DCM vs. DBM: What’s the Difference?


  • Understanding the difference between various Google marketing products has become even more confusing with Google’s recent rebranding.
  • The two products marketers don’t quite grasp entirely are DoubleClick Manager (DBM) and DoubleClick Campaign Manager (DCM).
  • DBM is a demand-side platform that automates the buying of ads programmatically.
  • An ad server, like DCM, is a piece of marketing technology used by advertisers and marketing agencies to serve digital ads and manage and report on digital marketing campaigns.
  • Together, they help marketers prove the value or ROI of their paid campaigns.

Here at Redefine Marketing Group, we enjoy explaining the differences between various Google marketing products, which has become even more confusing with Google’s recent rebranding. Now, lots of different products are housed under one banner: Google Marketing Platform.

The two products marketers don’t quite grasp entirely are Google’s DCM vs. DBM. The platform formerly known as Google’s DoubleClick Bid Manager (DBM) is now called Display & Video 360 or DV360, and is a demand-side platform (DSP) for buying ad inventory programmatically. DoubleClick Campaign Manager (DCM), now called Campaign Manager, is an ad server for generating ad tags and tracking digital ad campaigns. If you’re scratching your head over the differences between DCM vs. DBM, we’ve got you.

What is a Demand-Side Platform?

A demand-side platform (DSP) automates the buying of display and video ads programmatically. Programmatic refers to the use of marketing technology to purchase highly targeted digital ads in real-time. DSPs, like DBM, provide the controls to target a multitude of different variables to arrive at specific audiences. Demand-side platforms employ sophisticated algorithms to automate or refine the targeting of digital marketing campaigns to maximize marketing spend efficiently.

What is an Ad Server?

An ad server, like DCM, is a piece of marketing technology used by advertisers and marketing agencies to serve digital ads and manage and report on digital marketing campaigns. Ad servers collect and report data like clicks, impressions, and conversions, so marketers can gain insights from and monitor the performance of their digital marketing campaigns. Ad servers, like Google’s Campaign Manager, also have cross-device reporting and can report attribution across different marketing platforms and channels.

DCM vs. DBM: How Do They Work Together?

Demand-side platforms, like Display & Video 360, are the powerhouse of media buying, while Campaign Manager serves and manages ads, ad tags, and reporting. You can get most types of reporting for your display and video campaigns directly out of DV360, but if you want to see how all your marketing platforms work together, you’ll need to use an ad server to tie all those channels together.

Campaign Manager allows you to see a users path to conversion. An example of this type of marketing attribution would be a user viewing a banner ad, then a couple of days later clicking a Facebook ad, not converting, then doing a Google search and clicking a paid search ad which leads them to purchase something. It can also report users who switched from a mobile device to a desktop to place an order or fill out a form. Ad servers become invaluable when trying to prove the value of, or return on investment of, channels that often don’t convert directly, like display ads, video ads, or radio ads.

Both Are Robust Platforms

Both DV360 and Campaign Manager are robust platforms. Generally, we recommend starting with a DSP like DV360, or DBM if you’re “old school,” to do your programmatic ad buying and only adding in Campaign Manager once it becomes necessary for the next level of strategic media planning and reporting, as it adds additional on top of your regular ad buys. Hopefully we’ve helped you understand the difference between DCM vs. DBM a little better, but if you’re still confused we can help.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mauricio has close to 20 years of digital experience and a core foundation in the technical side of SEO. He’s led and executed strategy both in-house and on the agency side and enjoys defining successful strategies for our clients.
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