As the largest Demand-side Platform (DSP) in the world, Display & Video 360 (DV360) has access to a wide range of inventory and buy types for marketers and advertisers, providing them with the tools they need to maximise the effectiveness and efficiency of their ad spend. While Google Ads can be an effective tool for managing your display and video campaigns, as part of the Google Marketing Platform, DV360 also provides advertisers with additional, more advanced capabilities that can be used to improve performance and drive ROI of your ad budget.

In this article, we’ll explore the key differences between running your display and video campaigns in Google Ads vs. Display & Video 360, and why transitioning from a Google Ads account to DV360 and the Google Marketing Platform can improve performance of your display and video, and drive ROI from spend.

9 key benefits of using Display & Video 360 (DV360) over Google Ads

1. Display & Video 360 (DV360) has access to more inventory

As we mentioned earlier, Display & Video 360 is the largest Demand-side Platform (DSP) in the world with access to +76 ad exchanges, including the Google Ads exchange, meaning that advertisers can buy and manage their inventory all in one place and leverage cross-channel reporting within DV360 and the Google Marketing Platform. As we explore later, it also has a range of buy and creative types that are not available in Google Ads.

“Leading companies are 1.5X as likely…to have an integrated marketing and advertising technology stack”

2. Display & Video 360 (DV360) provides advanced cross-channel reporting and audience activation through Floodlight Activities and GMP integration

Floodlight activities are the conversion tracking system of the Google Marketing Platform and provide a framework to track cross-channel campaigns across digital media, search and web. As part of an organisation’s Measurement Plan, leading organisations can use Floodlight activities to:

Build and activate audiences
Similar to transitioning your paid search from Google Ads to Search Ads 360 (SA360), you can also activate audiences in Display & Video 360 based on the Floodlight tags and Custom Floodlight Variables you set up in the Google Marketing Platform. One of the major benefits of this approach is that you can create conversions for actions taken on your site or engagement with your digital media and programmatic campaigns which match your Measurement Plan or sales funnel, allowing you to identify additional audience segments and signals to push into your ongoing digital media

Further to this, advertisers can build and activate web & app audiences from Google Analytics 360 (GA360) into DV360 and the Google Marketing Platform. Additionally, for organisations with Salesforce Marketing Cloud they can subsequently activate email & mobile audiences through the integration to Google Analytics 360 (GA360)

Track and report on conversions
Floodlight activities provide a unified, comprehensive mechanism for tracking and reporting on your digital media conversions, including specific actions taken on your site, transactions and items sold.

Importantly, if you’re looking to maximise the benefits and measurement of your DV360 inventory, it is also worth considering a Campaign Manager license to take advantage of the additional Floodlight reporting and cross-channel reports that are available in the platform.

Learn more about Floodlight activities >

3. Inform your web analytics through the native integration between Google Analytics 360 (GA360) and Display & Video 360 (DV360)

The reporting benefits are not just limited to those that have procured licenses in the media stack, organisations that also have a Google Analytics 360 (GA360) license can leverage the consolidated reporting between both platforms by linking and importing campaign and cost data from Display & Video 360 to Google Analytics 360 (GA360), allowing a complete picture of the journey once prospects have engaged with an ad from DV360 through to interactions and conversions on the website or app.

Learn more about the link between Google Analytics 360 (GA360) and Display & Video 360 (DV360) >

“Studies show us that on average...when it comes to successful brand campaigns - approximately 70% of success is driven by the creative”

4. Drive creative performance with Data-driven Creative

According to research by Google Media Lab, 70% of creative is down to creative, this highlights the importance of showing the right creative at the right time to the right person. With the use of Floodlight activities within Display & Video 360 and the Google Marketing Platform ecosystem, this also allows advertisers to use their first-party data to use as signals to power their dynamic creative.

With data-driven organisations 3x more likely to record substantial improvements in decision-making, the research is clear on the benefits of using data, particularly when applying to your creative. Importantly, DV360 provides advertisers with a range of built-in Data-driven Creative within the platform to traffick immediately, compared with more complex and customised Data-driven Creative that can be set up through Campaign Manager and Studio.

5. Display & Video 360 (DV360) provides more granular, cross-channel frequency capping

With Nielsen confirming that 5-9 times is the optimum number of exposures of digital advertising for improving overall brand lift, it is important for brands to prioritise how and when their audience are seeing ads from them.

Further to this, The Drum provides research that shows the more frequently an ad has appeared the higher the cost-per-click (CPC).

