5 things you didn't know about Discovery campaigns on Google

Discovery Campaigns on Google

Discovery campaigns are the latest campaign type on Google. Discovery ads within these campaigns present a combination of compelling visual ads appearing on Discover network, YouTube, and Gmail promotions. Great visual content will drive users through the customer journey while exploring and learning about new products and services. The shift in customer behavior towards seeing content that awakens consumers’ attention has created a new place to find them with Discovery ads.

Discovery campaigns can generate leads, drive online sales, and build awareness and consideration. With different goals, you will engage with various audience types.

If you haven’t used them yet, here is some important information that you should know.


When using Discovery ads, they will appear across some Google assets–Gmail promotions, YouTube homepage, and Discover feed. This way, according to Google, your campaign can reach up to 3 billion people monthly if you have an unlimited budget, of course.

placement of ads

Discover on Google search reaches the audience looking for something specific and those ready to discover something new. The Discover feed is offering content about problems and solutions for users before they realize what they need.

YouTube has become the second-largest browser where Discovery ads are shown in the home feed. For Gmail promotions, you can get higher reach and cover more potential customers with them.

Discovery ads create a feeling of native content instead of an ad interrupting your feed research. By appearing more like social media advertising, Google is positioning Discovery Ads as an alternative to Facebook and Instagram.


You can choose two format types–single image Discovery ads and multiple images Discovery carousel ads. Both ad types can use custom-made high-quality images and other usual segments, such as website scans.

ad format


After you upload a varying number of images and text, Google’s machine learning will start its journey. Discovery ads will perform best with more headlines and descriptions. It will test all combinations of the assets that you delivered with one goal—to find the best-performing assets.

You should upload as many assets as possible for relevant testing, giving the machine learning process enough information to proceed. All testing will be rated compared to each other after a while. We recommend allowing two to three weeks for the campaign to perform before any change. Later in the section “View asset details,” you can track each image’s performance, headline, or description you provided. You can replace the low-performing ones with fresh material.

From there, Google delivers the best asset combinations on the placements where your audience is spending most of the time discovering new content.


Discovery campaigns are using the same familiar audience targeting as Display campaigns. You can use affinity and life events audiences for awareness and consideration through in-market, custom intent, customer match, remarketing, and custom audience for more down the funnel audience. For this campaign type, an interesting audience targeting can be Customer match, where you target your Gmail contacts.

  • Affinity audience—reach users based on their recent topics and interests that they searched online.
  • In market audience—reach users who expressed recent purchase intent.
  • Remarketing audience—users who interacted with your website and previous customers.
  • Custom match audience—reach your prospects or existing customers by email address.
  • Custom audience—defined by advertisers based on interests and behavior.

Like Google’s Display Network, this type also serves the audience you choose through their personalized feed on Discover network, YouTube home feed, and Gmail promotions.

Ensuring your brand and product’s overall presence in multichannel placements with Discovery ads will help customers move from the exploration and evaluation phase to your product’s successful purchase. Finding people when they are in the discovery phase and attracting them with your ad is as crucial as targeting them in the moment of need.


Google is changing how you can expand your target audience with a new tool very similar to Facebook’s “lookalike” audience. This way, audience expansion will generate prospects that look and behave like your custom audience and deliver your ad. The audience expansion adjustment depends on your campaign goal. If you choose Brand awareness as your goal, Google will find relevant prospects to increase your reach. If you choose sales for a purpose, your ads will be delivered to additional users who are likely to convert.

Audiance expansion

Audience expansion will apply any content exclusions which your campaign defined, including inventory types, content types, etc.


Discovery ads are similar to Responsive search ads considering they are also a combination of headlines and descriptions with an automation process. But this isn’t about search intent; it’s about going deeper on learning how Discovery and YouTube’s home feed create a customer journey for the audience we are targeting.

Final tips for Discovery campaigns

tips for Discovery campaigns

  • When creating this campaign type, have in mind that your visual assets should be high quality and inspirational so that prospects can recognize your brand value.
  • You should present products clearly, used in authentic ways, with as many assets as possible with both landscape and square images.
  • Combining a maximum of five headlines and descriptions will provide the best test results at the beginning.
  • Use copy for headlines and descriptions to emphasize offering and promotions.
  • Separate ads for different audiences.
  • Measure your results with conversions, audience reports, and asset level reports.

Since Machine learning is crucial for Discovery ads, these campaigns will need time to gather relevant performance data. Google lets us know about the best daily budget, which is at least ten times the value of your target cost-per-action (CPA) bid and the time we should make any changes, which should be at least 40 conversions.

Discovery campaigns need to stay relevant and grab attention across multiple Google properties with the right targeted audience and deliver the best ad assets combination. 


Discovery campaigns are a great new campaign type with tremendous potential for reaching targeted audiences in different ways when actively exploring new things. 

Also, by expanding your audience with the new tool, you can deliver your ads to more relevant people. With the machine learning process, your ads will get the best optimization with your assets at the right place.

Enrich the ways you grow the number of your consumers with Discovery campaigns. Step up your advertising game with Google Ads and book our free Google audit today!

About the author

Danijela Petkovic

Danijela Petković is a PPC Specialist within Google Ads Team in Sellers AlleyShe helps clients to get a broader audience and increase sales through different sales channels–Google and DSP (Demand Side Platform). Her previous work experience includes creating and executing digital marketing strategies and performing analysis for improving various clients’ results.



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