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Pathmatics Blog
Ad Intelligence 101 |


How to Measure Impressions & Hit Your Advertising KPIs

June 06 2017 by Jordan Kramer

Starting a new ad campaign? You’ll need a starting point – defining your goals. But once you’ve determined what you want to get out of the campaign, how do you measure success?

Start with impressions. These are the building blocks of your common advertising KPIs, like CTR, CPC and CVR. Without impressions, your ad campaign is a bust, whether it’s awareness or conversion focused.

What can impressions really tell you about the effectiveness of my ad campaign? You only care about the bottom line.

Good question. Impressions are the building blocks of a solid campaign strategy, and without targeted impressions, you won’t get quality clicks, and in turn, you’ll be wasting your budget.

Here’s how to determine if you’re on the right track.

How to Measure Impressions

Whether you’re running awareness or performance campaigns, measuring impressions can inform decisions like where to place your ads, how to purchase ads and what format to use for your ads. The good news for digital advertisers is, unlike billboard advertisers, ad intelligence software allows digital advertisers to take a deep dive into the factors driving the most impressions for your brand, your competitors and your industry.

With a competitive intelligence platform, you’re able to explore your industry and competitors’ ad spend, impression shares, channel distribution, site distribution and more. 

The Data Behind Impressions

Impressions Are Your Share-of-Voice in the Industry

Let’s say your brand is Citigroup. You received 1.7 percent of the financial services sector’s impressions in Q1, but Capital One Financial Corp garnered 2.3 percent. Those additional 3.4 million impressions Capital One garnered are potential customers you’re giving away to the competition right now. Not to mention, JPMorgan Chase & Co. is trailing behind you with 1.45 percent impression share.


Impressions Inform Ad Spend

Remember how Capital One was ahead of you in impressions? Take a look at their spend share to determine your ability to catch up. If you can match their budget of about $19,558,000, about 0.50 percent more spend share than yours last quarter, it may be worth the budget increase. However, do so strategically. Capital One is only paying $14.54 CPM. 

There’s also someone else to look out for. While Chase is behind you in impressions, the brand is spending $16.20 CPM, while you’re at $17.03 CPM. This is where knowing the competition’s channel distribution and site distribution come in handy.

Impressions Inform Channel Distribution

Where are Capital One and Chase getting these impressions? They’re at lower CPMs, and Capital One is far ahead in impression share. Exploring their chosen distribution channels will help determine what they’re doing differently.


As you can see above, Capital One and Chase are spending less on direct and more on ad networks and DSPs combined. However, this doesn’t tell the whole story.

Impressions Inform Site Distribution

Where are your competitors running ads that you’re not? How many impressions are they getting, and does this seem like a targeted site? Perhaps the most valuable data around impressions, a breakdown by individual sites will tell you exactly where the competition is getting the most impressions and help you determine if these are quality, targeted impressions. 


Getting impressions – the right impressions – could mean make or break for your next campaign. Before you launch, make sure you’re targeting the appropriate audience by comparing your allocation approach to your competitors. Don’t waste your ad budget on unrelated audiences or ineffective channels. 

Want to learn more about ad intelligence or the digital advertising industry? Take a look at the related stories below.

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About Author
Jordan Kramer

An out-of-the-box thinker with a love for disruptive ideas, Jordan's background spans PR and events for the wedding & hospitality industry in Los Angeles and Scottsdale and also launching one of America's most unique food trucks. She jumped from the food start-up scene to the tech start-up scene in 2013 to join one of the most unique companies in ad tech. Jordan is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication.

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