – but again you can remove.”

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Deep dive. Watch Google’s quick video tutorial on automatically created assets for more information or read Google’s responsive search ad guide for best practices on creating responsive search ads.

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About the author

Nicola Agius

Nicola Agius is Paid Media Editor of Search Engine Land after joining in 2023. She covers paid search, paid social, retail media and more. Prior to this, she was SEO Director at Jungle Creations (2020-2023), overseeing the company’s editorial strategy for multiple websites. She has over 15 years of experience in journalism and has previously worked at OK! Magazine (2010-2014), Mail Online (2014-2015), Mirror (2015-2017), Digital Spy (2017-2018) and The Sun (2018-2020). She also previously teamed up with SEO agency Blue Array to co-author Amazon bestselling book ‘Mastering In-House SEO’.

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