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Google Discovery Ads: First Test Results

Last year Google announced a new product: The so-called Discovery Ads, an entirely new ad format. As a Premium Partner of Google, Amazee Metrics is one of the lucky ones and was put on the whitelist. This gave us the opportunity to test the Discovery Ads for some of our customers, and we will share our first impressions and experiences with you in this blog post.

What Exactly Are Google Discovery Ads? 

Google Discovery Ads are ads that appear in the Google Discover feed. The feed serves as homepage in the Google Mobile App.

We will explain in the next paragraph what Google Discover is about. Discovery Ads can be found not only in the Discover Feed, but also on the homepage of the YouTube app (Home Feed) and in Gmail (in the Social Networks and Advertising tab). This makes Discovery Ads incredibly attractive for advertisers.

What Is Google Discover?

 Google Discover was introduced in 2016 as Google Feed. It works as a stream, similar to social networks. The feed provides users with news, mostly based on images. Google’s intention is to enable discovery (e.g. via photos) in addition to general search. It is Google’s response to the great success of Instagram and Pinterest. In 2018 Google further developed the feed in Google Discover, which now appears as the start tab in the Google app. However, Google does not provide any information about current reach just yet.

What Do Google Discovery Ads Look Like?

Discovery Ads are similar in structure to classic display ads or Facebook product ads. They can consist of several elements such as image, company logo, title, description and call-to-action.

Why Should You Use Discovery Ads?

Discovery ads as a display format are usually placed more precisely in the “Branding” category. Targeting is regulated by Google via the known target groups. Since only a target CPA or conversion maximization can be chosen as a bidding strategy, it seems that Google wants to use the Discovery Ads as a performance measure as well. The visual presentation in combination with precise targeting possibilities make Discovery Ads a mix of branding and performance tool.

When Can Discovery Ads be Officially Used? 

The end of the test phase and the official launch of the Discovery Ads is expected in spring 2020.


We have been testing Discovery Ads for several months now. Compared to average display campaigns, Discovery Ads have better click and conversion rates. The CPL is much cheaper than conventional display and search ads. A large part of the traffic is probably generated via Gmail. The ads in the Google Discovery Feed are not available in the DACH area yet.

A disadvantage is the lack of control and optimization possibilities. For example, Google does not indicate how the traffic and relevant KPIs are distributed across the different channels.

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