When To Use DSP And When To Use GDN

Website publishers have plenty of options to choose from when it comes to display media and everyone wants their reach as expansive as possible. The two most popular avenues for search engine marketers is Google Display Network (GDN). A second option exists with a Demand-side Platform (DSP), but deciding on which is the best fit for your approach can be difficult to discern. Whether you rely mainly on search for your reach or are ready to branch out into display advertising, deciding whether or not you need to focus on GDN, DSP, or some mixture of both can be a frustrating task. Here’s a brief outline highlighting the criteria that you should take into consideration before making your assessment.

an image represetnting demand side platforms connected between advertisers and publishers across the globe.


an image of the google logo and trailing display network text.
Google Display Network And Demand-Side Platforms Each Come With Advantages And Disadvantages That Need To Be Considered For Building Your Ultimate Revenue Strategy.


You no doubt have a budget in mind when it comes to your marketing. If it’s still on the conservative side of the $5,000 milestone per month, chances are you are going to get everything you need out of a GDN as DSP will typically require a minimum spend to be maintained every month. If that minimum isn’t maintained, chances are you’ll be paying a minimum fee as outlined in your contract.

Ad Messaging And Creative

Do you want the ability to create ads whenever you want using preexisting templates? Do you find plenty of success in Adwords and text-focused advertising? GDN tackles ads with a text focus better than most DSPs, while DSPs will allow you to utilize dynamic creative optimization (DCO) platforms to make ad creatives from feeds and additional sources. GDN does offer a responsive ad creation tool, but it’s less robust than you’ll find with a DSPs preferred DCO platforms, like Flite, Thunder, or Spongecell.

Analytics And Reporting

When it comes to analytics and reporting, Google has it down to a science. That’s not to say a robust DSP can’t give you the data you want in a convenient interface, GDN simply has the benefits of power and a direct appeal to implementation and management that is hard to top.

User Experience

GDN looks and feels much the same as AdWords. So, just like with its reporting tools, GDN has the appeal of an out of box solution that businesses of any size and implement and leverage without the need for substantial training.


DSPs are the winner when it comes to reach, primarily thanks to access to inventory from the DoubleClick Ad Exchange (AdX) and additional ad exchanges and supply-side platforms, such as AppNexus, PubMatic, PulsePoint, OpenX, Rubicon, and Sonobi. GDN still has 2 million sites that capture a reported 90% of internet users, according to Google, and that’s nothing to scoff at.

Beyond these two options, a third does exist in programmatic private marketplaces. These function as a publisher-direct relationship for advertisers, where inventory is guaranteed by publishers and directly sold to advertisers. GDN mimics this avenue by allowing advertisers to select particular publishers to work with.

Cost Per Click (CPC) vs Cost Per Mille (CPM)

Pricing out inventory is likely something you look at closely and you’ll want to consider whether or not you want more options when it comes to that pricing power. While GDN provides choice, you’ll ultimately be invoiced via CPC despite the platform’s algorithms using a predictive CPM approach regarding your location and frequency of ads being served.

DSPs, on the other hand, facilitate real-time bidding on CPM exchanges that apply to just about every piece of ad inventory.

Interacting With Your Data

One of the most valuable things for marketers is relevant data. By getting the proper bits and pieces together you can more effectively serve ads to the right audiences and increase your ROI. Data Management Providers (DMP) are a big component of that. Segmenting audiences and personalizing ads, DMPs are a marketer’s best friend when it comes to putting useful data to work. While neither GDN nor DSP options outdo one another in this regard, proponents of either should consider implementing these personalization practices to better target audiences serve ads.

For instance, leveraging this data with GDN will allow your ads to be served specifically to a demographic, contextual, and interest-based targeting. DSPs can offer much the same variety of targeting but is a bit more treacherous when you consider the example that DSP and GDN both operate with AdX, meaning you can effectively bid against yourself when targeting specific demographics on both platforms.

How AdMetricsPro Propels Your Revenue

There are many more concepts to introduce before you’ll be a seasoned publisher or advertiser, but our expertise in the field can turn you from a prospect into a pro in no time. We already help thousands of publishers and advertisers just like you in optimizing their approach to website monetization by leveraging multi-channel Quantum Demand™ technology, scaling without sacrificing site performance, and superior analytics and reporting that let you adopt refined efforts in real-time. Schedule your free site audit with AdMetricsPro and AMP your revenue today.

Related Posts

Leave a reply