Google takes on Facebook: Introducing Google Discovery Ads


Introducing Google Discovery Ads

As two of the world’s giant brands have garnered the lion’s share of advertiser budgets, Facebook and Google’s costs-per-click have increased. So it’s very exciting that there’s a cheaper ad option from Google, called Google Discovery Ads.


What are Google Discovery ads?

Google Discovery ads are a visual ad format that look like a social media post. They act in a similar way to the Facebook feed/post ad. Ads include up to 5 headlines to test the best one, an image or swipeable carousel of images (up to 15 to test), a landing page url, your business name and an optional Call to Action button such as “Shop Now” or “Get Quote”.


Who can I reach with Google Discover ads?

The ad is designed to inspire passive browsers (those not actively searching for your product now, but who from past behaviour could be relevant) with engaging image creative, in order to bring qualified traffic to your website.

They enable ad targeting to people who match age or region demographics, those shopping online for your product, and people who have shown an interest in specific topics. Google’s Discover ads use machine learning, AI and target profiling to match and then grow audiences, pulling out the best combinations of your headlines, descriptions, and image creative.

Where do Google Discovery Ads show?

They are designed to catch people while they’re on YouTube, Gmail or using the Google app on a mobile phone. Google has created a “Discover Feed” that enables you to follow topics, so you can stay in the know about exactly the things you care about, and see more content that informs, inspires and entertains you.


How are Discovery ads different to Search ads?

Whereas search ads come up when you enter a query, Discover ads show to people based on their past site visitation, app downloads, Youtube videos watched and map searches. This means Discovery ads are more about brand awareness, for people at the top of the purchase funnel.


Because Discovery ads live in feeds, and not on search, your ad strategy needs to be different.

People in discovery mode are very open to new ideas, concepts, products and services, making Discover an ideal place to get in front of your target audience. Unlike social media feeds – where ads are an unwanted distraction from the real goal of seeing friends’ and influencers’ content – Google’s Discover feed is delivering content to people who want to be interrupted by new things that match their interests. After all, it’s the whole point of the platform.

But they are early in the journey – the first interaction – so you need to consider what you can do to take them further, and what else they need to know.  Gated downloads are good (fill in an email address to get an info pack). Then you can trigger some automatic emails using a customer relationship system like Zoho (talk to Rachel or Clova if you’re interested in knowing more about setting up Zoho).

Why has Google introduced Discovery Ads?

Google is contending with three fundamental shifts in search behaviour: the shift from answers to journeys; from queries to the queryless; and from the text-based to the visually-inspiring.


Discover currently reaches 800 million people globally. That’s not exactly on par with Facebook’s 2.3+ billion or Instagram’s 1 billion monthly active users, but it’s nothing to sneeze at, either. The thing I like most at the moment, is how cheap it is, compared to the other platforms.  I wouldn’t do this in isolation, but in combination with other strategies, it really is getting your reach out there for a low cost-per-click.

What type of ads can be placed on Google Discovery?

There are two main ad formats

  1. Standard (single image) Discovery Ads
    This allows us to test up to 15 images in square, and or landscape.
  2. Discovery Carousel Ads
    We can upload between two and 10 images to be used as cards in the carousel

How much to budget for Google Discovery ads?

Google has recommended no less than a ratio of 70% spend on search/shopping ads, and up to 30% on awareness (ads such as Google Discovery or Google Display). So if you market in say one region, and spend NZD$500 a month on search ads, you might try $150-$200 a month on Discovery or Display clicks (allow extra for help to set up the campaign for you).

If you market to multiple regions with a spend on search ads of $700-$1000 a month, you might consider $4-500 a month on Discovery ads.

If you have an important product launch coming up, for a service that is not so well known, you might try $1000 or $2000 for a 6 or 8 week campaign.

You could also run a campaign on social for a couple of weeks, and try a similar one on Discovery (similar budget but longer time frame), to compare performance.

Are Google Discovery ads worth it?

Often times, clients need a greater stream of new leads and more channels than SEO, Google search ad and social media provide alone.  At Alexanders, we have found Discovery ads are very cost effective for generating brand awareness (70% lower cost-per-click prices than the agency’s search campaigns) and for generating top-of-the-funnel traffic.

Bear in mind though, that because people viewing Discovery Ads did not type in a keyword search, they may not be so ready to buy yet.  So you need to plan a journey and offer some value-add or gated (downloadable) content, to capture the lead. That’s why search campaigns are more effective for lead generation. But not everyone who is a potential customer, is actively searching for your service. It’s good to widen the net a bit.

