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Advertising Buying Mechanism For Google Ads: A Tutorial (+Examples)


In this article, I will be talking about the advertising buying mechanism for Google Ads. There are three display buying mechanisms to remember when planning activity, including fixed cost and auction buying mechanisms.



Premium Fixed Price: Cost per thousand impressions (CPM)
A premium CPM campaign, such as a homepage takeover on a popular news website, is not part of the regular AdWords Google Display Network settings or abilities and can only be done through an AdWords account manager or a premium buy, through a platform such as Adroll or Google DoubleClick. The campaign is based on a fixed price (set by the advertising platform) for every 1000 impressions that an ad receives and generally involves bespoke creative.


Auction: Cost Per Click (CPC)
CPC bidding means that you pay for each click on your ad and you can set a maximum CPC bid that you are willing to pay for that click. This bid is then considered as part of the auction as the webpage is loading and advertising space is filled.


Auction: viewable Cost per thousand impressions (vCPM)
vCPM is the cost per thousand impressions for your ad on the Display network. You can set the maximum you are willing to pay for every 1000 impressions.


There are two main mechanisms available for buying advertising which is specific to the YouTube platform:

#1 Premium buys

Mastheads (the equivalent to a Homepage Takeover on the YouTube homepage) or Reserve Buys (guaranteed delivery of a certain volume of video impressions, against a broad or targeted audience segment).


#2 Auction buys (Trueview)

Similar to paid search advertising, an advertiser pays when the user chooses to engage, based on a bidding model.
The YouTube Masthead is priced on a cost per day format, which will differ by market. Typically, this format is used by larger advertisers simply due to cost, however, the reach it achieves is impressive, with millions of unique users visiting the homepage every day.




The YouTube Reserve Buy runs in a similar fashion to Trueview in that it runs as a ‘pre-roll’ before the video the user is about to watch. Reserve ads have the option to be ‘non-skippable’ and must be 30 seconds or less, whereas Trueview is ‘skippable’, and can be of any length. It is worth noting, that Reserve Buy pricing also varies depending on the levels of targeting chosen, and the formats available are constantly being re-evaluated and updated including a reduction in the number of non-skippable formats.


Video and display campaigns should be viewed as an ‘upper-funnel’ activity (except in the case of non-standard formats such as shopping or app installs), and the KPIs for the campaign should reflect this.


Video & display can reach people at all stages of the buyer’s journey, but its strength is considered to be in reaching people at the beginning of the buyer’s journey at the awareness, interest and consideration stages.


Remember, your campaign objectives will influence what campaign setting and targeting you choose, what kind of ad format you use and what kind of return-on-investment (ROI) to expect. So it is key to decide your objectives early in the planning stages.


Your objectives will also define the campaign measurement you choose to report on, and your campaign optimization should always be related to performance against the objectives set. In short, determining the success of a display and video campaign and ROI is dependent on how it performs against the objectives set.


It is important to know your advertising goals as these will dictate which objectives you choose when setting up your display and video campaigns. Consider the key objectives for effective display and video marketing strategy when choosing your campaign objectives and goals:


#1 Build brand awareness

This is when you have a new business, or launched a new product and your primary goal is to increase awareness of your brand or product. A campaign with a brand awareness objective will focus on impressions, customer engagement, reach and frequency and not on clicks. These types of campaigns will use placement targeting, rich media ad formats and rely on a CPM bidding strategy.


#2 Influence consideration

 This is when you want to set yourself aside from other businesses with a similar product. You need to educate your customer on your product and show them your unique selling points (USP). These types of campaigns will rely on retargeting to your customers as well as audience targeting.


#3 Drive an action

 These types of campaigns are focused on having your customers perform an action on your website, such as buying something, filling in a contact form, downloading a document, or going to a particular page. These type of campaigns will use very specific targeting, conversion tracking and remarketing.


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