I work with a brand that is heavily represented on social media, but is always looking for new ways to attract new customers and expand their reach on Google. Since they use Facebook regularly, we have access to many creative resources. We've dealt with display advertising before, but they were looking for something new to try. The solution? Discovery ads.

What are Discovery Ads?

Discovery Ads offer a new way to reach users in three different channels: Youtube, Gmail and Discover Feed. Google says these ads are ideal for increasing sales, lead gen, new customer acquisition, and remarketing. According to Google, Discovery Ads can reach up to 2.8 billion people!

We already had visually rich creatives for this brand, and our goal was to acquire new customers. We decided to give it a try! These ads are similar to responsive display ads in that we have to provide different assets and Google does the rest. You can also show single image or carousel ads.

Below is an example of the same Discovery ad on YouTube, Gmail, and the Discover Feed (from this Google tutorial).

This does not fit a brand that has to change the motif frequently due to constantly changing products in pictures, or to campaigns with brand awareness goals.

What do you need to run Discovery Ads?

You must provide Google with the following in order to run these ads:

  • Headings: Headings can be up to 40 characters long and you can have up to 5 variations. These are shown as the first line in the display.
  • Descriptions: Descriptions can be up to 90 characters long and you can have up to 5 variations. These are intended to provide additional context or details for your ad.
  • Images: You must provide square images, landscape images, and a square logo. You can create up to 15 pictures for a single subject. Make sure you choose images that work well with any of the combinations of ad copies that could be arranged. Your images must not contain any CTA buttons or the like. Google recommends at least 3 square and 3 landscape images. Carousel ads should have at least 5 cards with the same aspect ratio.
  • Landing page URL
  • Call for action (dropdown selection to choose from)
  • Company name (25 characters maximum)

In addition to the creative resources, you also need to choose your ideal audience. You also have the option to create audience segments, such as display ads for similar audiences, audiences with custom intentions, audiences in the market, etc.


For our customer, we use images and ad copies that speak to someone who is not familiar with our brand, as our goal is to attract new customers. Our landing page also informs a user about the unique aspects of his brand. We test different target group segments to find our target sweet spot.

Google Analytics’s early engagement metrics are positive. Approximately 91% of the sessions come from new users and they spend an average of 1.5 minutes on the website. This is not bad for a new website visitor!

We will continue to exchange underperforming creative assets for new ones. The assets are rated on a scale from low to best. You can access this information from the Ads and Extensions tab, and then click View Asset Details.

You can track conversions in two different ways. You can see a typical conversion when someone clicks on your ad and then converts it, or you can see a view-through conversion where someone sees an ad and then converts directly on a website. You can also use automated bid strategies or other bid / budget adjustments.

Want to try Discovery Ads but hesitate to invest in prospecting? Read Dan Rocklin's blog post, Discovery campaigns as part of your remarketing funnel.


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