So far, budgets for Discovery Ads are coming from clients’ search and social budgets.

At the moment, it’s less competitive, so you can reach big audiences cheaply and without a lot of competition from other advertisers. I like getting on board early with Google’s new services, before they get pricey from lots of players.

How are Google Discovery ads different to Google Display ads?

Google Display ads are similar visual ads, but they are shown on Google partner sites. There are similar targeting options with the two. You can have a few more file formats with Display. Display ads let you have a clickable phone and location extension, but while you can’t have these on Discover, you can have a clickable lead form. You can run both at once.

What else do I need to do?

Your landing page for the campaign is critical. You need to answer their underlying need, and related questions, and offer something valuable in exchange for same email address or phone number. So we can help you plan a landing page as well as possibly a downloadable guide.

How long should you run a Google Discovery campaign for?

Can go indefinitely if your audience size is big enough, but I’d say a minimum of six weeks. The machine learning needs at least 3-4 weeks to hit its stride.

What kind of campaign ideas do you suggest?

Seasonal campaigns (Xmas, join a gym), launch a new product/service, catch people with a longer decision horizon so they connect early with your brand (construction), catch people with a problem that you solve but they don’t yet know how to solve it (sore back or neck – osteopathy).  Rachel is good with ideas and suggestions.

What’s the next step?

Make a time with Rachel to discuss how you could build your brand with Google Discovery. Good times to catch up in her diary are 10am – 1pm Tue, Wed, Thu or afternoons on Mon & Thu. Ph 3488 477 ext 1, or 021 556 560.



4 Facebook Campaign Case Studies with clear customer journeys


Facebook Campaign Examples: 4 Case Studies

Learn the simple ecommerce tricks that inspired purchase

In these 4 Facebook Campaign case studies, Samantha (Alexanders’ content writer) examines the subtle steps that were involved in the journey that moved her from viewing a Facebook ad through to purchase. 

1: Calm App

The Calm App is an app you can access on your phone or your laptop and it provides guided meditations covering a range of topics from anxiety, mindfulness, relationships, and sleep to name a few. It also offers musical tracks to help focus, sleep and relax, provides sleep stories, masterclasses, ‘Body’ programmes and reminders to take time to meditate.


Customer Journey:

I had heard about this app. It is super popular and well-documented by many media outlets. It has also been a featured app many times on the Apple App Store. I saw an ad on my Facebook feed promoting a 7 day free trial. The call to action button was “Try Calm for Free.” The offer was a new mediation every day, called “Daily Calm.”

You can access Calm online or on the App Store. Being able to try the app for free helped to draw me in.

On my research on their landing page, there was an option to purchase a yearly-subscription at $84.99 NZD. They also offer a life subscription for $599.99 NZD. However, the subscription price put me off.

I liked the idea but was not sold on it. However, my flatmate has this app and she was able to give me a 30 day free trial with the “gift to a friend” option that the app offers.

Once I signed up (having had to put in my credit card details), it automatically ticks over and withdraws the yearly subscription amount from your account if you don’t cancel the free trial before the seven days are up. This is an easy way to catch customers! I had access to the entire library of Calm meditations.

Each day the app sent me meditation reminders.  As the seven day trial came to an end, I had the choice of cancelling subscription, or letting it tick over.

If I cancelled the subscription, I still had access to a few meditations and still received the daily reminders – which, when you see them after a particularly stressful day, easily pull you into subscribing again.

The desire to subscribe is also strengthened into action as Calm sends out weekly emails, describing new additions to the app, often with a special discount price.

I used the app quite a few times and really enjoyed the meditations. However, the subscription price definitely put me off and I ended up cancelling my subscription.
The daily reminders and emails eventually wore me down however, and the email offering 40% off the annual price won me over and I subscribed to the app.

2: Adobe Creative Cloud Suite training bundles

What: A couple of online shops called Stack Social and the Entrepreneur Store sell bundles of tutorials centred around teaching you how to use specific programmes, such as the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite, and how to improve on your writing, copywriting, understanding of marketing.


Customer Journey:

Facebook knows that I’m interested in writing and marketing. I saw an ad for an Adobe course on my Facebook feed. Purchasing the All-in-One Adobe Creative Cloud Suite Certification Bundle promised me lifetime access to 537 lessons spread over eight different courses.

Each individual tutorial within the bundle is advertised at its individual price, so all up it should cost around $USD1600.00. However, it was marketed as a sale that “expires in one day,” with a discounted price of $USD33.99 – “97% off.”  The cheap price drew me in.