Transitioning from Google Ads to DV360 - Frequency Capping

With Display & Video 360 allowing frequency capping by the minute compared to the frequency capping by day in Google Ads, smart advertisers are using this increased granularity to ensure their ads are appearing in front of their audiences the appropriate number of times to minimise ad fatigue and maximise conversion. The integration with the rest of the Google Marketing Platform also allows you to manage frequency capping across your different digital channels and ensure that your message is getting exposure to the right people, the right number of times.

6. Leverage all the different buy types available in Display & Video 360 (DV360)

While Google Ads only has open auction buys available, Display & Video 360 allows you to have more versatility in your buying options with private auction, preferred deals, programmatic guaranteed deals, Tag-based Insertion Orders available. 

This means that regardless of the type of inventory, an advertiser can leverage the increased security and transparency provided by these different buy options over open auction.

7. Display & Video 360 (DV360) also allows for audio, rich media and Connected TV creative types

With growing use of all these mediums and increasing research backing up the results, Display & Video 360 provides access to inventory across the following:

According to IAB Australia’s Digital Audio Buying Guide, 13.8M Australians now stream audio content each month, streaming audio advertising was used by 87% of media buyers and is regularly bought by more than six out of 10 meaning it is an important medium to be part of your cross-channel advertising strategy.

Rich Media
Rich media enables users to interact with a company’s brand advertising and according to Workfront has been proven to achieve higher click-through rates than standard banner ads by up to 267%.

Connected TV
According to the latest IAB Australia Online Advertising Expenditure Report, content publishers are now more focused on Connected TV with 38% of expenditure over the past financial year. The fact that it has more recently earned 41% of expenditure, taking share from desktop (35%) and mobile (24%) in the June 2020 quarter, highlighting the growing trend of Connected TV being a place for advertisers to invest, even more so with COVID-19 and these uncertain times.

8. More detailed optimisation goals

With Display & Video 360 being a more advanced platform than Google Ads, it has a more advanced bidding capability to drive performance of your display and video campaigns. Here is a summary of the different optimisation goals available in each platform:

Transitioning from Google Ads to DV360 - Optimisation goals Google Ads
Transitioning from Google Ads to DV360 - Optimisation goals DV360

9. Display & Video 360 (DV360) integrates with 3rd party tools that improve performance

As more of an advanced option within the Google Marketing Platform, 3rd party integration allows advertisers to maximise the effectiveness and efficiency of their ads. Depending on the type of 3rd party partner, you can achieve more granular, targeting audience creation through consent-based 3rd party DMPs such as Alike Audience. Other 3rd party partners such as DoubleVerify and Integral Ad Science provide verification services which can improve how and when your ads appear, complementing how your campaigns are set up for viewability and fraud prevention within the Google Marketing Platform

Importantly, for organisations looking to achieve a multi-moment level of Brand Suitability (within the Access dimension of the Digital Marketing Maturity framework), Display & Video 360 provides an API to 3rd party verification tools to maximise the impact your display and video ads by ensuring it is appearing in front of the right audience at the right time and protecting it from Ad Fraud.

When should I use Display & Video 360 (DV360) instead of Google Ads?

As APAC’s original Google Marketing Platform Sales Partner, FiveStones has over 10 years of implementing solutions for organisations that have migrated they’re campaigns from Google Ads to Display & Video 360, and we recommend anyone with a display and video budget of at least $20,000 AUD or $10,000 USD per month depending on your market ($240,000 AUD or $120,000 USD annually), should consider moving their budget to a platform like DV360 to drive higher performance and ROI of their spend.

Case Study - How our media client used Display & Video 360 (DV360) to improve conversion rate & brand exposure


  • Reach worldwide B2B trade show audiences to improve conversion rate and uplift brand exposure


  • Use Google’s proprietary audience solutions in Display & Video 360 (DV360)
  • Leverage the seamless integration within the Google Marketing Platform between, Campaign Manager, DV360 & Studio to optimise a wide range of creatives, including Data-Driven Creative, Standard Banner and In-banner Video
  • Utilise DV360’s automated bidding & viewability targeting
  • Utilise Campaign Manager’s Attribution Reports and Display & Video 360’s Audience Performance Reports to optimise audiences
  • Use Campaign Manager performance-based creative optimisation with creative rotated based on the last 14 days of performance data


Global Sources DV360 Case Study - Results


With access to more inventory, buy types, creative types and advanced capabilities that integrate cross-channel performance within the Google Marketing Platform, Display & Video 360 (DV360) allows advertisers to effectively and efficiently buy and manage their ad inventory and report on results to drive ROI and Digital Marketing Maturity.

For more information on DV360 and why you should transition your display and video budget from Google Ads to the platform, please speak the FiveStones team today.