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Google Display & Video 360: Campaign and Bid Optimization Tips

Demand-side platforms are gradually taking over from conventional advertising platforms like Google Ads.

Google Display and Video 360 (DV360) is one of the most advanced programmatic advertising platforms on the market today. Its extensive audience lists allow for in-depth targeting compared to classic keyword targeting in Google Ads.

According to Bounteous, DV360 reaches over 80 ad exchange networks and displays ads on over 90% of the Internet. Additionally, an extensive network of partner companies that exchange data with Google, such as BlueKai, LiveRamp, and Eyeota, help to make your ads more personalized and target the relevant audiences.

However, with this big opportunity comes the requirement to analyze the gathered marketing performance metrics.

In this article, we’ll review the most effective campaign optimization methods, the most powerful bidding strategies, and the best ways to analyze your acquired data. Our featured expert will even share line item optimization tips from his own experience. Let’s roll!

DV360 bidding strategies

Automated bidding based on machine-learning algorithms is another feature that makes DV360 stand out. The platform automatically adjusts bids depending on the probability of the impression generating a click or resulting in a conversion. Essentially, if the historical data shows that a particular impression is more likely to generate a conversion, DV360 puts in a higher bid for it.

Depending on the objective of your ad campaign, you may use different bidding strategies.

Generating clicks/conversions

Conversions are the most important factor for marketers when creating an ad campaign. If that’s the objective of your campaign, there are two high-performing strategies you can use.

Maximize clicks/conversions while spending the total ad budget

This strategy optimizes your campaign for the best performance, depending on your main KPI. It’s also a great option for gathering data if you don’t have enough insights to make informed decisions about your future campaign.

Maximize conversions/clicks while prioritizing the desired CPA/CPC

This approach focuses on achieving or surpassing a certain objective, meaning that your budget may not be fully exhausted. This is the best bidding strategy if you want to keep your ad spend within certain limits.

However, this strategy requires a large amount of data to reach audiences interested in your offer. So, if you don’t have enough data to base your campaign on, it’s better to look at the previous strategy.

Improving brand awareness

Google Display and Video 360 is also a great tool to increase your share of voice and ramp up brand awareness. Since the tool can advertise your brand to different audiences, you can significantly increase your reach.

Here are some of the best bidding strategies to improve brand awareness.

Optimize impressions for CPM

With this strategy, Display and Video 360 adjusts your bid depending on the probability that your ad will be viewed. This is the most effective option to gain more brand awareness since the platform shows your ads to as many prospects as possible. Plus, the campaign isn’t heavily dependent on data, so you don’t need to spend additional resources on the initial research.

Maximizing impressions

This bidding strategy allows you to maximize your impressions while spending your full ad budget. You can choose between a few different types of impressions:

  • Completed in-view and audible impressions.
  • Impressions that were viewable for at least ten seconds.
  • Viewable impressions to prioritize impressions where, according to Active View, prospects viewed the display or video ad.

Completed in-view and audible is a perfect strategy if your campaign’s main focus is to ensure that videos are viewed until the end.

The other two strategies mainly focus on extending reach instead of showing full-length videos to audiences.

You can find a more detailed explanation of these and other strategies on Google’s bid optimization page.

Google Display & Video 360: Line item optimization tips

In Display & Video 360, line items bid on impressions and serve creatives to inventory sources, which is arguably one of the most critical elements for ensuring campaign success. 

“How do I organize my line items?” is a question you should ask yourself on a regular basis, especially since this is a continuous process that requires measuring, monitoring, and tweaking. Your line items structure should be used as the main lever to improve performance and meet your goals, and it should always be evolving to fit your strategy.

Jean-Benoît Nonone, the Programmatic Advertising Expert and DV360 Campaign Optimizer at Cognizant shared his experience with line item optimization. Although there is no one-size-fits-all approach to creating a line item strategy, in this section, Jean-Benoît outlines several recommended practices to consider.

DV360 account levels

To properly understand how to organize line items we must first grasp the overall hierarchy. The settings of these levels determine how ads are served within DV360. Each level plays a specific role in the process.

Starting at the top:

Partner level

Provides admin features such as time zone, billing, and contracts. Optional default targeting can be used or overwritten by the levels below.

Advertiser level

Holds assets such as creatives, first-party audience lists, and floodlight tags. The advertisers generally represent the businesses that exist underneath a single partner.

