Creating Demand: Transforming How Consumers Interact with Brands with Google’s New Demand Generation Campaigns

Users engage with brands across numerous channels and touch points, accessing them at their convenience and preference. This changing behavior results in purchasing decisions being made at any stage of the buyer’s journey. In response to this multifaceted network of channels and interactions, advertisers are seeking innovative methods to narrate their brand stories and captivate consumer attention.

Brands face the challenge of staying relevant and visible. The constant shift in technology contributes to a more complex and interconnected customer journey. Brands must now navigate a landscape where direct response advertising methods are no longer sufficient.

What are Demand Generation Campaigns?

In 2019, Google pioneered a significant advancement in advertising with the introduction of Discovery Ads. Now, Google is poised to roll out another game-changing solution, known as Demand Generation campaigns. Premiering  in October 2023, these campaigns use AI to drive demand across Google products and YouTube platforms, targeting users at the mid-funnel stage. They focus on reaching users who have interest but are not actively searching, leveraging push marketing within the digital organic content landscape.

The concept of Demand Generation campaigns represents a shift in advertising strategies, moving from reactive to proactive engagement with potential customers. Unlike traditional search advertising, Demand Generation aims to create a need or interest in a product or service. This approach is particularly effective in today’s digital environment where consumers are bombarded with information and choices.

Key Features of Demand Gen Campaigns

Expanded Reach

These campaigns transcend various Google and YouTube domains, including YouTube Home, Search, Watch Next, Discover, Gmail, YouTube Shorts, and YouTube In-Stream. The expanded reach of these campaigns allows advertisers to tap into a larger audience, increasing the chances of reaching potential customers who may not be actively searching but are still likely to be interested in the product or service.

Tailored Ad Experiences

 They integrate both image and video ads within a single campaign and allow for creative A/B experiments to optimize impact. This feature offers advertisers the flexibility to test different ad formats and creative strategies, enabling them to find the most effective way to engage with their audience.

Flexible Bidding Options

Demand Gen campaigns offer a range of dynamic bidding strategies, including Maximize Clicks, Target CPA, and Target ROAS, allowing for strategic campaign optimization. This flexibility in bidding strategies empowers advertisers to align their campaign objectives with their budget constraints, ensuring maximum efficiency and return on investment.

Demand Gen vs Lead Gen

Demand Generation and Lead Generation are distinct strategies in the marketing funnel. Demand Generation focuses on establishing brand presence and engaging potential customers, while Lead Generation targets and nurtures prospects who have already shown interest in the brand, converting them into leads.

The distinction between these two strategies is crucial for marketers to understand. While Demand Gen is about creating awareness and interest, Lead Gen is more about converting that interest into actionable leads. Both strategies are essential in a comprehensive marketing plan, but they serve different purposes and require different approaches.

The Power of Demand Gen Campaigns

These campaigns influence consumer behavior by leveraging the surge in video utilization during the decision-making process. With YouTube’s extensive, engaged audience, and the multi-channel dynamics of platforms like Discover and Gmail, Demand Gen campaigns effectively generate demand and fuel conversions.

Paid video content has become increasingly influential across Google and YouTube, especially with the growing popularity of YouTube Shorts. The ability to convey messages through engaging and dynamic content has proven to be highly effective in capturing consumer attention. With the integration of video ads in Demand Gen campaigns, advertisers can leverage this medium to create more impactful and memorable brand experiences.

Demand Generation (Demand Gen) campaigns in Google Ads represent a significant evolution in digital advertising. These AI-driven campaigns blend various creative and targeting options to connect businesses and consumers effectively, particularly aiming to drive demand from mid-funnel to purchase stages. They are designed to integrate high-performing image and video assets across platforms like YouTube, Discover, and Gmail..

Setting Up a Demand Gen Campaign in Google Ads

Creating a Demand Gen campaign involves a straightforward process:

  • Goals & Conversion Tracking: It’s crucial to track user actions on your website. Optimizing for true conversions or even for micro-conversions like “added to cart.” Depending on what you are optimizing for, you may want to include a product feed or not.  Product feed campaigns have slightly different creative rules but can be effective for eComm brands. 
  • Ad Groups & Targeting Options: Demand Gen campaigns offer a range of targeting options, such as demographics, interests, online behavior, and lookalike segments. Lookalike segments are especially effective, targeting new customers similar to your existing audience based on various factors, including previous purchases and engagement on platforms like YouTube. 
  • High-Quality Ad Assets: The use of high-quality logos, images, videos, headlines, and descriptions is critical. Google’s AI optimizes these assets based on performance. Supporting multiple creative formats, including images, videos, and text ads, Demand Gen campaigns require clear, concise copy and high-quality visuals. Google Ads provides specific ad type specifications to optimize content performance.

Best Practices for Google Demand Generation Campaigns

Below are some emerging best practices for the Demand Generation campaign type:

  • Conversion Health: Implement Google Ads conversion tracking tags and use Enhanced Conversions for precise and privacy-safe reporting. Tracking conversions is essential to measure the effectiveness of Demand Gen campaigns. It provides valuable insights into which aspects of the campaign are working and which need improvement.
  • Campaign Structure: Maintain stability in early stages and adjust bids and audience themes based on performance. A well-structured campaign is key to its success. It’s important to start with a solid foundation and then make data-driven adjustments to optimize performance.
  • Bidding Strategy: Use tCPA or tROAS for seasoned campaign managers, and Max Conversions bidding for new campaigns. Selecting the right bidding strategy is critical in maximizing the campaign’s effectiveness while keeping costs under control. 
  • Budget Setting:  You want to budget at least $50/day per ad group to see results.  Keep daily budgets at a minimum of 10-15 times the tCPA, if you are using tCPA. If value based bidding is installed, MaxCV and tROAS are going to be your strongest options.  Proper budget management ensures that the campaign can run effectively over a longer period, giving it enough time to yield results.
  • Creatives: Craft visually compelling content and utilize A/B experiments to optimize creatives for specific target audiences. The creative aspect of the campaign is what captures the audience’s attention. It’s crucial to design ads that are not only visually appealing but also resonate with the target audience. Pay attention to where ads show and in what placements, especially for YouTube.  
  • Audiences: Use Optimized Targeting and leverage both online and offline data for effective audience reach. Understanding and targeting the right audience is the cornerstone of any successful marketing campaign. By leveraging data, advertisers can ensure that their messages reach the most relevant and receptive audiences.

As these campaigns evolve stages over the coming months, the advertising world awaits the profound impact of AI-driven Demand Gen campaigns. These campaigns are designed to captivate consumers, inspire action, and multiply creativity, optimizing their impact in Google’s ecosystem and creating meaningful connections with audiences.