TRANSCRIPT – Discovery Campaign Best Practices and Tutorial

In this video, we are going to look at discovery campaigns. Now this campaign type really leans into Google’s recent ethos all around simplification and automation, and it’s probably the easiest campaign type to set up on Google ads. So with that in mind, should your business be running campaigns on the discovery side of things, will a discovery campaign work for your business?

Well, in this video I’m gonna break down discovery campaigns end to end, and at the end of the video I’m gonna walk you through exactly how to build one. So what is a discovery campaign? I mentioned it’s a simplified campaign type, and that is true. A discovery campaign is a campaign type that allows your.

To advertise across some key networks within the Google overall network. This includes YouTube, it includes the Google app and the Discovery panel. And if you dunno what the discovery panel or the Google app is, if you’re an Android user, you’ve probably come across this before. It’s the browser panel within the Google search [00:01:00] results and within the Google search option on Android devices that shows you random news stories, general interest, and.

Because of discovery campaigns ads as well. Discovery campaigns can also show up in the Gmail promotional boxes, so it gives you a few opportunities to show ads across. Some of Google’s network. Now, this differs to Performance Max, which uses every single part of Google’s network, including the General Display Network, including search.

Of course, PMax covers YouTube as well as a discovery campaign, but with Discovery it’s a little bit different. The similarity of a discovery campaign compared with a Performance Max campaign, however, is the facts that your campaign will need to leverage the power of assets. So instead of just creating text ads for a search campaign or just.

For a display campaign similar to PMax, you will need to use assets. So that’s a mixture of video, a mixture of images, and a mixture of, of course, text content as well. And all of those assets will be used to create your [00:02:00] ad that will go around the internet, across Google’s network promoting your business.

But what are you promoting? What is the reason for this campaign type? Well, this campaign type bids towards a specific goal. Now, if you’re not a stranger to smart bidding, you will know the best smart bidding strategies that are kind of the tier one strategies are going to be target ROAS and maximize conversion value or maximize conversions with a target cpa.

Those two strategies are going to be the main ways that a discovery campaign will achieve. Goals. That is the goal of a discovery campaign using one of these bidding strategies. So we’ve covered the bidding strategy side of things, and we’ve also covered where your ads are going to show on Google’s network.

But what about the obvious thing? What other options are there to set the campaign up? How do you actually target your ads? Well, it’s all about automation and machine learning. Google will understand who your customers are based off a few key data. If you are in e-commerce, they can use your shopping feed to understand which products you’re trying to [00:03:00] promote and then promote the products most likely to convert towards your goals.

Whether that’s a target CPA or whether that’s a maximize conversions goal, maximize conversion value goal, then Google will bid towards those strategies using your shopping feed as a way of doing so. In addition, you can use audiences like many of Google’s campaign types, where you can actually leverage the power of your previous audiences.

People who have previously engaged with your website and converted. You can use that audience as a signal to Google to help them find new customers for your business. In addition, you can use Google’s own audiences. They have in-market audiences that you can leverage, but in addition, Google has the data of people searching on Google.

Of course they do, and they can use that data to understand what searches people have been putting in in relation to your business and allow your discovery campaigns to target people who have performed searches around your products and services historically, which is a really powerful way of hitting people at the right time when they’re looking for your service.

Without [00:04:00] necessarily using the power of a search campaign and it’s cheaper. So all of this sounds pretty good. It’s an easy campaign to set up. It requires only a few assets in terms of the setup steps. It’s gonna use a lot of powerful data and insights from your own data and Google’s data, and it’s gonna be a lot cheaper to run a campaign like this than a search.

So what are the cons? Why wouldn’t you run this campaign type? Well, it all comes back down to the conversion data within your account. If you have an account with very few conversions, Google will find it more difficult to understand what’s working and what’s not working, and that applies to. Search campaigns where you’re actually targeting people looking right now, even more so this applies to discovery campaigns, because you’re a level above a search campaign, people aren’t necessarily looking for your services and products right now.

So if you have an account with very low conversions, you are gonna find it quite difficult to run a discovery campaign because, You just don’t have the data. In addition, I’ve mentioned search campaigns, and I also mentioned [00:05:00] here Performance max campaigns. Those two campaign types are probably above a discovery campaign in the hierarchy of driving conversions by spending on Google Ads.