Campaign level

Serves as a framing system to group insertion orders by business goals and caps frequency. Optional default settings can be used or overwritten by the levels below.

Insertion Order level

Manages a set of line items created for a specific ad campaign goal and controls the budget, its duration, and pacing. Automated budget optimization and bidding algorithms can be applied at the Insertion Order or Line Item levels. Optional default settings can be used or overwritten by the levels below.

Line Item level

Includes elaborate bidding strategies, comprehensive targeting parameters, granular frequency caps, extensive inventory sources, advanced reporting, troubleshooting tools and more. This is where the advertiser’s assets are assigned (such as creatives, deals, audiences, floodlight tags, and custom bidding algorithms).

Ad Group level (YouTube only)

Additional layer for YouTube and partners’ line items. It removes the main Line Item level functions, such as containing assigned creatives (YouTube ads), bidding strategies, and most of the targeting settings. YouTube line items and ad groups don’t inherit default targeting from the Insertion Order, Advertiser, or Partner levels.

Types of line items

Display & Video 360 offers a variety of line items for various media acquisitions:

Note: Over-the-top line items can only be created in a TV insertion order. 

Line items structure

One recommended method or general guideline for creating new line items within a new insertion order is to make your set of line items correlate with the different stages of the customer journey or purchase funnel, which will roughly be as follows:

Awareness (see) - Upper funnel => Prospecting line items

Consideration (think) - Mid-funnel => Behavioral line items

Purchase (do) - Lower funnel => Retargeting line items

Prospecting line items 

The RON* and ROE* prospecting line items are the first ones you should run. They are used to find out which consumers and sites are receptive to your branding and marketing efforts. 

The main objective here is to broaden your reach in order to draw meaningful insights from a large data set. Because of their very wide targeting, prospecting line items will have a lot of accessible inventory, forcing lower CPM bids, costs, and presumably a lower conversion rate.

*RON (Run of Network): targeting all inventory available on an ad network.

*ROE (Run of Exchange): targeting all inventory available on an ad exchange.


  • Bid low or use an auto-bidding strategy.
  • Use moderately high-frequency caps.
  • Exclude first-party audience lists.
  • Gradually exclude inventory from low-quality sites.

Behavioral line items

Once you’ve set up your prospecting line items to understand the consumer’s behavior and general context, you should add behavioral line items that mainly use behavioral audience targeting ( first-, second- or third-party data), among other targeting parameters, to refine the audience, test creatives, and uncover similar users based on the target audience.

Take advantage of Google’s Inventory Availability report and Audience Composition report (with floodlight tags set up) to estimate the reach and performance of existing and new related audiences. You may save money by pre-analyzing your audience segments before paying for third-party audiences that could potentially be unresponsive to your marketing efforts.


  • Bid moderately and closely monitor impression loss and pacing for fine-tuning.
  • Use low daily frequency caps and closely monitor impression loss and pacing for fine-tuning.

Retargeting line items

Retargeting is the next type of line item you should generate after running the prospecting and behavioral types.

The retargeting line items serve tailored ads by leveraging floodlight tags placed on the advertiser’s website to re-engage visitors that didn’t convert as they browsed the web or used apps. While commonly used for lower-funnel strategies, retargeting line items are also effective at retaining existing consumers and creating lookalike audiences.


  • Works only with sufficient floodlight tags data (>2 weeks).
  • Place high bids.
  • Use a high-frequency cap and a short recency window for shopping cart abandonment.
  • Be careful not to retarget the same users with the same ads across marketing platforms.

Top five DV360 optimization strategies

Even though DV360 is a powerful tool, there’s no way you can achieve your desired results without properly optimized campaigns. Here are five optimization strategies that will help you get the most out of your Display and Video 360 campaigns.

1. Customer Match for audience retention

With Customer Match, you can show ads to audiences similar to your existing customers. After sharing data about your customers with Google Display and Video 360, it will show your ads to people who are similar to those customers. You can reach your known customer list across Display and Video inventory in Google Ad Manager, YouTube, and Gmail in DV360.

The audience data is based on one or more matching keys (customers’ email addresses, phone numbers, user IDs, etc.), and DV360 matches it to Google’s logged-in user base.

In recent years, the customer journey has extended, and prospects require more time to make a buying decision. That’s why it’s harder to find new audiences and capture their attention these days. 

