A Brief History of Google Discover
Google Discover’s origins go back a decade to 2012, when it was instead tentatively called Google Now. The underlying concept behind Google Now was to provide a user with information throughout the day, without the need for the user’s direct input. Google Now could showcase upcoming sporting events, noteworthy news, and so much more. Over the subsequent years, it was streamlined to display mostly articles from the web and was simply referred to as Google Feed. In 2018, however, Google officially announced a new name, look, and feel. Here, Google Discover as we know it today, was born.
What is Google Discover’s Purpose?
As alluded to by its name, Google Discover was intended to help users discover tailored content from around the web that otherwise may have gone unread, and therefore, undiscovered. A user’s Google Discover feed is personalised and customised to their interests and preferences. The idea was that there would no longer be a required need on the part of the user to visit websites pertaining to their interests; Google would do the work for you, gathering articles and stories from the worldwide web that it believes you’d be interested in. Pretty cool, right?
How Does Google Discover Know My Likes & Interests?
Whilst this question may initially be quite disconcerting to ponder over, the truth of the matter is rather simple. Google is using relevant information that you have already provided it. This can include website activity, YouTube viewing history, search queries, and others. The personalisation of the Discover feed is equally as important, however, in informing Google of what your interests, hobbies, and favourite pastimes might be. The articles displayed on the Google Discover feed are informed by your choices – the more assistance that it has, the more relevant the information that appears in your Discover feed. By telling Google that you are either interested or not interested in the stories it displays for you, the Discover feed will be able to better tailor the information to your tastes and interests.
What is Google Discover’s Marketing Potential?
In 2019, Google announced a new way to advertise on Google Discover. Here, Google Discovery adverts first came to light. This new advertising avenue saw visually appealing, personalised adverts, designed to reach audiences in the moments when they’re ready to discover new products and services. It was promised that this engaging new ad format would help to drive action across the conversion funnel. Out of the gate, Discovery adverts would serve across three Google properties (more on that later) and would also leverage machine learning to help determine when users are most likely to engage with a brand and then deliver them a Discovery advert.
Why & When Should You Use Google Discovery Campaigns?
Whilst the premise of Google Discovery campaigns may initially sound promising, the proof, as they say, is often found in the pudding. What makes Google Discovery campaigns a necessity in today’s modern marketing milieu? First and foremost, it should be stressed that Google Discovery campaigns are a somewhat untapped well, much less frequently utilised by marketeers. In short, there is less competition with which to compete. Secondly, Discovery adverts provide an open canvas for digital advertisers to engage consumers, using captivating and visually enthralling creative assets. The carousel ad format in particular, is notable for its interactivity with users.
When then, should Discovery campaigns be used. Discovery campaigns may be a good choice for your marketing objectives if:
- You want to drive conversions with your digital media at a large scale. For example, you can use Discovery ads to drive sales, newsletter signups or more website visits.
- You want to reach new customers with your digital media. By sharing visually rich and inspiring creative across Google properties, Discovery campaigns can help you drive interest from prospective customers when they’re open to trying new brands.
- You want to reconnect with your most valuable customers. As consumers return over time to find content on the Google feeds that they enjoy, Discovery campaigns give you greater opportunities to encourage action from people who are familiar with your brand and are most likely to engage with it again.
Where Are Google Discover Adverts Shown?
Google Discovery ads run on three major Google properties:
- Discover – The Discover feed keeps users updated with news, events, and other topics of interest as previously discussed. Discover has over 800 million monthly users, making it an excellent place to introduce potential customers to your brand, products, or services.
- YouTube – Google Discovery ads appear in the YouTube home feed. This is a highly visible location and ideal for catching the interest of potential new users.
- Gmail – Discovery adverts appear in the Gmail Promotions Tab which helps reach new users in their inbox without being too obtrusive, yet still eye-catching enough to stand out against other promotional emails in the same, often cluttered inbox.
Google Discover or Google Display – Which is Best?
Truth be told, both campaign types have their benefits, and although ostensibly similar, the choice between them will likely be dictated by your overarching campaign objective. However, there are some key differences between the two campaign types that should be noted:
- Placements – Display adverts can show on a vast range of websites and apps that accept Google advertising. Discovery adverts show only on the three placements listed previously (Google Discover, Gmail, and YouTube).
- Appearance – Discovery adverts can be displayed as single image adverts or carousel adverts (up to 10 images). Images can be square, landscape, or portrait. Responsive Display adverts, however, do not include a carousel advert format.
- Bidding – Discovery campaigns are conversion-focused so can use Maximise Conversions or Target Cost Per Acquisition (Target CPA) bidding strategies. This means that Discovery adverts are shown to people who are more likely to convert as it’s more intent focused. Display campaigns on the other hand, allow you to bid for Clicks, Impressions, Conversions, Conversion Value, and ROAS (return on ad spend). This allows you to use Display campaigns for more generic brand awareness advertising as well as sales or lead generation campaigns.
- Targeting – Both Discovery and Display campaigns can use the same audience targeting methods such as retargeting site visitors, custom audiences, in-market, affinity, detailed demographics audience segments, and life events. However, because user interests and the types of content that the users have been engaging with online are taken into consideration, Discovery adverts are served to people with higher intent. Therefore, they are more likely to engage and generate leads or sales.
- Lead Forms – Discovery adverts allow you to include a lead form within the advert when they appear in the Gmail placement so that you can capture information from your customers straight from the adverts themselves.
Google Discover Campaigns: Best Practice
As you may have noticed by this point, I’m a big fan of Google Discover campaigns. The sheer creative versatility, focus on conversion generation, and emphasis on machine learning is a match made in digital heaven itself. However, like any other campaign on Google’s platform, Discovery campaigns require consistent maintenance and optimisation to maximise campaign performance. Here at Golley Slater, we take several steps to ensure that our Discovery campaigns run as smoothly as a well-oiled conveyor belt.
Initially, we use a mix of native and promotion-focused headlines and descriptions in Discovery adverts. We find that this makes it more likely that Google will be able to serve the correct messaging to a user, depending on where they are in the conversion journey. Typically, we find that native ad copy works best for the Discover feed, while promotion-focused copy is better for Gmail’s Promotions inbox tab, as you might expect. Gmail users that go into the Promotions tab are more likely to be searching for deals or a quick win and therefore, a focus on promotions in the ad copy is essential.
Moreover, it is worthwhile highlighting that Discovery adverts can be used at all stages of the conversion funnel. However, there’s a good probability that Discovery adverts will be one of your first points of contact with many customers. Consequently, it is a good idea to put your best foot forward. Use only high-resolution images and avoid generic or stock photos. We recommend using a minimum of five landscape and square images and using both single and carousel image ads. The more creatives you provide the system with, the better it will get at serving the right ads to the right people, at the right time.
Lastly, and arguably most important, carousel adverts give you a lot of creative real estate to work with. Don’t use it to express the same point over and over. Instead, use them to tell a narrative about your brand, who you are, where you come from, and most significantly, what you can offer the user browsing the advert on the screen in front of them.
Golley Slater & Google Discover
In recent months, here at Golley Slater, we have seen a notable increase in the number of our clients utilising Google Discover campaigns. These campaigns deliver conversions at scale, through an aesthetically unique and diverse format, via Google’s machine-learning delivery, to individuals ready to discover. Unlike Google Search campaigns, the aim is not to harvest any existing intent on the behalf of the consumer, but rather rekindle the spark of discovery online and to impart the desire of the brand, service, or product, within the minds of the users. We’ve had quantifiable success utilising Google Discover campaigns and who knows, maybe your brand could be next.