Google Discovery Ads Are Now Available Globally

A single campaign covers the search giant's Discover feed, Gmail and YouTube

google discovery ads
Deckers teamed up with digital agency Jellyfish on the 2019 holiday season campaign for the Ugg brand on Google Discovery. Google
Headshot of David Cohen

Key insight:

Google Discovery ads, initially introduced at Google Marketing Live last May, were finally—and quietly—rolled out to all advertisers worldwide last month after an extended testing period that had been expected to come to a close at the end of 2019.

The new capability gives advertisers access to: Google’s Discover feed, which provides updates on topics that users have expressed an interest in, via Android devices and the mobile version of its Chrome browser; the Google Search application; and the “minus one” screen on Android devices, where news and other content curated by Google appears.

Google claims its Discovery ads reach up to 2.9 billion people across multiple platforms, including Gmail social tabs and YouTube’s Watch Next feeds, via a single campaign.

“We wanted to try to make it easy to get advertisers into all of those premium surfaces via one campaign,” Jerry Dischler, vice president and general manager of ads platforms and Google properties, told Adweek.

Google is positioning this program as a way to better reach shoppers online, claiming that 86% of online consumers are on the lookout for shopping ideas while watching videos or exploring content across the web, while more than 90% discover new brands or products via YouTube Watch Next and hundreds of millions of people use the Google Search app.

Google’s timing on rolling out the offering is not related to the ecommerce explosion seen during the coronavirus pandemic.

“This can be a helpful tool in the toolbox for advertisers in navigating this crisis,” he added. “We’re seeing advertisers rally. If you’re making jeans one day, you might be making face masks now. People may not really know this, but you can get your message out across all these surfaces.”

Lifestyle apparel company Deckers teamed up with digital agency Jellyfish on the 2019 holiday season campaign for the Ugg brand, using Discovery ads to promote Ugg’s holiday gift guide.

Using repurposed high-quality images from its social campaigns, Deckers saw a revenue return of 10 times its original ad spend, and the company plans to tap the ad product for some of its other brands, including Hoka and Teva.

“While Discovery ads don’t appear on social platforms per se, they offer rich, visually engaging experiences filled with meaningful content that excites and inspires consumers as they scroll through new content on YouTube, Discover and Gmail,” said Michelle Hernandez, senior manager of omni-digital marketing at Deckers. “This is where more and more consumers are engaged and spending time.”


Digital marketing agency iProspect began testing Discovery ads with several large clients in early 2019, including global retailers, and reported a reduction of up to 48% in cost per action versus social ads.

“We’re finding that Discovery ads are an interesting ad type that blurs the lines between traditional search, display and social activations, but which can target different audiences and hit conversion performance goals,” said iProspect senior director of paid search Christina Malcolm. David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.