Google’s New Demand Gen Campaigns: Beyond Discovery Ads

Discover Google's transition from Discovery Ads to Demand Gen Campaigns, offering enhanced AI capabilities, broader reach, and precise audience targeting
This is a big month for Google Advertisers. Ads as things are getting lil’ hot with a new update!
Enter Google Ads with its latest transition from Discovery Ads to the fiery Demand Gen Campaigns.
Google is test-driving its latest AI-fueled campaign style, Demand Gen campaigns, for advertisers. Buckle up! It is scheduled to be unveiled in October 2023.
So, Let’s delve deeper into this change and how it can significantly benefit advertisers.

The Evolution of Discovery Ads

For the uninitiated, Google’s Discovery Ads were a game-changer when they rolled out. These ads leveraged the power of machine learning to display across Google’s ecosystem based on users’ interests.
However, with the digital landscape becoming more competitive, there was a need for a more potent solution. Enter Demand Gen Campaigns.
Demand Gen Campaigns are tailored to the needs of businesses, allowing them to target the right customers with the right message. They provide a more personalized experience and are more effective than traditional marketing methods.

What are Google Ads' Demand Gen Campaigns?

Demand Gen campaigns, distinct from Google’s renowned search ads, are crafted to captivate users before they actively search for a brand. They aim to usher in fresh audiences and ignite interest utilizing Google’s visually richer and more engaging avenues including the Google Discovery Feed, Gmail, and various YouTube spaces such as the feed, In-Stream, and Shorts, all within a singular campaign.
For marketers acquainted with social platforms, this updated campaign type could appear as a logical extension of the strategies employed in platforms like Facebook and TikTok ads, utilizing akin visual creativity and audience targeting configurations.
This initiative builds upon the foundations laid by its predecessor, the successful Discovery Ads campaign, further expanding the horizons for advertisers to reach potential customers.
Want to know more? Read this Google Guide

Demand Gen Campaigns: What's New?

According to Google’s official documentation, starting in early 2024, the automatic transition from Discovery campaigns to Demand Gen Campaigns will begin. The objective? To provide advertisers with more advanced, AI-powered features that drive demand more efficiently.
So, how does Demand Gen differ from its predecessor?
  1. Enhanced AI capabilities: Google’s algorithms have become even smarter. They now predict with more accuracy which users are more likely to be interested in an advertiser’s product, ensuring ads reach a more targeted audience.
  2. Wider Reach: With Demand Gen, ads have a potentially wider reach, tapping into more Google platforms and external networks.
  3. Optimized for Goals: Advertisers can now optimize their campaigns based on specific goals, whether it’s increasing website visits, generating leads, or driving sales.

Demand Gen Campaigns vs. Google Discovery Ads

Google has introduced Demand Gen Ads, evolving from its Discovery Ads. While both aim to visually captivate audiences across Gmail, YouTube, and the Google Discovery Feed, the new Demand Gen campaigns bring several enhancements to the table.


1. Expanding the YouTube Playground

Discovery Ads tap into YouTube’s Home Page and Feed. Demand Gen campaigns, however, extend their grasp to YouTube In-Stream and Shorts. This inclusion means advertisers can now benefit from the vast video content spectrum on YouTube.

2. Diverse Video Ad Formats

Previously, Discovery Ads allowed showcasing product or custom images. With Demand Gen campaigns, advertisers can now integrate up to five videos, along with multiple images, headlines, and more. The versatility ensures the content fits smoothly across various formats.

3. Tools for Creative Excellence

Google introduces a preview tool tailored for Demand Gen campaigns, letting advertisers visualize their ads across different displays. Plus, A/B experiments are available, empowering advertisers to fine-tune their creative assets based on audience feedback.

4. Flexible Bidding Choices

While Discovery campaigns supported strategies like “maximize conversions,” Demand Gen provides an additional “maximize clicks” option. This can be a boon for advertisers seeking to boost website traffic or those with complex conversion paths.

5. Comprehensive Reporting

Beyond driving actions, Demand Gen campaigns help advertisers gauge their impact on brand searches and conversions. Tools like Brand Lift, Search Lift, and Conversion Lift reports shed light on these influences.

6. Refined Audience Targeting

Bidding farewell to ‘Similar Audiences’, Google’s Demand Gen introduces ‘lookalike audience’ segments. These segments identify and target audiences with behaviors mirroring your existing ones. Advertisers can adjust their focus from narrow to broad, reminiscent of Facebook’s lookalike approach.
These lookalike audiences can be refined as follows:
  • Narrow: Targets the top 5% of users in your chosen location closely resembling your initial seed \klist.
  • Balanced: Aims at the same 5% as ‘Narrow’, but this is Google’s default setting unless modified.
  • Broad: Focuses on the 10% of users in your location with the most similarity to your seed list.
In essence, while Discovery Ads have their merits, Demand Gen campaigns offer a broader, more flexible, and insightful advertising avenue.

Why This Matters: A Practical Example

Picture this: you run a top-tier dental clinic offering specialized treatments ranging from teeth whitening to advanced orthodontics. With Discovery Ads, your approach is akin to distributing leaflets across an entire city, hoping that someone somewhere is looking for dental services.
It’s expansive, but it’s also like trying to find a needle in a haystack.
Now, here’s where Demand Gen Campaigns come into play. Instead of simply reaching out to the vast sea of people, you focus on those who recently searched for “best teeth whitening procedures” or “orthodontic clinics near me”. Instead of just casting your net wide, hoping to catch anyone, you’re now strategically placing your bait to lure in those actively seeking the services you offer.
This strategic targeting ensures that you’re not just reaching people, but you’re reaching the right people: those who are not only in need of dental services but are actively searching for them.
This tailored approach increases the likelihood of them booking an appointment, thereby ensuring that your advertising efforts are efficient and yield tangible results.

Making the Transition

Change can often be daunting, especially when it pertains to well-established advertising campaigns that businesses rely on. But with the shift from Discovery Ads to Demand Gen Campaigns, Google has made sure it feels more like a smooth slide rather than a rocky climb.
For businesses that are already in the groove with Discovery Ads, transitioning will be a breeze. Google has set the gears in motion to make this switch automatic. That means advertisers won’t have to grapple with technicalities or fear disruptions.
However, as with all upgrades, there’s a learning curve. While the transition itself might be smooth, diving into the deep end of Demand Gen’s capabilities requires understanding. Advertisers should take the time to grasp its finer points, ensuring they’re not just using the new system but truly maximizing all it has to offer.

Closing Thoughts

October promises a refresh in the world of Google Ads with the introduction of the game-changing Demand Gen Campaigns.
Key Insights:
  • From Discovery to Demand Gen: Google’s trajectory from Discovery Ads to the advanced Demand Gen Campaigns is noteworthy.
  • AI-Powered Precision: Demand Gen harnesses AI, targeting users proactively, transforming how advertisers connect.
  • Diverse & Enhanced Tools: The upgrade brings in untapped spaces on YouTube, varied ad formats, and precise audience targeting tools.
  • Smooth Transitioning: Google ensures a hassle-free move from Discovery Ads to Demand Gen for advertisers.
In essence, as Google raises its advertising bar, it’s crucial for businesses to tap into these new opportunities and ride the wave of innovation.
Happy advertising!

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Justin Rondeau
Justin has been doing this whole “Marketing” thing since 2010, when he was mildly […okay maybe more than mildly] obsessed with all things, data, email, optimization, and split testing. He’s trained thousands of marketers, spoken on hundreds of stages, runs a delightful team of marketers, has dozens of shirts louder than his voice, and loves one hockey team: the Boston Bruins.