by. Michael Shafkowitz

With the persistent proliferation of AI in the modern world, our digital landscape has become more dynamic than ever. It should be of no surprise that Google has emerged as a frontrunner in the race to harness its abilities.

Announced at the beginning of summer, Google declared its intentions to usher in a new era of AI-powered ads. With that comes the introduction of their latest campaign type – Demand Gen. Although the initial announcement of Demand Gen campaigns happened several months ago, we are only now able to begin truly testing its capabilities. Demand Gen campaigns are set to replace Discovery campaigns, acting as a more comprehensive, AI-driven, campaign. In this article, I will touch on the unique new abilities marketers now have with Demand Gen, the differences between Demand Gen compared to Discovery, as well as go into detail about when all of this will happen.

How Is Demand Gen Different Than Discovery?

As it currently stands, Discovery campaigns have the ability to advertise on an extensive inventory of platforms. Discovery campaigns give advertisers the ability to reach over 3 billion users monthly, by advertising on the YouTube Home Page, YouTube Watch Next feed, and Gmail Promotion and Social Tabs. One of the main differences with Demand Gen campaigns is the extended inventory of available ad placements. Included with the preexisting inventory from Discovery, Demand Gen campaigns now allow the opportunity to advertise In-Stream on YouTube, as well as on YouTube Shorts. This is a huge deal for YouTube advertisers, as it is the first time, we have a guaranteed way to place ads between YouTube Shorts videos. Furthermore, in-stream ads with Demand Gen offer a more dynamic and engaging way to reach new users, compared to the original static placements with Discovery.

Another considerable contrast with Demand Gen, compared to Discovery - is the (re) introduction of Lookalike audience segments*. To utilize Lookalike audience segments, you will need to provide first-party data. By providing an existing “seed” list, also known as a customer match list, Google will use this data to find other probable users that share similar characteristics. Lookalike audience segments are being reintroduced as a way for advertisers to connect with high-probability customers while continuing to grow existing audiences. *I would like to note that Lookalike audience segments will only be available for Demand Gen campaigns. 

What’s Else Is Available with Demand Gen?

Demand Gen campaigns will also now offer an updated and more comprehensive workflow, with new ad previews. Google has made it even easier to see how your ads will work, before setting them live. This will be more than helpful for advertisers everywhere, as it will allow for greater flexibility in sending out previews, internally and externally.

With Demand Gen campaigns, advertisers now also have the ability to optimize their campaigns towards website visits and actions. Through automation, the maximize clicks bidding strategy will help maximize performance within specific budgets.

When Is All of This Happening?

Advertisers had the option to sign up for the Demand Gen beta, starting this past August. The Demand Gen beta will then last until the end of September. Beginning in October, access to Demand Gen campaigns will be officially available to all advertisers. All currently active Discovery campaigns will also be qualified to upgrade. In order to get started, contact your Google support team. If you do not have an active Google support team, your Discovery campaigns will be automatically upgraded by November. Please note that with all upgrades, historical data and learnings from the original Discovery campaigns will remain intact. At the beginning of 2024, automatic upgrades will start taking place for all active Discovery campaigns. With these final automatic upgrades, Discovery campaigns will be officially sunset.

Whether you are eagerly awaiting to get started in October, or are waiting until 2024, one thing is for sure – AI is coming. The introduction of Demand Gen campaigns is just the start of the AI revolution within Google ads.