These days, a next-level digital advertising strategy isn’t just a good idea for businesses looking to stay ahead of the game. It’s a crucial part of staying relevant, raising brand awareness, and blowing the competition out of the water.
But effective advertising is about more than simply making sure your target audience knows you’re out there. It’s also about reaching them at the most critical possible time – when they’re primed and ready to make a purchase.
Google Discovery Ads are an innovative way to do that more effectively – a way to deliver content Google AI thinks a user needs instead of waiting for them to think to search for it.
However, as with any other aspect of a complete digital marketing campaign, there’s a method to using them correctly and getting the results you want. Here’s a closer look at everything you need to know.
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What are Google Discovery Ads?
If you’ve accessed either the Google app or the mobile version of the Google homepage via your smartphone or tablet lately, then you’ve almost certainly noticed that it now includes a discovery feed. (Similar options appear via features like Watch Next and Gmail Promotions.)
Google uses AI technology to populate each user’s discovery feed with personalized content relevant to their recent behavior.
For example, it’s not uncommon to check yours out and find it’s full of content related to movies or television shows you’re currently watching, topics you’ve been searching for or discussing, and products you’ve been shopping around for.
Users can also intentionally customize their discovery feeds by adjusting their settings or telling Google via the pop-down menu under each story why that story didn’t interest them.
Since the option was first launched in 2019, businesses, brands, and individuals have been able to create Discovery campaigns that harness Google’s AI and algorithm to serve up content to a target audience right when it matters the most. – When that person has exhibited recent behavior that suggests they’re ready to buy from a brand or otherwise engage with it.
What are the Benefits of Google Discovery Ads?
Unlike standard Google display ads, Google Discovery Ads do not require advertisers to adjust every little thing about their campaigns manually.
Instead, Google Discovery campaigns leverage AI and automation to analyze consumer behavior and decide when and where an ad will likely deliver the desired result. The benefits include:
Visually Compelling Advertising
According to Google, 76 percent of consumers love making surprise discoveries when they’re shopping or browsing. Google Discovery Ads are visually appealing, highly engaging ads that allow your ideal target audience to discover your content, brand, and products in this way.
Google Discovery Ads takes the guesswork out of choosing an ideal bid by automating it for you via target CPAs and maximized conversion bidding. Instead of taking a shot and hoping for the best, Google works with you to optimize your campaign for you.
Did you know that an astonishing 85 percent of consumers will act on a compelling discovery within 24 hours? That’s because Google Discovery Ads are specially designed and optimized to reach the correct people right when they’re ready to buy, engage, or otherwise act. This makes for incredibly consistent advertising and steady results.
More Efficient Campaigns
A single Google Discovery campaign has the potential to reach several billion different people every month. Not only do Google Discovery Ads appear in each user’s discovery feed, but they show up across other massively popular Google interfaces, as well, like Gmail and YouTube.
How to Create Google Discovery Ads
Once you’re ready to launch your first Google Discovery Ads campaign, give some thought to what products, content, or brand assets you want to focus on.
Then gather all of your assets – including your company logo, advertising copy, and ad images – before proceeding through the following steps.
And since so much of Google Discovery is automated and handled for you, you’ll be up and running in no time.
1. Create a Google Discovery advertising campaign
The process of setting up a Discovery campaign is similar to setting up any other Google advertising campaign. Log into your Google Ads account, specify that you’d like to create a new campaign, and select Discovery from the menu.
You’ll then be asked to finetune your campaign by specifying:
- Target audiences
- Target locations
- Target languages
- Bidding preferences and budget
2. Add your creative materials
When creating a Discovery campaign, you have two options to choose from as far as the format – single-image ads and carousel-style ads featuring multiple images.
You’ll also be prompted to upload several versions of the following digital assets. (Google will optimize your campaign for you by mixing and matching what you upload to best appeal to the consumer on the receiving end of the ad.)
- Images in various formats, including a landscape image, a square-format image, and a logo
- Headlines not exceeding 40 characters each
- Descriptions that are 90 characters or less
You’ll also be prompted to specify your business name, target URL, and a call-to-action.
3. Allow your campaign to complete a “learning” phase
Once you’ve uploaded all of your assets, completed your campaign, and allowed it to go live, Google will begin the process of optimizing your bids according to your specifications. You’ll see “learning” specified as the campaign status until this process is complete.
The learning phase takes approximately two weeks to complete. Avoid making any further changes to your bid or campaign details during that period. Then assess how things are going afterward.
And although Google’s algorithm and AI system will take care of a lot of the heavy lifting for you when it comes to your campaign, there’s still plenty you can do to make your ads more effective.
Remember, Google Discovery Ads are ads served up to a user, as opposed to content delivered after an intentional query, so quality is crucial to ensure your ads hit the right notes.
Here are a few additional tips for making sure yours are as effective as possible.
4. Don’t skimp on image quality
No one will feel compelled to click on an ad that contains a low-quality photo or an overused stock photo people have already seen a million times.
So make sure you choose your very best images for your Google Discovery Ads. Think high quality and compelling visuals that encourage users to stop scrolling and take notice.
5. Use carousels to create a narrative
If you opt for the carousel-style Ad option, don’t make the same mistake so many other users make and upload a bunch of repetitive images. Instead, use the carousel format to tell a story and pique the viewer’s interest.
Make them burn with curiosity, so they really want to know what happens next.
6. Focus on building immediate trust
Many of the folks checking out your ad will be unfamiliar with your or your company, so use your headline and limited text space to win their trust right away.
Get their attention, tell them why they should believe in you, and inspire them to click through. And, of course, always make sure your URL delivers on any promises made by your ad text.
Examples of Google Discovery Ads
Remember, ads created via a Google Discovery campaign can appear in multiple places, so it’s a good idea to be familiar with the most common possibilities. Here’s a closer look at a few to keep in mind as you plan, create, and adjust your campaigns.
Google Discovery Feed
Google users who have the app installed on their devices and have the discovery option enabled will see a personalized feed each time they open it. In addition to content related to recent online web activity and consumer behavior, the discovery feed contains targeted Google Discovery Ads like yours.
Google Discovery is available to users in most countries. However, you may wish to note that it is not currently available to consumers located in France, Germany, or Australia.
By now, long-time Gmail users will already be familiar with the tabs marked “promotions” and “social”. Advertising served up by Google Discovery Ads can appear here and will look very similar to other Gmail messages.
When clicked, the ads also behave like Gmail emails, opening up similarly. However, the messaging inside will contain additional details on the specified offer, including imagery, pricing, etc.
YouTube Home Tab
YouTube users will also occasionally see Google Discovery Ads served up under the “home” tab. As with the above two options, discovery ads on YouTube blend right in with the rest of the content in the user’s feed. However, they’ll be identified by a gold advertising tag.
As with other types of Google Discovery Ads, YouTube ads will reflect recent consumer behavior, search activity, engagement data, and so forth.
Wrap Up: Take Your Ads to the Next Level and Stand Out
Understanding and utilizing all of your advertising options – like Google Discovery Ads, among other examples – is a vital part of creating a digital marketing campaign that delivers the goods and boosts your conversion rates. But algorithms and AI technology can still only do so much of the work for you.
A little creativity and innovation are the keys to giving your ads personality, connecting with consumers, and inspiring them to actually click through to your content. Understanding how to use controversy in advertising can help with this.
Check out our write-up on controversial ads to learn how to make it work for you. You’ll learn when a brand should use controversy, how to create ads that work, how to identify ads that don’t work before it’s too late and more!