Still using Google Ads? DV360 Is the upgrade you need

Ekin Buse Isik, June 15, 2021

Still using Google Ads? DV360 Is the upgrade you need

Google’s advertising platform has come a long way since it first launched in 2000, establishing itself as the go-to platform for advertisers and media buyers. Over the decades, Google has reorganized and evolved its products to meet the market’s changing needs better. Today, brands and agencies have the option to choose between launching campaigns on Google Ads (formerly Adwords) or through Display & Video 360 (DV360), housed under the Google Marketing Platform.

Many brands get their start with Google Ads, and it serves them well up to a certain point. But, as marketing budgets grow and media buyers are ready to expand their reach and tap into the power of advanced video capabilities and native ads, it’s time to consider making the leap to DV360.

This article will look at some of the key differences between the two advertising products that will lead to an informed decision about whether you are ready to upgrade your campaign activity beyond display and search campaigns and use a more robust solution that can better serve your brand’s needs.

Google Ads in a nutshell

Google Ads is essentially a self-service platform that allows users to purchase search and display campaigns that run across Google’s own ad network, Google Display Network (GDN), and its other products such as Gmail and YouTube. Google Ads offers a limited set of tools for display and video ad formats and basic retargeting options. It’s ideal for those who want to experiment with small budgets before expanding to larger programmatic buying options or those interested in focusing on SEM as that is Google Ad’s biggest strength.

Google’s Display & Video 360 at a glance

DV360 is the world’s largest programmatic demand-side platform (DSP). It is an agency-grade media management platform offering agencies and brands access to GDN and a broader range of external, premium inventory with the option to buy directly from publishers. A suite of advanced tools and the ability to utilize first party-and third-party data helps advertisers maximize effectiveness and performance to improve their return on investment (ROI). In addition to the ad choice on Google Ads, DV360 includes audio ads, CVT/OTT, video ads, native ads, and more.

Now, let’s dig a little deeper into how Google Ads compares to DV360.


Google’s products are certainly some of the most popular worldwide. Chrome has a market share of almost 70%, Gmail has more than 1.5 billion active users, and YouTube has over 1.9 billion active users each month.

General estimates state that ads run on GDN reach about 48% of the internet, which is impressive but leaves room for improvement when scale and reach are the goals.

DV360 is integrated with 90 ad exchanges and approximately one billion websites, allowing advertisers to reach 90% of the internet. DV360 guarantees media buyers will find the right users across more channels and serve their ads alongside the most relevant content by using contextual keywords. Display & Video 360 enables advertisers to use much more precise targeting, such as limiting the operating system or browser. Additionally, media buyers can create PGs through the Marketplace to reach out to publishers directly and negotiate premium deals while inside DV360.

Video Capabilities

Video campaigns represent a massive opportunity for brands as 69% of consumers prefer to learn about new products through video, and 85% of people would like more video content from brands.

Google Ads allows you to purchase YouTube ads and serve video ads on Google video partner publisher sites. DV360 also offers access to YouTube ads, but media buyers can also expand beyond YouTube and tap into the video inventory from more than 35 video exchanges and premium video spots across other websites. DV360 users also have the ability to set one frequency cap for all media sources as well as the option to extend their reach further and purchase programmatic TV ads.

Native Ads

Native ads are one of the top-performing ad formats. Users are two times more likely to click on native ads than banner ads, and native ads are more effective at increasing brand awareness. While Google Ads offers text, image, rich media, and video ads, the only native ad option currently is through Gmail. However, media buyers can take advantage of the benefits of native ads through DV360, which offers programmatic native ads in three formats: content ads, app install ads, and video ads.

Should you choose DV360 over Google Ads?

When deciding between Google Ads and Display & Video 360, you need to consider budget versus capabilities. Google Ads is best for those with smaller budgets and brands that are happy to launch campaigns in limited formats.

If you’re a media buyer with a larger budget and are interested in scaling campaigns, extending reach across more premium sites, having more control over campaigns, and leveraging higher-performing ad formats, nothing can compare to DV360’s enterprise approach to advertising.

Ready to launch more efficient and effective media campaigns with DV360 but need help getting started? contact us now