Create a plan for a campaign

As an advertiser, often it can be helpful to try out various ideas for a campaign before you actually spend money buying inventory. In order to do this, you can build a "plan" within a campaign in Display & Video 360, which gives you the ability to understand what goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) you can achieve (e.g., Unique Reach, GRP, estimated CPMs, etc.) when buying programmatically, given your campaign's budget and targeting.

About forecasting while planning in Display & Video 360

When planning a campaign, it’s important to understand the concept of unique reach forecasting. Unique reach forecasts estimate how your campaign might perform, based on your desired audience, budget, and other settings such as geographic location and inventory formats. Forecasts are modeled on trends in the ad market as well as the historical performance of similar campaigns in the past.

To capture recent trends, forecasts are based on the most recent data available from a time period equal in length to your campaign’s planned dates, up to 92 days (30 days for open auction inventory). For example, if your campaign is set to run for 14 days, your forecast will draw from the previous 14 days starting from today. Forecasts do not explicitly account for upcoming seasonality and holidays.

Unique reach curve in Display & Video 360

Some factors that have a large impact on reach include:

  • Budget
  • What type of inventory you're purchasing 
  • Duration of the campaign
  • Frequency caps
  • Brand safety settings
  • Auction dynamics, including average CPM
  • Demographic targeting
  • Audience list targeting
  • Viewability targeting
  • Geography targeting
  • Creative dimensions (display inventory)

What's included in forecasts

Forecasts in Display & Video 360 are designed to help you explore the relationship between your budget and inventory that matches your targeting. 

Often additional inventory that matches your targeting is available beyond what's included in forecasts. However, reaching this remaining inventory is often relatively expensive and generally not an efficient use of your campaigns' budgets. (This additional inventory is represented as the dotted line extending from the right side of the forecast curve.)

Create a plan

  1. From your advertiser, navigate to Inventory and then Plans in the left menu.

  2. Click New Plan.

  3. Enter the following details for your planned campaign:

    1. Campaign name
    2. Overall campaign goal
    3. Your campaign's key performance indicator (KPI)
    4. The types of creatives you expect to use
    5. (Optional) Your campaign's planned spend
    6. Your planned dates

    What campaign settings automatically apply to plans? 

    The following settings entered in campaigns will be used as the default values for plans:

    • Planned dates
    • Inventory source settings, including the Authorized Seller setting
      To edit inventory source settings, make changes to your campaign.
    • Age, gender, and parental status targeting
    • Viewability targeting

    Additionally, brand safety settings, such as blocked channels, sensitive categories settings, and digital content label settings, are inherited from your partner and advertiser's settings and can't be changed in your plan.

    Note, some YouTube brand safety settings aren't yet inherited from your partner and advertiser's settings.

  4. Click Create once you're done entering your settings.

Add products to your plan

After you've completed the steps above, you're ready to add products to your plan, which will increase the reach of your campaign.

  1. From your campaign, navigate to Inventory and then Plans in the left menu.
  2. Click Add Product.

What's a product?

While planning, "products" represent inventory that's purchasable through insertion orders and line items in Display & Video 360. Some examples of products include deal inventory from publishers, YouTube video inventory, or open auction inventory with specific targeting criteria.

You can add one or more products from the following types of inventory:

  • Publisher & deal inventory

    If you're looking to discover premium inventory, start by selecting Discover publishers & deals. (This view of premium inventory is the same as what's available Display & Video 360's Inventory module.) Alternatively, you can start a new negotiation, add an existing negotiation, or add an existing deal, new guaranteed deal, or new non-guaranteed deal. Note, if you do create a new deal from a plan, this deal will be visible in the Inventory module outside of planning.

    For more information on negotiations, see Negotiate a deal. For more information on deals, see Programmatic Guaranteed deals.

    Note, you can't forecast the reach of audio inventory at the present time.

  • Display & video

    To add display and video products to your plan and forecast their reach:

    1. Select Display & video.

    2. To forecast spending on YouTube (and Google video partners), select a YouTube inventory format. To forecast spending on open auction display and video inventory, select an Open Auction inventory format.

    3. Select a location to target.

    4. Select the dates of your flight.

    5. Enter a budget you want to spend.

    6. Click Add Another to add multiple lines for different combinations of settings and budgets.

    7. When you are done, click Done and then Save to plan and close

Filtering forecasts for display inventory by creative dimensions

Once you've added a display product to your plan, you can edit the product so it only includes inventory matching specific creative dimensions. This can make your forecasts more accurate for the inventory you're interested in. 
To filter by creative dimension:
  1. Starting in your plan, select one or more open auction display products, then navigate to Creatives in the menu on the right side of the screen.
  2. Select Specify dimensions, then choose the dimensions you want to include in your forecast.
  3. Click Apply once you're done.
  • Audio inventory

    To add audio inventory to your plan, select a product, enter a name for the product, select dates of your flight, a budget you want to spend, and a CPM rate you want to pay. You can add multiple lines for different combinations of settings and budgets.

    Note, you can't forecast the reach of audio inventory at the present time.