Customer Match lets you focus on your current audiences and improve your customer retention rate. The probability of selling to an existing customer ranges from 60% to 70%, which is much higher than the probability of selling to a completely new customer.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to create a Customer Match audience

  1. Open the Campaigns tab.
  2. Switch to the Audience tab.
  3. Click on the “New Audience” button.
  4. Choose a customer match from the suggested list.
  5. Fill in the audience information.
  6. Choose the type of customer data that will form the basis of your future audience.
  7. Upload a CSV with customer data.
  8. Set up a membership duration. This defines how long a customer will stay on the audience list. We recommend setting the expiration duration to no longer than 30 days in order to keep your audience list up to date.
  9. Click “Save”. Your audience is ready to launch

2. Recency remarketing

Display and Video 360 allows you to tailor your remarketing audiences depending on how long ago they visited your website and were added to the remarketing list.

For example, you can target audiences that visited your website several days ago, a week ago, or even within the last few hours.

Why is this strategy important? Usually, historical data for remarketing is saved for between 30 and 90 days. However, customers’ preferences change far more rapidly than that. In 30 days, potential customers could have already made a purchase or found the service they were looking for.

Recency remarketing helps you catch up with audiences right after the interaction with your brand, while they’re still considering their options and have a propensity to be interested in your offer.

Here’s how you can configure recency remarketing in DV360:

  1. Open the Campaign tab.
  2. Choose one of the existing or create a new insertion order.
  3. Create a new line item or choose an existing one.
  1. Click on the “Add targeting” button in the Targeting section.
  2. Choose “Audience Lists” from the dropdown menu.
  1. Select your first-party audience.
  2. Choose the desired timeframe from the Recency dropdown menu. You can retarget customers who visited your site even just a minute ago.

If you follow these steps closely, you can easily retarget your potential customers right after their first interaction with your website.

3. Enrich your marketing strategy with YouTube and native ads

It doesn’t make sense to restrict your ads to display and pre-roll with all of the features and opportunities of Display and Video 360. Video content holds leading positions across the Internet, and marketers should learn exactly how to benefit from that. According to Wyzowl, 87% of marketers say that video content helped them increase traffic, while 86% of companies increased their number of leads with video marketing.

🚀 Learn how to precisely track eight crucial video marketing KPIs. 🚀

DV360 provides a specific feature for creating YouTube video ads called TrueView.

  • TrueView is a video ad format that charges you based on how many people view your ad. TrueView provides more value to advertisers because they only have to pay for their actual views instead of impressions.

Here’s how you can launch a video ad campaign with TrueView:

  1. Open the Campaign tab.
  2. Select a new or create an existing insertion order.
  3. Create a new line item.
  4. Select a TrueView line item.
  5. Decide on the main objective of the ad and choose an ad format.
  1. Set up targeting for the campaign.
  1. Then, create an ad group. You can add more targeting properties and set up your bid strategy here.
  1. Finally, you can create your ad based on a YouTube video.

As for the native ads, there are a couple of ways to run native ad inventory. Ultimately, it depends on the vendor you’re planning to use.

If you’re planning to base your campaign on Google’s inventory, you should first navigate to the marketplace.

Then, choose “Auction Packages” and select “Native Only by Google” from the list.

If you want to access the native inventory via third-party providers, you first have to create a new line item for display or video.

Next, remove all groups, since they aren’t suitable for native advertising.

Finally, select a public inventory from Google’s native advertising partners.

4. Private, preferred, and guaranteed deals

In Display and Video 360, deals are agreements between media buyers (advertisers or agencies) and sellers (publishers or exchanges). Depending on the type of deal, the terms and implementation may vary.

Deals allow buyers to access the inventory outside of the open marketplace and to choose which publisher they want to serve their ads to. With this strategy, marketers can get rid of price commitments and vague CPMs.

Accessing deals in DV360 is simple. 

Firstly,  navigate to the Marketplace section of the Inventory tab.

In this window, you’ll be able to browse through all of the deals available in the Campaign Manager.

To negotiate deals, you simply need to select any publisher and click the  “Request Proposal” button.

Keep in mind that you can find always-on deals in the marketplace that don’t require negotiation. You can select any available deal and assign it to your line item.

5. DV360 reporting for campaign optimization

Building audiences and launching new campaigns is only half the battle. To achieve maximum efficiency of your Display and Video 360 campaigns, you should understand how your ads perform and how they impact your business. 

