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What’s the Difference Between Google Display Network and Programmatic Advertising?

In 2020, global programmatic ad spend reached an estimated 129 billion U.S. dollars, with spending set to surpass 150 billion by the end of 2021.

If you’ve ever used online advertising, you might have heard of people raving about programmatic advertising. And if up until now, you’ve been confused about how it is different from traditional advertising, or you want to better understand programmatic advertising vs Google Display Network, you’re in luck. In this post, we’ll break down both Google Display Network and programmatic advertising, explain their key differences, and evaluate why one is better than the other .

What Is Programmatic Advertising?

The rise of automated software has created a new form of advertising, called programmatic. Programmatic advertising leverages machines and algorithms to buy space online in order to promote brand and product display ads- something that has been difficult with conventional techniques that relied heavily on human negotiation skills as well as time-consuming, laborious tasks such as requests for proposal (RFPs), quotations, or bids, before being able to negotiate terms. This advanced technology used by advertisers means clients are now provided access to larger audiences and data related to these individuals' consumption habits, resulting in greater insight into user behavior.

It also allows advertisers to use their own purchase data to derive lookalike audiences that closely match their ideal customers.This leads to introducing your brand to more qualified audiences and better return on ad spend (ROAS).

Programmatic advertising covers all stages of the marketing funnel. Brands can capture upper-funnel audiences through awareness campaigns via Connected TV (CTV or OTT), audio, display, and native tactics. Mid-funnel consumers can be targeted through the consideration phase by using native, video and display campaigns. Programmatic can convert site visitors into loyal, repeat-customers as well.

What is Google Display Network (GDN)?

The Google Display Network is a collection of websites, videos and apps where you can run display ads. Some of the most popular websites within the GDN include YouTube, Gmail and Blogger. For DTC brands just beginning their display marketing, the GDN is a sufficient network to get in front of potential customers.

Key Differences Between GDN & Programmatic Marketing

There are four main areas where programmatic advertising outperforms the GDN:
  1. Creative control
  2. Audience reach
  3. Audience targeting
  4. Video advertising

Creative Control

Both GDN and programmatic advertising support several creative formats including videos, rich media ads, and HTML5s. However, a large number of GDN publishers do not support dynamic display, native, high impact creatives, or other rich media technology on their websites. Programmatic Demand Side Platforms (DSPs) are best for finding high quality publishers that support displaying these sorts of rich-media ads.

Audience Reach

Because programmatic advertising can capture high-funnel consumers, reach is an important KPI to measure. Programmatic advertising software can give brands access to all of the GDN’s inventory, plus inventories from other ad exchanges (such as Adscale, Rubicon project, and more). Through programmatic your brand can reach up to 95% of the internet.

Audience Targeting

The main difference between the targeting approach of GDN and programmatic ads is leveraging the data used for targeting. While the GDN is only able to use Google Search data for targeting users, programmatic allows advertisers to use third party audiences from all networks and publishers to employ more in-depth data.

Video Advertising

Both programmatic and GDN support video advertising; however GDN limits video ad placement to just YouTube. In turn, this limits the audiences you can target for your video strategy to only consumers utilizing YouTube.

It goes without saying that eCommerce brands are much more limited on the Google Display Network than on a programmatic DSP.

BVA Can Help Leverage Your Programmatic Strategy

Programmatic advertising is a better option for brands looking to capture a qualified audience that will result in a strong ROI. After all, programmatic gives you more creative control, better audience targeting capabilities, and a wider scale. But this doesn’t mean GDN is a sub-par option. If you’re on a smaller budget or are limited by your team, GDN is a great alternative with a lower barrier to entry.

Whichever you choose, the important thing is that you have a clear vision, great content, and a strong marketing strategy behind your advertising efforts. Our programmatic advertising team at BVA can help your eCommerce brand select the best advertising tactic for your business needs. Drop us a line and chat with an expert today to get started