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First-Party Tag-Based and Custom Audience Creation in Display and Video 360 (DV360)

First-Party Tag-Based and Custom Audience Creation in Display and Video 360 (DV360)

Display and Video 360 allows businesses to develop end-to-end marketing campaigns in a single platform and to seamlessly integrate with other Google Marketing Platform products such as Google Analytics 360, Campaign Manager, Search Ads 360, and Google Ads. While campaigns, placements, and reporting are often all essential parts of the puzzle, I find audience creation is glanced over. 

Audiences allow businesses to choose who should see their ad. Building a robust audience targeting strategy ensures potential customers see your ads at the right time. Good audience strategies also allow companies to find new customers who may have never heard about your product or service before. From buying products to driving loyalty, marketers should be using data and on-site events to build robust audience segments. 

DV360 Audience Options

DV360 offers a variety of targeting options, many of which are built-in and do not require businesses to install additional tracking on-site. While these options are helpful, we are going to focus on tag-based audiences and combined audiences here. 

Tag-based audiences are first-party audiences built based on Floodlights and variables on your website. Typically Floodlights track key business actions such as landing pages, form submissions, purchases, checkout funnels, etc. These Floodlights illustrate the user’s intent, specifically if the user is browsing or if they are looking to engage through purchasing or by getting in contact with you. 

Requirements for a Tag-Based Audience

Prior to building an audience in DV360, you need to ensure on-site Floodlights are using a custom variable. Custom variables are used to build tag-based audiences. To create a custom variable, you have two options: use Campaign Manager or build the custom variable in DV360. 

Businesses utilizing Campaign Manager should take advantage of the native integration with DV360. The native integration reduces the amount of tagging and manual work needed to build an audience and the audience can be shared directly with DV360. In Campaign Manager, select the advertiser, then under the Floodlight configuration Tab, select “Display & Video 360 association”. Here you can link your DV360 advertiser with your Campaign Manager Advertiser. Now floodlights, variables, and audiences are shared between the platforms. For tips on building audiences in Campaign Manager, check out this blog

Businesses that are not using Campaign Manager can still build tag-based audiences. The first step is to create a custom variable in DV360. 

  1. In DV360 locate the advertiser
  2. Under the Resources menu, select “Floodlight Group”
  3. Under the Basic Details Tab, scroll down to Custom Floodlight Variables
    • Enter a descriptive name for the variable “Brand,” “Product ID,” “Customer ID,” etc.
    • Specify the variable type: numeric or text
    • Save

Once you have a variable configured and tracked on your website, you’re ready to build a custom audience in DV360. 

Building a Tag-Based Audience

Tag-based audiences allow businesses to group a subset of users based on their on-site behavior. While an “Add to Cart” floodlight will track all users who added any product to their cart, maybe you want to develop a campaign for a specific product name or ID. Since you’ve configured a custom variable for “Product ID,” you can build an audience of users who added product ID “1234a” to their cart. Let’s walk through how to create this audience in DV360. 

  1. In DV360 locate the advertiser
  2. Select “Audiences” from the left-hand menu
  3. Click “New Audience”  then select “Tag-based audiences”
    • Enter a name for the audience: I strongly recommend creating a standard naming convention for all audiences to include key details about the audience list and what floodlight tags and variables are being used. 
    • Select the floodlight activity that you want to use as the base of your audience OR select “Any floodlight activity.” Using “Any Floodlight Activity” will allow you to use all floodlights which contain the custom variable you will select next. 
    • Setup the custom variable for the users you are interested in. You can configure the variable for one or more rules. All rules are “and” not “or” rules. Remember the more rules you add the smaller your audience will be. 
      • “Product ID” is in “1234a” AND
      • “URL” is in “/product1” 
    • Save your audience

Tag-based audiences will begin populating after they have been created. They will not populate with previously collected information, only data from the point they were created moving forward. 

Google Analytics 360 Shared Audiences 

DV360 offers many audience-building capabilities as well as the ability to natively integrate with Google Analytics 360. The integration opens up the ability to build custom audiences based on website activity (pages per session, total time on site, user pathing, etc.). Audiences built in GA360 are then shared directly with DV360 for enhanced campaign targeting. Learn more about this native GA360 advertising integration here.

Combined Audiences 

A single floodlight or affinity group is not always enough for targeting campaigns. DV360 offers combined audiences that allow businesses to use multiple audiences for targeting.

An eCommerce business might be interested in users who added a product to their cart, browsed to specific pages on their website, and have previously engaged with a display ad. Combined audiences are perfect for this type of user group. Combined audiences help businesses form an image of the specific user who should see their campaign. 

Combined audiences can use first-party data such as floodlights, Google data such as affinity groups, and third-party lists. 

  1. In DV360 locate the advertiser
  2. Select “Audiences” from the left-hand menu
    • Select “All Audiences” 
    • Navigate to the “Combined” tab
    • Select “New Combined Audience”
  3. Enter a name for the audience: I strongly recommend creating a standard naming convention for all audiences to include key details about the audience list and what floodlight tags and variables are being used. 
  4. Enter a description of the audience you’re creating
  5. Under Include: 
    • Select Add: A new panel will open which will allow you to see all audiences that have been created. 
      • Select the Audience Type: First-Party, Google or Other
      • Optional: Filter to find the specific audience(s) you are looking for. 
      • Select your audience(s) and build your Combined Audience list. 
      • Select Apply
  6. Under Exclude: Decide if certain audiences should be excluded from your Combined List. If so, add those audience lists here. 
  7. Save

Combined audience lists can take up to 4 hours to become available. Once available they can be used for existing and future line items. Combined audiences cannot be used in combination with audience lists. 

Combined audiences have a few limitations you should be aware of. 

  • There is a maximum of 10 intersections (AND)
  • Overall there is a max of 100 intersections (AND), this includes (OR) and exclusions per combined audience
  • You cannot build a combined audience using only exclusions

Advertiser & Review

Once you’ve configured your tag-based audience or combined audience go ahead and use it with the relevant campaign(s). Audiences, like all aspects of marketing, should be reviewed and updated to ensure they are targeting the right users at the right time. Review the audiences used for campaigns and be sure to evaluate the outcome. 

DV360 offers a number of reports within the platform where you can deep-dive into the audiences being used and how they impact your campaign. 

Not sure how to get started with an audience? InfoTrust is here to help. InfoTrust does not sell media and specializes in analytics, we want to make sure your data is working for you. Reach out to our team today to learn more. 

Need help getting started with an audience?

The InfoTrust team is happy to help. Reach out to a team member today.
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