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Google Ads vs Display & Video 360 - TrueView Edition

Google Ads vs Display & Video 360 (DV360). A more infamous match than Mayweather vs McGregor. But, when it comes to TrueView campaigns, which one takes the TKO in the 10th round?

Google Ads and DV360 both provide advertisers the ability to access YouTube marketing inventory. However, both platforms have their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to running this format. In this blog, we will provide the details you need to decide which platform is right for you and your campaigns.


Targeting: Both platforms benefit from the wide selection of targeting methods available through Google. These include Affinity Audiences, Categories, Contextual, Placements, and Remarketing.

Reporting: The platforms also have the same reporting offering. Although they come in different formats and have varying on-site dashboards, all your metrics and KPIs will be on hand!

Functionality: When it comes down to building out your campaign, Google Ads & DV360 are both easy to use and have bulk editing functions. However, it is important to note that both platforms vary in their layouts and functionalities, so there is a learning curve if you are moving from one to another. Additionally, certain actions available in one platform might not be available in the other.

  • Example: Custom Affinities that have been built out in the same Advertiser can be shared across multiple Campaigns in DV360. However, Custom Affinities cannot be shared across accounts if they are under the same Sub-MCC in Google Ads.

DV360 Pros:

Campaign Management: Using the full DoubleClick stack, including running TrueView in DV360, allows you to plan, buy, and measure all your programmatic media in a single platform. Never underestimate the power of having your data in one place.

Cross-Exchange Brand Lift Studies: Brand Lift Surveys can be run in DV360 across all your video campaigns on the Cross-Exchange, Google Preferred, and TrueView. This allows you to compare results on and off YouTube, providing you more insights into the consumer journey.

Frequency Management: DV360 allows you to manage frequency across multiple Insertion Orders at the campaign level. Great for clients that are focused on reach! In comparison, Google Ads only allows you to set frequency caps at campaign level (the equivalent of line item level in DBM).

Google Ads Pros:

Betas: Between the two platforms, Google Ads generally receives Betas and new features first. These can sometimes take up to a year to finally filter through to DV360. Google is currently working towards trying to standardize the amount of time it takes to roll out these features. However, it is likely that Display & Video 360 will always be behind Google Ads for most updates.

Cost: A platform fee is not incurred when running activity on Google Ads, unlike DV360, meaning it is ultimately cheaper to run TrueView campaigns on Google Ads.

Openslate: If Brand Safety is a concern for your clients, you have probably heard of Openslate; a company that provides industry standard measurement of brand safety across social video. This solution was ultimately built for Google Ads but can also be used on DV360. However, when run on DV360, it dramatically slows down your page load times and can make the smallest of campaign changes into a true test of patience.

When To Use:

If you are looking to run a TrueView-only campaign for a client, Google Ads is the clear winner. You’ll have the latest Betas with the same targeting capabilities as DV360 without having to pay a platform fee. However, if you are already running activity on DV360 and would like to add TrueView activity as a supplement to your current campaigns, DV360 allows you to do so in a cohesive manner which you might not be able to do in Google Ads.

At Merkle|Periscopix, we are lucky to have Account Managers experienced at TrueView campaigns on both Google Ads and DV360. So, if you’re interested in running a TrueView campaign, we can easily work with your pre-existing campaigns and wider business goals to provide you with the best plan of action for you! For more information, please feel free to get in touch!