Google Discovery Ads – A New Form Of Advertising

Google Discovery Ads

In May, the big Google Marketing Live Event took place in California again, where innovations, announcements and insights around marketing, i.e. in principle Google Ads, topics are presented. 

One of these innovations are the so-called Google Discovery Ads, which were presented at the event and then on the Google Blog.

google disovery ads

This is a completely new campaign format that cannot be assigned to the existing search, shopping, display and video types, so there is also a separate section in the Google Ads interface for Google Discovery Ads.

Get to know and ‘discover’ by the user.

According to the name of the campaigns, one of the goals or purposes of the new type of campaign can be identified in “being discovered”, so users should be made aware of brands or companies, products and services through the campaigns and get to know them through the ads “discover” with it.

The fact that this “being discovered” is interesting for advertisers is confirmed not least by a current Google / Ipsos study, according to which 76% of all respondents stated that they not only make new (product and brand) discoveries when shopping (online) but rather to be positive about them and 85% to carry out a product-related action within 24 hours of the “discovery”, such as reading reviews, comparing prices – or even purchasing the corresponding product directly.

Where are Google Discovery Ads displayed?

It can also be deduced from the name that the Discovery ads should be displayed on Google Discover, among other things.

This is a Google product that has so far played a minor role in advertising, as no advertising has been shown there. Google Discover is a kind of feed on which Google users are shown relevant information such as news articles and users can scroll through the amounts in a similar way to a social network and discover them, as the name suggests. 

Google itself describes  the function as follows: “You can get information on topics that interest you, such as your favorite team or your favorite news site, without having to search for it.”

In addition to being displayed on Google Discover, the ads are displayed on the YouTube home site or within GMAIL, which covers several of the channels apart from Google search (including shopping), which means that you can expect a correspondingly high reach.

Targeting conversions

The campaigns currently only work with the bid strategies target CPA or maximize conversions.

This makes it clear that the Google Discovery Ads could in principle be classified as push marketing (since the users are proactively displayed ads while the browser is in use), but unlike YouTube or display (prospecting) campaigns, for example, they are also specifically geared towards this are to pursue performance rather than, e.g. branding goals and achieve conversions. 

Google Discovery Ads Specifications & Best Practices

For the ads you need:

  • Pictures in landscape format (aspect ratio 1.91: 1, minimum size 600 x 314) -> necessary
  • also in square format (aspect ratio 1: 1, minimum size 300 x 300) -> recommended
  • Logo in square format (same specifications) -> necessary
  • Up to 5 headlines with max. 40 characters
  • Up to 5 descriptions with max. 90 characters
  • Enter the company name (max. 25 characters)

CTA: this can either be set automatically, or a selection of CTAs such as “book now”, “go to website”, “shop now”, “apply now”, etc. can be used, but cannot be freely formulated.

Similar to responsive display ads, the ads are then automatically compiled from these assets or modules and displayed depending on the appropriate placement.

At the start of the campaign, Google recommends choosing a CPA that is slightly above the other generic, i.e. non-brand, CPA of the account and, in order to give the algorithm on which the display is based, sufficient buffer, a daily budget at least 10x as high as the target Target CPA.

The targeting – orientations according to target groups

What distinguishes Discovery Ads from other newer campaign types from Google, such as Smart Display or Smart Shopping campaigns, is more control over targeting.

Not all targeting options are available that are also available for display or YouTube ads, but the alignment works exclusively on audiences or target groups, which you can determine yourself.

This gives you the following targeting options:

  • Character and demographic characteristics
    • Parental status, marital status, education, homeownership status
  • Interests & buying behaviour
    • = Target groups with common interests (e.g. hobbies, media use, willingness to travel, sports fans etc.)
  • Active search behaviour or intentions of the target group
    • Target groups willing to buy (users who have shown interest in purchasing products and services)
    • Life events (e.g. wedding, job change, a new pet, house / flat purchase, educational qualification)
    • User-defined target groups with a common intention (Eng.Custom Intent Audiences -> you align with keywords, apps, URLs & YouTube content that users have searched/used/viewed in advance)
  • Remarketing
    • Website visitors
    • YT users
    • similar audiences

Each of the targeting options has its advantages and disadvantages.

If you want to start with less wastage and, as expected, higher performance, you are usually well advised to focus on remarketing lists.

Discovery Ads in Practice – First Insights

While the announcement at the Google Marketing Live event is now over a month old, we as a Google Premier Partner Agency had already had the opportunity to whitelist some accounts and start Google Discovery campaigns a few weeks earlier.

Accordingly, we have data from various accounts for around 2.5 months for analysis.

In some cases, there are significant performance differences from account to account (which is of course also to a certain extent normal if you only look at the campaign type, e.g. for companies & brands with completely different verticals), so that a generally valid statement about the current status is still difficult.

In some accounts, however, it is already clear that the Discovery Ads, taking into account the best practices in terms of target CPA and daily budget, are quite able to achieve these performance goals and at the same time bring in a high volume of comparatively cheap traffic. 

Almost everywhere we have click prices that are well below 50% of the account-wide average CPC. 

Likewise, the CTR is, in most cases, significantly higher than for display campaigns. Although this cannot be directly compared, this is also an interesting fact.

Speaking of the daily budget: the recommendation of 10 times the target CPA represents a relatively high budget for a single campaign, depending on the account, and can therefore be a bit daunting at first or give the impression that you can’t sneak up Discovery Ads Afford’.

In fact, the final issues in all of our Discovery Ad campaigns have always been well below the set max. Daily budget, so that worries about possible “cost explosions” have turned out to be unfounded, at least so far and in our cases.