So it’s something to top up your value in terms of volume. So one of the things to consider is start with search, then move on to performance max and. For the next step, you could potentially look at running a discovery campaign potentially as an opportunity as well to top up your volume. That is probably the best way to look at this campaign type.

It probably shouldn’t be the primary campaign you run in your account. So now we’ve got all of this out the way. Let’s go ahead and build a discovery campaign. Let’s go. So here I am in my test Google Ads account, and I’m gonna go ahead and create a discovery campaign. So if I navigate over to campaigns and click this blue button right here, then I can create a new campaign.

And of course, I’m gonna create it without guidance. We want to create everything ourselves. And then I’m gonna click on discovery, and now I’m on discovery. Basically this part, this is [00:06:00] where you choose the actual conversion you want the campaign to optimize towards. If you’re running e-commerce, then a, a purchase is going to be your main thing.

People actually buying and transacting. If you’re running a campaign where it’s lead generation or something that’s an offline conversion and you’re generating leads in order to close them, then you wanna make sure it’s conversions. So in this instance, the purchase is the account default conversion, and we’re gonna use purchases.

Now, there’s two options here, depending again on whether you are running e-commerce. If you’re running e-commerce, then you wanna make sure you’re using your product feed as well as your assets that we’re going to create in the campaign. So in this instance, I’m not going to tick that because I’m not going to use a products feed in this demonstration.

But if you have a product feed, then you want to plug this into the campaign, which means you would click this option. And what will happen is you can choose a product feed here when in for basically this plugs into the Merchant center, links to your Google Ads account, and you can pick the correct merchant center id, which is this a number here, and then that will link [00:07:00] the campaign to your merchant center and allow you to serve product.

When running a discovery campaign, but as I say, we’re just gonna keep things simple and I’m going to leave that disabled. Next, you wanna hit continue and then you wanna drop in your business website and you wanna drop in your campaign name. So I’m gonna drop the website and campaign name in, and I’ve dropped those in now, so we’re gonna hit.

So I’ve created a draft. Historically, you won’t see this if you’ve created a campaign for the first time. So I’m gonna click on Start New. I’m not gonna start from a draft I’ve created previously, so you wouldn’t see this if you hadn’t already started creating one. So next, you are on your campaign settings page, pretty similar to any other campaign you are creating.

You wanna make sure your conversion is active. Of course, as I say, this is a test account, so the conversion is not active cuz people aren’t buying from my test website. Funny that. Next you wanna move onto your locations and essentially you wanna choose where you want to target. If I choose the UK, because that’s where I am based, [00:08:00] I will do that for this example.

But of course you want to target where you are currently. Marketing, of course, same goes for languages. Pick the language and then the bidding strategy you wanna focus on. Now there’s two options here. Now, as I say, purchase. And your conversions from leads are gonna be your main conversion point. So when you click this dropdown, you’ll have conversions here, but then also if you’re tracking sales, because again, this is a test account, you will see also conversion value here as well.

Now, maximize conversions is gonna be the main strategy. If I tracking revenue in the campaign as a transactional. And revenue was reporting into Google Ads. If I’m running an e-commerce campaign, then you wanna make sure when you click this option, instead of conversions, which is the only one showing in this account, you wanna choose conversion value.

And that would change the bidding strategy from here, which is maximize conversions in this particular use case to maximize conversion value. So now I’ve got conversions selected. There’s an option to put a cost control within that, like a search campaign. You [00:09:00] can choose a target cpa. So as opposed to letting Google, just try and get as many conversions as they can for your budget, you can actually give them a CPA target to hit.

Now of course, it says here, there’s a, there’s an example of what a discovery. With similar settings could achieve and you could apply that as a target cpa, which is an interesting starting point. And if you’ve never run any kind of campaign before, it might be a good place to start. But ultimately you have conversion data in your account.

You know, currently what you’re paying for sales. So you shouldn’t expect a discovery campaign to beat that current record, especially if you are running search. So enter a target CPA in line with what you’re currently achieving and give it a bit of room because if you set the target CPA too low, Google will be too afraid to bid because they’ll be worried they can’t actually hit that cpa and you’re gonna limit the volume in your campaign.

So give a fair number here. For the example, I’m doing just 23 because that’s what is giving me. But generally speaking, you know the [00:10:00] conversion data in your account and that is what you should be bidding towards budget wise. You need to make sure you have a healthy enough budget to give your campaign enough impressions to actually get some results.

