Google Discovery campaigns allow advertisers to get in front of up to 3 billion users across Google’s feeds, from a single campaign. The ads themselves are visual ads, almost like social ads via Google. They target people based on remarketing data and/or customer intent signals. Once the bare bones of a campaign have been provided, such as audience, headlines, images, logos etc, Google shows ads to “highly interested customers using the bid goal and budget that you set”.
Google states that these are the main benefits of opting for a Discovery campaign:
- Ads appear across “YouTube Home and Watch Next feeds, Discover and the Gmail Promotions and Social tabs”
- High engagement rates as Google shows visually appealing, content-rich ads based on customer intent at the best time
- It’s quick and easy to create ads to fit all placements and customers – advertisers provide the assets and Google creates the best ad for the moment and goal of the campaign
- Automated bidding – campaigns can be set up to maximise conversions or reach to a target CPA or ROAS, to optimise the campaign to meet the advertiser’s marketing goals
When should brands use Discovery campaigns?
If an advertiser is looking to test a new campaign, these are some of the reasons why it could be worth opting for a Discovery campaign:
- They want to drive conversions
- They want to reach new customers
- They want to reconnect with previous customers
These things must be in place to use Discovery ads:
- The advertiser must comply with Google’s Personalised advertising policies and Google Ads policies
- Sitewide tagging is being utilised
When should brands not opt for a Discovery campaign?
Discovery campaigns are very automated with several settings not being editable. For example, bidding and targeting are automated to try and meet the campaigns objectives, so once an advertiser chooses the bid strategy, sets a budget and provides assets for the ads, the following settings cannot be used/adjusted:
- Manual bid strategies
- Delivery method
- Device targeting
- Placement targeting (including exclusions)
- Frequency capping
- Ad rotation
- Contextual targeting
Please note that content exclusions, such as content with strong profanity, sexual content or violence are automatically applied to Discovery campaigns. Google places these ads based on Topics the user is interested in, determined by what type of videos they watch on YouTube, for example, and will only appear next to content that is advertiser-friendly.
How to set up a Discovery campaign
- Sign in to your Google Ads account
- Select the ‘Campaigns’ view and click the white plus sign in the blue circle and select ‘+ New Campaign’
- When faced with the list of campaign objectives you can choose any of the following to be able to then choose a Discovery campaign: Sales, Leads, Website traffic or No goal
- Once you’ve selected Discovery campaign, entered your website and given the campaign a name, hit ‘Continue’ (also if you have a product feed connected to your account you’ll have to select a campaign subtype: standard or with product feeds)
- Then choose a conversion goal under the ‘Discovery Conversion Selection’
- Select the location and language settings for your campaign
- Opt for a bid strategy, set your daily budget and hit ‘Next’
- Next you must select your audience, the segments that will be available are: custom intent audiences, your data (remarketing lists) and in-market segments and then click ‘Next’
Once your campaign is set up you have to create your Discovery ads, these can be single-image ads, multi-image carousel ads or product group ads (for those with Google Merchant Centre linked).
For detailed instructions on how to create the different ads and the assets needed for each type see here.
Latest features added to Discovery ads
Just last month Google announced some new features that have been added to Discovery campaigns, to try and improve their performance, these were as follows:
- Expanded availability for product feeds – advertisers can show products in their ads based on the user’s interests and intent and now have the ability to use lifestyle images and text with the Google Merchant Centre products
- Better performance reporting and measurement – advertisers can now see how GMC products are performing in their ads and in Q2 data-driven attribution will become available for Discovery campaigns
- Conversion Lift experiments – last year Google launched Conversion Lift experiments allowing advertisers to measure incremental conversions based on users or location
Conclusion: Are Discovery campaigns worth a punt?
If you are an advertiser, with a visually appealing product to push, that you want to get in front of more customers, then a Discovery campaign could be worth a go. If you are the sort of brand that is doing well on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok etc and still have more money to spend and customers to unlock, then it could definitely be an option.
They are also suitable for advertisers who have budget available that want to increase traffic and/or sales/leads for a new site or product, or to push something that doesn’t get a great deal of search traffic. For those that can hone in on their audience by using custom intent audiences, remarketing lists and in-market segments in their target location to get in front of the ‘right’ people, then it could be worth testing.