Google Discovery Ads: Here’s Everything You Need to Know

Quinn Dolan
August 22, 2019

During Google’s 2019 Marketing Live Keynote, the tech giant announced several new ad products and features slated for release in the next few months. 

One of these products, known as “Discovery ads,” has generated quite a bit of buzz. According to Google, the new ad format aims to reach first-time customers across several Google properties when they’re most open to discovering new products and services.

Currently available as a beta, Discovery ads will become available to all advertisers in Q4.

What are you waiting for? Read on to discover everything you need to know about this brand-new Google product.

Where do Discovery ads show? 

Discovery ads include 3 main placements online: the YouTube home feed, the Gmail Promotions and Social tabs, and the Google Discover feed, which can be found beneath the Google search box on mobile devices and within the Chrome app.

Google says these placements will allow advertisers to reach hundreds of millions of users, making the potential reach of Discovery ads pretty substantial.


Screenshot of three phones showing the different Discover Ads placements



How are Discovery ads targeted?

Discovery ads will rely heavily on machine learning to serve to the right user, determining a potential customer’s intent by using their past searches, website visits, and video views.

That being said, advertisers will also be able to leverage several familiar audience targets in order to reach the right users.  We can separate these audiences into 3 main categories (and even more specific subcategories):

1. Intent & Action – based on users’ recent and relevant purchase decisions

  • Life events (e.g. Marriage, Purchasing a Home, and Retirement)
  • In-market (e.g. Apparel & Accessories, Home & Garden, and Business Services)
  • Custom intent (based on keywords)
  • Remarketing (e.g. All Visitors, All Converters, etc.)

2. Interest & Habits – based on users’ interests, frequent behaviors, and habits

  • Affinity (e.g. Shoppers, Travel, and Media & Entertainment)

3. Demographics – based on the demographic information that Google has on its users

  • Demographics (e.g. Age, Gender, and Household Income)
  • Detailed demographics (e.g. Education, Parental Status, and Marital Status)


What do Discovery ads look like?

In many ways, the Discovery ad format is similar to that of responsive display ads. Advertisers simply upload a handful of text and image assets, and Google’s machine learning takes care of the rest. The basic parameters for creating these ads are as follows:

  • Headline (40 characters max)
  • Description (90 characters max)
  • Multiple image assets with at least one landscape (1.91:1)
  • Square logo
  • Business name (25 characters max)
  • CTA (selected from a drop-down menu)



Screenshot of Discover Ads interface


What to expect from Discovery ads?

Because Google is still in the process of testing Discovery ads, there isn’t a ton of data available on their performance yet. That being said, Daniel Pahl, VP of Media and Acquisition at TechStyle, says:

“Discovery has created a great opportunity for us to easily drive growth at scale for our brands beyond what we thought was possible with Google. It’s definitely outperformed my expectations in driving high-value leads and signups. We’re now able to inspire a completely new audience to action.”

Without a doubt, Discovery ads are worth trying out. Our advice? Ask your account rep to be whitelisted for the beta and start testing these before the Q4 rush hits.

Trust us: this isn’t something you want to miss.

Google is great—but so are a lot of other search engines on the web. Check out our post on 9 unique search engines you haven’t used yet for more info.

If you need a little help with your Paid Search & Social Advertising, contact us! We’d love to audit your site and provide you with some solutions!

Quinn Dolan
Director of Search & Social Advertising

Quinn, a Notre Dame alum, hails from Oconomowoc, Wisconsin (A.K.A. BROconomowoc, A.K.A. The Real OC). Though he’s not afraid to admit that he wants to swim in a pool of spaghetti noodles, his guilty pleasures are shower beers and The Bachelor.

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