Google Discovery Ads: The complete guide

Google Discovery Ads

New Google Ads ad formats, Discovery Ads, were unveiled at Google Marketing Live 2019. Brand new, beautiful: this advertising format enriches the range of possibilities offered by Google Ads. So what sets them apart from other ads and how do you best use them?

What is Google Discover?

Discover, formerly Google Now and Google Feed is the mobile news feed from the Google app. Google puts the spotlight on the news, articles that match the interests of 800 million users around the world.

Google Discover
Google Discover

The Mountain View firm aims to keep this relevance and personalization of results while adding Discovery ads.

Users scrolling on Discover are therefore on the lookout for new products and ideas. Thus, they are bound to be more receptive to ads when they are on Discover. Especially since the ads are immersive, designed to blend into the page, and therefore perceived as less invasive.

Google Discovery Ads, new broadcast locations

Discovery Ads are one of the 4 new Google ad formats for 2019 along with Gallery Ads, Showcase Shopping Ads, and Deep Linking App.

With these ad formats, Google follows the trend of visual ads. Much more attractive to the users, they are more eye-catching than a simple text ad. The focus is also on mobile research, which is booming.

Google Discovery Ads – as native ads appear directly in the news feed. You will therefore have the possibility of broadcasting on several platforms:

  • Youtube: on the homepage’s mobile feed.
  • Google Discover: on the news feed between 2 articles.
  • Gmail: in the Promotions and Social networks tabs.
Google Discovery Ads
Google Discovery Ads

3 important advantages of Discovery Ads

1 – Ads boosted by machine learning

As with Responsive Search Ads (RSA), machine learning will be used to determine what is the best combination of titles, descriptions, and visuals and therefore generate the most relevant ad for each user. The point here is to get the best ad for each user.

Thanks to machine learning, ad personalization is maximum. Google is pushing the automation possibilities even further to give you even better targeting.

For example, an ad in your Gmail inbox offering a free software demo following your visit to that website.

2 – Ads designed for mobile

As mobile research is expanding, it is therefore a land to invest absolutely!

With Google Discovery ads, you have the possibility to create ads specially adapted for smartphones. Obviously, your website must be optimized for mobile to be sure you get the most out of it.

3 – One ad for 3 platforms

You can display your ads on Discover, but also on Gmail and YouTube. Thus, a single ad can be broken down into several. In other words, it saves time without losing visibility!

When to use Discovery Ads ?

There are three cases that seem relevant to use Discovery Ads.

First, to reach once again your best potential customers. Discovery campaigns are calibrated to ensure that users familiar with your brand are brought to click and visit your website.

Then, Discovery Ads will help you reach new customers. Share compelling content and catch the eye of potential buyers eager to discover unfamiliar brands.

Finally, the advantage of this Google Discovery Ads lies in the number of conversions you can generate. Concretely, you will generate more website traffic, more newsletter subscriptions and ultimately boost your sales.

Google Discovery Ads Targeting

Unlike search campaigns, Google Discovery ads are not targeted with keywords. Advertisers can choose the audience they want to reach with an audiences strategy, including:

Remarketing: Remarketing allows you to target your ads to your customers or to your website visitors. You can create different remarketing audiences based on their past interactions to re-engage prospects already familiar with your brand. By the way, it is recommended to start with remarketing before expanding to prospecting

Demographics: Demographic targeting allows to target users based on their age, gender, parental status, relationships, education, and owner status.

In-Market Audience: This is made up of users who recently started searching and are actively considering making a purchase.

Affinity and Custom Intent: reach users based on topics and interests they have researched and viewed in the past

The elements to create a Google Discovery Ads:

Google Discovery ads campaign consists of the following:

  • 1 final URL to redirect to the website but not visible to the user
  • The company logo
  • 1 visual minimum
  • A category label at the top. Google chooses it to indicate to the user which category your content is related to (“climbing”, “shoes” …)
  • 5 heading maximum
  • 5 descriptions maximum

It will be possible to create carousels. You can therefore easily reach users with high visual ads.

How to create Discovery campaigns in Google Ads?

To create a Discovery Ads ad on Google Ads, you must run a specific campaign called “Discovery Campaign”. Google is betting so much on this new format that it has dedicated a specific type of campaign.

