Quick Wins as You’re Just Getting Started in DoubleClick Bid Manager

Blog | 22 Aug, 2017

So here you are, you’ve got access to DBM, you’ve been trained in platform, and you’ve even set your campaign live (go you!!). Even your creatives are all approved; you’re killing it! So now what?


We hear too often from clients and advertisers on day two of being live that they, “aren’t achieving their goals.” We can certainly talk through best practices for those early days to get live, but really, the fun begins once enough time has passed for your data to show impacts from your brilliant settings.

Here are some first “quick-win” optimizations that will work for any campaign goal:

  • Ensure all line items are serving impressions.

Sounds silly and should be common sense, however, all too often advertisers, “set it and forget it.” It’s very important in your first week of being live that you QA each line item and ensure all are actually serving.

Here are a few issues that might cause LIs not to serve:

  • Disapproved creatives that are ineligible for impressions
  • Over-targeting that makes targetable audiences too small and eligible impressions too few
  • Low bids that lose auctions
  • Low bids that don’t qualify for auctions
  • Over-pacing that exhausts budget too soon


  • Allocate highest bids and budgets to best-performing line items. 

Again, this is where the data accumulation comes into play. Once your campaign has enough historical data, you can see the best performers: the most impressions, clicks and actions/conversions.

Now it’s time to make sure you’re spending wisely. Go back to those line items and adjust to ensure highest bids and budgets go to best performers. Here are the steps to take (you should do this as often as you can in the first weeks of the campaign):

  • Run a general/standard basic performance report with impressions, costs and interaction metrics. Group by line items.
  • Sort line items by volume of cost or revenue and then interaction metrics, such as clicks and conversions, to find the best performers.
  • Increase budget caps for best-performing line items that are hitting their daily caps.
  • Increase bids on strongly performing line items not hitting their budget caps (to increase volume).
  • Lower bids and daily caps on poor performers (to reduce volume).


  • Pace insertion orders (IOs) to spend budget evenly. 

One of our best practices here at Jellyfish is to regularly review pacing (sometimes daily for larger budgets). Case in point, you can miss out on valuable impressions if your budget is consumed too soon—or is not fully used. It’s simple math, but advertisers can easily forget to adjust. You should do this at the IO level, ideally (via the inline metrics screen).

  • See what’s limiting line item ads from serving by reviewing each item’s impression loss data chart.
  • For underspending IOs, verify their line items are hitting their caps and increase if not.
  • For line items spending more budget, increase their budgets to potentially win more impressions.
  • If line Items have daily budget caps, confirm that the total for all line Items equals, or is greater than, the IO Daily Budget.


  • Group and favor top-performing sites. 

Make it easier to target and win top performers and avoid poor performers by separating them into different DBM channels. The 80/20 rule applies here: 80 percent of impression volume will typically come from 20 percent of sites, so focus on the top 20 percent of sites (again, makes sense, but it requires work, hands on keyboards, and energy—but you got this!)

  • Run a general/standard basic performance report to show impressions, revenue and performance metrics grouped by site.
  • Sort sites by spend or impressions and identify top- and bottom-performing sites.
  • Add high-performing sites to their own channel, target them in a new line item and bid up. (They’ll be easier to maintain this way as well, so you can keep track of your top performers).
  • Move the lowest-performing sites into a channel that you can exclude from your buy, or even to the advertiser’s blacklist channel. 


  • Watch your frequency.

Would you expect someone to click and convert on your product with just one ad served to them?  Of course not!  Be sure to control your frequency caps and monitor your audience/cookie sizes and budgets allocated to ensure you’re hitting your targeted audience with enough frequency to get them to convert.  Remember, your frequency cap settings should align with your campaign goals and strategies (i.e., retargeting frequency cap setting would be very different from your prospecting efforts).


  • Control Audience Size.

Don’t cast too wide of a net unless you have significant budget to do so.  Bid more aggressively on smaller, highly qualified 1st or 3rd-party audiences with more frequency than larger, less qualified audiences. Top-funnel targeting strategies, like page-level content as a stand-alone tactic, are definitely important in winning new customers, but you will not necessarily see strong results (likely down-funnel) from these tactics as they’re intended to push someone into the funnel to convert, rather than promote, the actual conversion.

As always, your DoubleClick team at Jellyfish is here to answer any questions and guide you through. And if you have some tips/tricks for “quick wins,” please share!

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