I clicked the advert and went to the online shop website, where it explained what each individual course within the bundle was about.

The $1600.00 amount was crossed out and the “Add to cart” green button showed the discounted $33.99 amount. The discounted price was advertised as only being available for a short amount of time with the words, “Ending In: 1 day,” featured just under the course title’s name.

I saved the page and then checked back a few times during the day and saw the “Ending In:” had now gone down to a matter of hours.  Not wanting to miss out on the deal I bought! I accessed after purchase through a site called Stack Skills – Teachable. 

3: Yoga: The Core Play by Karin Dimitrovova

What: Karin Dimitrovova is a writer and a yoga teacher who offers three online programs – Beyond Flexibility, The Core Play, and Aligned. Core Play is a 28 day program inspired by yoga for better core and upper body strength.


Customer Journey:

A sponsored advert for Core Play came up on my social media feed.  As I’ve been wanting to learn how to actually do push-ups (I’m super weak in my upper body) and have always wanted to do a hand-stand, I clicked the link to investigate

“With only 15 minutes of your day, you can build strength,” the ad promised. The program includes a four week, step-by-step training plan comprising of yoga flows, core and upper body strength drills, and you also have access to a “Members Area,” with extra resources offered, like meditations, and a Facebook Group community.

It is a one-off purchase which you have lifetime access too. The purchase price is $99.00 USD usually, but a discount was offered.

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After I clicked it, it took me to a website page explaining everything you need and want to know about Core Play.  There was lots of reading involved:

The page began by asking you about how I felt in my yoga practice, offering answers such as “uninspired, frustrated, etc.”  Karin then went on to explain WHY she created this program and how it works, week by week.

The page also featured written reviews from those who have already purchased and tried out the program, as well a couple of review videos.

As I neared the end of the page, it also described a couple of extra bonuses you get when you purchase the program, such as meditations and relaxing yoga flows. These were all presented with their “value” in price, which was crossed out.

It finally offered a 30 day money back guarantee and then summarised all you would get with the program, coming to the price offer of $47.00 USD. This amount was a discounted price. The regular amount is usually $99.00 USD.

The page states that the 52% discount is only available for a short amount of time and featured a “counting down” discount button (the discount was to expire in 4 hours).

From this, I googled how much it would cost in NZD. Then, I looked up Karin and found her website, describing who she was and the other courses she offered.  I looked up reviews online to check that it wasn’t a scam!

Over the course of this, the time slowly was ticking down for the discount so I decided to purchase.

4: Jewellery: a ring from Linjer

What: Linjer is a design studio that creates handbags, watches and jewellery for men and women. They market themselves with the tagline “Sustainably-made jewelry, bags and watches without the luxury markup.”


Customer Journey:

Advertisements for their products came up on my social media feed.

The adverts featured clean photography, usually of a single product e.g. a ring, alongside simple design which used the words “sustainable.”

I clicked the link which took me to the product page on their website.  The product was shown via a multitude of clean and bright photos. The costs of the product automatically came up in my home country pricing.

Below the low pricing, there was a line saying, “Compare to $…. NZD Estimated Retail.” This was proof to me that the product was much cheaper than usual – but still sustainably made.

Each product had reviews.  There was a simple add to cart button.  I want to mention that it was their tagline and use of “sustainable” that really drew me in. I researched more into the sustainable side of their business before finally purchasing.

Extra Note – nearly hooked by another brand’s focus on sustainability

Saye is a brand of shoes which also drew me in with their “sustainable” advertising. I did not purchase anything from here, but the focus on sustainability was something that I connected with, and almost prompted me to purchase. The words “Vegan,” “eco-friendly” and “sustainable” feature throughout Saye’s advertising and websites. They make their shoes from organic and recycled materials. Their shoes are made in Europe, they pay their workers well and they plant two trees for every pair of sneakers you buy (this you all see on their homepage).


Chasing Unicorns:

I also bought a dress after seeing a Facebook post from Chasing Unicorns, which is a small design company based in Byron Bay Australia. Their pieces are one-off, often hand-made, and are created as a stand against fast-fashion, hence are often more on the expensive side e.g. the dress I bought was $250.00 AUD on sale. Their brand story grabbed me.  They have a large focus on sustainability and use natural fibres, known for their longevity, and thus their items are known to last (“pieces of clothing you pass down to your daughter”). This idea really drew me in (not that I have daughters yet!).  This showcases the idea of a strong brand message.



