Google Display Network vs. Programmatic Advertising

Google Display Network vs Programmatic Advertising

Talking about the differences between Google Display Network (GDN) and Programmatic advertising, many people still think they are similar to each other. GDN is done through Google Ads or known as Google Adwords which most people are familiar with.  While programmatic advertising is implemented through Display and Video 360 a or known as Double Click including other Demand Side Platforms (DSPs) which might be more complicated and have some requirements to use. Especially in Asia, Programmatic advertising is not really a big part when agencies and brands are doing media plans. They tend to spend a lot on Facebook and Google Ads. I have implemented display campaigns on both platforms before. It cannot be denied that both platforms can possibly overlap and can compete with each other because they both run display or banners on publishers. Therefore, many agencies and brands might wonder which one they should include in their media plan more. This article aims to discuss the differences between those two platforms, the benefits of both, and which platform would be suitable for each need more. 

Let’s begin with the differences between Google Display Network (GDN) and Google Display and Video 360. 

1. Inventory Availability

Inventory Availability on Programmatic Advertising
Inventory Availability on Programmatic Advertising

Google Display Network only includes AdSense and all other Google Partner sites, for instance, YouTube while Google Display and Video 360 allows you to reach all the GDN inventories including AdX, Yahoo, Rubicon, AppNexus, FBX, OpenX, Pubmatic and so on. Hence, it is easy to see that Programmatic Advertising allows you to reach wider and bigger audiences and publishers if it is what you are looking for. Moreover, if you want to run video campaigns, you can target other video websites that are not the only Youtube like GDN e.g. Over-The-Top Advertising.

2. Optimization and Advertising Features

Optimization On Programmatic Advertising
Optimization On Programmatic Advertising

Programmatic Advertising is much more advanced when it comes to optimization features. It allows you to optimize by increasing or decreasing bids based on the time the users have dropped out of the website, for instance, 1 Hour or 1 Day. This will be very effective on retargeting campaigns and will help you save more costs on the audiences that actually convert. In addition, you can also target viewability which is not available on Google Display Network. More importantly, Third-party audiences can be used through programmatic advertising while GDN will only allow you to choose in-market or affinity audiences. Third-Party Audience aims to reach audiences on a deeper and more specific scale by purchasing from Data Management Platforms. Google Display and Video 360 also has more options in media formats, such as Native, High Impact, and Audio Ads while Google Display Network has only banner ads. 

Last but not least, you can also negotiate a private deal (Premium Marketplace Publishers PMP) with particular publishers on Programmatic platforms which will guarantee you to get your targeted impressions that you aim for in specific publishers.

3. Bidding Model

Bidding on Programmatic and Google Display Network
Bidding on Programmatic and Google Display Network

One of the major differences in the bidding model between Programmatic and Google Display Network is when running display campaigns on GDN, you will be paying on clicks (CPC) only, while Programmatic will charge you on CPM (Cost per Mille). This is because Google adds some fees on each click generated on GDN. You will be finding that GDN generates more clicks because Google tends to show ads to potential users who tend to click more by showing fewer impressions while Programmatic advertising will give you more impressions and reach. Programmatic also will focus on the post-impression attribution model rather than the post-click model that GDN provides. 

Finally, it comes to which platform would you choose for running your Display or Banner campaigns.

  1. If you are working for big brands and they are looking to reach a bigger audience, definitely go for programmatic advertising. 
  2. If you have a limited budget and do not wish to spend a lot on display campaigns, Google Display Network will be the best for you because Programmatic advertising will have some platform fees. 
  3. If your optimization team is strong, Programmatic is definitely better because it has more optimization features that will allow the marketers to experiment with the strategies in order to save your media cost. 
  4. If you are looking to get more specific audiences, for instance, people who already own a particular product or people who have booked a flight to a certain place, the programmatic platform will provide you to explore the Third-Party Audience Data. 
  5. If you are focusing on the Post-Click Model then Google Display Network will be the one for you.
  6. If you want to show your ads on particular websites and get guaranteed impressions (Premium Marketplace Publishers PMP) then only programmatic offers this. 

To sum up, Google Display Network and Programmatic are totally different. Each platform has its own strengths tailored to each marketing need, therefore; the marketers need to look at their goals from running display campaigns when considering which platform to use. 


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