Many business owners & merchants entering the world of paid advertising enter with one large assumption in mind - Facebook/Instagram ads are cheaper. Generally speaking, if comparing the gladiator sport of Google search ads to Facebook ads, this notion would hold true. But there is often an overlooked, relatively newer player to the Google Ads platform that can be leveraged for relatively the same cost as FB/IG ads - Google Discovery Ads.
Launched in 2019, these ads deviate away from the intent-driven search ads most typically associate Google Ads with and provide more of the characteristics many choose Facebook ads for - 1) being visually appealing 2) part of a huge network 3) allowing for audience targeting 4) a relatively low CPC 5) the ability to attract qualified top of funnel traffic. We’ve used Discovery ads to drive traffic to landing pages numerous times before with a lot of success, so below are some details about this ad type and it’s appeal.
Google is ensuring that these Discovery Ads have the ability to have the maximum appeal by including an image carousel option and responsive headlines and/or descriptions. Similar to responsive search and display ads, these give advertisers the ability to upload up to 10 images that users can swipe through. A non-carousel ad gives the advertiser the ability to use upto 5 headlines and 5 descriptions. Google also explicitly states they will replace images that are blurry or that are poorly cropped, which they always have the right to do, but haven’t always expressed this blatantly, which could further support how import the visual appeal is in this ad format.
Example of Discovery ad
In addition to ads shown on the Discovery network, which Google indicates has over 800 million users per month, they’re also displayed in mobile YouTube feeds and in the social/promotions tabs of Gmail, giving advertisers ample opportunity to get in front of their audience.
Example of YouTube ad
Example of Gmail ad
Again, similar to Facebook ads, you’re given the ability to target an audience based on their expressed interests and likes. Google is able to utilize its vast network and a user’s past search history and sites visited, to determine that a user might be in-market or has an affinity for your product/service. Google also utilizes machine learning to identify where your user is spending the most time and determine the best combination of text and images to show to them based on geography, time of day, and variety of other indicators. This gives Google a lot of flexibility to use their highly sophisticated algorithms to determine how to best target your audience.
Example of Gmail ads targeted because searches on personal grooming & home services were recently done
While it’s difficult to get accurate numbers of CPC across industries in the U.S. & Canada, a cross-reference of sources we found put CPC in the range of $0.80 - 1.20 for Facebook ads. For Discovery ads, which advertises via the Google Display Network, the avg. CPC we found is considerably lower ranging from $0.50 - 0.70. This isn’t only Discovery ads though as it includes Google’s standard display ads and some shopping ads as well, but overall in accounts we’ve managed, this CPC is within the normal range we see.
Top of Funnel Traffic
The ability to inexpensively find a new, yet captive top of funnel audience to a product/service is one of the major selling features of Discovery ads. Facebook/Instagram has had a near monopoly on the market for allowing advertisers to infuse visual ads to passive browsers in hopes of luring many new clicks and customers. Google is now flexing its muscle to do the same.
If you’re looking for a new way to enter paid ads, Discovery ads is a very viable and maybe even preferred alternative to Facebook ads to consider.