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    GDN vs DV360: Choosing The Display Media Platform That’s Right For You


    Google Display Network; is the world’s largest ad network. It combines the vastness of the internet with incredible targeting capabilities.

    DV360; is Google’s programmatic ad platform that allows you to buy display, video, and native ads on an impression-by-impression basis.

    The big question is; which one should you use in the battle between GDN vs DV360?

    The answer, as with most things in paid media, is that it depends. People love Google Display Network because it’s easy to use and offers many features and targeting options. However, DV360 has some advantages, too; it gives you more control over where your ads are shown and offer more transparency into the auction process.

    So, which one should you choose in the GDN vs DV360 battle? Let’s dive into the wild world of Google Display Network vs DV360 and figure it out. 

    GDN vs DV360: Choosing The Display Media Platform That’s Right For You

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    What is Google Display Network? 

    Google Display Network is the world’s largest ad network. The versatility and targeting capabilities of GDN are unrivaled. This ad network allows you to run display ads on the almighty Google inventory, while also giving you access to millions of websites and apps that partner with Google.

    GDN is perfect for both brand awareness and direct response campaigns. The network offers a wide range of ad formats, including static image ads, animated image ads, video ads, and more. GDN also gives you the ability to target your ideal customer with laser precision; you can target by interests, demographics, topics, and even custom affinity audiences.

    Affinity audiences are GDN’s secret sauce; they allow you to target people based on their past behaviors and interests. For example, you can target an affinity audience of people who have visited your website in the past 30 days or people who have shown an interest in outdoor activities.

    The possibilities are endless with GDN, which is why it’s one of the most popular ad platforms in the world. Let’s break down what we’ve learned so far.

    You can target people in GDN in a variety of ways, including:

    • Keywords: Target people based on the keywords they’ve typed into Google.
    • Topics: Target people based on the topics they’re interested in.
    • Placements: Target specific websites or apps where you want your ads to appear.
    • Remarketing: Target people who have visited your website or interacted with your app in the past.
    • Custom Affinity Audiences: Target people based on their interests, lifestyle, and demographics.
    • In-Market Audiences: Target people who are actively researching or shopping for products in your industry.
    • Life Events: Target people based on major life events, such as getting married or buying a house.

    Key Features of Google Display Network 

    The key difference between GDN and DV360 lies in the features each platform offers. GDN offers a wide range of features, including:

    Campaign-Level Conversion Tracking

    Conversion is the name of the game in paid media. GDN allows you to track conversions at the campaign level, so you can see which campaigns are performing well and which ones need to be tweaked.

    When in specific campaigns, head over to your settings tab. You’ll find the “Conversions” drop-down menu, which will show you all of the conversion events that are being tracked at the account level. By default, you’ll find that campaigns are optimized for all accounts, but you can get specific with each campaign by choosing precise conversion actions for each individual campaign.

    Now, before you start calling us about the fact that this feature isn’t just exclusive to Google Display Network campaigns, but in reality, all Google Ads campaigns… we know. However, the impact of campaign-level conversion tracking is extremely valuable in GDN campaigns because of the sheer volume of conversions that can be attributed to GDN. Hence, this feature is worth mentioning as one of GDN’s key advantages.

    Combinations Report

    The combinations report is one of GDN’s most unique features. This report allows you to see how different targeting options perform in combination with each other.

    For example, let’s say you’re running a GDN campaign, and you’re unsure whether or not to target mobile devices. You can use the combinations report to compare the performance of your mobile campaigns with your non-mobile campaigns.

    To find the combinations report, go to the “View asset details” link underneath one of your responsive ads. This should take you to the “Assets tab.” Then, on the right-hand side of the screen, you’ll see a button that says “Combinations.” When you click on that, you’ll be able to see how different targeting options perform in combination with each other.

    When doing this, it’s essential to remember that the combinations are ranked by how well they performed in terms of CTR. So, if you’re looking at the combinations report and you see that targeting mobile devices had a lower CTR than not targeting them, then that’s an indication that you shouldn’t be targeting mobile devices.

    Placement Reporting

    GDN also offers placement reporting, which is a feature that allows you to see where your ads are being served. This is valuable because it will enable you to see which websites and apps drive the most conversions.

    Placement reporting allows you to start to get really specific with your targeting by adding or excluding certain placements. For example, let’s say you notice that one of your ads is being served on a website that isn’t driving any conversions. You can then exclude that placement from your targeting and save yourself some money.

    You can find placement columns inside the Report Editor. When you have located the Report Editor, you can begin to compare the information found on placement columns with the conversions that you’re seeing.

    This valuable tool allows you to optimize your GDN campaigns in real-time and ensure that you’re only targeting placements that are driving conversions.

