In this series, brought to you by FiveStones and our Google Marketing Platform consultants, we explore digital marketing and the GMP from different perspectives of our industry, to provide actionable insights to help you navigate these uncertain times.

How to execute campaigns in Display & Video 360 (DV360) during uncertain times

With uncertain times impacting consumer behaviour and how marketers and practitioners execute their programmatic media campaigns, we provide a practical ‘How to guide’ for Display & Video 360 (DV360) to drive your organisation’s strategy so you can stay connected with your customers and prospects.

1. Stay up-to-date with trends and use expert resources

Ensure you and your team stay up-to-date with the state of the market and what is happening ‘at the coal face’ with your customers and front line staff, monitor your campaigns closely through Display & Video 360 (DV360) & Campaign Manager (CM) reporting, so you can apply a data-driven mindset in your decision making. There are a number of resources available (including the FiveStones blog) to assist you in protecting your brand and maximising your advertising spend in Display & Video 360 (DV360) during uncertain times.

2. Forecast performance in the Display & Video 360 (DV360) Planning Tool

During uncertain times, it’s more important than ever to closely track how your campaigns are performing and expected to perform. DV360’s Planning Tool can provide this level of visibility so there is a degree of predictability in your forecasting prior to campaign spend. To add display and video products to your plan and forecast their reach:

  1. From your Advertiser, go to Inventory > Plans (in the left menu).
  2. Click New Plan.
  3. Enter the following details for your planned campaign:
        1. Campaign name
        2. Overall campaign goal
        3. Your campaign's KPI
        4. The creative types you expect to use
        5. Your campaign's planned spend (Optional)
        6. Your planned dates
  4. Click Create once you're finished in settings.
  5. Select Display & video (you can also add publisher & deal inventory or audio inventory)
  6. Select a YouTube inventory format, to forecast spend on YouTube or select an Open Auction inventory format to forecast open auction display and video inventory spend,.
  7. Select a target location.
  8. Select your flight dates.
  9. Enter your budget.
  10. Click Add Another to add additional lines for different budget and setting combinations.
  11. When finished, click Done > Save to plan and close.

Importantly, a recently added feature to the platform is ‘Plan to Execute’. This allows you to save time when creating Insertion Orders and Line Items by pushing them directly from your plan. To convert your plan to an Insertion Order and/or Line Item, select ‘Set Up’ on the Product you want to convert to open the Insertion Order and Line Item Conversion Workflow, allowing creation of up to 20 line items at once.

Speak to FiveStones about an audit of your programmatic media today >

3. Maximise your time by leveraging Automation & Alerts

There are a number of benefits for using an automated bidding strategy, however, these benefits are amplified during uncertain times. Most importantly, by leveraging an automated bidding strategy, which can be enabled from the details page of any new or existing Insertion Order or Line Item, you save time in making manual bidding adjustments and more accurately pacing your campaign budgets.

In fact, a Think With Google case study shows automated (Smart) bidding can improve campaign performance by delivering up to 89% more conversions at a 32% lower cost per conversion, with Display & Video 360 (DV360) continuously learning how to improve your Line Item’s bidding algorithm. With constantly changing market conditions, having these changes made by an algorithm will allow you to focus on ‘mission-critical’ tasks.


Within DV360, under settings > alert configuration you can set up a range of alerts to empower you with the information you need to manage your campaigns effectively and identify changes quickly if required during changing market conditions.

4. Brand suitability and Brand messaging

According to figures from Marketing Week, more than three-quarters (77%) of brands say brand safety is a key priority with 80% using a series of solutions to ensure their ads appear in brand safe environments. The graph below provides an indication of the typical tactics that brands are currently using to implement brand safety measures.


AdNews has also identified that many Australians are defaulting to traditional media channels with 56% more likely to tune into trusted news, this is on top of 78% younger Australians (18-24s) increasing time they spend watching online videos, showing their is a particular opportunity to strongly consider a more video-focused strategy.

Within DV360, under Settings > Targeting at Advertiser level, you can define your brand safety strategy that will then apply to all your insertion orders and line items. Alternatively, the following brand suitability controls, that you would have predefined (at Advertiser level), can be modified at line item level (when relevant):

  • App, URL, and Channel Exclusions
  • Sensitive Category/ Content Exclusions
  • Digital Content Labels
  • Category/ Topic exclusions
  • Keyword exclusions/ Negative keywords

Additionally, you can protect your brand during uncertain times by working with a third-party brand safety technology such as DoubleVerify, who identified in a recent study that 67% of consumers reported that they would stop using a brand product that appeared beside objectionable or fake content. Other third party verification tools which have a native integration with DV360 include Integral Ad Science and Adloox.

