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Using Discovery Ads for B2B SaaS

Today, more and more consumers are on the lookout for shopping ideas as they explore content online. To help advertisers deliver visual and inspiring ads to consumers ready to engage with their brands, Google created Discovery ads. This format was first launched in May 2019 in closed beta and one year later was rolled out globally to all advertisers. 

Introducing Discovery Ads

Discovery ads are visually rich native image ads that use contextual targeting instead of keywords to reach new customers. These ads can run across the Google Discover feed, YouTube Home and Watch Next feeds, and Gmail Social & Promotions tabs.

discovery ads

Google offers several targeting options such as affinity audiences, custom intent,  in-market, and remarketing. These targeting options are based on signals from different Google properties, users’ device information, and past browser history. There are also demographic options available including age, gender, parental status, and household income.

This new type of campaign is ideal for advertisers interested in lead generation, new customer acquisition, driving sales for a subscription service or a limited set of products, and extending the reach of their remarketing campaigns. 

We Tested Discovery Ads for B2B SaaS

As an innovative digital marketing agency, we were curious to test Discovery ads and see how it could improve an account’s performance. Attracted by its ability to reach customers at scale and optimize ads based on a given target CPA, we tested it out for one of our clients in the B2B SaaS industry.

What was our objective?

The campaign objective was to acquire qualified sales leads from users that have already engaged with the brand and showed an interest. We had creatives and a landing page that were created specifically for this campaign with messages tailored to the targeted audience.

Fairly quickly after the campaign launch, we noticed that the remarketing audiences were too small to capture a significant volume of traffic, which led us to test Google’s audience expansion. This feature opens up additional inventory by expanding to new, relevant audiences. However, despite delivering the desired reach, this category of traffic generated only 1 conversion at a higher CPA than our target, forcing us to turn it off. 

What did we learn?

When compared to the same campaign that ran on the Display Network with responsive ads, the Discovery campaign had a better clickthrough rate (almost double) and a lower cost per click. However, the conversion rate was lower and the cost per conversion was 2.5 times higher.

Our test showed that Discovery ads can be effective if part of an omnichannel strategy, to inspire new customers and drive action. However, when launched as a remarketing only campaign, the reach can be considerably low, limiting the potential of the algorithm to learn and deliver optimal results. 

How to get started?

As with every new product, the only way to know if it performs for your brand is to test it. So, here are some guidelines on how to get started.

  • Use eye-catching high-resolution images 

Having the right creatives that are in line with your target audience is key to success. As recommended by Google, use both vertical (1200×628) and square formats (1200×1200). Depending on your product or service offer, you can create single-image ads or multi-image carousel ads featuring at least 5 images each.

  • Create one ad group per target audience

This will allow you to set different target CPA to best reach your objectives and adjust your settings based on performance. For each, make sure to use a dedicated creative. 

If you don’t have significant data to establish a target CPA, we recommend starting your campaign with a Maximize Conversion bid strategy. It will optimize your campaign to help you get the most conversions within your established budget. Once you have gathered enough data, you can move to a Target CPA bidding strategy if more suitable for your business. Keep in mind that Discovery campaigns perform better with more data.

  • Start with your top-performing audiences

When it comes to targeting, we recommend starting with audiences that are more likely to convert for your business. To identify them, analyze the performance of your audiences from your Search, Video, and Display campaigns and pick the ones that generated the best results.

Otherwise, we would recommend starting with a mix of remarketing, similar audiences, and custom intent using your top Search keywords. According to Google, advertisers who add custom intent, customer match, remarketing, or similar audiences to their Discovery campaigns have seen 81% higher conversion rates and 25% lower CPAs.

  • Track Performance

Ensure you have sitewide tagging enabled to measure conversions after people have interacted with your ad.

Conclusion

Discovery campaigns should definitely be tested. Not only are they aimed to inspire new customers as they explore their interests, but they will also enable you to reach them across multiple Google properties. 

For help creating your first Discovery campaign, don’t hesitate to reach out to our paid media experts.

 

By Camila Scaravelli

Camila

Camila has been working in digital marketing for over 6 years. Her passion, curiosity, and dedication led her to help clients from multiple industries succeed in their paid media initiatives while learning and growing with them. Driven by performance and data, she’s been specializing in Search Engine Marketing since February 2020 and is a key Senior SEM Strategist at Dialekta.

 

The Aftermath of Google’s Latest Algorithm Update

If you’re a webmaster or digital marketer, it’s crucial to note that Google updated its core algorithm late last week. This unprecedented change had a major impact – both positively and negatively – on a number of high-ranking websites.