    Video Assets

    Stories, we all love them. And what’s a better way to tell your brand’s story than through video? GDN allows you to upload video assets and use them in your GDN campaigns. February of 2022 saw that Google began to allow video assets in GDN campaigns, and the response has been overwhelming.

    Not only does this give you more creative freedom when it comes to your GDN campaigns, but it also allows you to reach a wider audience. Video is one of the most consumed forms of content on the internet, and by utilizing video assets in GDN, you’re opening up your campaigns to a whole new world of potential customers.

    If you’re looking to upload video assets into GDN, it isn’t as easy as just uploading any video into GDN. The video must first be uploaded to YouTube, and then you can use the YouTube video in GDN. If you don’t have a YouTube channel, now might be a good time to create one.

    We can utilize GDN to remarket to people who have already interacted with our brand in some way. And the best part? The combination report we mentioned earlier will tell you which video works best depending on the number of interactions you desire. It takes the guesswork out of video GDN campaigns, allowing you to focus on other essential aspects of your business.

    What is DV360?

    DV360 is Google’s programmatic ad platform that allows you to buy display, video, and native ads on an impression-by-impression basis. DV360 gives you more control over where your ads are shown and offer more transparency into the auction process.

    DV360 allows you to access Google’s inventory, but with it, you also gain access to non-operated Google inventory via 50+ supply sources-like PubMatic and Smaato. You may target users utilizing the same strategies as GDN, with the addition of first-party and third-party data segments, in DV360.

    To target audiences, you can utilize demographic variables like age and gender along with custom Google segments, as well as third-party data. DV360 also includes a direct integration with DCM, Google’s ad server, for advertising hosting, audience visibility in user cookie overlap reporting, and audience discovery reports.

    Key Features of DV360


    DV360 is designed to help you scale your Display campaigns. With DV360, you can quickly launch and manage multiple ad campaigns across various channels, geographies, and devices. You can also customize your ad delivery schedule to ensure that your ads are delivered when your target audience is most likely to be online.

    AdX is Google’s Ad Exchange, and it’s a powerful tool that allows you to buy and sell ad space in real-time. AdX is integrated with DV360, so you can utilize both platforms to scale your Display campaigns quickly and efficiently. You won’t have to seek sites that you believe would be a good fit for your product or service since AdX will discover them for you among one of the biggest pools of publishers available.

    Audience Targeting

    With DV360, you can target users based on their interests, demographics, behaviors, and even where they are in the buyer’s journey. You can also create lookalike audiences to reach new potential customers who are similar to your current customer base.

    In addition, DV360 allows you to partner with an extensive database of data providers to build custom audiences. This allows you to target specific groups of people—like new parents or small business owners—with laser precision.

    Suppressing audience lists is often an essential part of managing ad campaigns. With DV360, you can quickly and easily suppress audiences that you don’t want to target. This helps to ensure that your ads are seen by the people who are most likely to be interested in them, allowing you to get the most bang for your advertising buck.

    End-To-End Campaign Management

    Isn’t it annoying when you have to manage multiple ad campaigns across various platforms? DV360 offers end-to-end campaign management, so you can launch and manage all of your Display campaigns from one central location. In fact, multiple teams can work together to manage a single campaign in DV360.

    This feature is handy if you’re running Display campaigns in multiple countries or languages. With DV360, you can easily duplicate your campaigns and make the necessary adjustments for each location. Five modules come together to create a cohesive campaign management system:

    • Audiences
    • Inventory
    • Insights
    • Creative
    • Campaign

    When you put all of these modules together, you get a robust analysis of your ad campaigns and a clear picture of how to optimize them for maximum results.

    When to use GDN vs DV360

    So, when should you use GDN vs DV360? Well, it depends on your objectives. Let’s take a closer look at when you should use each platform.

    When to use Google GDN

    Google Display Network ads allow you to reach potential customers while they’re browsing the internet. Whether the consumer is watching a Youtube video, checking their email, or using general search, your ad has the opportunity to be seen. In fact, Google GDN reaches 90% of global internet users. This happens across millions of websites and apps in their network.

    Google GDN is best for awareness building and top-of-the-funnel marketing objectives like brand awareness and reach. If you want to increase brand awareness or drive more traffic to your website, GDN is a great option.

