Move Over Google Discovery Ads, Get Ready For Demand Gen Campaigns


Google confirmed that Discovery campaigns are officially being transitioned to the new Demand Gen campaign type.

Google Ads liaison Ginny Marvin announced the news via Twitter and LinkedIn on 8/15.

The ad format transition is another move towards an AI-first environment in Google Ads.

Read on to understand what Demand Gen ads are, what the transition time looks like, and what to expect.

Demand Gen Campaigns Explained

Google’s newest Demand Gen campaign type was initially debuted in June 2023 alongside Video View campaigns.

Demand Gen campaigns are powered by AI and designed to drive demand from users in the mid-funnel.

The new campaign type has several unique features unavailable in other campaign types.

Ads running in Demand Gen campaigns are designed to be more “social” in nature, amplifying top video and image assets across Google’s visual platforms. These include:

  • YouTube
  • YouTube Shorts
  • Discover
  • Gmail
Image credit:, August 2023

Advertisers can take advantage of multiple ad formats using video and image assets, all in one campaign.

  • Short-form videos
  • Carousels
  • Portraits
  • Square images

Additionally, advertisers can use first-party data within the campaigns and expand to Lookalike audiences to find new customers.

Because Demand Gen campaigns are meant to drive conversions, site traffic, and actions, multiple Smart Bidding strategies are available.

Bidding for Conversions, Conversion Value, and Maximize Clicks will be available for Demand Gen campaigns.

Discovery to Demand Gen Transition Timeline

As part of the announcement, advertisers can sign up for the beta immediately.

Advertisers approved and enrolled in the beta can start creating Demand Gen campaigns immediately.

Remember that if there are any active Discovery campaigns in an account approved for the beta, those Discovery campaigns will be automatically upgraded to Demand Gen campaigns.

Google confirmed that the upgraded Discovery campaigns will retain all historical data and learnings to optimize.

Phase 2 of the rollout starts in October 2023, when Demand Gen campaigns will be available for all advertisers. Existing Discovery campaigns will then be eligible for upgrades at that time.

Google encouraged advertisers to reach out to their dedicated Google team, if applicable, to upgrade campaigns on their behalf. If advertisers don’t have a Google representative, the existing Discovery campaigns will be automatically upgraded by November.

Phase 3 of the Demand Gen campaign rollout will conclude by March 2024. From January through March 2024, all remaining Discovery campaigns will be automatically upgraded to Demand Gen campaigns

Considerations For Advertisers

Google’s announcement left many valid questions for advertisers on particular items, including reporting, audiences, and more.

Ginny Marvin confirmed that Demand Gen campaigns won’t have placement-level reporting, but there will be standard reporting on my aspects of the campaigns, such as asset-level details.

Since there’s more inventory on Demand Gen campaigns than Discovery campaigns, advertisers need to note when campaigns are migrated. Metrics reported in Discovery campaigns may seem volatile when switching to Demand Gen, especially if YouTube placements are available.

Each Google inventory placement is meant for different levels of engagement. For example, if your new Demand Gen campaigns report a stark drop in CTR compared to Discovery campaigns, don’t automatically assume the campaign isn’t working. YouTube placements typically have a much lower CTR than others, which is why accounting for context changes is crucial.

Another consideration for advertisers upgrading to Demand Gen campaigns is how creatives are being used.

Demand Gen campaigns and their associated ad formats are meant to be more visual. Use this time to plan or optimize creatives to ensure a harmonious and relevant user experience.


All advertisers can apply for the Demand Gen beta immediately.

After the beta period ends, Demand Gen campaigns will be available to all advertisers in October 2023.

This new campaign type seems to be a welcomed addition to accounts and can be helpful in both B2B and B2C verticals.

The new features and learnings fill gaps that Discovery campaigns had, such as limited Smart Bidding options – making the campaign type more difficult for smaller advertisers with fewer conversions.

As the migration and upgrade period quickly approaches, start working on an optimized visual content strategy to capture mid-funnel users effectively.

Featured Image: BestForBest/Shutterstock

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