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    Google Discovery campaigns are still an unknown to many people. Some treat them lightly, and only a few realize what can be achieved with them. This article collects the most important information about this type of campaign, so that you will organize your knowledge and learn how to create Discovery campaigns.

    Discovery Campaigns in Google Ads

    Google Discover – no “Y” yet

    Some of you surely remember the Google Feed service, which after a while was renamed Google Discover. It was (and still is) a place where users could find news, blog posts and eventually ads as well. As time went on, Google improved this service, adjusting the algorithms to match content as closely as possible to user interests. So investors received front-page news about the performance of the Warsaw Stock Exchange, soccer fans the latest results of their favorite team and post-match interviews with players, and baking enthusiasts more and more new muffin recipes. The service was growing in popularity, and this was particularly evident when it began to be installed by default on Android smartphones.

    Since something already has an established brand and a huge audience, it is worth monetizing. That’s probably what Google’s specialists thought, too, because some time later, more and more ads and sponsored content began to appear alongside interesting news. However, these were not the usual ads that we don’t even pay attention to. Their display was guided by the same key as the display of articles on specific topics – the interests of the audience and the likelihood of clicking on the link. When the algorithm decided that a user was a newly minted parent, it would put an ad for baby strollers under his nose. A skiing fan in the winter season could count on a sponsored article on ski selection, and a mobile game lover on a direct link to download the next production from the Google Play store (accompanied, of course, by colorful graphics or a short video). 

    This is how Google Discovery ads were created, which have been available to all users of the Google Ads system more or less since 2020.

    Google Discovery

    When creating Google Ads campaigns, we can choose the “Discovery” option. The premise of this type of ad campaign is to display attractive ads to audiences with the highest probability of clicking on the link. Artificial intelligence keeps track of our online activities all day long so that advertisers can use this information when planning marketing activities. Selecting a target audience is extremely important if you want to effectively gain conversions. However, this can be a time-consuming task and one that requires lengthy testing, especially if we want to do it ourselves without using the services of marketing agencies The matter looks different when this job falls to algorithms, which already have user information sorted and are just waiting to make use of it.

    How to create a Discovery campaign?

    The path to create a Discovery ad is not much different from other ad types. After logging into your Google Ads account, we go to the “Campaigns” tab, and then select the round button with a plus sign, which is responsible for adding a new campaign. Once we’ve done that, we’ll be taken to the wizard, which will first ask us about the purpose of the campaign. After selecting the “Create campaign without using the goal prompts” tile, we will be able to select the “Discovery” campaign type. The Discovery campaign is also available when we select “Sales”, “Potential customers” or “Site traffic” as the goal.

    As with other campaigns, we now indicate conversion targets depending on what we are interested in. Campaigns of this type are less effective when it comes to the final stages of the sales funnel, so it makes sense to focus on acquiring traffic rather than purchases.

    There’s a lot more to it.

    When we have set up the conversions, it is necessary to indicate the campaign subtype. We have a choice of:

    • Standard Discovery campaign, without product feed.
    • Discovery campaign with product feed, which will use products that we have previously imported into Google Merchant Center (for Ecommerce only). If we select this option, Google will ask us to indicate the Merchant Center account we want to use.

    The selected option cannot be changed later, but nothing prevents us from creating a new campaign. Depending on the choice of subtype, when creating ads, we will be able to indicate the product groups that will be used in ads or not.

    Then the campaign wizard will take us to a menu where we will have to indicate:

    • Locations to which we want to target ads.
    • Languages spoken by potential recipients.
    • Rate setting strategy (e.g., target cost of operation if focusing on conversions).
    • Budget, i.e. the average daily amount you want to spend.
    • Other settings, such as ad display schedule, campaign end date, etc.

    The next step is to identify audience groups. They allow you to reach users based on their interests, demographics, habits or market behavior. The more specific the group you choose, the higher the cost of ads will be, but the likelihood of conversion will also increase.

    Creating and Types of Discovery Ads

    The final step in setting up a campaign is to create ads. There are three types to choose from, but not all of them can be used at the same time.

    Discovery ad (basic)

    The first type of ad that Google added to the Discovery campaign. The ad is static and consists of images and text uploaded during its creation. We can use here:

    • The final URL of the page to which users who click on the ad will go.
    • Up to 20 images in landscape (1.91:1; dimensions 1200 x 628), square (1:1; dimensions 1200 x 1200) and portrait (4:5; dimensions 960 x 1200) orientations.
    • Square company logo with recommended dimensions of 1200 x 1200.
    • Maximum of five headlines (up to 40 characters in length).
    • Up to five ad texts (up to 90 characters in length).
    • Company name (limited to 25 characters).

    After entering the content, we can also indicate the text of the call to action, but Google recommends leaving this option as “Automatic”.

