Reporting Benchmarks & KPIs

As sellers, we have evolved in selling digital media. The days of bringing out a 50-page deck to showcase every capability we can offer are (hopefully!) in the past. Focusing on the advertiser’s business instead of your own has proven to be the best way to win and retain advertising dollars.

Part of learning about the advertiser includes asking about their objectives and campaign goals, but for many of us, the conversation stops after those initial questions. An advertiser may let us know that they want to see clicks or a low eCPM. We then communicate those answers to our buyer as the campaign KPIs. This is a positive first step for discovering KPIs and campaign objectives, but what if we could be more strategic?

What if, instead of ending the conversation with “we want clicks,” we asked follow-up questions and really tried to understand the specifics? These specifics are what transform us from salespeople to sales consultants who really care about seeing their partners succeed.

Let’s walk through the different types of campaign goals and how we can dig deeper into the metrics:

Awareness Campaigns

These campaigns spread awareness for the advertiser. The goal here is to get as many people to view or listen to your ad as possible. Awareness and branding goals work with all campaign types and accomplish what advertising set out to do in the first place – get people to consider your ad.

Campaign Types:

  •  Display
  •  Video
  • Audio

Available Metrics (KPI):

  • Total Impressions
  • eCPM (average cost per thousand)
  • Viewable Impressions
  • Completed Views/Listens
  • eCPCV (average cost per completed view or listen)

Awareness Display Campaigns – For many advertisers, impressions are thought of as a given in a digital campaign. Use this as an opportunity to talk to them about the specifics. Yes, impressions are a given with a digital campaign, but what if we could use optimizations to increase the impressions you are getting each month without increasing your budget? Now you have the advertiser’s attention. Introduce them to an eCPM. Programmatic media allows a buyer to bid on inventory based on targeting. Bidding on media can be advantageous for an advertiser’s campaign. Explain how your buyer can evaluate the campaign and find tactics in the media plan with lower eCPMs, in turn, resulting in more impressions and a quantifiable way to measure an awareness campaign.

Awareness Video or Audio Campaigns – Like display, the goal here is to get the user to view or listen to the ad. The difference is that we can tell if they just started the ad and clicked out, or if the ad was viewed to all the way through. The metric for these campaigns will be completed views, but it’s a good idea to go beyond that and give your client the specifics. Let them know that you can measure quartiles and 100% views/listens. This is a great selling point for digital, because with TV and radio this is impossible to measure. Beyond that, you can use cost metrics to gauge if the budget is being spent effectively. In this case, we use optimizations to pay less for each view or listen. The buyer watches the eCPCV (cost per completed view/listen) and finds tactics in the media plan with lots of completed views/listens but at a lower cost. An advertiser would much rather pay $0.25 per listen than $1.25. Again, there is a quantifiable way to measure awareness. Video and audio assets are great additions to a media plan, and digital KPIs allow the campaign to get immediate feedback on performance and therefore allow the buyer to make smart optimizations quickly.

Site Traffic

These campaigns drive users to the advertiser’s website. The goal is to get as many visitors from the campaign as possible.

Campaign Types:

  • Display (while video can drive clicks, some devices don’t allow for clicks, and the main goal for video is really awareness).

Available Metrics (KPI):

  • Total Clicks
  • CPC (average cost per click)
  • View Through Traffic
  • CTR (Click Through Rate)

This goal is used quite often with digital campaigns, but advertisers often focus on the wrong metric. CTR is typically the focus of many advertisers and usually it’s because that’s what they have been told to care about with digital campaigns. CTR is just a percentage of clicks to total impressions—it does nothing to tell an advertiser how many people went to the site.

Consider this example: Which would you rather have, a 0.10% CTR or a 0.05% CTR? Most people would say 0.10%. But what if that 0.10% was obtained through a campaign that delivered 10 total clicks and 10,000 impressions, and the 0.05% was obtained through a campaign with 500 clicks and 1MM impressions? With more information, you would likely choose the campaign that drove more people to the site.

While focusing on clicks and talking about site traffic is a great place to start, it doesn’t tell the advertiser anything about how much it cost them to drive users to the site. Get the specifics from the advertiser. Ask how many people they want to drive to the site, and even better, how much they are willing to pay for a website visitor. Introduce them to eCPC (cost per click). This metric represents how much it cost the advertiser to drive a user to their site. Explain that your buyer can optimize the campaign to drive the cost of a website visit down throughout the campaign. When you dig into the reasoning behind a site traffic campaign, you can likely come up with different ways of measuring success beyond a CTR.

User Action/Conversions: Site Traffic

These campaigns measure a specific action on the advertiser’s site. The goal is to get as many actions/conversions from the campaign as possible.

Campaign Types:

  • Display
  • Video (while video can drive click-through conversions, some devices don’t allow for clicks, so most video conversions will come from view-through conversions).

Available Metrics (KPI):

  • Total Conversions
  • Click Through Conversions
  • View Through Conversions
  • eCPA (average cost per conversion)

This goal can provide a lot of insight into return on investment, but it is also requires the most work prior to the campaign launch. Conversions are measured using a pixel, so first and foremost, the advertiser must be able to place a pixel on the action they want to track within the site. You’ll want to ensure that the conversion makes sense and is easy to complete. Next, dive into the specifics:

  • How many conversions they are expecting?
  • How many actions do they typically see in a month?
  • How much are they willing to pay for a conversion?

The answers to these questions can help you set expectations with the advertiser. There is no “average” conversion rate as all conversions are different. For example, you wouldn’t expect a coupon download for a free coffee to have the same conversion rate as a form-fill for a home loan. The campaign can be optimized to total conversions or to the eCPA (cost per conversion). The eCPA represents how much each of the on-site actions cost. The buyer can help make this cost more efficient over time with optimizations. The goal will always be to increase actions while decreasing how much the advertiser pays for each one. If user action campaigns are done successfully, they can lead to a long relationship. It is hard to cancel actions directly driving business for the advertiser.


Specifics are details that are available if you ask the right questions. Specifics are fine points you can provide about the goal and the variety of KPIs that can be measured. Specifics make your relationship and your campaigns better. Take the time, be the partner, and talk specifics!