Sam noticed a clear pattern in the way she purchased programs, subscriptions and items online. What drew her in to clicking on the adverts was strong photographic imagery with simple, clean designs (so it was immediately clear what was being sold).

There was a clear theme of sustainability which piqued her curiosity to investigate further.  The use of scarcity or count-down elements, backed by good reviews and social proof, sealed the deal.

She always researched the brand itself to ensure it was a legitimate product. She used reviews and checked back a few times before purchasing.

The discounts were alluring, especially the countdowns. However, she has since realised that a lot of discounted offers continue on, e.g. one advert said the discount ended at midnight, but she has been seeing the advert for months.

Would you like some help to craft your next social media campaign? The team at Alexanders offer social media campaign coaching to build your confidence. Get in touch today to discuss your ideas for upcoming campaigns.

How Instagram Works for eCommerce


Instagram Ad Case Study:

Customer journey from Browsing to Purchase

Below are two case studies of a product promotion on Instagram. Samantha – our bubbly, eco-conscious twenty-something-social writer – details her customer journey from browsing and viewing an advert, all the way through to eventual purchase. Then Rachel showcases a designer furniture store story that she followed.  These illustrate how you can use your company Instagram promotion to drive web traffic, newsletter registrations and product sales.

Case Study 1:

The Cultivating Creative:
Creative writing course with Christina Macpherson

Christina Macpherson is an Australian model and writer. During the New Zealand lockdown, every day at 11am she posted half an hour of writing exercises on her Instagram stories, saving them to her Highlights so people could view them again whenever they liked. People could tune in and practice their writing alongside her or come back at a later time. From the success of this, and for the love of writing and sharing, Christina created an online course called ‘The Cultivating Collective.’ She advertised this on Instagram.


Customer Journey:

  • Christina’s writing exercises during lockdown gave customers a sneak peek/free-trial into what her course would offer.
  • She advertised the course on her Instagram Stories, every now and again, with a swipe up option to head to the website where the course is hosted. The website url is also permanently in her link in bio.
  • I followed her exercises during lockdown. Once lockdown ended and she stopped hosting the exercises on Instagram, I was still eager to keep up my practice and hence her course was very appealing, with the idea of all of the exercises in one place – I assume this was the case for many.
  • Her course website is simple, clear and to the point – it explains the “what” and features several reviews.  You can purchase the course for $60.00 AUD. The course is four weeks in length, but once you purchase it, you have lifetime access.
  • Her price is low and she compares it to buying 8 coffees with oat milk.
  • A simple swipe up (or click of the link in her bio) takes you to the website page, where a basic ‘Buy Now’ button allows you to purchase the course.
  • I read the online website page (it was short and sweet and didn’t take long to fill me in on what I needed to know).
  • Over the next few weeks, I had the course in the back of my mind. Christina advertised it a few more times on her story which reminded me of it (not over saturated though- it was mixed in with her usual posts).
  • Eventually her reminder of how much it would cost (comparing it to the oat milk coffee) got me to purchase the course.

Case Study 2:

Scout and Nimble

Scout and Nimble is an affordable designer furnishings and decor company. They are very active on their social media, especially Instagram. Almost every day they post on their Instagram story, showing you not only their product, but how it’s made and why it would be perfect for your home or space.

See below for Rachel’s experience with the brand. What a lot of trouble they went to.


Rachel viewed their story on Instagram, as she was following the brand.


Their story announced the new boucle trend.


Simple graphics illustrated the textural feel of boucle.


The use of tools and text overlays make the graphics interesting.


They’re now actively trying to get you to go to their website.


Note the arrows to “Swiping up” – a handy design trick that draws your eye to the critical action which takes you off Instagram to their website.


There is a call to action near the end of the blog, “Sign me up!”.


At the very end of the blog, there is a photo of the product the blog has focused on, which allows you to click through to the product page and purchase. They also sensibly show other products made of boucle, similar to the one just described.


They invite comment on the blog. Below this, there is a link back to their Instagram, reminding you to follow them. There are finally links to the rest of their website, including their About Page.


I like the clean design of the footer on mobile.  I think this was a well thought-out story.  They successfully showcased a trend, built engagement, and drew visitors to their website. I admit I didn’t invest in a boucle chair (though I’ve recently had a boucle suit made. Maybe I’ve been influenced subconsciously!)  However, I am a brand fan. They don’t mention anywhere where they are based. Delivery was a component that could have received a mention.