Google Display Network vs. Google DoubleClick

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Both Google AdWords and DoubleClick Bid Manager are advertising platforms run by Google that allow advertisers to place display ads on third-party websites across the Internet using a variety of targeting options to reach users that are most likely to be interested in their products or services. Both allow for highly refined contextual, demographic, geographic, and psychographic targeting to maximize the effectiveness of an advertiser’s campaign. However, there are some differences between these platforms, and choosing which one to use for your business is ultimately a matter of your business’ needs and budget.

One of the main differences between Google AdWords and DoubleClick Bid Manager is the list of potential ad networks that advertisers can target. Both platforms are able to place display ads on the Google Display Network, which is the industry’s largest online ad network with over two million websites that reach over 90% of users on the Internet. In addition to the Google Display Network, DoubleClick Bid Manager also has access to the DoubleClick Ad Exchange, which incorporates over 80 additional networks of third-party websites. Google AdWords does not have access to these networks.

Unlike Google AdWords, DoubleClick Bid Manager uses a Programmatic Direct ad buying process. Programmatic advertising essentially involves the sale, purchase and placement of display ads in a real-time bidding process completed by computer algorithms. The use of DoubleClick Ad Exchange’s Programmatic Direct has experienced rapid growth, and in 2016, the number of programmatic ads on DoubleClick Ad Exchange more than tripled. According to Google, DoubleClick Ad Exchange’s use of Programmatic Direct allows advertisers to “use real-time data to reach the right people in the right moments in brand-safe publisher environments.” Programmatic Direct is an efficient ad buying process that ensures advertisers get the best possible price for every display space they purchase.

Advertisers using Google AdWords are also able to use automated bidding processes, but the targeting options and reach are less extensive, and the results of a campaign are updated approximately every two hours instead of in real-time, essentially offering a “Programmatic-Lite” version of what DoubleClick does.

So, which Google platform should your business spend its display advertising dollars on? If you are a small business that does not have a large advertising budget, the Google Display Network with Google AdWords is probably the best option for you. It is a more affordable option than DoubleClick Bid Manager, and even though it doesn’t have as large of a reach as DoubleClick Ad Exchange, your ads will still reach many people. If you are a large business that has advertising dollars to spare, then DoubleClick Ad Exchange is the way to go. Programmatic advertising will save your business a ton of time and maximize the ROI of your ad budget.


  1. Jacob on 03/25/2019 at 7:27 PM

    Where do you sign up for Doubleclick, or do you always need an account manager?

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