Google recently announced the coming upgrade regarding Google Ads Discovery campaigns, soon to be known as Demand Gen campaigns. And like you, we’re not terribly surprised that Google is increasing their product offerings in campaign types with heavy use of video and automated insights. That being said, there are a few welcome developments related to this change.
Video and Static Image in One Campaign
This is a great development for advertisers who have invested in short form video. Demand Gen campaigns will allow for short videos within the creative in addition to static images in landscape, square, portrait, and carousel format. Discovery campaigns were limited to static images only, despite YouTube’s Home and Watch feeds being placements within the campaign type.
Maximize Clicks Bidding Availability
One of our critiques of Google’s Discovery campaigns was its reliance on Conversion-based bidding strategies exclusively. While we absolutely see the benefit of these strategies for mature campaigns, we find that using Maximize Conversions or Target CPA bidding in the initial stages of a new campaign launch is often stifling for the new campaign as the bidding algorithms lack data to work with. Thankfully, for Demand Gen campaigns, Maximize Clicks is available at the outset. We find that using Maximize Clicks for the first few weeks after launching a new campaign generates greater traffic volumes, after which one can optimize for conversion once a sufficient threshold is reached.
Creative Experimentation (A/B Testing)
Demand Gen campaigns will include built-in A/B testing for creative, allowing advertisers to test variations of video, image, etc, directly within the UI across all properties included (Gmail, Discover, and YouTube). Further, Demand Gen campaigns include a preview tool allowing advertisers to get a true feel for how their ad appears and make any needed tweaks before going live.
Brand Lift Impact on Search
Perhaps the most surprising development, Google announced that Demand Gen campaigns will allow for Brand Lift analysis, previously only included in YouTube Video campaigns. Because the campaign type is video-heavy, advertisers can opt to have Google conduct surveys on brand recall and recognition. The results of those surveys can then help inform future product marketing decisions.
While we’re not at all surprised by the increased use of artificial intelligence to inform buying decisions in Google Ads, there are some great features that Google will roll out with Demand Gen campaigns that can help most any advertiser regardless of the degree of their Google Ads know-how.
At Media Two, we launched Discovery campaigns for several advertisers across varying industries after its release in 2020. We found it to be a useful mid-funnel campaign type, albeit with some challenges. In particular, for advertisers running Discovery campaigns with a lead form extension, we found a lot of spam email submissions that clouded our view of whether the campaign type was truly successful at driving leads. Google hasn’t specifically stated whether lead generation forms will be accessible for the upgraded Demand Gen campaigns, but these are nonetheless welcome developments and changes that balance automation with a marketer’s need for control.