    GDN is best for: 

    • Brand awareness campaigns
    • Reach campaigns
    • Remarketing campaigns
    • Site retargeting campaigns

    Here’s why you should use GDN: 

    • High-quality inventory: GDN offers inventory that other ad platforms can’t match. You may advertise on any page on the internet, and there are no limitations. You have unobstructed access to AdSense’s entire portfolio of content, as well as non-AdSense material.
    • Higher eCPM prospect: eCPM is the cost per thousand ad impressions. A higher eCPM indicates that your ads are generating more revenue. DV360’s eCPM is half that of GDN’s, making Google Display Network a better choice if you want to generate revenue from your ad campaigns.
    • Better reporting abilities: Since AdWords GDN is a part of Google, it offers insights that are unavailable on other networks. You can set up numerous reports throughout GDN to show how your ads are performing, and figure out where you need to make adjustments.
    • Granular reporting: Speaking of reporting, the granular reporting GDN offers is unrivaled. You can see not only how your ads are performing but also where they’re being placed and what type of impact they’re having. This level of detail allows you to make the necessary changes to ensure that your ad campaigns are as effective as possible.
    • Better ad delivery: The flexibility provided by GDN’s ad delivery system is unmatched. You’re able to choose between standard and accelerated delivery, as well as set a daily budget. This ensures that your ads are being seen by the people who are most likely to be interested in them.

    When to use DV360

    DV360 is a demand-side platform (DSP) that allows you to buy ad space on various websites and apps. It’s designed for performance-based marketing, so it’s best for campaigns with specific objectives, like lead generation or sales.

    If you have the expertise, DV360 can be a powerful tool. However, it’s worth noting that DV360 is not for everyone. The platform requires a certain level of knowledge and understanding in order to be used effectively.

    Here’s why you should use DV360: 

    • High-quality inventory: Not only does DV have access to better inventory than GDN, but it also incorporates a filtering mechanism that eliminates low-quality traffic.
    • Specific targeting: DV360 has less wastage, as it only targets consumers who are most likely to convert. That means you’ll receive higher quality leads that are more likely to convert into customers.
    • More reporting options: DV360 is a highly targeted platform, and as such, it provides more comprehensive reporting options. This allows you to track your campaign’s progress and make the necessary adjustments to ensure its success.
    • Flexible: DV360 is a very flexible platform when it comes to ad delivery. You’re able to deliver your ads in real-time or schedule them to be delivered at a later date through programmatic buying.
    • Cross-Device Targeting: A unique feature of DV360 is its ability to target ads across devices. This provides better reach and allows you to connect with your target audience no matter where they are.

    When weighed against each other, DV360 comes out on top if you’re targeting specific ads or if you have extensive optimization experience. With GDN, however, there’s more opportunity for high performance due to the increased flexibility over other platforms.

    DV360 is best for: 

    • Performance-based campaigns
    • Lead generation campaigns
    • Sales campaigns
    • Engagement campaigns

    Pricing of GDN vs DV360 

    Google Display Network Pricing

    GDN’s cost-per-click (CPC) is higher than DV360’s, but the overall cost of running a GDN campaign is lower. That’s because GDN offers more impressions and click-throughs than DV360.

    The average cost per click on Google Ads is:

    • $2.32 per click on Google Ads Search 
    • $0.67 per click on Google Ads Display
    • $0.54 per click on Google Ads Shopping
    • $0.1 per view on Google Ads Video

    The above prices are based on global averages from 2021, but your CPC will vary depending on your location, industry, and other factors. It could be as high as $50 or as low as $0.5, so it’s important to test what works best for your campaign.

    DV360 Pricing

    Google’s DSP, DV360, gets 13 cents of every $1 spent by an advertiser. This makes it more expensive to use than GDN, but the results are usually worth it. You can expect to pay more for clicks and conversions, but you’ll also get better quality leads.

    Training Courses Available

    Google offers a range of training courses to help you get the most out of GDN. These include: 

    • Google Ads Certification Course
    • Google Analytics Academy
    • Google Marketing Platform Fundamentals Course
    • DV360 Training and Certification Courses
    • YouTube Certified Courses

    These courses are designed to help you understand how GDN works and how to use it effectively. They cover everything from the basics of online advertising to more advanced topics like data analysis and optimization.

    DV360 also offers a range of certification courses, which are designed to help you become a certified DV360 user. These courses cover topics such as campaign setup, targeting, and reporting.

    When you sign up for Google Marketing Platform Academy, you’ll gain access to the Display & Video 360 Livestream series. The team at Google will take you through the basics of Display and Video 360 and show you how to set up and run successful campaigns in the ever-changing world of online advertising.

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    Google Display Network vs DV360: Which is the Best Platform For You?

    The answer to this question depends on your specific needs and objectives. If you’re looking for a high-performance platform that offers more control and flexibility, GDN is the better option. However, if you’re looking for a platform that provides more comprehensive reporting and cross-device targeting, DV360 is the better choice.

    Both GDN and DV360 offer a wealth of training and support to help you get the most out of their platforms. So, if you’re unsure which one is right for you, why not try both? Experiment with different campaigns and see which platform delivers the best results for your business.

    If you need any help or guidance with setting up or running your GDN or DV360 campaigns, get in touch with the team at Adcore, we’re always happy to help! What are your thoughts on GDN vs DV360?

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