Average CPMs may be initially lower than you expect

While creating a plan, the CPMs forecasted by Display & Video 360 reflect an efficient price for the targeting and settings you've manually specified up to that point, which start out broad. If you add more specific targeting, such as viewability or audience list targeting, the average cost will usually increase. As you change your targeting, your plan's forecast will be automatically updated to show the new efficient average costs (CPMs) and budgets for the new targeting.

However, if you want to explore forecasts at specific CPMs, you can simply overwrite the forecasted costs for individual products in your plan by clicking the edit icon in the "Avg. cost" column for products in the table and entering a new target CPM. Alternatively, you can also enter a "custom CPM" when editing your products in the dialog that opens on the right side of the screen under "General settings and then CPM".

Share your plan

Once you've built a plan you want to share, you can click Download to create a CSV file that contains the details of your plan, including forecasted reach and viewable CPM (where available).

Convert a planned product into insertion orders and line items

After you've completed the steps above, you're ready to convert the products into insertion orders and line items that can serve on Display & Video 360.

Setting up open auction, non-guaranteed, and YouTube products

  1. Find your product in your plan and click Set up.
  2. Follow steps 1 through 7 in this article to enter information for your insertion order. Click Create Insertion Order when you've entered all the information.
  3. See step 4 in this article to enter information for your line item. You can add up to 20 line items by clicking Add Another. Click Create Line Items when you're done.

Configuring guaranteed products

  1. Find your guaranteed product in your plan and click Configure.
  2. For Programmatic Guaranteed deals with publishers on Google Ad Manager, follow these steps. For Programmatic Guaranteed deals with third-party exchanges, follow these steps.

Edit your plan settings

You can edit plan settings directly from your plan. Any changes you make to the plan settings will not affect your campaign. Note that some settings will be pre-populated based on settings from your advertiser.

  1. Start in your plan, then click the Pencil icon / edit icon on the right.
  2. You can edit the following settings:
    • Budget
    • Duration of the campaign
    • Inventory sources
    • Demographic targeting
    • Geography targeting
    • Brand safety settings
    • Viewability targeting
  3. Click Save once you're done adjusting your settings.

Updating plan settings will impact the forecast and reach of the products in the plan. To update the reach forecast, go to each product by navigating to Campaign > Plan > Product.

Frequently asked questions

Why did my budget change?

If you specify a budget that's higher than what’s necessary to efficiently reach your target audience, Display & Video 360 will automatically reduce your plan's budget.


  • The following types of audience lists aren't supported for forecasting and will be automatically removed if applied in a plan:

    • Lists with membership life spans fewer than 30 days
    • Lists with fewer than 10,000 weekly active cookies
    • Lists that were created within the last 29 days
    • Lists with more than 700 million weekly active cookies
    • Customer match lists
  • The following restrictions prevent certain deals from being added to plans: 
    • Programmatic Guaranteed CPD sponsorships deal are not supported
    • Plans are limited to display and video deal formats
    • Plans are limited to deals that are targeting the same country
    • Deals that do no meet the following requirements:
      • Deal must have activity within the last 40 days and did not start in the last 7 days
      • Deal has 4 million or more monthly impression (seen) volume
  • When serving campaigns in Display & Video 360, frequency caps apply per cookie. However, in the context of forecasting and reporting, the "avg. frequency" metric is calculated per unique user. Since each unique user can have multiple devices and browsers, each with its own cookie, "average frequency" in the plan is often higher than the frequency cap that's set in insertion orders and line items. For example, if you have 3 devices and you see ads from the same campaign on all of them, the average frequency shown in your plan will be 3, even if the campaign's (or insertion order's, or line item's) frequency cap was set to 1.

  • Although targeting helps prevent people outside of your chosen audience from seeing your ads, it can't guarantee your ads will never be shown to users outside of your target audience.

  • Reach forecasts are only available for some countries. If you target a country that's not supported for reach forecasts, your plan will show forecasted impressions instead.

  • Due to differences in cookie and device ID settings, advertisers may see fluctuations in delivery and performance when cookies or device ID are unavailable.

    List of supported countries

    • Argentina
    • Australia
    • Austria
    • Bahrain
    • Belgium
    • Brazil
    • Bulgaria
    • Canada
    • Chile
    • Colombia
    • Costa Rica
    • Czechia (Czech Republic)
    • Denmark
    • Dominican Republic
    • Ecuador
    • Egypt
    • El Salvador
    • Finland
    • France
    • Germany
    • Greece
    • Guatemala
    • Honduras
    • Hong Kong
    • Hungary
    • India
    • Indonesia
    • Ireland
    • Israel
    • Italy
    • Japan
    • Kuwait
    • Malaysia
    • Mexico
    • Morocco
    • Netherlands
    • New Zealand
    • Nicaragua
    • Norway
    • Oman
    • Pakistan
    • Panama
    • Peru
    • Philippines
    • Poland
    • Portugal
    • Puerto Rico
    • Qatar
    • Romania
    • Russia
    • Saudi Arabia
    • Singapore
    • South Africa
    • South Korea
    • Spain
    • Sweden
    • Switzerland
    • Taiwan
    • Thailand
    • Turkey
    • Ukraine
    • United Arab Emirates
    • United Kingdom
    • United States
    • Uruguay
    • Vietnam
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