Will the Discover feed be Google's next cash cow? What advertisers say about discovery campaigns

If you wanted to see the eyes of a Google advertising director light up last spring, all you had to do was show up the Discover thread, the personalized news thread perched on the page of & # 39; Google's mobile home . The company has announced that advertisements are arriving on this brand new surface which reaches some 800,000 monthly mobile users. It is still too early to know whether the company, which saw Facebook's news feed ads soar when Google+ exploded in the past decade, this time a mobile feed winner , but the advertisers who tested the ads in the feed with the new discovery campaigns tell us they are impressed with the initial results. The level at which the flow actually fuels this satisfaction, however, is not entirely clear.

You may not even have seen ads in your own Discover feed yet, let alone launched Discovery campaigns, which remain in closed beta. Ads are still elusive more than a year after the first tests (since at least October 2018 ) and the official introduction of Discovery campaigns on Google Marketing Live (GML) in May. [Ads] Discovery ads on the YouTube home feed, the Google Discover feed and the Gmail promotions tab.

Discover is customized to display topics, stories, and news based on the user's search, browsing, and application behaviors, as well as their location history and location settings. and the subject's interests. Native Discovery ads are rich in images and closely resemble social creations. . Discovery campaigns are part of the list of types of motorized campaigns from Google that automatically advertise on several properties. In addition to the Discover feed, Discovery ads appear in Gmail and on the YouTube homepage. With this combined list, Google claims that Discovery ads can reach a universe of "hundreds of millions" of people. Advertisers have stated that the results of the Discovery campaign compensate for the limitations of control and visibility. "We agree with the lack of channel reporting at the moment because the benefits outweigh the lack of transparency," said Moses Chang, group media director at MMI news agency. .

"Right now, we're looking at campaign and ad group level performance and deciding what we are going to and won't continue to do," said Duane Brown, founder and chief of the strategy from digital agency Take Some Risk, which will speak on Discovery ads at SMX West next month.

Who should test Discovery campaigns? Advertisers have tested Discovery campaigns for customers with a range of objectives, from awareness to acquisition and sales. "We are heavily focused on our eCommerce clients for Discovery Ads," said Brown, "but I think there is an opportunity for technology and SaaS brands to use the channel."

At Seer Interactive, PPC Associate Molly Quinn, tested a Discovery campaign for a client seeking to increase brand awareness and increase traffic to the site. "For this particular situation, we chose to take advantage of Discovery because our client was seeing fewer sessions on their home page from year to year," said Quinn. For this effort, the lack of visibility and control of targeting was not an issue due to customer goals and campaign performance, she added.

"Discovery is a high volume, low CPC channel that has the added benefit of generating brand awareness," said Chang, "and as long as the CPA is in line with customer goals, we are OK to launch the campaigns knowing that the channel distribution / negation functions are not there.

Audience Targeting

Brown has conducted discovery campaigns for remarketing as well as high-end initiatives, but said his agency starts with remarketing. "Next, we look at targeting the affinity and market audiences for a high-end campaign," said Brown. "We manage fairly targeted ad groups with an audience (or targeting) in each ad group. This way we can understand how this targeting works for each creative element. We will try different creatives for each ad group. ". Chang, too, experienced significant volume and cost-effective acquisition with audiences in the market, and also tested affinity, audiences based on Google Analytics tags, and match audiences for clients. It's no surprise that "tag-based audiences tend to be more targeted and therefore [have a] at a lower CPA – the volume, however, is much lower than the general public," said Chang. [19659000] Creative Reuse [19659007] Discovery campaigns support carousels and unique image ads, such as those advertisers can already post on Facebook. This makes it easier to reuse existing ad creations, as Quinn did with its customer discovery campaign.

"We generally rearrange the best performing Facebook creations, then create new ones based on lessons learned," said Chang. Sometimes slight sizing adjustments are necessary. He suggests using multiple images in both landscapes (1.91: 1: minimum size: 600 × 314. Recommended: 1200 × 628. Maximum file size of 5 MB) and square (1: 1: minimum size : 300 × 300. Recommended: 1200 × 1200. 5 MB maximum file size.)

"We will create new creations when we can," said Brown. "Otherwise, we reuse creations from other social channels. We are adjusting the format of the creative because the format of the discovery ad can be small in terms of image. In both cases, our goal is to maintain a consistent brand for the customer across all channels. Try to make your ad native to the platform, especially for the discovery feed. "

Measuring success

Advertisers say they focus on key performance indicators (KPIs) related to their client's goals and assess effectiveness at the campaign level while examining also the impact of Discovery campaigns on the broader customer journey.

"If we're remarketing, we're looking at CPA and ROAS. If we're funneling, we're looking at funneling impression versus sales and customer journey in Google Analytics, "said Brown. “We are trying to understand if we are adding new people to the journey to becoming a customer. This ad format can result in a high first touch and the first time someone sees your brand. "

Chang uses Maximize for conversion bidding and waits to set a target CPA in line with client goals until enough data has been collected.

What next?

For the Right now, you still need to get into beta, which can be difficult if you don't have a Google Account Manager. But once there, Brown says you can start small – think about $ 50. per day – and evolve from there. There are still a few flaws in the setup process (it's still in beta, after all) and "the fact that your assets are not saved somewhere so that you can use them in the future means that you download some assets again months later, "he warned.

The verdict is whether Discover will prove to be another vein in the mine gold from Google. The company is moving slowly ent with this initial effort, as indicated by the rare commercials and small gossip in the industry since the launch of the Discovery commercials. (Google removed the other original format announced on GML, Gallery Ads, from the beta version in a few months.)

The overall weight of the Discover feed in these campaigns is not known in the ; together and, at the individual campaign level, it can vary greatly. Advertisers can see channel data in Google Analytics source / support reports, and Chang, for example, has seen cases where half of a campaign's traffic has moved to YouTube – where volume and success have been proven. "Google, I'm sure, is constantly testing on their side," he said.

About the Author

Ginny Marvin is editor-in-chief of Third Door Media, which manages the daily editorial operations of all publications and oversees paid media coverage. Ginny Marvin writes about news and trends in paid digital advertising and analytics for Search Engine Land, Marketing Land and MarTech Today. With over 15 years of marketing experience, Ginny has held internal management and agency positions. She can be found on Twitter under the name @ginnymarvin.

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