It’s Time to Hop on the Google Discovery Train

KLIK Staff

April 23, 2021

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Expand Your Reach with Google’s Newest Ad Campaigns

In April 2020, Google rolled out Discovery, a “highly visual, inspiring personalized ad experience” delivered to “people who are ready to discover and engage with your brand.” (1) Discovery allows you to reach “up to 2.9 billion people” (2) across Discover, YouTube, and Gmail. Using machine learning, Discovery serves the best combinations of headlines, descriptions, and images to potential customers who didn’t even know you are what they were looking for.

Read on for KLIK’s take on how Discovery works, best practices, and what to expect when leveraging this channel as part of your advertising mix.


Why Should I Use Discovery Ads?

Discovery drives high quality traffic at cheap Cost-Per-Clicks by placing your ads in front of people who have shown interest in what your product or service offers, without explicitly searching for it. It’s as easy as setting up a search campaign and even easier to manage with automated bidding. Google Discover alone has 800 million monthly users, all on the hunt for the next best product or service that appeals to their interests and goals.

How Does It Work?

Discovery is most similar to responsive search ads in that it automates ad optimization. Depending on the ad format, you provide up to 5-10 headlines, 5 descriptions, 10-20 images, a business name, logo, and final URL – and that’s it! From there, you can choose which audiences to target and let it run.

How Can I Implement It?

Bidding Strategy

There are two options for automated bidding: Maximize Conversions and Target CPA. Maximize Conversions automatically sets your bids to get as many conversions as possible within a set budget, while Target CPA wants to get as many conversions as possible at the target cost-per-action.


Your options for targeting include custom intent audiences, remarketing, in-market audiences, life events, and detailed demographics.

  • Custom intent audiences can be used to target your ideal customers who have certain interests or behaviors, who browse certain websites, or who use certain apps. By entering specific keywords, urls, and apps that you think your target audience would be searching, visiting, or using, you’re able to hone in on the exact population you want to target.
  • Remarketing allows you to reach people who have already interacted with your website or app.
  • In-market audiences include users who are actively researching and are considering purchasing a product or service like yours. For example, if you are an apparel store, you can target people who are interested in certain types of clothing.
  • Life events allows you to target people who are currently undergoing a major milestone. Examples include college graduation, marriage, and retirement.
  • Detailed demographics works similarly to life events but instead of targeting events, you can target certain traits such as employment status, marital status, and parental status.

Single Image Ad

With single image ads, Google allows you to upload up to 5 headlines (40 characters max), 5 descriptions (90 characters max), and 20 images (landscape (1.9:1), square (1:1), and portrait (4:5)). From there, the platform will rotate these options and optimize to performance.

Multi Image Carousel


A multi image carousel is exactly what it sounds like – it displays all images and allows the user to scroll through the collection. You are allowed 1 headline per image (40 characters max), up to 5 descriptions total (90 characters max), and 2-10 images (only landscape (1.9:1) and square (1:1)).

Best Practices

Below are KLIK’s tips and tricks for managing Google Discovery campaigns we think can be helpful for all advertisers interested in reaching new potential customers.

Target as many relevant audiences as possible. Remarketing and in-market audiences are the easiest and most obvious to set up, but don’t forget about custom-intent audiences. Take advantage of your Search data and create an audience that targets users who have searched for your top performing keywords. If they don’t see your ad in the search results, they very well might see it on their Discover feed or in their Gmail.

Split your audiences into separate ad groups. Keep track of performance and add bid modifiers to the audiences based on where you want your spend to go.

Check on creative performance regularly. When looking at the headlines, descriptions, and images for each ad, you’ll notice that Google ranks performance as “Learning”, “Low”, “Good”, or “Best”. “Learning” means that there isn’t enough data to assign a performance label while “Low”, “Good”, and “Best” indicate how these assets perform against other assets of the same type. (4)

These qualitative measures can be difficult to analyze so something that’s worked for KLIK is ranking “Low” as “0”, “Good” as “1”, “Best” as “2”, and then averaging these for all headlines, descriptions, and images.

From there, cut out any underperforming assets – for example, any headline that has an all time ranking of 0, meaning it has never been deemed “Good” or “Best”, would be removed from the creative rotation. Check on these every month or so to ensure that your best creative is being shown to your potential customers.

Be patient. Discovery campaigns need some time to ramp up, at least 2-3 weeks, to gather data to optimize performance. Google recommends waiting for “at least 40 conversions before making changes to your campaign”. (3) Additionally, be patient with down funnel performance. Customers targeted through Discovery typically have less intent than users who specifically searched for your product or service so they may need some more time to make a decision.

Overall, Discovery Ads are an easy way to reach new audiences at lower costs. KLIK recommends following these best practices, understanding how to manage and read performance for the channel, and combining with Search for any advertiser wanting to drive high quality traffic and reach new audiences.

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