    Discovery carousel ad

    Compared to static advertising, the viewer can move the “cards” of the carousel at will. However, it is up to the creator to decide what will be placed on them. To create such an advertisement, you need to prepare:

    • The final URL.
    • Header containing up to 40 characters.
    • Text of advertisement (max 90 characters in length).
    • Company name (up to 25 characters).
    • Logo in square format (1200 x 1200).
    • Minimum of two and maximum of 10 cards, each of which should include:
    • Three images, one each in 1:1, 1.91:1 and 4:5. 
    • The header of the card, having a maximum of 40 characters;
    • The final URL (each tab can lead to a different subpage).

    The text of the call to action is chosen individually for each card, and the more cards you add, the higher the effectiveness of the ad will be.

    Product Discovery Advertisement

    This type of ad is only available when we have indicated Discovery Campaign with product feed as a campaign subtype. To create it, we need:

    • The final URL that users will go to when they click on the ad.
    • The company logo in 1:1 format, with a recommended size of 1200 x 1200. 
    • Header of up to 40 characters.
    • The text of the advertisement displayed after the headline, up to 90 characters in length.
    • Company name (limited to 25 characters).

    We can also choose from a list which call to action we want to use. Choices include “Check price” or “More information”, but it is recommended to leave this option as “Automatic”. 

    As you can see, we do not have the option to add any image here, except for our company logo. The graphic content will be downloaded from Google Merchant Center and will correspond to the main images of the products.

    The image content will be downloaded from Google Merchant Center and will correspond to the main images of the products.

    After creating all the ads we are interested in, we should move to the last point, which is to check the campaign. If the wizard does not show us an error (e.g., by incorrect content in the ads), then we can publish the campaign.

    The campaign can be published.

    Ad rejections

    After a few days, it’s a good idea to check if the campaign is working properly. Sometimes it happens that Google rejects ads, and the most common reasons are:

    • Image quality – Google wants to give viewers the best experience, and blurry or stretched graphics prevent this.
    • Misleading – if the content of the site is different from what we indicated in the ad, Google will reject it. No one wants to find themselves in a situation where the ad talks about a promotion, but realistically the products are at standard prices. 
    • Call to Action – for other campaigns, Call to Action is something desirable. It is different in Discovery campaigns. Graphics, in particular, should not contain elements that in any way resemble buttons or appear clickable.

    Where does Discovery advertising display?

    Google indicates three main places where ads of this type will display. They are YouTube, Google Discover and Gmail.


    YouTube Discovery ads only display on the homepage and between recommended videos. They should not be confused with video ads that you create using a different type of campaign. Discovery ads will not display during a video – you will only see them in specially designated areas. Depending on the creative we choose, they will be static or in the form of a carousel.

    Google Discover (Discover)

    We have already learned about this service in the introduction of the article. It is worth bearing in mind that ads will often be positioned adjacent to articles with similar themes. This will affect the click-through rate, which should be higher here than with other types of ads. 


    This is one of the most popular email services in the world. Millions of people use Gmail, making it an ideal place to display ads. The ads that will be displayed here will be marked with a special label [Advertisement] and will resemble a new message in appearance. However, they should not be confused with spam or advertising material sent by companies using mailing lists. Despite having a “sender” and a “message subject” we cannot reply to them, and if we decide to delete them, their place will be taken by new ads after some time.

    When to use Discovery ads?

    Cases when to use Discovery campaigns are three:

    • Your brand is little known, and you want to build recognition and increase reach among new audiences. Attractive Discovery ads are eye-catching and more easily remembered than, for example, text ads.
    • You want to attract the largest possible audience to your site. If you set “site visits” as your goal, then a Discovery campaign will work perfectly.
    • You want to use remarketing to reach audiences who have already learned about your brand – visited the site or made a transaction. Discovery ads (just like regular Display ads) can refresh your audience’s memory and remind them of your site’s existence.

    In other situations, testing a Discovery campaign certainly won’t hurt. If we don’t get the expected goal, we will simply abandon it. The budget we use for it will not be one hundred percent wasted – such a campaign is almost a guarantee of reach and clicks, so it is worth checking how it will behave in our case.


    In my opinion, the Discovery campaign should be viewed as another version of the display campaign Different ad design and destinations, but the premise is very similar. We’ll also use it to build reach and brand recognition, and it’s also suitable for remarketing, but I wouldn’t hold out much hope for it when it comes to building sales. If our Google Ads account is extensive and we use different types of campaigns, then Discovery should be an add-on rather than the main core of our “Googling” marketing.

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    Patryk Żakowicz
    Patryk Żakowicz

    Hi! I have been involved in internet marketing for almost two years. I click on the computer and spend money that is not my own in such a way that it is most profitable for the owner of that money :) Despite a relatively short presence in the marketing industry, I have dealt with the largest Polish e-commerce companies. At UpMore I am responsible for managing projects including: in Google Ads, Facebook Ads and Apple Search Ads.