You can now sign up for Google Demand Gen campaigns, which will replace Discovery ads

The end is near for Google Discovery ads.

You can now sign up for access to Google Ads’ Demand Gen, the new campaign type announced at Google Marketing Live in May.

Once you’re in the beta, your Discovery campaigns will be automatically upgraded to Demand Gen.

All Discovery campaigns should be “upgraded” to Demand Gen by early 2024.

What is Demand Gen beta? “Demand Gen campaigns combine image + video ads in one place and can be used to drive conversions, site visits and actions like sign-up and add-to-cart across YouTube, Discover and Gmail,” Google Ads Liaison Ginny Marvin explained in a thread on X, formerly known as Twitter.

In addition to YouTube Home, Search and Watch Next, Discover, and Gmail, Demand Gen campaigns work across:

  • YouTube Shorts.
  • YouTube in-stream.

RIP, Discovery ads. Google introduced Discovery ads in 2019.

Why we care. Being able to see how your creative will look across Demand Gen placements is great for advertisers, especially brands with strict compliance and/or brand teams, as PPC expert and SMX speaker Sam Tomlinson points out in an X thread full of reactions and takeaways.

Who is eligible for an upgrade? Right now, all you need is an active Discovery campaign. Google Ads will open Demand Gen campaigns to everyone in October 2023.

How to upgrade. Sign up for the Demand Gen beta via this short form.

New features. Once you sign up for the Demand Gen beta, you can explore these new features:

  • Different ad formats in one campaign: You will be able to experiment with a variety of different ad formats, including short-form videos, carousels, portraits, and square images to try to engage your audience more effectively.
  • Lookalike segments: This feature will help you find customers similar to those who have already engaged with your brand through a custom-built Seed list. The ability to test from Narrow to Broad also provides the ability to restrain or expand reach.
  • Unique goals: Similar to Discovery ads, you can optimize Demand Gen for conversions or use value-based bidding strategies.
  • Maximize Clicks bidding: You can use this tool to optimize for site visits and actions, helping to drive high-value customers to your website.
  • Ad previews: This feature lets you see how your creatives will look across different surfaces. 
  • A/B experimentation: Use this feature to optimize placements and find the perfect mix for your campaigns. 

What Google is saying. Demand Gen was “built to help advertisers who buy on social platforms find and convert consumers with immersive, relevant, and visual creatives that grab attention and spur action in the right moment,” a Google spokesperson said:

  • “Demand Gen drives conversions, site visits, and actions (like sign-ups and adds-to-carts) on our entertainment-focused touchpoints — YouTube, including Shorts, Discover and Gmail.”
  • “In the coming months, we’ll share more resources and best practices to help ensure your upgrade process is as smooth as possible.”

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Timeline. Here’s what’s coming next:

  • October: All Discovery campaigns will become eligible to move to Demand Gen. Some Discovery campaigns will automatically migrate to Demand Gen.
  • January – March 2024: Google will launch automatic upgrades for all remaining Discovery campaigns.

Google’s announcement. Get ready to upgrade your Discovery ads to Demand Gen

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