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 many people your campaign can reach given your budget.

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

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. Start in your advertiser's list of campaigns, then click Plan new campaign.

  2. 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 blacklist 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 TrueView brand safety settings aren't yet inherited from your partner and advertiser's settings.

  3. 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.

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 TrueView video inventory, or open auction inventory with specific targeting criteria.

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

  • Publisher and deal inventory

    If you're looking to discover premium inventory, start by selecting Add and then 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 display and audio inventory at the present time.

  • Video

    To add video products to your plan and forecast their reach, select Add and then YouTube or Add and then Open auction video.

About forecasting on YouTube

To forecast spending on YouTube (and Google Video Partners), select a YouTube inventory format, a location to target, dates of your flight, and a budget you want to spend. You can add multiple lines for different combinations of settings and budgets.
Once you're done adding combinations of YouTube inventory and budgets, click Save to plan and close.

About forecasting the reach of open auction video

To forecast spending on open auction video inventory, select a location to target, dates of your flight, and a budget you want to spend. You can add multiple lines for different combinations of settings and budgets.
Once you're done adding combinations of locations, dates, and budgets, click Save to plan and close.
  • Display and audio inventory

    To add open auction display or 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 display and 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).

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.

  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.


  • At the present time, you can't automatically convert a plan into insertion orders and line items that can serve in Display & Video 360. However, you can download your planned campaigns as structured data files (SDFs), which can be used to help build new campaigns.

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

    • 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
  • 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. 

    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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