In May of 2020, Google Ads announced Discovery campaigns were available worldwide. If you’ve set up any sort of awareness campaigns within Google, the set up is going to be pretty similar, but I am going to go over some subtle differences.
One of the biggest benefits of Discovery campaigns is that we really get to expand our reach by using Google’s machine learning to better focus on a user’s intent. This post is going to show you where your Discovery campaigns can show, how we can set up the campaign itself, and what types of ad formats are available for Discovery campaigns.
Where Discovery Campaign Ads Can Show
Before we dive into the campaign setup, I first want to talk about where your Discovery ads could show. One option is when you’re on the YouTube home feed, and you’re scrolling down perusing which video to watch next, you can possibly see some ads like this one right here.
You can also see a similar type of ad on the watch next feed. This is going to be when YouTube is recommending which video you may want to watch next after you have finished another video. Ads can also show up in the Gmail social and promotions tab. We’re pretty familiar with the Gmail ad format by now, but these may actually not be dedicated Gmail ads. They could be Discovery ads that can allow you to promote products.
Your Discovery ads can also show up on the Discover feed. Let’s pretend I’m just typing in a query into Google, and certain entities like this one have a follow button.
One of the ways your Discovery ads are targeted is based on what topics users may follow within Google. These topics will send signals to Google about what the user may be interested in. Then when users are scrolling through the Discover feed, they may see ads related to certain topics, brands, or other things that may be related. Users also may see Discover ads based on other behavior histories like videos watched on YouTube.
Now that you know where Discovery ads will appear, let’s hop into how to create a campaign.
Setting Up a Discovery Campaign
As with any new campaign you set up, Google has you select a specific campaign goal objective. To be able to run Discovery campaigns, you need to choose one of the following campaign objectives.
- Website traffic
- Create a campaign without a goals guidance
Once you have chosen one of those four options, you will see the selections to choose a specific campaign type. The last option is for Discovery campaigns which is exactly what we’re looking to set up.
After you click on Continue, you will be on the page campaign set up page. This is where we’re really going to establish our settings for the Discovery campaigns.
Most of the campaign creation steps are going to be just the same as most other campaigns. The steps I’m talking about are:
- Campaign name
- Location targeting
- Language targeting
- Daily budget
- Ad scheduling
- Start and end dates
- Campaign tracking templates
- Campaign-level conversions
Next, we’ll get to the bidding strategy portion of the setup. By default, Google Discovery campaigns are going to run on a target CPA bid strategy. If you do not want to go with target CPA for the bid strategy, you can uncheck this blue box seen in the image below to switch to a maximize conversion bid strategy. Those are your only two options.
Content exclusions are another area within a Google Discovery campaign where the settings are different than other campaigns. This is because the advertiser loses control over this specific feature. Google will automatically apply exclusions to your Discovery campaigns. Yes, you read that correctly. Google is going to have full control over your Discovery campaign exclusions.
What Google has said in their help section is that Discovery ads should not show on three specific types of content. The first is your Discovery campaigns most likely will not show up on content with repeated strong profanity. Your ad should also not show up for any content with strong sexual references, or on any content with graphic violence. And Google makes one more statement of clarification about content exclusions.
Since Discovery ads appear in connection with feed-based content on YouTube Home and Watch Next feeds, Gmail, and Discover, they don’t use account-level content exclusion settings that are only applicable to websites, pages, videos, and apps. To ensure that your ads appear with content you believe is suitable for your brand, we instead apply account-level content exclusions to the main video on the YouTube Watch Next feed.https://support.google.com/google-ads/answer/9176876?hl=en
Targeting Options for Discovery Campaigns
After you have named your ad group, we can start looking at the targeting options for Discovery campaigns. The main targeting option for Discovery campaigns is going to be using audiences.
If we click on browse, we can add or edit the following targeting options for each of your Discovery campaign ad groups:
- Detailed demographics
- Affinity audiences
- In-market audiences
- Life events
- Custom intent audiences
- Remarketing audiences
- Similar audiences
After you have your targeting options selected, you see an option for audience expansion. Let’s say you already have a Discovery campaign running and you really want to expand your reach on a campaign you think is performing very well. You can choose to have that toggle turned on. Google claims it can increase your conversions by 20%, but you won’t know until you test it out yourself. My recommendation is to never start a new Discovery campaign with this feature turned on. Wait until you know your campaign is consistently performing well before trying it out.
Discovery Campaign Ad Formats
As of the time of this post in mid-July 2020, there are only two ad formats for Discovery campaigns. There’s a carousel ad format and then a standard image format. First, I’m going to go over the single ad format and you will see the format is pretty similar if you are running any responsive display ads.
Standard Image Format
The standard image format needs at least one marketing image and one logo, but the advertiser can ad a variety of images. The ad format will rotate through the images you add to your ad, but there will still only be one visible headline, description and CTA.
You can add up to five headlines (40 characters each). You can then add up to five descriptions (90 characters each). Then you can add your Business name (25 characters), and finish by choosing one of the default CTAs in the ad. Now let’s see what a carousel ad format could look like.
Carousel Ad Format
We still need to enter in a final URL, logo, and Business name. The rest of the ad is different than the standard image format. For carousels, we only get to enter one headline and one description. This is because we can add up to ten cards that will each have their own images, headline, CTA, and final URL.
Advertisers have to add the same number of images for each card, and the images have to be the same size ratios in each card. If you don’t fill in a new Final URL for any of the cards, Google will use the main Final URL you used in the main portion of the carousel ad. And while you can add up to ten cards, you have to enter at least two to run this ad format.
Try Discovery Campaigns for Yourself
Whenever we look at running any campaign that relies on machine learning from Google, it’s extremely important that you give your campaign some time to run. You most likely will not see success from a Discovery ads campaign if you turn it on for a week, potentially not see the results that you want, and then shut it off. You’re not giving the campaign enough time for the algorithm to start optimizing towards success. So if you only have $10 a day budget to test Discovery campaigns, this new campaign type may not be the best for you. Hopefully, now you have a better idea of how Google’s Discovery campaigns can better help you expand your reach and showcase your brand to a new audience.
Have you tested Discovery campaigns in Google? If so, we’d love to hear about your results!