Google Demand Gen Campaigns: Initial thoughts from the experts

Oct 10th, 2023

Announced at their Google Marketing Live back in May this year, and having just finished its Beta testing phase, Google is expected to begin rollout of their new campaign type ‘Demand Gen’ this month. This new AI-powered campaign is designed to amplify creativity and increase demand, by moving ads away from text-heavy search engines and towards more versatile and captivating platforms such as YouTube, Discovery, and Gmail.

While this new and innovative campaign type promises to provide advertisers with numerous benefits, it’s interesting to take a look at initial thoughts and feelings from the experts following the Beta phase – and whether the platform lives up to its predecessor ‘Discovery Ads’.

Over 3 billion monthly users

Google’s Demand Gen campaigns are displayed across their most popular assets – reaching over 3 billion monthly active users. This gives advertisers the opportunity to reach a much wider and more engaged audience than other channels.

Lookalike segments

Similar to other advertising platforms, Google have introduced a ‘Lookalike audiences’ for their Demand Gen campaigns, which allows advertisers to reach out to audiences that are akin to an uploaded customer or lead lists.

Expand audience reach with YouTube

While ‘Discovery Ads’ did have some reach on YouTube across the home page and discovery feed, they were missing out on YouTube’s biggest audience on its video content.

Demand Gen campaigns will be displayed across the entirety of the YouTube mix including in-video stream, and YouTube shorts.

Video ad formats

Following the previous format of product images or custom image ads in Discovery Ads, Demand Gen now has five additional video formats for their campaign alongside multiple headlines, descriptions, logos, images and CTAs.

Creative tools

Google has upgraded their creator tools for the Demand Gen campaigns, giving advertisers the ability to preview their ads, and see how different creatives look across different screen types, and placements.

Bidding & reporting options

Demand Gen offers more bidding options, including a new feature to their ‘smart bidding’, which also allows advertisers to maximise clicks on top of the original maximise conversions, and conversion value.

They have also offered more reporting options which offer more insight into the campaigns, including Brand Lift, Search Lift, and Conversion Lift reports.

Following the beta phase, advertisers are sharing their experiences with the new campaign type.

People have expressed their views on the new bidding options, with some saying that they fill some of the gaps that the Discovery Campaigns had.

Beta users saw a significant increase in engaged view conversions on their ads; while this seems to be positive on the surface, advertisers noticed that the ads seemed to be reaching ‘warm leads’ – or leads that were already on the road to converting. As a further to this, some felt that the demand gen campaigns were not meeting expectations – as their increase in spending did not have a matching increase in conversions.

It was also found that although the overall number of leads increased, the quality of the leads generated decreased which raised questions on how effective Demand Gen campaigns are at generating profitable prospects.

“As we roll out testing Demand Gen across our client base I fully expect there to be as many teething problems as possibilities initially. However, as with the Performance Max rollout, when used with the right inputs, creativity and targets, there will be great incremental opportunities from Demand Gen as it develops.”

– Will Dixon, Head of Paid Media

Though Google’s Demand Gen campaigns promise a multitude of advantages over their previous Discovery Ads campaign type, initial thoughts after the beta phase are a little ‘hit-and-miss’.

While the Demand Gen campaigns do seem to be reaching a significantly larger number of engaged leads, these leads seem to be either already warm and likely to convert, or of lesser quality than what was found previously.

That being said, the full rollout begins this month more and more advertisers will have the option to try out the platform. The more it is integrated into our everyday paid media strategies, the more we will understand the system, and be able to use it to its full potential.

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