So say for example, I put in 20 pounds per day here. It will give you a preview of what to expect in terms of volume of clicks based on your budget. So as you enter a budget, it will tell you whether or not you’re going to get any volume. And as you can see here, your budget is too low and it’s asking me to spend 230 pounds.

Now, this sounds like a lot of budget and for a new campaign in a potential network. That you’ve never used before. It probably is quite an expensive campaign. So you can’t half test a discovery campaign because it’s automation. You need to make sure that you give the campaign enough data to learn and understand what’s going to work, meaning you have to give it a healthy budget.

So in this example, as you can see, I’ve put 20 pounds in and it’s told me, Nope, this isn’t gonna work for you. If you do set a budget of 20 pounds, you’re probably not going to [00:11:00] get much from this. So just as an example, I’m going to put in the 230 pounds it’s asking for, and that error message will go away.

Now as you get closer to that target of 230, if I, for example, entered 200, it will probably still give me the error message, but I’ll be close enough to know that that’s probably okay because I’m there or thereabouts. I don’t have to go with the exact number. So that’s. You’ve got some more setting options here.

You don’t need to to touch these unless you know what you’re doing in terms of setting campaign, u, url, op options, setting exclusions as well. At the moment, your default exclusions will be around your content exclusions for sensitive content. So discovery campaigns have you con covered in that respect.

Anyway, so a lot of these settings in the more settings option, you probably don’t even need to touch because more than likely you want your campaign to go live straight away. And you want it to be live at all times. You don’t necessarily want to schedule it and your campaign, you url, URL options. You might wanna set those at account [00:12:00] level potentially.

So that’s something you could look at as well. But generally speaking, we’ll move on. So next is audiences. Now audiences, as I mentioned at the beginning of the video, is gonna give Google a bit of a helping hand. If you use an audience, what you’re going to do is give Google your conversion data, which will tell them based on the profile of those conversions, Who could potentially work well in future targeting when they’re putting your ads out there?

Who is the ideal person who’s going to convert? This is where you define it within the audiences. And as I say, you can also use Google’s own data based on historical searches people have performed. And you can also use Google’s fixed audiences as well in terms of demographics and other things as well.

So if you click on Add an Audience, which is here, you can click on this blue button to add a new audience. And I’m gonna just gonna walk you through what these options mean and what they look like. Of course, you need to name your audience. I’m just gonna call this test. And then you have custom segments and then [00:13:00] your data.

So basically custom segments are going to be the activity and the behavior of your users. Which sites are they going to? What are they typing into? Google and that kind of thing. So if you click on that and you click on new segment, You can actually create a custom segment based on that data. So I’m gonna call this test one just cuz I wanna walk you through the functionality.

This is where you define where people have searched on Google and what they’re searching for. So say, for example, I want to target people who have searched for luxury, um, apparel. So I might type in luxury, um, high-end clothing. So high-end clothing brands, top fashion brands. These are all Google search term ideas.

And as you can see, I just typed in luxury. And it’s already extrapolated that into a long list of potential options. So I could add all of these in if I wanted to, and they met my targeting criteria as things that people have searched on Google. I wanna target people who are looking for this stuff. This is what I want to hit.

So this gives you an indication on how to target these people. When you’re happy with that, you can hit save, but then [00:14:00] also you can do things a level above the pure search on Google with purchase intentions. So people who’ve searched for or have interests in these intention wise, they’re two very different actions.

But basically, I would always go for the search one because it’s got a lot more intent than the general interest, interest side of things. And because when I hit save here, The page before showed you Google is using what’s called optimized targeting, which means Google will anyway because this is enabled will go beyond the targeting you set on this page.

If they think the user is going to be somebody who’s likely to convert. Even if you are not targeting them. So that’s something to consider as well, because that could be something that helps you go further. And it means that when you’re setting the campaign up, you can be a bit more conservative with your targeting because Google will go beyond it if they see somebody who could convert anyway.

So that’s how to add a custom segment. And of course you can use your own account data as well. So as soon as you click into this box, you have [00:15:00] all of your previous website behavior and visitors. As I say, this is a test account, so you’re not gonna see much data in here, but in your active and live account, you will see your past buyers, you will see your past website visitors, and you can use this data in order to power your discovery campaigns as well.

