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Programmatic Advertising vs. Google Ads – Your Guide to Flourishing in the Digital Marketing Realm

Updated: May 6



Programmatic advertising and the Google Display Network (GDN) stand at the forefront of online advertising.India’s internet advertising market expanded 35.3%, from US$ 3.3 billion in 2021 to US$ 4.4 billion in 2022, making it one of the fastest growing in the world. [Source: https://www.ibef.org/blogs/digital-advertising-in-india]


As a business owner or marketer, understanding the distinctions between these approaches is essential for crafting a targeted and effective marketing strategy.


We at Adzylytics, a Demand Side Platform, committed to standard laid by IAB.


By the conclusion, you’ll gain insights into the distinctions, parallels, and benefits of both programmatic ads and the Google Display Network (GDN aka Google Ads). Moreover, you’ll swiftly determine the optimal choice for your products and services.


In out last blog post, we have clarified misunderstandings about Programmatic advertising. Please click here to read in details.


Lets get started…


How Google Display Network Works?

The reach of the Google Display Network extends across websites, YouTube, emails, blogs, and mobile apps in collaboration with Google partners only. They’re a powerful online company, but Google does not have access to every single ad space on the internet.


As an automated ad network, it strategically places ads to prospective customers during their website visits. Advertisements are targeted based on metrics defined by the advertisers within the GDN, encompassing factors like age, demographics, gender, interests, qualifications, and more.The GDN is Google’s own display network, meaning it’s a small subset of the total ad spaces across the internet.


Offers a range of ad formats such as text ads, display ads, video ads, and app promotion ads, each suited to specific contexts within the Google ecosystem.


A notable advantage of the GDN is its seamless integration with services from the Google product suite, such as Google Calendar and Google Docs/Sheets, providing a comprehensive edge to your campaigns.


What is Programmatic Advertising?

Programmatic Advertising operates very simillar to Google Display Network(GDN), as automated process of buying and selling ads across the internet eliminating then need for dealing with each publishers or third party agents.


In this dynamic process, advertisers leverage demand side platforms (DSPs) to acquire ad inventories and formulate campaigns. Conversely, publishers (i.e. websites and mobile applications) utilize supply side platforms (SSPs) to showcase available ad space.


However, what sets programmatic advertising apart is its expansive scope, encompassing a multitude of ad exchanges and networks, including the GDN. With each ad exchanges, DSP’s has broad reach across the internet.


Supports various ad formats, including display ads, video ads, native ads, and more. This versatility caters to different campaign goals.


The DSPs facilitates direct and real time communication between advertisers and publishers streamlining the process of buying advertising slots from SSPs without manual interventions. Through this automation, programmatic ads empower advertisers to precisely reach their target audience at the optimal time and price. Let’s delve into the key differences..




Google Ads

Adzylytics a Demand Side Platform

Nature of Ad Buying

Functions as a platform for paid search advertising


displaying ads on partner sites within the Google Network

Involves automated, real-time bidding for ad placements across a diverse range of websites, apps, and digital platforms.


It leverages data to target specific audiences efficiently.

Ad Inventory

Primarily focuses on ad placements within the Google Display Network, Youtube and other Google-owned properties

Offers a vast inventory of ad spaces across the internet, allowing advertisers to reach audiences on diverse websites and apps beyond the Google Network

Targeting Options

Allows targeting based on keywords, location, demographics, and interests.

Provides extensive targeting options, including demographics, interests, behaviors, and contextual targeting

Ad Formats

GDN: Display ads


Youtube: Video ads


Gmail and other products: text ads

Supports various ad formats, including display ads, video ads, native ads.

Real-Time Optimization

Provides optimization features, but the real-time aspect is more pronounced in programmatic advertising

Emphasizes real-time optimization through data analysis, allowing advertisers to adjust targeting, bidding, and creative elements on the fly

Platform Accessibility

Comprehensive dashboard for managing various types of Google ad campaigns

Centralized interface for managing campaigns

Budget Flexibility

Allows CPA, CPC.

Programmatic advertising only uses the CPM model.


DSP uses real-time bidding in a vendor neutral environment to reach a larger audience making it most cost effective.


In conclusion, Programmatic advertising excels in its expansive reach and dynamic optimization capabilities, while Google Ads is good for keywords and youtube advertising. Depending on your marketing objectives, a strategic combination of both approaches might be the optimal solution for a comprehensive and effective digital marketing strategy.

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