Buying a Display Campaign through Google – The differences in Display & Video 360 and Google Ads?


Google offers advertisers two ways of running display activity – through the Google Display Network (GDN), purchased through Google Ads (formerly Adwords) and programmatically using Display & Video 360 (formerly DoubleClick Bid Manager) platform of the Google Marketing Platform, which is often used with the Campaign Manager (CM) platform. While Google Ads and both platforms of the Google Marketing Platform allow you to buy display campaigns, they have a lot of different features. The purpose of this post is to open up the differences between the two so you can evaluate which one better fits your needs.

Google Ads allows purchased display campaigns to only run on Google’s own services, such as YouTube or Gmail, in addition to the Google Display Network. It’s the best option for small and medium-sized advertisers who do not want to invest heavily in programmatic display advertising.  Video & Display 360 is a demand side platform (DSP), which allows the programmatic buying of advertising with a wider variety of settings, and selection of sites, placements and ad formats.

Here are a few things about how systems differ:

Reach – DV360 is superior when it comes to reach as it has access to several exchanges whilst the GDN is limited to just the Google AdSense network. With DV360, you can reach more users across a wider range of sites which means that you can ensure you are appearing on the most relevant content and reach more visitors who meet your targeting criteria.

Third party data – There are a lot of third party providers accessible via DV360 which enables you to drill down your audience targeting. Google Ads only offers Google’s own targeting data.

Creative options – Creative options vary across the two platforms as the Google Ads allows both text, image and video ads. DBM does not offer the capability for text ads as it solely works with image, rich media and video ads. DV360 allows for dynamic remarketing and/or prospecting using either customisable XML or Google Doc feeds so that you can tailor your messaging, image and ensure you are showing the most up-to-date product information from your website. If you do use Google Ads, do not despair, you are able to integrate your Google Merchant Center shopping feed into your dynamic creatives, although unfortunately you can’t make use of everything that dynamic creatives have to offer.

Deals – DV360 offers the ability to create deals with publishers. These can allow the advertiser, for example, to access lower or fixed ad display prices, to pre-purchase before the general auction, or to access ad inventory that is not sold at all in the open auction. Google Ads can’t take advantage of deals – even with publishers using the Google Display Network (GDN).

Bidding Options – DV360 provides more algorithmic automated machine buying capabilities than Google Ads. In addition, you can independently optimize your manual purchases more widely than with Google Ads. Automatic bidding automatically adjusts your bid based on your set performance goals. It is based on Google’s [top secret] algorithms, which help you reduce manual optimization work and thus improve your time management.

Video Exchanges – Both Google Ads and DV360 allow you to purchase video ads on YouTube. Possible formats when purchasing through Google Ads are in-stream, in-search and in-display. DV360 has in-stream and in-display formats. In addition to YouTube, DV360 allows you to purchase video inventory from over 35 ad auctions at affordable CPM prices and a larger selection of premium sites.

Targeting Opportunities – DV360 allows you to target your campaigns more extensively than Google Ads. One of the most useful additional options is to determine what percentage of the ad impressions should be displayed to page visitors. Without targeting, there is no guarantee that an ad will ever be shown to a visitor, but can load at the bottom of the site, which the visitor will never navigate to, and yet is counted as an ad impression in ad management systems. This cannot be controlled and analyzed by Google Ads, even from reports.

Data Management Platform (DMP) Integration – For those who want to be one step ahead in targeting opportunities, the Google Marketing Platform Campaign Manager & Display & Video 360 provide DMP integration. DMP enables you to combine your own first-party and third party into customized audiences. These audiences can help you get more targeted campaigns and therefore better results.

Relevant Advertising Management Specialists will be happy to assist you when you need help choosing, implementing, or operating systems. Read more about our advertiser services here.

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