“Only 4% of Australians think brands should pause ads during the pandemic”

Source: How COVID-19 is reshaping Australian ad preferences, AdNews

Our tips for brand safety in uncertain times

  1.  Act early
  2. Understand the behaviour of the market and your customers during the uncertain period
  3. Leverage the Brand Safety functionality in Display & Video 360 (DV360)
  4. Use a third party ad-verification service (where appropriate)
  5. Monitor results and make adjustments over time
  6. Be ready to shift gears when there is less uncertainty in the market

Importantly, monitoring and adjusting your media message during uncertain times is also crucial. According to CMO, the majority (63 per cent) of advertisers have increased mission-based marketing (up 42 per cent), and cause-related marketing (up 41 per cent). By adjusting your messaging you will protect your brand and ensure that you continue to develop and maintain trust and authority with your customers and the market.

5. Create relevant brand experiences with custom messaging & Dynamic Creative

Given that circumstances can be unique in uncertain times, it provides unique opportunities to target your customers with Dynamic Creative. With Google announcing in January that cookies will be phased out and blocked in Chrome by 2022, many advertisers have already started leveraging the power of custom messaging through their programmatic buys.

One of the most common types of custom messaging is setting up time-based Dynamic Creative for different times of day. While usage may be dependent on your product, industry and customers, food delivery is an example of where custom messaging can be effective in the current uncertain climate.

According to a 2018 Australian Case Study of Uber Eats from Google, contextual creative resulted in a massive 190% increase in CTR and using dynamic banners resulted in a 99% reduction in manual work as well as a 4 x improvement in operational efficiency.

During the current uncertain times this opportunity has only amplified. According to Statista, many countries in APAC have increased home delivery post COVID-19 including South Korea (42%), Thailand (42%), China (37%), Hong Kong (36%), Singapore (35%), Taiwan (33%), Philippines (13%) and Indonesia (8%).

Importantly, does your organisation have budgets allocated from other marketing activities that were put on-hold or may not go ahead such as sporting event sponsorship? This is an opportunity to shift and leverage contextual targeting to reach your audience where they are currently spending their time online.

6. Target video through YouTube and Connected TV

With the recent lockdowns across the globe, it is to little surprise that usage of YouTube has surged. In particular, the platform has seen a jump in ‘authoritative’ news viewership, in fact, over 75% increase during the first three months of the year.

“78% of 18-24s have increased the amount of time they spend watching online videos”

Source: How COVID-19 is reshaping Australian ad preferences, AdNews

“Although 33% of respondents said that they go to YouTube specifically for COVID-19 content, a much larger percentage is watching a broad variety of upbeat and useful videos:

  • 48% are watching entertainment videos
  • 48% are consuming music-related content
  • 33% are checking out comedy
  • 31% are looking at do-it-yourself (DIY) videos
  • 29% are feasting on cooking-related content”

According to AdNews, there has been a 40% increase in Connected TV use and a 28% increase of significant Connect TV use. There has also been a 11% reduction in CPC and CPM for Broadcast Video on Demand (BVOD) over the recent lockdown periods in Australia.

For organisations looking to target YouTube and Connected TV as part of their strategy, it is important to review and keep an eye on CPC and CPM forecasting and reporting as you may potentially get more ‘bang for your buck’ during these uncertain times.

“35% of Australians have significantly increased the time they spend on their mobile phones, along with connected TVs (28%) and laptops (26%)”

Source: How COVID-19 is reshaping Australian ad preferences, AdNews

While current usage during lockdown periods may fluctuate as the world returns to a state of normality, video is a platform which was on the rise prior to COVID-19 and should be considered as part of your ongoing strategy and in uncertain times.


With many organisations playing conservatively during uncertain times, it’s important to recognise that it can also present major opportunities for you and your brand to actually grow, by having the right measures and rules in place within Display & Video 360 (DV360), you can also ensure your brand is protected through features such as brand safety and that you are leveraging the power of automation, alerts, the Planning Tool, contextual targeting and Dynamic Creative.

For more advice on how to execute campaigns in DV360 during uncertain times, continue to read the FiveStones blog or get in touch with the FiveStones team today.

Stay tuned for additional insights from our Data-driven Marketing in Uncertain Times series including step-by-step guides, deep-dives, practitioner tips and useful information. Feel free to contact the FiveStones team anytime to chat about the Google Marketing Platform and our services.

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