A Complete Guide to Using Google Discovery Ads

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If you’re an online advertiser, you’re probably familiar with Google’s array of advertising tools. One of the newer features offered by Google Ads is Google Discovery Ads, which can help you expand your reach beyond search and social media.

What Are Google Discovery Ads?

Google Discovery Ads are visually-rich ads that appear on various Google properties. Discovery ads are designed to capture the attention of users, with an emphasis on relevance and personalization.

These ads reach a wide audience through placements on YouTube Home Feed, Google Discover Feed, and the Google Search app.


Google’s discovery ads are visually engaging and designed to blend seamlessly into users’ feeds.

Imagine seeing an ad for an upcoming Apple product release, with visually pleasing images of the iPhone 11, the latest iPad and Apple watches perfectly placed to show off its features, in your Google Discover feed alongside articles on the latest iPhone releases, wearables, and other tech.


  • Google Discovery Ads emphasize the ability to reach users that are likely to be interested in your business or products.
  • By using Google’s machine learning technology and selecting the right target audience, you can increase conversions, generate website traffic, and drive app installs with ease.
  • Since Discovery Ads are visually engaging and placed in relevant feeds, users are more likely to engage with your ads, leading to higher CTR (click-through rates) and better campaign performance overall.

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How Does Google Discovery Ads Work?

Creating a Google Discovery Ad Campaign

To get started, you can create a new Google Discovery ad campaign in Google Ads. This campaign type lets you craft visually engaging ads for users browsing through Google Discover and YouTube’s Home Feed.

Based on user intent, Google’s machine learning technology will determine the most relevant ads to show to each user, leading to higher engagement and conversions.

Google Discovery Ads vs. Display Ads

  • Discovery ads are unique in that they differ from traditional Google display ads.
  • Discovery ads use machine learning to select placements and optimize toward conversion, whereas display ads are focused on targeting specific placements or audiences to drive brand awareness and conversions.
  • The key difference between the two is that discovery ads are intended to drive conversion opportunities by targeting users who have already expressed interest in a particular topic or product.

Google Discovery Ads vs. Google Ads

  • Google Ads is a wider term that covers all types of ads that run on Google, while Google Discovery Ads is a specific type of Google Ad campaign.
  • Google Ads can include search ads, display ads, shopping ads, mobile app ads, and more, while Google Discovery Ads is specifically designed as a native ad format on mobile.

Best Practices for Using Google Discovery Ads

1. Bid Strategies 

Just like with search ads and display ads, choosing the right bid strategy is crucial to getting the best performance from your ads. For Google Discovery Ads, “Maximizing Conversions” is generally the best bidding strategy for most campaigns.

But depending on the goal of your campaign, you can also try other strategies such as target CPA to maximize conversions within your set CPA or target ROAS to focus on achieving a set ROAS.

2. Target CPA 

Target CPA allows you to set a maximum acquisition cost for each conversion. This strategy optimizes for advertisers who want to maximize conversions while minimizing cost.

3. Optimizing Google Discovery Ads

One big advantage of Google Discovery campaigns is that a lot can be done to refine your targeting and creatives.

Targeting and creatives can be optimized using ad groups and automated variations to find the best-performing combination of assets.

In addition, advertisers also need to follow Google’s guidelines on image dimension and quality to deliver an experience that is consistent across the Discovery Feed and associated placements.

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Benefits of Using Google Discovery Ads for Advertisers and Marketers

1. Reaching New Audiences

Google Discover feed lets you reach users who may be interested in your product or service but haven’t yet been exposed to your brand.

2. Remarketing to Previous Website Visitors 

Google Discovery Ads are a great way to reach users who had previously shown an interest in your website but didn’t end up converting.

With discovery campaigns, advertisers can display relevant ads to these users while they browse through Google’s properties.

3. In-Market Audiences 

With Google’s machine learning, you can show ads to users who are actively searching for your products or services.

The matching algorithm identifies users who have demonstrated an intention to purchase or an affinity for a specific category of a product.

How to Create a Google Discovery Ad Campaign?

1. Setting up A Single Campaign 

Creating a single campaign for Google Discovery Ads is simple within Google Ads. An advertiser can select opportunities and add new campaigns to promote products and services.

Select the pencil icon to select the campaign type. This easy step-by-step process takes you through the process from selecting the campaign goal to finalizing the details and launching.

2. Using the Google Discover Feed 

Google Discovery Ads are placed in various Google feeds, such as Google Discover. Advertisers can create campaigns that will enable relevant ads in these feeds based on user intent.

The Google Discover feed (which can be accessed by clicking on the search widget on the Google home screen) is an especially powerful way to reach new customers and grow your business.

3. Optimizing Google Discovery Ads for YouTube Home Feed and Search Results

YouTube home screen ads tend to have a lower CTR than search ads, but they make up for it with a generally higher conversion rate. Therefore, focusing on optimizing ads for this placement is essential.

Google’s tool allows advertisers to create engaging creatives for video ad formats that are placed on relevant YouTube feeds.

It is always advisable to look into YouTube and optimize for impressions, views, and earned views since YouTube is seeing an increase in users’ consumption of video content each year.

How to Optimize Your Google Discovery Ads for Conversion?

1. Creating Carousel Ads 

Carousel ads are a great way to showcase multiple products and benefit from generating a higher engagement rate.

Displaying a maximum of ten cards per carousel and targeting a new target audience or remarketing to the same audience is an effective way to optimize for conversion when it comes to carousel ads for Google Discovery Ads.

2. Using Target CPA to Drive Conversions 

Incorporating a target CPA bidding strategy can help you get the highest return on investment possible for your discovery ad campaigns.

Not only does this bidding strategy enable Google’s machine learning models to adjust bids for increased conversions, but it can also help align your ROI goals with your ad spend targets.

3. Daily Budget and Bidding 

Similar to other PPC ad types, forecasting a daily budget that aligns with realistic goals and business needs is vital for campaign success.

Bidding and the detailed analysis of daily spending can help ascertain their effectiveness and lead to better conversion results and optimum campaign performance.

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In conclusion, the Complete Guide to Google Discovery Ads provides a comprehensive understanding of how this advertising format can help businesses reach potential customers in the moments when they are ready to discover new products and services.

This limited campaign setting is meant to drive app downloads and videos watched directly from the ad, allowing marketers to reach new audiences and get better results using a single campaign.

One thing to note is that it is currently unavailable to consumers in Germany.

It is important to make sure to use visually appealing images or carousels to capture the prospect’s attention, as the goal is to get them to discover and engage with your brand.

Finally, new features such as the carousel option should be considered to further enhance the advertising experience. With Google Discovery Ads, businesses can effectively engage with potential customers and drive impactful results.

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