TSW at SMXL 2020 in Milan: the Discovery Campaigns

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This year we were once again among the lucky protagonists of an event, which took place entirely online, as is now typical of this period, of great importance in the world of Digital Marketing: the SMXL in Milan.

Jessica Marcon, the colleague who gave the speech, chose to bring as a theme one of the latest and innovative types of Google Ads campaigns: the Discovery Campaigns.

Why we have chosen Google Ads Discovery Campaigns as our theme

This type of campaign was released in beta in June 2019, and has been available to all advertisers since the end of the same year. We at TSW were lucky enough to be able to test them right away, for different customers and especially in different sectors, from finance to e-commerce.

This allowed us to collect some data and to realize that, despite the campaigns being quite recent and very simple to implement, they work very well and bring good results when working with a view to performance. In fact, they allow us to act not only on the users who are about to convert, but also on those who are less close to the actual conversion, thus increasing the business opportunities for our customers.

What does this type of campaign provide in terms of new business opportunities?

According to Google itself “Discovery campaigns are a new way to reach users on Google properties when they are willing to discover your products and services.

As mentioned, thanks to their detailed audiences, these campaigns allow us to reach those who are most interested in our product or service in a phase that we could define as middle funnel or consideration, or while different options are being explored: discovery campaigns, in fact, were created to reach an audience based on the user’s intention.

Marketing funnel

How Discovery Campaigns Work: Creating and Managing Them

One of the main features of these campaigns is the strong automation even at the optimization level – totally based on conversions -, which takes place through the Google Ads algorithms: many settings are configured to obtain the maximum performance relative to budget and objective and cannot be modified.

This has some very positive consequences, but also some less positive ones.

Where do we start from, then?

  1. Choose a specific conversion action: optimize your campaign by selecting a simple conversion that is consistent with the audience you are targeting.
  2. Set a budget consistent with the target CPA: Google recommends setting a budget at least 10 times higher than the value of the offer, but obviously it is best to always rely on your data and your possibilities. The important thing is not to put a budget of € 20 if your target CPA is € 25.
  3. Create an ad group for each audience: this will allow you to set different CPAs depending on the targets and will facilitate the optimization of the ongoing campaign.
  4. Take advantage of all creative assets: you will enable machine learning to work better!

We said that discovery campaigns are almost totally automated: so how can we optimize them? Meanwhile, let’s see what we can’t do:

  1. Placements: we cannot know how much a campaign delivers on YouTube, how much on Gmail and how much on Discover. We cannot therefore carry out any optimization on the basis of better or worse performing positioning.
  2. Bid adjustments: we cannot adjust bids for all aspects that are usually the heart of our optimization, such as device, age, gender or audience segment. We can evaluate its performance thanks to the detailed results for each of these characteristics, but either we decide to include, for example, a certain age group, or we choose to totally exclude it from the campaign if it does not bring results.

What can we act on?

  1. Target CPA: this needs to be modified based on actual performance. We usually start with a slightly higher CPA and then gradually reduce it. Just be careful not to lower it too much, otherwise you could compromise the delivery of the campaign itself.
  2. Audience: we can expand or reduce them according to performance, and we can test different audience categories to find the one that best suits our Brand and our goal.
  3. Creativity: we can evaluate the performance of individual creative assets. The platform will tell us, in fact, which title is most successful, which image is clicked the most, allowing us to modify the less functional ones.
  4. Location: we can adjust the offers by location. Therefore, we will not enter “Italy” as a location in the setting phase, but we are going to add the individual regions. In this way we will have much more room for optimization.

Finally, remember that discovery campaigns run only on Google properties, which helps us a lot for brand safety: Google has been very attentive to the safety of the Brand and the protection of its image, so we know that it prevents ads to appear next to foul language, sexually explicit or violent content.

Posizionamenti Properties Google

In summary, 4 key elements of the Discovery campaigns

To summarize even more what was said and what Jessica said at SMXL, when you choose to set up a Discovery campaign compared to other campaigns on Google Ads, always bear in mind:

  1. The placements, which are only on Google properties
  2. The strong orientation towards conversion
  3. Detailed audiences
  4. High impact creatives

In this quick presentation I have given you only a few ideas to make the most of these new campaigns, obviously there is much more to “discover”, but since each activity is different, you must always test the new features and understand if they are suitable for your customers and their products.

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19 November 2020 Giorgia Zambianchi

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TAG: digital marketing