Google Discovery Ads: Definition and Benefits

By Pep Canals, on 19 November 2020

Introduced in 2019, Google Discovery Ads have become one of the most impactful and engaging forms of search engine marketing today. As people browse and scroll, rather than search or query, Google has developed a way to reach audiences using custom content. This platform allows marketers to reach an audience of 2.9 billion across all Google products like, YouTube, Google Discover and Gmail.

So let’s discuss what Google Discovery Ads are, their benefits and Google Discovery Campaign Metrics.

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Google Discovery Ads: Definition and Benefits

What are Google Discovery Ads?

Google Discovery Ads are relevant ads that are shown as users scroll through their various Google feeds, consuming content related to their interests. Visually compelling, mobile first and native, these ads have the advantage of being less invasive than typical advertising.

Google Discovery Ads utilize Google’s ‘Custom Intent’ technology, making use of users’ past searches, videos watched and map activity. Relevant ads are presented while people are browsing and are open to new ideas and products. In fact, 86% of online consumers say that they’re looking for shopping ideas as they browse online content.

Once an advertiser has created a campaign by uploading their ad copy and media, Google uses machine learning to craft the best performing combinations to optimize ad performance. Google Discovery Ads resemble Display Ads, are visual centric and include Carousel Ads, making use of multiple images to attract customers.

Google Discovery Ads: Definition and Benefits

Google Discovery Ads across YouTube, Google Discover and GMail launched by UGG. Source: Google

Benefits of Google Discovery Ads

These days, instead of reading the newspaper, we scroll feeds while drinking our morning coffee. Machine learning is built into Google Discover to curate content based on people’s past activities. Google then displays related content, perhaps even before we know we want to see it.

Here’s an example:

Let’s say someone has been searching and browsing for new winter boots. While they’re later scrolling through YouTube, Google Discovery or even using GMail, Google will present them with advertising related to winter boots. The ads will appear within their feed in a more natural and less invasive way. Discovery Ads also provide the option of remarketing to people who have visited your website but left or abandoned their cart.

Google Discovery Ads benefits:

  • Reach your target market at scale (nearly 3 billion users) using relevant ads within a single campaign
  • Target custom, affinity and in-market audiences
  • Ads are immersive and interactive
  • Drive engagement with Google’s ‘Customer Intent’ technology
  • Automated bidding options to maximize conversions, Target Cost Per Action (CPA) and more
  • Showcase products and services on Youtube ‘Home’ and ‘Watch Next’ feeds
  • Appear within the GMail Social and Promotion tabs as users check their inboxes
  • Reach hundreds of millions of Google Discover users as they explore their interests


Google Discovery Campaign Metrics

Much like other Google Ads products, Discovery Ads offer up a host of options for creating effective advertising campaigns and tracking marketing metrics. Some campaign settings, such as bidding and targeting, are automated to deliver optimal performance based on the marketing objective, bid and budget that you choose. In this regard, setting up your campaign is relatively simple as Google’s algorithm does most of the heavy lifting.

Creating your Google Discovery Campaigns begins with defining your marketing goals which are divided up into: generating leads, driving online sales or building brand awareness. After setting up your goals and campaign type you can then set your geographic locations and languages that you’d like to target.

Next you can choose to maximize conversions based on your daily budget or based on your Target Cost Per Action (CPA), according to Google you’ll want to make sure your daily budget is at least 10X your CPA.

From here we can begin creating ad groups—or choosing how we target different audiences. These can be remarketing tactics or custom intent, for example. For using ‘Custom Intent’, use 10 or more of your top performing keywords from search campaigns. If you want to broaden your reach, turn on audience expansion.

If your goal is brand awareness then make use of ‘Life Events’ to reach people when they have major life milestones such as birthdays. ‘Affinity Audience’ allows you to reach audiences based on their interests and habits. And don’t forget to separate your audiences based on remarketing, custom intent or in-market options.

When it comes to uploading your creative assets such as images and logos, make use of your best quality and most attractive imagery. Depending on whether you’re setting up single image, carousel ads or both, refer to Google’s requirements for each.

Understanding Discovery Campaigns Reporting and Metrics

  • Engagements: Clicks on your ads across platforms; you are charged for each
  • Engagement rate: Number of clicks on your ad divided by how many times it was shown.
  • Clicks: Clicks that direct prospects to your website.
  • Clickthrough rate (CTR): Clicks that lead to your site compared to how many times your ad was shown.
  • Cost-per-click (CPC): Total cost of the campaign, divided by cost of the number of clicks on your ad that lead to your website.
  • Interactions: The combination of all paid clicks on your Discovery ad
  • Interaction rate: Reflects the number of interactions with your ad divided by times your ad was shown.
  • Average cost: Reflects the true cost average for paid interactions with your ad.

Google Discovery Campaigns Example

While UGG relied heavily on social media advertising in the past, the footwear company used Google Discovery Ads for the 2019 holiday season. By repurposing high quality images from social media campaigns UGGs promoted their holiday gift guide and saw their revenue to ad spend increase 10X. Parent company Deckers now plans to utilize Discovery Ads for other brands such as Teva.

Google Discovery Ads: Definition and Benefits

Source: Google

Google Discovery Ads are a relatively new addition to Google’s advertising portfolio and many brands are already taking advantage of their efficiency and automation. Being able to reach interested audiences at a very large scale across Google platforms, and using Google’s algorithms, is an advertising opportunity well worth trying. Only time will tell, however, which industries and businesses are best suited to this new format.

The Complete Guide to SEM and Google Ads

Pep Canals

ES. Data Scientists en Cyberclick. Responsable de las campañas de SEM y de los proyectos de Data Science. EN. Data Scientists at Cyberclick. Responsible for SEM campaigns and Data Science projects.