Discovery ads should benefit from the same overall targeting capabilities as a display campaign. It will therefore be necessary to carefully target your audience to obtain good results.

Steps to create a new Google Discovery campaign

Creating a Google Discovery campaign is easy if you are familiar with the Google Ads interface.

1 – Create a new campaign by clicking on the blue “+” icon on the campaigns page.

2 – When selecting the goal for your campaign, choose “Sales”, “Lead” or “Website Traffic”. You can also create a campaign without a goal.

3 – Select the type of campaign “Discovery”.

Create Discovery Ads Campaign
Create Discovery Ads Campaign

4 – Give your new campaign a name. Select the languages ​​and locations where you want your ads to appear.

5 – Define your daily budget and the bidding strategy you want Google to use to optimize your discovery campaign.

6 – Review the “additional settings” if desired:

  • Your campaign must have a defined start and end date
  • Set campaign to only work at certain times of the day or on certain days of the week
Specific times for Discovery Ads
Specific times for Discovery Ads
  • Decide if your campaigns have to be optimised only for certain conversion actions in your account.
Decide if your campaigns have to be optimised only for certain conversion actions in your account.

7 – Create your first ads group and your first audience targets. Remember, you can create more than one ad group later if you want to target more audiences.

Audiences on Google Discovery Ads

8 – Create your Discovery ads

Create your Discovery ads
Create your Discovery ads

You will then be prompted to review your new Discovery campaign before launching it. Click on the “Continue” button and your campaign will be launched!

Discovery Ads format

Note that there are two ad formats:

  • Classic ad in which you can add up to 15 different images. Only one image will be displayed at a time.
  • Carousel ad, where you can scroll through multiple images and have a different destination URL per map. It is possible to add up to 10 cards. This allows to view the full range of your products or services.

Regarding visuals, you can choose to:

  • upload your own images,
  • search for stock images on Shutterstock,
  • have Google scan images from your website,
  • or even get images from your social media feeds on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn.
search for stock images on Shutterstock
Search for stock images on Shutterstock

You can learn more on how to set up a Discovery campaign with this tutorial from Google.

Choose your visuals carefully

Google has already announced that it will be particularly vigilant about the quality and relevance of visuals. Here are some of Discovery ads creative guidelines:

  • No “call to action” visible on the image.

For example, an ad indicating “Up to 30% Off” with a clickable button encouraging to buy will be refused. Imitating a link by underlining a sentence will be also refused by Google. Likewise, Google refuses ads with “click here”.

No "call to action" visible on the image in Discovery Ads

In contrast, a phrase like “buy millions of shoes now” will be validated by Google as long as there is no button inciting to click.

The reason to reject call-to-action images is that Discovery Ads are not intended for users who are ready to buy. But to capture their interest so they want to discover your products. Hence the name: “Discovery” …

  • No misleading images (“click bait”): mentioning false information or highlighting false promises such as “get rich in 1 week”
  • No blurry images: No poorly framed or misdirected images

As you can see, with these very precise guidelines, Google emphasizes the importance of qualitative visuals.

Bids and budgets for Google Discovery ads

Currently, Discovery campaigns support two bidding strategies:

Target cost per acquisition (CPA): Google will attempt to drive conversions at a specific cost per conversion. Google recommends using this strategy if you have a budget that is at least ten times your target CPA.

Maximize Conversions: Google will strive to achieve as many conversions at the lowest CPA as possible. This is the best strategy if you have a low budget or if you expect less than 10 conversions per day.

The average CPA for Google Discovery campaigns is only around $ 11.30. Most advertisers get the most out of their small budgets. Still, industries that record higher CPAs should expect CPAs that are more up to their account standard.

A typical target CPA for a Discovery campaign
A typical target CPA for a Discovery campaign

Again, Google recommends fixing a budget that is at least ten times the value of your CPA auction. Before making any changes to your campaign, Google recommends also waiting untill it generates at least 40 conversions.

Discovery Ads: Google’s response to social media

The Discovery Ads format, therefore, resembles in every way what Facebook offers, whether in terms of audience targeting or the visual aspect of Native Ads. The only difference is the use of the Google ecosystem to serve to discover ads.

If you already do native advertising on Facebook, Discovery Ads will be a very good approach to reach new prospects.

With the potential for the future, Google Discovery Ads should soon invade ads on YouTube, Gmail and Discover.

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