So for the purposes of this, I’m just gonna select all visitors, Google. , it probably won’t even let me cuz it’s too small as you can see here, but if you do have an audience of the right size, then it will be fine when setting this part up. So that’s your data and your segments. So you’ve got a mixture of your own data, you’ve got Google’s data, and then you’ve got general demographics as well and in-market audiences.

So, If you do apparel and accessories in market, Google’s AI works not just when people are searching, but it works in their platform as well. Because Google already knows what I’ve selected up here. They’ve already said that apparel and accessories could be an audience I’m interested in for people in market for this particular type of thing.

Now, if you wanna use in-market audiences, this is where you would add it for [00:16:00] a discovery campaign. I think in-market audiences are actually really. So I would actually go ahead and use any relevant in-market audience you want to target, and you can search them or you can browse them. So you can go to the browser option and go down here and have a look and see, and you can expand on these audiences.

And you can also, of course search for them as well. So see what in-market audiences are relevant to your business and use those as well. And then you’ve got exclusions. So people you don’t want to ex people you want to exclude. So you could potentially exclude people who have been to your website already.

This is the way you’d exclude people who have converted historically. So this is really powerful. If you use your own data of all your website visitors and you want to use retargeting for your discovery campaigns. You can do that. And it also exclude converters with an audience as well. So this is a really powerful tool.

And then you’ve got demographic data as well. So all demographics is recommended because Google doesn’t wanna be too restricted with who they’re targeting. And also Google don’t actually know a [00:17:00] huge amount about their users. So I think leaving this on makes sense because the audiences that you are defining above will tell you who you are.

Target. And leave this part open because there could be one or two people outside of these, age brackets or Google, as I say, don’t necessarily know who’s in these age bracket. They might, you might miss conversions. The control for this is up here where you choose your audiences, so I would agree and leave these enabled and then hit save.

And then once that’s done, you move on to the next stage of the setup, which is your asset. So this page will look familiar to those who have, who have created responsive search ads or performance max campaigns, because you’re gonna see ad strength, which is Google’s metric, to determine whether or not your ads have enough information to make them able to go out there and optimize your content to generate conversions.

So the typical things you’ll see will be images, logos, headlines, descriptions, all of the different things that you would normally expect to [00:18:00] see on a Performance Max campaign. You can add them here. So I’m gonna go ahead and populate all of these for this campaign. Okay. So I’ve populated all of the assets.

You can see all of the images here. You can see the logo. Again, this is a test site, so there’s nothing here that’s gonna look any good. So it’s just to show you where things are populated and what you can upload. Images, logos, headlines, descriptions, the business name as well. You can do call to action text.

Now, this can be automated or fixed. Automated means Google will pick the best one based on conversion likelihood. So I tend to leave it on automated. Even if you’re on e-commerce and you’re used to using Shop now, it still might be worth leaving it on automated just in case Google gets enough data to match that, that particular call to action with a particular user and get a higher conversion likelihood it gives them another lever.

And with a fully automated campaign like. You give Google all the levers you can. So that’s done. All you do is now is hit next. And that’s it. The campaign. The campaign has [00:19:00] been completed basically, as I say, this is a test account, so I won’t complete the whole process and hit publish and set the campaign live, but that is the end to end process of creating.

A discovery campaign. So that’s all of the settings done, everything completed, and we’re ready to go and hit the hit, go on the campaign and go live. And that is how to create a discovery campaign on Google Ads. It’s a very simple campaign type. To leverage and I think all businesses should give it a try if you have the budget in order to do so.

Thank you guys so much for watching. If you liked this video, please leave a like below. Let me know in the comments if you will be trying a discovery campaign or maybe you are terrified of Google’s automations and lack of control and you may not necessarily want to run a discovery campaign. Let me know either way in the comments below.

If you wanna work directly with me, then hit me up with the link below this video. I am a Digital Marketing Consultant and I work with businesses just like yours, and I’ll be more than happy to get on a call with you and help you through your issues like this video. If you [00:20:00] like it, don’t forget to subscribe. Check out the other content across the channel and I’ll see you guys on the next one.


Darren Taylor

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Want more leads and sales? I help businesses develop and execute digital marketing campaigns through holistic and proven strategies.

Subscribe to me on YouTube

Work With Me

Want more leads and sales? I help businesses develop and execute digital marketing campaigns through holistic and proven strategies.