Display Campaign Optimizer

What is Display Campaign Optimizer?

Display Campaign Optimizer (DCO) – Tool that increases conversions by automatically managing, targeting and bidding for campaigns on the Google Display Network. Simply set a CPA target and AdWords will do the rest. However, you must have enough historical conversion data in order to opt in to this feature.

Display Campaign Optimiser (DCO) is an automated optimization tool built for the Google Display Network that automatically optimizes both targeting and bidding for your set maximum CPA or target CPA bid.

Previously DCO could only be used on display campaigns that had high conversion volumes, which meant many smaller campaigns were unable to benefit from the tool. This has now been changed and can be set up for any campaigns which have 15 or more conversions per month. As is the case with most automation tools, the more data the tool has to use, the better it will perform. DCO chooses the Google Display Network placements to appear on and the bids for each placement to help campaigns get more conversions at their target CPA. Target CPAs can be set at campaign and ad group level following Google’s usual hierarchy.

How do I set it up Display Campaign Optimizer?

DCO is set at the campaign level in the settings tab. First, the bidding option needs to be set to focus on conversions, with Max CPA (most you would want to pay for a conversion) or Target CPA (the average amount you’d want to pay for a conversion) as the bid type:

Then change your targeting mode to auto-optimize under Automatic Campaign Optimisation (Display Network only).


If you don’t see this option it means your campaign is not eligible to run on DCO because of the average conversion level. Resist the temptation to add conversion tracking to additional areas of your site to meet this target if they’re not the exact conversions you want more – the tool only makes judgments on overall conversions, it cannot work to get you more of a specific type of conversion.

How is DCO managed?

Display Campaign Optimizer tends to work best on campaigns that have more than the minimum of 15 conversions per month. An initial strategy to consider is starting with the recommended target CPA, which is usually higher than your campaign average. This allows the tool a bit of flexibility initially to use your historical data and current performance to judge the quality of placements for your campaign. With DCO activated you are still able to exclude any networks you don’t want your ads appearing on which is helpful especially for content-sensitive campaigns.

Over time the CPA performance for that campaign may change, and target or maximum bids should be adjusted accordingly. Google stress that the point of the tool isn’t to decrease your overall CPA, but maximize your performance on certain placements and get you additional conversions at or around your target CPA.


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