What Is DV360 and Is It the Right Tool for Your Business?

January 10, 2022

Display & Video 360 (DV360), formerly known as Doubleclick Bid Manager, is a programmatic enterprise-level solution for running media.

Being a part of the powerful Google stack for Marketing allows this Demand Side Platform (DSP) to naturally integrate with Studio for developing compelling creative assets, Campaign Manager (CM) for seamless ad serving, and Google Analytics for measuring success.

Google Ads (former Adwords) is a widely used platform for buying ads, does not officially fall under the Google Marketing Platform umbrella, remaining as a tool for small and mid-level businesses instead.

Even though it allows display media buying through Google Display Network (GDN), it comes with several limitations around reach, creative formats, and deal types. Learn more about the differences between DV360 and Google Ads in our comparison guide

1. Powered by data

DV360 reveals the programmatic potential of advertising. Native integration with Google Analytics 360 makes any custom segments of your first-party data available for targeting in DV360. It also offers reach expansion through automatically built look-alikes.

Apart from this, you can use Google’s rich audience data free of charge. This makes it possible for brands to not only apply demographic, income, and geo-targeting, but also to reach out to individuals who are passionate about similar products. Another unique feature is the ability to target display and video ads to users who expressed purchase intent by recently searching for competitor brands. At the same time, messaging can be personalized based on the important life events that the user is going through at a given moment.  

Targeting capabilities of DV360 expand beyond that, offering access to all types of 3rd party user lists within the platform. Audience lists from dozens of trustworthy data providers can be deterministic and probabilistic. While they come with an additional CPM fee (usually $0.50-$2.00), they also unlock limitless possibilities to reach potential customers.

2. Large selection of inventory

The reach of DV360 goes beyond Google AdSense network and offers access to a wide range of sites through several ad exchanges, including App Nexus, Rubicon, and Open X, to name a few. Another significant benefit is that the platform offers advertisers different levels of access to inventory.

Open Action is the safest option to start with – it is public inventory that is available for everyone, and sells impressions through real-time bidding to all buyers.

At the same time, advertisers have control of the websites where they show their ads. They can create private deals with individual publishers to get priority access to their impressions before the general auction.

Marketplace in Display & Video 360 is a one-stop-shop to discover inventory, negotiate, and manage your deals. The top of the screen represents country-specific recommendations to simplify your search, but you can also browse the listings and narrow it down by multi-dimensional filtering.


After defining top-performing inventory providers through testing, you can go even further and upgrade your deal to Programmatic Guaranteed (PG), a more robust way to reserve premium inventory. Unlike a direct buy, it allows you to streamline the process between two parties and avoid time-consuming tag exchanging, troubleshooting, and complex invoicing.

In addition to blocking media buying on specific websites, apps, and ad exchanges, DV360 provides advertisers with granular control over brand safety through built-in category exclusions and viewability settings. Third-party verification providers are also available in the UI at an extra cost.

3. Insights and optimizations 

Display and Video 360 helps deliver faster, smarter marketing by supplying media buyers with tools and reporting needed for successful campaign optimization. 

Bidding in DV360 is highly customizable and allows advertisers to use what works best for their business. The best practice is to activate new initiatives with fixed CPM bidding. Enabling automated bidding strategies becomes possible after there is enough data for the platform to optimize towards chosen key performance indicators, such as clicks, views, site visits, conversions, etc.

Established brands and agencies take this a step further by utilizing bid multipliers that automatically bid higher during the most efficient time of the day, geographical location, or demographic characteristic. 

Setting up custom bidding is a good option if you aim to favor one conversion over others. Machine learning can be optimized toward the most critical goals (e.g., revenue) while still taking into account micro-conversions (e.g., traffic quality metrics like pages per session or add to cart).

When it comes to reporting, a distinctive feature of DV360 is the high level of transparency on performance, enabling media buyers to analyze it from different angles and make informed decisions.

Optimization opportunities within the tool are countless to ensure that media traders have everything needed to succeed in their branding and performance campaigns. Native integration with Google Analytics 360 provides visibility over the full customer journey and enables marketers to optimize their cross-channel approach.

When is DV360 a bad idea?

While many advertisers successfully use DV360 as their top choice for programmatic media, it is not ideal for every business.

The following points explain why the latter might be the case:

1. Complexity

DV360 is a complex enterprise-level solution that requires an appropriate level of expertise and skill. While it provides advertisers with a wide variety of options to reach their marketing goals, it also comes with an added responsibility for managing the tool with relevant, up-to-date knowledge and skills.

The platform’s automated solutions are reliable, but they only account for 50% of a campaign’s success, while the other half ultimately depends on human effort. 

To make the most out of DV360, your marketing team has to learn the fundamentals of Display & Video 360 through Google trainings and acquire basic DV360 certification. We also recommend guidance and support by experienced DV360 experts while running media campaigns for the first six months.

History has witnessed the undesirable consequences of not treating DV360 seriously. This Multimillion-Dollar Oops! is an exemplary case.

2. Cost-efficiency

Integrating DV360 requires a substantial investment of time and resources. You want to make sure that it lightens your load rather than making media buying more time-consuming and draining. 

DV360 is a tool tailored for larger advertising campaigns. Being a programmatic tool, it only works well at significant scale. It also comes with additional tech fees that only add unnecessary costs that do not provide additional value on small budgets.

Therefore, based on our extensive agency experience, utilizing DV360 becomes cost-effective, starting with a minimum of $50,000 media budget per month. Investments lower than that have better chances for a higher ROI through Google Display Network instead.

3. Media Mix

With all the advantages that DV360 provides advertisers, it makes sense to consider it from the overall media strategy standpoint. In cases where a brand is buying media through multiple channels and platforms, including multiple DSPs, it makes sense to start by identifying a single source of truth and cutting inefficiencies before adding more media to the mix.

This way, platforms will not cannibalize each other by competing for the same audience. Users will have a positive experience of engaging with a brand through a consistent customer journey at an optimal frequency.

If DV360 remains a yet-untapped opportunity for your business, feel free to contact us. Our media buying experts will be happy to assist you when you need help choosing, integrating, or operating a DSP.

Get in touch with the DELVE team today to download our full Display and Video 360 feature guide.

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