Comparing GDN vs. DV360: What’s The Right Display Media Platform

By Sam Sprague

March 24, 2021

Whether you’re just starting out as a marketer, or you’re a seasoned professional looking for a better solution to take advantage of the ever-changing digital landscape, it’s important to know all your options when it comes to Google’s platforms.

In this post, we’ll be diving into two different types of display media – GDN and DV360. We’ll go into what they are and why they might be right for your organization.

When we talk about display, we’re not talking about the actual digital display where you put ads. We’re talking about the platform that Google uses to deliver your ads and measure their performance.

There are two primary platforms that are used by Google: GDN and DV360. The difference between them is that GDN is natively integrated into AdSense while DV360 is completely reliant on another third-party service for all of its traffic data.

Why GDN?

GDN was released in the fall of 2014 with the promise of a new and improved Google Display Network.

GDN is a better platform for performance advertisers, those who have higher eCPM goals, and those who want a more fluid relationship with Google. It offers greater customization options, advanced testing capabilities, and much more.

Here’s why it’s better:

1) GDN has access to high-quality inventory that other platforms don’t offer. With GDN you can run ads on any page on the web – there are no limits. You have access to all AdSense content as well as non-AdSense content.

2) GDN has higher eCPM potential. Take a look at the screenshot below. You’ll see that the eCPM for DV360 is only $0.28, while it’s $0.33 for GDN. And GDN reaches more than 50% of the internet, where as DV360 reaches less than half:

3) GDN has better reporting capabilities and you can get more out of it if you’re an optimization pro. You can set up multiple campaigns within the AdWords interface itself. You can also set up multiple reports across different campaigns, campaign goals, ad groups, and campaigns.

4) GDN gives you more granular reporting. You have more options to report on your performance: eCPMs and view ability, for example. DV is less flexible in this way.

5) GDN has better ad delivery flexibility. You can deliver ads through a number of different delivery mechanisms: Desktop, Mobile Web Display Network (Desktop-Mobile), Mobile App Distribution Network (Mobile-Mobile), and Traditional (display) display campaigns will always be delivered using the Desktop interface in HTML format only.

Why DV360?

DV360, on the other hand, gives advertisers a more holistic traffic view of their campaign performance, which is ideal if you want to know how well your ads are performing across multiple channels.

DV360 was released in January 2015 with a focus on enhanced performance marketing and more highly targeted campaigns. It has all the features of GDN but adds some new bells and whistles that you may find helpful when it comes to performance.

Here’s why it’s better:

1) DV has access to high quality inventory that GDN doesn’t have access too. DV360 has a proprietary algorithm that filters out the low quality traffic.

2) DV is more targeted and therefore has less wastage of impressions and clicks. It also tends to give you better performance for your campaigns.

3) DV can help you out with reporting in more ways because it’s a more highly targeted platform, meaning you can utilize reports more effectively because they’re going to be much more useful. You can also use certain reporting tools that DV360 doesn’t have, such as the cost per action metric.

4) DV is more flexible in terms of ad delivery. You can deliver ads through a number of different display tactics, including: Mobile Display Network (Mobile-Mobile), Mobile App Distribution Network (Mobile-Mobile), and TrueView in-stream video (Video).

5) DV360 has a cool feature called Cross-Device Targeting. It will track your ads across multiple devices and provide better data and performance for all cross device users on your behalf. This feature is still in beta, but it’s cool nonetheless!

Overall, DV360 is better if you’re running highly targeted campaigns or if you’re an optimization pro looking to give your campaigns an edge over competitors’. However, GDN has more potential for performance and you have better flexibility over other platforms.

What Platform is Better?

Ultimately, there is no “best” platform because which one you use depends on what you’re looking for out of your campaigns. GDN tends to be a better platform for performance advertisers, while DV360 has a more enhanced feature set.

Sam Sprague Administrator
CEO & Founder , Sprague Media
Sam is the Founder & CEO of Sprague Media. He has over 10 years of experience in the Digital & Social Media Marketing world, on the agency and client-side. A Marine Veteran and Father, Sam is an avid Football and Basketball connoisseur who likes nothing better than to spend quarantine watching games!
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