Google Platform Update: Upgrade from Discovery Ads to Demand Gen

September 19, 2023

5 minute read

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Google recently announced its plan to upgrade their existing Discovery ads campaign offering to Demand Gen. Google introduced Demand Gen in June, a new-AI powered campaign designed to multiply your creativity even further, and drive demand. As Google’s Marketing ecosystem evolves, Google continues to transform their products to better acclimate to the AI shift we are seeing industry wide.

Demand Gen drives conversions, site visits, and actions (like sign-ups and add-to-carts), across YouTube, including Shorts, Discover and Gmail.

Demand Gen is currently in beta where you can now sign-up to access its new features. Any current active Discovery campaigns will be automatically upgraded to Demand Gen after you enroll in the beta without disruption. Starting in October, Discovery ads will be eligible to upgrade to Demand Gen for all advertisers.


Demand Gen allows you to find and convert consumers with immersive, relevant, and visual creatives that grab attention and driver conversions in the right moment. Demand Gen combines Google and YouTube touchpoints to grab attention and spur action.

demand generation placement screenshots on phone

According to a Google/Ipsos survey, 1 in 3 consumers say they have purchased something on Google feeds (like Discover and Gmail), that they were not originally shopping for. While 86% of Gen Z users agree that YouTube helps them discover new products they are interested in. With the behaviors of consumers continuing to evolve, Demand Gen campaigns offer a suite of new features designed especially for the needs of today’s marketers.

Demand Gen’s new features include:

  • In addition to showing ads on YouTube Home, Search and Watch feeds, Discover and Gmail, you can now expand your reach on YouTube Shorts and In-Stream.
  • Use multiple assets in one single campaign – engage audiences in a variety of ad formats including short form videos, carousels, portraits, and square images.
  • Use the new ad creation workflow so you can see your ad across surfaces. You can also optimize your placements using A/B experimentation.
  • If you want to drive traffic, you can choose to optimize for site visits and actions using a max click bidding strategy.
  • Audience wise, you can find more potential customers with lookalike segments using first party data.
  • Brand, Search and Conversion Lift studies will be available.


  • Today you can sign-up for the Demand Gen beta to upgrade your Discovery campaigns.
    • Once your account is enrolled into the beta, you will be able to create new Demand Gen campaigns.
    • If you currently have active Discovery campaigns, it will automatically be upgraded to Demand Gen after you enroll in the beta without disruption.
    • Once you upgrade, all historical data and learnings from your Discovery campaigns will be carried over to your new Demand Gen campaigns.
  • Starting in October, Demand Gen will be available to all advertisers. You will need to contact your Google rep to get this process started. If you do not have a rep, your Discovery campaigns will be upgraded starting in November.
  • From January-March 2024, all remaining Discovery campaigns will be automatically upgraded to Demand Gen.


In terms of next steps, accounts that are currently running Discovery campaign initiatives, we recommend preliminary conversations to discuss key milestones and a plan for moving forward, including timing, new assets, goal revisions, etc., needed to help support the upgrade.

In the coming months, Google plans to share more resources and best practices to help support the upgrade process. This update following Performance Max showcases Google’s continued push on the importance of utilizing various placement opportunities and a strong creative asset library for optimal campaign performance.

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