How and why were these sites affected? And how can you observe the best SEO practices to rank higher on Google? We’re going to break everything down in this blog post.

Understanding the Algorithm

Before we take a deep dive into the specifics, let’s ensure we all understand the fundamental basics. Google is the number one search engine in the world and 40,000 searches are conducted every second, which equates to nearly 1.2 trillion queries per year.

Now search engines have changed drastically over the last decade, and members of the public expect concise and relevant answers to their questions. These demands have traditionally been reflected in Google’s algorithm updates, which ultimately aim to augment the user experience.

Historically, the search engine giant makes several hundred modifications to the algorithm per year, which creates minor impacts on the majority of websites. But occasionally, a core update is implemented, influencing a larger scope of websites.

The June 2019 Core Algorithm Update

This leads us to the change last week which was colloquially dubbed the “June 2019 Core Algorithm Update.” When it was initially rolled out on June 3rd, SEO experts saw little to no changes in ranking factors. Fast-forward 24 hours ahead and several sites were impacted by the update including the Daily Mail – one of Britain’s most popular tabloids.

But what’s the difference between a core update and the previous terms like Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird? Well, the latter terms refer to algorithm updates that targeted specific issues. For example, the Panda algorithm was designed specifically to prioritize high-quality sites over those termed as “content farmers.” These were sites that duplicate large quantities of keywords and content to simply rank higher. The core update is different, as it’s a broad change that has a general impact rather than a targeted goal.

Filtering the Quality of Content

Why was the Daily Mail affected? While Google never provides any details following an algorithm update, a report by Search Engine Journal indicates this is related to the site’s content. For decades, the Daily Mail has relied heavily on sensationalist headlines to sell papers and drive traffic to the website.

Roger Montii, the author who produced the aforementioned report, believes the algorithm might have drastically reduced organic traffic due to the clickbait nature of the website. Therefore, Google might be trying to implement content filters, considering there’s a lot of misinformation and fake news spreading across the internet.

How Was the Daily Mail Impacted?

According to reports, the site lost nearly 50% of its daily search traffic, which is remarkable considering its popularity and online visibility. Jesus Mendez, the SEO Director for the media outlet, even wrote to the Google Search Console forum questioning why the site experienced such a steep decline in search traffic. Some media outlets have even reported the site lost 90% of its Google Discover traffic, which will undoubtedly have a profound impact on the Daily Mail’s profitability.

Elsewhere, reports indicate that other sites experienced a decline in discoverability, which includes NFL.com and Vimeo. We conducted our own research via SEMrush and can clearly see a drop in global SERP volatility around June 3rd, 2019 – the day the algorithm update was rolled out. For those who are unfamiliar with the term SERP, it stands for “search engine page result,” and it’s basically the page that appears on Google when you submit a query.

What Can You Do?

While we never know when Google is going to implement another algorithm update, it is possible to optimize your website to mitigate the hypothetical impact of a future change.

We recommend following the acronym E-A-T, which stands for “expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.” This concept is essentially based on Google’s guidelines for qualifying and quantifying content. Therefore, produce content that’s engaging, factual, and written concisely.

We also suggest focusing on the technical side, which plays a crucial role in determining your site’s “discoverability” on major search engines – especially Google. Pay close attention to certain aspects like site “crawlability,” internal link structure, and canonicalization to effectively improve organic search results. As a general rule of thumb, if a site has a strong technical foundation, it’s less likely to be negatively impacted by an algorithm update.

Are You Affected?

If you’re a Dialekta customer, your lead strategist will conduct a free site audit to determine if your site was affected by the latest update. They will contact you over the next few days to provide all essential information.

If you’re not a Dialekta customer, remain calm and follow these steps:

  1. Log onto Google Search Console and review the information under the performance tab. Check if the number of clicks and impressions has dropped significantly.
  2. Facilitate a domain overview using SEMrush. The graph should indicate if you’re site experienced a significant drop. Use also the Sensor function on the left hand side to look at global or categorical SERP volatility.
  3. Run a technical audit by using a software like Screaming Frog, which crawls your site to look for discrepancies like 404 errors and loading speed.
  4. Create an action plan for both the content and technical side, and remember to adhere to the E-A-T principal we mentioned before.

If you’re looking for more in-depth help in regards to your SEO strategy, or simply have questions or concerns, we’re always here to help. Contact us today so we can assess your situation and work to deliver positive results by utilizing our knowledge and expertise within this space.

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