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Google Discovery Ads

Google Ads Discovery: How To Setup An Effective Campaign

Google Ads Discovery is a campaign type that places your ads on YouTube, Gmail, Discover and other platforms. This is largely an automated campaign and where your ads appear on these platforms and devices is decided by the Google Ads system, as it seeks to provide the best performance.


Choose your objective

Google Ads Discovery campaigns are available for Sales, Leads and Website traffic objectives when you’re setting up your campaign. These objectives tailor your experience to the goals and settings that will work best for your Discovery campaign.

Campaign Goals

Selecting the objective that is relevant to you like Sales or Leads brings up a list of campaign types that you can use. One of these will be the Discovery campaign type as the image below shows.

Campaign Type

And as you can see, these ads appear on YouTube, Gmail, Discover and other similar platforms. It’s important to know that you can’t choose where your ads appear, because the system makes those decisions based on the likelihood that it will bring you sales, leads or website traffic, based on your goals. One of the drawbacks of the Discovery campaign is that it gives you less control over where your ads appear compared to other campaign types.

Selecting the Discovery campaign will bring up the option to create your first conversion here. You’ll need to set this up now before you can move on to the next page. This is important because it helps you to track sales or leads so you can see how your campaign is performing and for the Google Ads system to make the right optimisation decisions. Another drawback of a Discovery campaign is that your reports don’t show how each channel, YouTube, Discover, Gmail and others are performing individually for conversions. They are all grouped together in one report.

At this stage you can also add your website address, which is the page people will go to after clicking your ad. And then give your campaign a memorable name to help you identify it easily later when you have many active campaigns, as your account grows.

Discovery campaigns work best when you select one important goal that you want to achieve. This will be one of the conversion goals that you would have setup in Google Ads or Google Analytics as below.

Discovery Conversion Goals



The Locations feature is there for you to pick the locations where you want your ads to appear. As the screenshot below shows, you can target all countries and territories, target the country that your account is primarily related too or enter another location like a city, town, postcode, county and so on.

Rarely should you target all countries and territories unless you truly offer a product or service that can be easily purchased by all people or businesses across the globe. Also, you should consider the languages of the different people you’re targeting and it’s often best to localise the languages in your ads. Google does not do any translation of your ads.

There’s also an option to use Advanced search tools to target your audiences. These options include:

Location – for this option you can target a country, city, town or other or exclude any where you do not want your ads to be shown. But the main benefit of using this option is that you can add many locations in bulk. For example, if you have hundreds of cities to add, instead of adding them one by one, you can add them in bulk. You should enter one location per line.

Advanced Location Targeting

When you’ve added all the locations you want to target, click the Search button and that will bring up all the matched locations and you can click the ‘Target all’ link. Or you can click the ‘Target’ link next to each matched location if you want to add some of them.

There’s also an option to ‘Exclude all’ if you want to exclude all of them instead. Or you can exclude individual locations as you target other ones. There are many targeting options that you can use here.

And the map to the right shows you all matched locations that you’ve targeted or excluded.

Radius targeting – this advanced targeting option allows you to target people within a specific radius of a postcode, town, city, address or place. For example, you can set it to target people within 20 miles of your business’s address. And the map shows you where your ads will be shown.

Radius Targeting

You can also target multiple locations by entering the address or place name and choosing the radius in miles or kilometres and then clicking the Target link.

When all is done, click the SAVE button to move to the next stage of the campaign setup.



Next, choose the languages that are relevant for your business. As a targeting option, it helps you restrict where your ads can appear based on the user’s browser language settings and the language of the website.

As you click the box, a number of options will appear and you can select the relevant ones. These should be the languages that your customers speak.

Language Targeting



Next, you get to set the bid strategy that works effectively for your business. In this case because we’ve picked the Sales objective, we now see the Conversions bid strategy because we are focusing on converting visits into sales.

Discovery Conversion Bidding

There’s also an option to set a target cost per action (CPA) as the screenshot below shows. And if you’ve been running ads for some time, you’ll also see a recommended target CPA.

Discovery Target CPA

Target CPA is useful when you have a specific performance goal. And if you see a recommended target CPA that matches your goal then you should click to apply it. You can, of course set any goal that you want, but if it is too low you’ll likely see a drop in traffic and conversions as the system tries to set bids to match that goal. That’s especially the case if it is underbidding.