DV360 reporting helps you to identify areas where you should stop spending your marketing dollars in order to minimize waste on media campaigns that aren’t working.

There are two different options that allow you to dive into the performance of your media campaigns. The first one is in-UI reporting.

1) Simple but limited: Display & Video 360’s built-in reporting tool

In-UI reporting allows you to track metrics without leaving DV360 or using any additional tools. Here are the steps required to access these performance metrics:

  1. Go to the Campaign tab.
  2. Choose any insertion order or line item from the list that you’d like to analyze.
  3. Click on the “Segment by” button.
  1. Choose any category from the dropdown menu to analyze the performance.

Even though tracking results in DV360 might seem convenient, the platform’s reporting capabilities are quite limited. It doesn’t allow for detailed visualization, and you can’t merge this data with performance metrics gathered from other platforms.

2) Comprehensive but technical: Export data through API

Google offers a DV360 reporting API for analysts who need to centralize all of their marketing insights in one place and build a holistic picture of their campaign performance.

The API allows you to extract all performance metrics from DV360 and store them in any database or data warehouse you want. However, the API configuration requires programming expertise, which is a rare skill among marketers.

3) Comprehensive but third-party: Marketing ETL

Marketing analysts often use ETL systems to overcome a lack of engineering skills.

ETL stands for Extract, Transform, Load.

Essentially, it’s the process your data has to go through before you can analyze it. First, you extract the source data from different platforms, then you transform the data into a different format, and finally, the data is loaded to a data warehouse.

Marketing ETL platforms help analysts from both brands and agencies to declutter their workflow and build a comprehensive picture of their marketing performance.

Let’s take Improvado as an example. Improvado is a revenue ETL platform that helps analysts aggregate insights from 300+ data sources in one place. Instead of messing around with an API or extracting all of the data manually, marketing specialists can set up the extraction workflow in just a few minutes and store all of the resulting insights in a data warehouse.

Extraction templates allow automatic templates to be set up for the future and for existing data sources. With this feature, agencies can configure a single template and apply it to tens of different marketing accounts. Additionally, you can use these templates for different campaigns where you need to extract similar metrics.

However, marketing platforms do not guarantee the highest level of granularity for all of the data extracted via APIs. That means duplicates, empty rows, and incorrect numbers may occur. And that’s where the transform module comes in.

Tracking the big-picture ROI of DV360 and other marketing channels

Automated marketing data transformation helps marketers turn their raw data into analysis-ready insights right in their dashboard. Analysts can execute complex SQL queries in a user-friendly, spreadsheet-like interface without knowing the SQL language itself.

Furthermore, with Improvado’s MCDM (Marketing Common Data Model), you can automatically map your data and unify disparate naming conventions. It’s often exhausting to align tens of different names for the same metric in a single report. Our MCDM gives a unified name to impressions, imps, views, and other “siblings” to stop misleading data from making it to the final report.

Improvado also normalizes a variety of metrics from different platforms. You can find the complete list of metrics in Improvado’s data dictionary.

When all of the metrics are ready, the ETL pipeline streamlines them to a data warehouse for further use. Improvado supports 15+ data warehouses, including the most popular platforms, such as Snowflake, BigQuery, Amazon S3, etc. You are free to choose any of them as you’re not limited  to a particular solution.

With all of the data merged and safely stored in a data warehouse, the last step is to load it to the visualization tool of your choice. Improvado seamlessly integrates with 18 visualization tools to supply marketing dashboards with real-time data. The platform ensures one-hour data refresh frequency, providing an up-to-date picture of your marketing performance at any moment.

You can create dashboards in the most sophisticated tools, such as Power BI, Tableau, Looker, or simply use the most popular solutions: Google Data Studio and Sheets.

Here’s an example of a Google Ads dashboard created with Improvado's data.

Track Display and Video 360 performance in real-time mode

There are numerous ways to improve the efficiency of DV360 ads, optimize bidding strategies, make campaigns generate more leads, and so on. In this article, we’ve covered just a few strategies that might be helpful during your campaign optimization process.

However, monitoring the effectiveness of your advertising efforts should be your main priority during the optimization process. A revenue ETL platform is necessary for marketers who work with large amounts of data from disparate sources.

Instead of wasting time aggregating and aligning raw numbers manually, marketers can focus on the task that really matters: uncovering valuable patterns and information in the analysis-ready dataset.

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