Google announced a significant new addition to its advertising options at the 2019 Google Marketing Live conference: Discovery campaigns and ads. Discovery campaigns are a form of display advertising that runs in the Google Discover feed, which is most prominent on mobile devices. The Discover feed provides images, context, and information that has more richness and depth than a typical linear search listing. For example, Googling “San Francisco Museum of Modern Art” invokes a Discover feed that includes images and info cards on upcoming exhibitions, an event calendar, reviews, hours and other scrollable resources.
Similarly, the Discover feed shows more information about products and services, to create a more visual and contextual shopping experience.
Discovery campaigns will run in YouTube and Gmail, in addition to the Discover search mode. Google Discover ads’ appearance, size, and shape will vary depending on where they appear. Google states that 800 million people now use Discover monthly, and Google plans to enrich an increasing number of search results to the Discover level going forward.
Google also stated that it will use artificial intelligence and knowledge of a user’s history to better match Discovery campaign ads with the right users at the right time.
My take: These image-friendly ads will be effective for consumer products that people like to shop for visually, and by comparing features in the swipe-right Discover ads format. As with all forms of Google display advertising, campaigns will need to be set up with tight control to make sure the correct audiences are being reached and spend isn’t wasted on junk clicks.