Throughout decades of working in digital marketing, I have learned that there are few absolutes. While you may want answers in black and white, at best, you are lucky to get murky shades of gray and answers that go along the lines of, "It depends."

While this is true, there's one thing I am certain of--pinning assets in responsive search ads (RSAs) isn't a smart move for most advertisers. While there are always exceptions to this, generally speaking, most people should stop doing this.

The main reason you should stop pinning your RSAs is actually surprising: When you fill your responsive search ad with 15 headlines, four description lines, and only pin one headline, you eliminate over 93 percent of your ad testing options.

It's Not Really That Big of a Deal, Right?

However, you may not be convinced that this is the case. I get it, being skeptical in digital marketing isn't a bad thing. But consider that when you create a responsive search ad, you likely try out a few headlines. Because you have three slots for headlines and 15 headlines to choose from, you have the following:

  • Headline slot one has 15 options.
  • Headline slot two has 14 options.
  • Headline slot three has 13 options.

That means there are 2,730 headline combinations.

If you pin a headline to slot one, the following will occur:

  • Headline slot one has one option.
  • Headline slot two has 14 options.
  • Headline slot three has 13 options.

That reduces the combinations to just 182. Again, if you pin just one headline, it reduces the total combinations by over 93 percent.

Pinning one headline eliminates the possibility of the headline showing up in a different position, and eliminates the potential for other headlines to appear in the pinned position.

Just think about what would happen if you pinned several descriptive lines or headlines. Every asset that is pinned reduces the potential of you finding the "winning combo." Eventually, your options will disappear altogether.

While 182 options aren't anything to sneeze at, there's a factor you may have never considered. One of the ad combinations is going to be "the best."

However, the best for each person or company is unique. It could mean the lowest cost per acquisition (CPA) or highest return on advertising spend (ROAS). It doesn't matter how you define the best. If you eliminate over 90 percent of the options, you are taking a gamble that the best performing ad is not the one that appears.

Pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns are complex. Once you figure out something, it will likely change. While this is true, remaining updated and knowing which best practices to follow, and which ones to ignore, will help you make the most of your efforts, and ensure you make the most of your PPC budget.