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DoubleClick Search vs. the AdWords UI: Weighing Your Options

Published: October 25, 2017

Author: Karen Hays

DoubleClick by Google consists of several different digital marketing solutions, ranging from a programmatic ad exchange to search management tools. The latter is specifically called DoubleClick Search (or DCS), and it’s now a big deal in the SEM world. Search management software is highly competitive, and companies are making rapid improvements to their capabilities and features to try to keep up.

DCS includes all of the standard features included in a search management platform (bid management, reporting, multi-publisher management, etc.). On top of that, it also boasts a number of exciting features such as a performance bidding suite that utilizes Google’s artificial intelligence, advanced audience insights for remarketing, and more.
Despite these advancements, though, a responsible advertiser needs to consider if the benefits outweigh the actual dollar costs. Can you work directly in the UI at the same level of efficiency? Here’s a quick breakdown of your options.

DoubleClick Search

– Not that much extra cost, relative to other platforms (current pricing is 1% of media cost)

– Seamless ad hoc multi-publisher reporting

    – Ad testing reports
    – Geographic or device analysis
    – Demographic analysis
    – Spend reports
    – Etc.
Benefits for Bing management – which is important for B2B, finance, and other accounts with an older or more traditional customer base
    – Automated bidding using Google’s algorithms
    – Google Analytics 360 data utilization
Easier budget management because of multi-publisher reporting, and make adjustments for AdWords and Bing in one place
Insight into cross-device conversions, including Bing (based on Floodlight tag data)
– Shared negative keyword lists
    – Should at least be able to bulk upload lists
Bulk edits across engines
Automated rules across engines
Custom Floodlight variables
    – Pass back Order IDs
    – Upload LTV data
– Use same Floodlight tags as Display
– Larger-scale landing page tests
– AppsFlyer and other 3rd-party integrations

Using the UI Directly

No extra cost at all, and could re-invest the saved expense into media budget

Pulling reports from UI only takes a couple extra steps, but you do have to make sure columns/headers match

    – Including budget management reports, ad analysis, landing page tests, etc.
Bing typically follows Google when it comes to new features and Betas, so we could maybe expect to see automated bidding, cross-device conversions, on-page analytics, etc. sometime in the future
    – But expect Google’s algorithms and cross-device data to be more accurate
– Bulk editor software for AdWords and Bing makes multi-publisher changes pretty easy
No need to worry about appending custom variables or trackers to URLs (MKWIDs, etc.)
Most 3rd-party integrations also work with AdWords and Bing
Tracking should already be set up directly in the UI 
– And no need to install additional Floodlights means fewer tags/cleaner GTM account
– More detailed Search Query Reports, Auction Insights, etc., are found in the UI

If you work at an agency, we recommend you check with colleagues working with similar accounts to see if they’ve tested DCS vs. the UI. If you’re the first one to dip a toe, go for it – but be sure to leave yourself room to change gears if it’s not proving its worth.

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