We all want more for our money. Seeking better value is part of our biological imperative. And while getting the most out of your digital display advertising may have little to do with survival, it’s only natural to want to maximise the budget available to you.

That means more impressions, more conversions, better click-through and conversion rates for your display advertising delivered through DoubleClick Bid Manager (DBM). Here’s some advice about how to optimise your display ads to achieve all of that.

First Steps

Before you get into the depths of optimising your campaigns, it’s vital to know what you’re optimising towards. Otherwise, you’re just chucking salt in the stew and hoping it makes it taste better, figuratively speaking of course.

It might, but more than likely, it’ll just end up overwhelming everything else. So, keep your primary KPI in mind, and tailor each of the following steps to it.

Don’t forget to gather enough data to analyse your campaign performance. Ensure your line items run for at least five days before you begin to optimise. This ensures the data gathered is absolutely relevant.

Without further ado, here’s what you need to do to optimise your campaigns like a pro. Large parts of this will contain a similar process, so it’s even easier to be the best.

The Basics (Easy Wins)

Budget Allocation

Analyse line item performance and allocate budget accordingly. Pull a report with Line Item as a dimension, with all relevant metrics for your KPI.

Raise bids/increase budget on best performing LI’s, and reduce accordingly on worst performing line items. Don’t be afraid to pause anything performing badly - allocate the budget to something doing well!

Page Category Optimisation

Figure out your best performing page categories. Pull a Page Category Report with all relevant metrics. Exclude the worst-performing sub-categories from your targeting.

Something else to consider is to break out the best performing categories into separate line items with higher bids and a higher allocated budget.

Audience Lists

Identify your best performing audience lists. Pull an Audience Performance Report with audience list as a dimension. Reallocate budgets from the worst performing audiences to the best, or stop targeting the worst performers all together.

Environments, Browsers & OS

Find your best performing environments, browsers and OS. Pull a General Report with device, environment, browser and operating system. Exclude worst performers. You can also separate out the best performing devices into separate line items for even more optimisation potential.

Regions & Cities

Analyse your best performing regions and cities. Pull a General Report grouped by region and city, with all your relevant metrics. Exclude the lowest performers, or specifically target highest performers.

Advanced Optimisation

Inventory Sources

Find your best performing inventory sources. Pull a General Report, with exchange, inventory source type and inventory source as dimensions. Exclude low-performing inventory sources from your campaigns. But be cautious about excluding exchanges. This can severely inhibit your reach.


Pull a General report grouped by apps/URL with all relevant metrics for your campaign. Exclude worst performing apps/URLs from your targeting. You can also create custom channels for best performing apps/URLs, and break out separate line items to target them in.

Time of Day

Pull a General Report with day of the week and time of day as dimensions, align this with your most important KPIs.

Creative Size

Find your best performing creative sizes. Pull another General Report (you should be an expert at these by now), with creative size as a dimension, and all of your metrics. Remove/exclude your worst performing creative sizes from the campaign.

For your analysis, it’s often easier to create pivot tables from the reports you pull. That way, you can see all the data right in front of you - easy to interpret, simple to respond to.

From there, you can optimise away, but there’s a few golden rules you should bear in mind as you start maximising your results.

Golden Rules

Do things step by step. Change a small number of settings each time, and give it enough time to gather data. That way, you can know for sure how effective that specific change was.

Keep track of your changes, and even their impact if you’re feeling motivated. This way, you can record what works for future reference, and show off how much you know about DBM.

Finally, don’t optimise on a Friday. You don’t want to come in on Monday and realise everything’s been on fire since you left before the weekend. Don’t make Monday harder for yourself.