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Digital Advertising Metrics & Reporting: What to Include

July 12 2017 by Jordan Kramer


If your C-suite or brand manager asked tomorrow for a list of the most important digital advertising metrics they should use to make ad spend decisions, could you deliver?

Many digital advertisers think they could. They pull numbers, package the data and deliver a weekly, monthly or quarterly report only to find out way too late they were wrong about what executives cared about.

That’s because data in digital advertising presents some difficulties.Some brands don’t have enough of it, and lack transparency into even basic advertising activities. Other brands are drowning in data, but don’t know what actually matters. Still others know what’s important to their team or department, but remain clueless about the things higher ups care about.

In any case, the end result is the same: executive reports that don’t help their recipients make useful decisions. This damages both the brand’s ability to advertise effectively and your own reputation. 

This post is here to help. It offers suggestions on what to include in C-suite or brand manager reports. It’s worth noting that the “right” metrics for your executives may change completely depending on your business and its goals. But there are some common, useful metrics you can pull to give decision-makers real insight into how advertising moves the business forward. 

What Metrics Matter?

Some executives prefer boatloads of data to sift through and others just want the takeaways without wading through the numbers. You’ll need to judge the preferences of your executives. But a handful of digital advertising metrics should be useful in most cases:

  • Conversions — The number of conversions (whatever those look like to your business) that resulted from paid advertising.
  • Cost Per Conversion — How much did each conversion cost you to acquire?
  • Lifetime Conversion Value — How much is each conversion worth to your business over the lifetime of a customer?
  • Conversion Rate — What was the rate of conversions for each advertising channel or creative?

On some level, the C-suite and brand managers care, in different ways, about ROI. These metrics are a good way to spell it out for them.

What Other Information Should You Provide?

It isn’t just about performance metrics. There are several other pieces of information that can be valuable for executive decision-making: 

  • Competitor Ad Spend — How much did one or more of your competitors spend on ads for the reporting period? How does your brand’s spend compare to theirs when measured against total impressions generated?
  • Your Ad Placement — Where did your brand’s ads appear? Digital advertising is facing a transparency crisis: your content could be appearing on undesirable websites or next to objectionable content.
  • Competitor Ad Placement — Where did your competitors place ads and in what proportion did they place ads on certain channels or sites? How does your brand’s placement strategy measure up? Are there opportunities to target similar sites where competitors don’t advertise?
  • Competitors’ Creatives — What products or services did the competition advertise? How did they advertise those offerings? What lines of business are they investing ad dollars in?
  • Ad Spend Channels — How did your brand and its competitors allocate ad spending across desktop, mobile and video?
  • Ad Paths and Middlemen — What does your ad supply chain look like? Which third parties are placing or influencing your ads? Are there opportunities to cut out costly middlemen? 

Contextual insights like these work well together with the ROI-focused metrics we discussed earlier. They can provide executives (and your team!) with a more complete picture of what works and what doesn’t. Just as importantly, they’ll inspire executive confidence in your ability to meet their needs.

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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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