Google discovery ads - first impressions

Google discovery ads - first impressions

As Google Premium Partner, Indago Digital have access to this and other beta products. We have been running Discovery campaigns for over a month, and the first results are in. Check out what our thoughts are as of yet from testing the new campaign type.

Written by

Peter Dimakidis


17 January 2020



The All-New Discovery Campaign Ad format

For those new to this ad format, Discovery Campaigns are native ads that run across YouTube’s home feed, Gmail’s social/promotional tabs, and Google Discover feeds.

According to Google, Discovery ads are a new way to reach people across Google properties when they’re open to discovering your products and services. This is done through rich and relevant creative enhancements. In other words, when navigating “discovery” sessions, you are likelier to engage with ads to become a lead/purchase.

Having performance as the goal for this new format, the only bid strategies available are Maximise Conversions and Target CPA. This fact – coupled with other changes Google has made over the year, like broader close variants and machine learning improvements – we might not be able to choose our bids anymore in the foreseeable future.

This change is very likely to be realised within 2020.

Discovery Campaigns has two ad formats: single-image ads and carousel ads.

Very similar to Responsive Display Ads – you may provide assets including up to 6 headlines, 5 descriptions, a business name, a call-to-action, up to 15 marketing images and a logo.

Using machine learning, Google will then test the variations and factorise your conversion goals.

By doing so, Google can find and use the best-performing ads in the right auctions to effectively drive impressions.

Similar to Gallery Ads (also in Beta) – you can provide up to 10 images and mix them with a single headline, description, logo and a call-to-action. However, Gallery Ads differentiate themselves from Single-Image Ads as Google respects the order you set up the images here.

Or – at least for now, you can use your creative sides and tell a story across the carousel.

Find the full ad specs for Discovery Ads here.

Before changing your ad assets, Google suggests advertisers collect at least 40 conversions through the campaign using a daily budget 10x higher than your target CPA. This is so there are no limitations to the learning process and bid strategy using machine learning.

Beta Testing & Performance (so far .. )

The new ad format – whilst still in Beta – having premium placements being susceptible to higher user-engagement levels deservedly entitles the innovation to applause.

Furthermore, it’s the concept itself that sparks the fireworks for us.

Simply the overarching idea for specifically showcasing just the relevant ads to correct audiences by way of a completely automated bid strategy which sounds promising!

Based on our initial tests, even though Discovery Ads are in Beta and competition is still low, CPCs ended up 2x higher than Display Ads (GDN). However, Discovery Ads also produced 3-6x higher conversion rates for these same audiences – offsetting those high CPCs.

When Google makes those ads available for all advertisers, we believe Discovery Ads will be as competitive as Display as CPCs are likely to increase considerably.

Additionally, having just 3 premium placements to deliver ads (as compared to thousands within Display Network) makes finding the best auctions for each case that much easier!

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Written by

Peter Dimakidis
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