If you’re interested in expanding your digital marketing efforts in 2016, programmatic display is a great option to increase PPC and organic branded traffic. According to the 2016 State of PPC Survey, 33% of advertisers consider programmatic ads to be their most important PPC channel. To get more insight into what programmatic is and how programmatic display can help your clients, read this post by PPC Hero Danny Friscia.

DoubleClick Bid Manager is a Google Demand Side Platform that allows advertisers to create programmatic display campaigns and set bids and targets. By using the reporting features in DoubleClick Bid Manager, advertisers can also report efficiency of campaigns as well as gain insights to their audiences to use in their PPC efforts. Expanding to new platforms can be intimidating especially since it’s easy to grow accustomed to the interfaces we use everyday. Since DoubleClick is a Google product, the Bid Manager interface feels a little familiar.

In this article, we will go over the basics of account structure, the creative approval process, setting up pixels, and targeting options in DoubleClick Bid Manager.

Account Structure And Elements

Insertion Orders – Similar to campaigns where you set budgets, flight dates, and frequency caps.

Line Items – Think of line items as ad groups where you specify targeting, bids, and assign creative. Line item budgets can also be set but will be capped whenever the insertion order budget is met.

Creatives – Includes video, display, and native Facebook creative. We will go over the approval process below.

Pixels – Create pixels to implement on your site in order to track conversions and populate audience lists.

Audiences – Audiences are automatically generated for each pixel. DoubleClick Bid Manager audiences are different from AdWords audiences in that you cannot include or exclude certain pages based on text in the URLs. This is why pixels are so important.

Channels – These are similar to AdWords managed placements. To make sure your creative is in the auction for certain websites, create a new channel containing the URLs you want to target.

Creative Approval Process


Like mentioned earlier, you can upload video, display, or native creative in DoubleClick Bid Manager. Once you have a DoubleClick account, you can visit this guide to creative before uploading for approval. Be sure to assign your new creative to an enabled campaign with a flight date for whenever you’d like to launch. If the insertion order or line item is not active, the ads will not go through the approval process. The ads are first put through the DoubleClick automated approval process, which can take several hours depending on how many ads are uploaded.


Next, the ads go through a manual review. The manual review stage includes an internal and external review, which is the approval process across ad exchanges. Common rejections are due to forbidden products, sensitive content, poor quality or non-compliant ads, incorrect dimensions, and landing page errors. Since there are multiple steps in the approval process, you should upload creative at least a few days before the desired launch date to avoid any delays.

Creating Pixels

To build audience lists or track conversions in DoubleClick Bid Manager, you must create pixels and implement them on your site. For example, let’s say you’re interested in creating an audience based on users who have visited your blog content. In order to do so, go to the pixel option in the interface and click “New Pixel” and name it so it’s easy to identify which pages the pixel should be applied to. Be sure the “enable this pixel for remarketing” box is checked. You should always select this option since all pixels support conversion tracking.

As you can see in the below image, Google Tag Manager configuration is available in DoubleClick Bid Manager. Since different pixels are needed on each type of page you’d like to use for audience building or conversion tracking, having GTM configuration allows Account Managers to send codes and instructions for implementation to development teams.


Targeting Options

Below are all the targeting options for DoubleClick Bid Manager line items.

Inventory Source – Include either specific or all available ad exchanges.

Brand Safety – Target based on digital content labels and block sites with sensitive content to protect your brand.

Apps & URLs – You can choose to target (or blacklist) sites included in your custom channel lists as well as use DoubleClick channels.

Keywords – Include and exclude keywords for contextual targeting.

Categories – Include categories from the dropdown.

Environment – Display environments include desktop web, mobile web, mobile app, mobile app interstitial, and desktop web on mobile.

Viewability – Specify your preferences for included and excluded ad positions. DoubleClick warns that not all publishers provide ad position so it’s best to use this as a layered targeting option.

Audience Lists – Implement remarketing using audience list targeting within line items. You also have the option to exclude audience lists here.

You are also able to layer the typical language, day and time, demographics, device, carrier, browser, and geotargeting options in DoubleClick Bid Manager.


While there are many demand-side platforms to choose from, the DoubleClick Bid Manager’s similarity to the AdWords interface makes it a good option. Unfortunately, to access most of the Google-provided DoubleClick Bid Manager training materials and webinars, you must be signed into a DoubleClick account. Visit the DoubleClick website to get started and learn more about additional solutions.

For more advertising alternatives, visit 10 Alternatives To Google AdWords!