Discovery Ads Now Available Globally, So What Are They?

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In 2019 Google introduced a new Google Ads campaign type called Discovery Ads that was only available to selected advertisers. As of April 2020, Discovery Ads became available for all advertisers. This was to help advertisers reach up to 2.8 billion customers across Google feeds.

As you are probably aware, the way consumers shop and discover new brands and products has changed. People are searching on Google Shopping and Google Search. They are also on personalised feeds such as news, videos, and social media which now play a significant role in helping people find inspiration throughout their consumer journey.

What are Discovery Ads?

Discovery Ads helps advertisers reach consumers as they browse Google feeds, such as Youtube, Gmail, and  the Discover feed. The ad type delivers highly visual, inspiring personalised ad experience to customers who are ready to discover. Products are showcased in a single image or multiple images in a swipe-able and interactive carousel format. This is similar to a carousel ads format seen on Facebook or Instagram.

Below is Discovery Ads show on Discover.

Discovery Ad on Google Discover

If you didn’t’ know, The Google Discover Feed is basically Google’s version of  a Facebook feed, but it’s powered by Google’s machine learning algorithms, not your friends likes and shares. It’s personalised to you based on your interests.

What are the targeting options?

Similar to the Google Display Network, Discovery Ads target consumers through the use of in-market, custom, and affinity audiences. Further, you can target re-marketing audiences (users who have been on your website previously) and similar audiences. The idea is to show ads to users who have shown interest or are currently in-market for your products or services. For example, if you sell swimwear, you will be able to target people who are actively searching for swimwear or those interested in swimming.

You can read more about audience targeting in our blog about how to effectively utilise google audiences. 

Using the asset-level reports in Discovery campaigns, you can also learn more about what resonated with your consumer. For example, let’s say you sell flower bouquets. You may notice that your image with roses performs better than an image with lilies in regards to click through rate. From this, you can ensure more of your rose images are being included in your discovery ads as well as in your other marketing campaigns in and outside of Google Ads.

Are they the right campaign for you, the advertiser?

There are three cases in which you may want to use Discovery Ads to promote your brand or products:

1. To bring in new customers

As mentioned, Discovery ads reach consumers while they are scrolling through Google feeds. Therefore, they will naturally reach users who are current (in real time) searching for your products (like with Google Shopping or Google Search). Here, the purpose of these ads are to show your customers something they want before they even know they want it.

2.  To drive conversions

Use discovery ads to drive sales, or ‘micro-conversions’ such as newsletter signs, phone calls or more website visits

3. Re-market to your most valuable customers

The nature of Google feeds means consumers will return over time to find content that resonates and interest them. Therefore, Discovery Ads also gives you an opportunity to reconnect with existing customers who may know your brand best and are likely to engage again.

Benefits of Discovery Ads

  1. Ability to tell a story through the use of visually rich multiple image ads that are interactive.
  2. Show your ads to more relevant consumers who are already in market for your products or services or have shown interest while they are scrolling through content they enjoy
  3. Uses machine learning to build and showcase your ads across multiple devices to help increase customer interest
  4. Uses automated bidding such as maximise conversions and target CPA to optimise your campaigns to help meet your goals


In the end, Discovery Ads are another way to reach potential consumers who may be interested in your products or services while they are not actively searching.

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