The success of digital advertising campaigns can be a challenging story to tell. It can be complicated if you don’t have comprehensive or transparent reporting. Additionally, defining the metrics for customers who aren’t digitally savvy may affect the conversation. However, every advertiser wants to know about the performance of ad campaigns. When you can deliver easy-to-understand explanations and the reasons for the outcomes, your customers will appreciate the explanations and grow to trust you more.

In this post, we’ll offer some best practices for presenting ad campaign performance.

What Metrics Should You Present?

Digital advertising metrics demonstrate how well the campaign met its objectives and expectations. The set of metrics you focus on will depend on the tactic and goals. The most common include:

  • Impressions: The number of times an ad was served to an audience
  • Clicks: How many users clicked the CTA (call to action) on the ad
  • Click-through rate (CTR): The ratio of users who clicked an ad to the total number of impressions
  • Video completion rate: How many times a video was watched (relevant for all video ads, including OTT/CTV)
  • Cost per click (CPC): Pertains to SEM (search engine marketing) and represents the amount paid for a click by a searcher
  • Conversions: Involves a customer taking a specific action after they click an ad, such as making a purchase, scheduling an appointment or completing a form. It’s attributable to the ad when the referral source to the page is an ad.
  • Open rate: For email marketing, this counts how many unique opens occurred.

In discussing these performance metrics, you can add context in several ways. First, you can compare the campaign to previous ones with the same goals to determine improvements. If there were any, dig into why. Was it better targeting? New creative? A more engaging CTA?

Second, you can look at CTRs and emails and benchmark them against industry standards.

Here are some sources to help with this:

Third, you can identify what performed really well within a multi-tactic campaign. For example, a geofenced display ad may have had a much stronger CTR than one that wasn’t geofenced. Emphasize this in your review with customers, and recommend allocating more budget to the best-performing tactic.

Analytics Reporting Needs to Be Simple and Transparent

Whatever platform you use to execute digital ads, from third-party digital solutions to social media sites to Google Ads, you need analytics reporting that’s straightforward. Some options do this well, while others make us think we need a Ph.D. to figure out the performance!

Ultimately, your reporting capabilities will impact how you present ad campaign performance. Yes, it should include the metrics discussed above, but more granular things also matter, such as:

  • If impressions viewed and impressions ordered are equal
  • Which creative performed the best
  • Which geofenced areas had the greatest delivery and performance
  • The cities and ZIP codes that were at the top

Additionally, you’ll want to be able to run custom reports. For customers with larger campaign spending across many tactics, you’ll need to get more specific. Having a platform that enables you to build these reports can answer questions about ROAS (return on ad spend).

Answering Why

You have data and analytics that tell the story of a campaign. These raw numbers and results are the building blocks of how you’ll review performance.

Starting with the campaign’s objectives, use the numbers and context to see how it did. If you find that some areas were off the mark, explore why. It’s not always easy to answer why, but you can use your expertise in digital advertising and your market to create a hypothesis. It could be that interest or demographic targeting was too narrow or broad, or geotargeting could have been off for various reasons.

Every digital campaign isn’t going to be a home run, and it’s OK to admit that it didn’t meet goals. Turn this into a discussion about how you can make up these gaps in the next round. Ask more questions about the ideal buyer to flush out targeting. If you’re at a loss, you can lean on your digital advertising support team to coach you through the conversation.

Ad Campaign Performance: A Vital Conversation to Have with Advertisers

At the completion of any campaign, you should put together the results and book time with your client. You can provide them with the reporting and then offer commentary on the metrics. Engage them to ask questions and talk about what conversions they saw from the ads. This open conversation will continue to establish that you’re their local advertising resource and expert. It can also be a competitive advantage and a way for you and your customers to learn and improve!

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