The budget for your campaign is the maximum amount that you want to pay each day. For your Discovery campaign, you can start with a low budget and then increase it as performance improves.

Google Ads Budget

The minimum I would recommend to get started with is £300 per month – so that works out at about £10 per day when divided by 30.4, the average number of days in a month.


Ad schedule

This feature allows you to set the days and hours when you’d like your ads to appear. The default setting is for your ads to run at all times.

Ad Schedule

Whatever the nature of your business is, I would recommend that you leave the default settings as “All days”. When you’ve run your Discovery campaign for some time, you can then check your reports to see how it performed for all the days and hours. If you find them performing well or poorly at certain times, then adjust your Ad schedule accordingly.



Next, pick the audiences that you’d like to target. You have a lot of options here and you can pick people based on their search activity, downloaded apps or sites visited.

Google Display Network Audiences

When you click into the ‘Custom Segments’ box and start to type, you will see suggestions for audiences to add, that relate to your industry. And if you’ve used some segments before, you’ll see some recent selections that you can add and advertise to.

There are also options to add detailed & demographics interest and narrow the audience to match specific demographics that you want to target based on Age, Gender, Parental Status and Household income.

There are many options here and you should spend some time reviewing this and then choose the most ideal audiences for you.

When that is completed, click the ‘Save’ button to move to the next step.


New Discovery Ad

Discovery Ad Assets

Ads are a very important part of advertising in Google Ads. This is the first thing your customers will see about your business, so it has to be done right.

First you’ll start with your Final URL. This is the landing page that you want to send your visitors to.


Avoid using a generic page like your homepage, but use a specific product or service page that relates to what your audiences will be interested in.

Next, you’ll add some images that reference the products or services that you’re promoting. You can add up to 20 images and try to add as many as possible. That gives the system many image assets to make great combinations that will bring you the best results.


Avoid using any blurry and poorly cropped images. The images should be sharp and clear but don’t include any call to action in there. Your call to action comes at the bottom of the ad setup.

You’ll see the image types that you can add as you create your Discovery ad and these include Landscape, Square and Portrait images. And each image should be no larger than 5120 KB in size.

At least one landscape or square image is required, but you should add as many images as possible, and even up to 20 if possible

Next, you’ll add your logo and you can add up to 5 images in different sizes of your logo. At least one logo image is required.

{add image here}

Next, you’ll add up to five headlines to promote your products or services. Each headline has a 40 character space limit and your headlines will be combined with your assets to generate your ads.

Your headlines are one of the most important parts of your ads. So, you should include strong benefits that show how they can meet the needs of your prospective customers, whether you provide services or products.

You can add up to five description lines, to highlight some key benefits and features of your products. Each description line has a 90 character space limit and the length of the description will depend on the site it appears on.

Your descriptions will be combined with any of your headlines to create ads that people will see as they are searching or browsing online.

If you’ve entered your URL above, you’ll likely see some description line suggestions that you can add if they are relevant to what you’re promoting.


Discovery Ads Assets

Business name
Your business name is required and it appears in your ad and helps visitors easily identify your business. It also helps with raising brand awareness. This can also be the name of your brand. It has a 25 character limit.

Call to action
Finally, add a call to action that closely relates to the action you want people to take from your ads and your website. There are about 12 calls to action to choose from, including Download, Apply now, Contact us, Shop now, and more.

However, you can also choose the Automated option, which allows Google to select the call to action for you, especially if you’re not sure or have multiple ones.



Finally, you should click the Next button and you’ll be able to review all the information you’ve provided. And then you can make changes to any of the features like Languages, Budget, Locations and others if you want

Discovery campaign review


Get in Touch

Need help setting up a Discovery campaign? Or just need training in how to set it up yourself and manage it? I’m a Google Ads specialist and PPC expert with over 13 years experience in the industry. Contact me below to discuss this.

I'm a Certified Google Ads Expert and Marketing Author and in this blog I share my latest tips and secrets on how to promote your business successfully on the web and increase customer loyalty, retention and advocacy on Google Ads.

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