Discovery vs Smart Campaigns: Comparison Table and when to use each one

Discovery and Smart campaigns are two of the most popular strategies for reaching consumers. Both offer unique ways to capture users' attention and convey your message, but each has its own advantages and disadvantages.

What are Discovery campaigns and what are they for?

Discovery campaigns are ads that appear in Google's personalized content feeds, such as YouTube, Gmail, and Discover.

These ads are designed to help advertisers reach consumers who are in a “discovery” mindset, actively searching for new products, services or content.

What are Smart campaigns and what are they for?

Smart campaigns are an automated advertising solution from Google that uses machine learning to optimize your ads across all Google channels.

These campaigns are designed to help advertisers maximize their return on advertising investment (ROI) by automatically adjusting bids, ads, and audiences based on performance.

Comparison Table: Discovery vs Smart




Advertising channels

Google Custom Content Feeds

All Google channels



Automated with machine learning


Reach consumers in a “discovery” mindset

Maximize ROI


Generally lower than Smart

Generally higher than Discovery



High (users can click, share, comment, etc.)



It may be more limited, but more focused

Results measurement

Clicks, impressions, conversions

Views, view duration, interactions, conversions

When to use Discovery and when to use Smart?

Choosing between Discovery and Smart will depend on your specific marketing objectives. If your goal is to reach consumers who are in a “discovery” mindset, Discovery campaigns may be the best option. On the other hand, if your goal is to maximize your ROI, Smart campaigns may be more suitable.

How to choose between Discovery and Smart?

The choice between Discovery and Smart is not always easy. It's important to consider your marketing goals, your budget, and your resources before making a decision. It can also be helpful to try both options and see which one offers the best results for your business.

Written by Moises Hamui Abadi : I am an entrepreneur, founding partner of Viceversa and SoyMacho. After leading several digital businesses and advising several other businesses; I decided to form MHA Consulting, a digital marketing consultancy dedicated to growing and enhancing digital businesses in more than 7 countries and generating more than 1,500 million pesos.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published