Google Display Network vs. DV360: Which is Best?

GDN and DV360: Are they really the same? 

When speaking to clients about programmatic efforts, we often run into questions like:

  • What’s the difference between GDN and DV360?
  • Why should I be willing to pay extra for DV360 access?
  • What value does this bring?
  • Aren’t they technically the same platform since both are Google-owned?

Although both are great tools to drive your business growth, there are some significant key differences between the two.

What is the Google Display Network? 

The Google Display Network, also known as GDN, is Google’s own advertising network of sites where advertisers can show their ads. Google allows advertisers to target ad placements based on topics, placements, in-market, affinity, keywords, remarketing lists, and customer lists. It’s important to continue to watch the evolution of 3rd party cookie deprecation & the implications of that on your targeting capabilities. 

What is Display & Video 360?

Display & Video 360, also known as DV360, is a Demand Side Platform (or DSP) used to buy media Programmatically (see more about Programmatic media in our guide: Programmatic 101: How It Works).

DV360 is an aggregation of multiple ad exchanges (50+), including the Google Display Network. It allows for further optimization based on inventory type, rather than solely relying on the Google Display Network.

Although you can target users the same way you can on the GDN, you also have the ability to overlay 3rd party segments

DV360 also directly integrates with Google’s other tools such as Google Analytics 360 (GA360), Campaign Manager 360 (CM360) and Search Ads 360 (SA360) for a greater view into marketing performance. By utilizing CM360, which prevents cookie overlap, we are able to garner greater insight by conversion path into where our marketing dollars should be integrated into.

What’s the Difference Between DV360 and GDN? 

While at the surface level it may seem like both platforms are similar considering they are under the Google “hat”, there are many capabilities that show DV360 is typically superior to GDN (keeping your client’s goals and budget in mind). I’ve broken out the few that I feel are the major differences between both platforms.  

Why Choose DV360 Over GDN?

Overall, DV360 is basically an amplified Google Display Network, with better scale, stronger campaign setups, additional layers to keep your brand safe, and better management/insights. The ability it has to integrate across a myriad of your marketing channels offers the ability to gain better and more impactful results to more efficiently divvy out your media dollars. 

So how to decide if DV360 is the best choice or GDN is sufficient in working toward your client’s marketing goals? Here’s our take:

  • GDN is best for advertisers with smaller budgets. It’s likely that the GDN’s capabilities are sufficient - this is why it’s important to keep your client’s end goal in mind.
  • If you have a larger budget and are looking for more scale, control, and more strategic options to expand your presence across the web ecosystem, then DV360 enterprise solution might be the best option for you.

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