New Year Resolutions: 7 Tips for Avoiding Common DV360 Mistakes

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2021 is behind us, so lets’ cast away any missteps of the past and hold fast to the lessons learned in the process. 2022 is a new year with new possibilities, and this post is here to help. Below are seven ways you can avoid common Display & Video 360 (DV360) mistakes this year.

1) QA and Check Alignment on Campaign Details

Reddit is filled with war stories of ad tech veterans now able to laugh off their worst mistakes. I have my own, we all do, and that’s why a campaign QA is so important. QA’ing a campaign for alignment on the agreed-upon best practices and campaign details is the first and easiest update to make to your 2022 process. There are cities with similar names, easily forgettable settings, currencies with different punctuation, and DSPs with different engineers to name features and code functions. Below are a few areas to include in your QA:

  • Is there geotargeting on the Line Item? And is it the correct geotargeting?
  • Is the budget accurate? 
  • Are the flight dates right? 
  • Is the pacing set to Even or Ahead instead of ASAP?
  • Is the audience attached? Is it the correct audience? Is it correctly targeted or excluded?
  • Are the correct creatives attached?
  • Is the needed targeting applied at the Line Item and not only at the Insertion Order?

2) Target New Exchanges on Deals + Exchanges

Next up is the most common error I come across in DV360 when using Deal IDs. Deal IDs are typically used when specific inventory with a supply source is desired. To ensure this is the only inventory targeted on a Line Item, buyers need to deselect “Target New Exchanges” and all other exchanges. 

New inventory is frequently added to DV360, and if “Target New Exchanges” is selected, your Line Item can go from only targeting the deal to targeting the deal and the full open auction inventory available with a new exchange source.

Public inventory controls are completely separate from private deals, which causes a Line Item to spend on both the Deal ID and open auction exchange inventory when both settings are chosen. In some scenarios, the Line Item spends virtually nothing on the Deal ID because the open auction has more inventory and lower CPMs. 

How to unselect targeting new exchanges in DV360

3) Automated Bidding Strategies

Automated bidding strategies are fantastic solutions in the right scenarios. They can drive strong outcomes, but buyers should be aware of the right and wrong times to use them. 

The second most common error set-up with Deal IDs is applying an automated bidding strategy on a Line Item only targeting Deal IDs. Deal IDs have floor or fixed CPM bids so an automated bidding strategy can cause under-delivery, missed bidding opportunities and an inability to bid. There is a setting to “Apply advertiser floor price for targeted deals” that helps, but it is still a best practice to set Deal IDs Line Items with a fixed bid 25% higher than the floor price or identical to the fixed bid.

Open auction Line Items have an immense amount of inventory opportunities making them instrumental in digital media campaigns. Automated bidding strategies use machine learning on these Line Items to eliminate waste by bidding according to an impression’s likelihood of driving a desired action. Implementing automated bidding strategies means complete bidding control is given to DV360. A side effect of this control is your Line Items having much lower eCPMs than budgeted and much higher ad serving bills than planned.

Bonus: It is important to note that automated bidding strategies make informed decisions according to bids and budgets, but there are so many other optimization opportunities in a programmatic buy, so you should still make manual changes on a regular basis.

4) Channel Lists

Channel Lists are a quick way to target or exclude apps and URLs. Adswerve curates channel blocklists for our clients according to their content classification (i.e. Severe) and average KPI performance. All campaigns can benefit from excluding the Content Blocklist but the KPI blocklists should only be considered according to the KPI in the list’s naming convention. For example, only campaigns with a Viewability KPI should exclude the “Viewability KPI” list. Oftentimes, I see campaigns excluding all five blocklists, which will unnecessarily exclude quality inventory and potentially cause a loss of performance.

Additionally, these lists are comprised of URLs that have historically performed poorly toward the KPI (i.e. a CTR of .01% and VCR of 20%) so think of them as a pre-bid, pre-launch performance blocklist that will help your Line Items start off on the right track. Some clients have added these lists to block too good of performance, like a 6% CTR, but the nature of these lists was not developed to offset those concerns. These lists are determined by their low performance and will only exacerbate a campaign’s average KPI if you append them.

Pro-Tip: There are many times that popular websites like appear on the CTR blocklist given its continually low CTR performance and high amount of volume, so don’t apply any channel lists when targeting a Deal ID. There is a chance the inventory you are attempting to target is on the Adswerve curated performance blocklist and the Line Item will not spend.

5) YouTube Targeting at IO

YouTube is a powerful but nuanced inventory supply. It is different from all other Line Item types in DV360 in just about every way. The most important difference is that it lives under an Insertion Order but is only connected to it for budget and pacing. All other settings do not apply to YouTube Line Items and Ad Groups. This means all targeting applied to an Insertion Order, like geotargeting and audiences, are not carried over into a YouTube Line Item or Ad Group. Avoid spending dollars where you don’t want to be and ensure your YouTube Line Items and Ad Groups include all necessary targeting. If you can’t find it, it likely isn’t compatible with YouTube and an alternative should be explored.

6) IO and LI Rates

Many mistakes come from budgets being spent where they weren’t supposed to. Outside of inventory, another way for this to happen is to have the incorrect Media Fee rate applied to DV360 Line Items. The Media Fee rate can cause issues when it is too high so not enough media spend was delivered or is too low and too much was allocated to media spend and not enough was saved to pay invoices. Take a moment and double-check that the Media Fee rates on your Insertion Orders and Line Items match your contracted rates.

7) Ad Serving and Tracking

Ensure your Campaign Manager 360 (CM360) click and impression trackers are put in their respective places when using them in DV360! It is easy to accidentally put the click tracker in the impression tracker space and vice versa, leading to costly invoices. YouTube has updated its workflow allowing you to append both at once when the CM360 placement tag is selected, but in all other scenarios where you need to place the impression tag in one area and click tracker in another, double-check that they are placed correctly. This can be added to a QA checklist!

Similarly, if you use CM360, constantly watch your DV360’s eCPM to make sure you aren’t spending more in ad serving than accounted for. If you budgeted for a $4.00 CPM on DV360 media and you actually resulted in a $2.00 CPM and spent the budget in full then you will have delivered 2x the impressions than estimated. This would result in a CM360 ad serving bill that is 2x what was planned for and there may not be enough funds set aside to cover the cost. 

Note: This is especially important if implementing DV360 automated bidding strategies since you will not have control over the bids and eCPM.

I hope these seven tips helped jumpstart ideas and plans for your media processes this year. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out. We’re happy to help!