New Year, New Metric Mindset

Digital advertising has long been chosen for it’s strategic and measurable capabilities, often called key performance indicators (KPI). KPIs range considerably depending on the goals an advertiser wants to achieve, but one of the most popular is measuring clicks on display campaigns. Obviously, clicks are a great indication of interest and action on behalf of your target audience; only in digital campaigns can you directly interact with an ad that would lead you to a website. However, clicks are not the end-all-beat-all indication of a successful digital campaign. Your decision to launch and keep digital advertising should not be based on click-based KPIs alone. Digital has so much more to offer!


Think about more traditional ways of advertising, TV, billboards, and radio ads were long sent out into the public with loose guidelines ranging from the choice of road you put your billboard on to the the slightly narrower selection of dayparting. In traditional advertising, we were happy to select our daypart and let our ads run with confidence that we were strategic in our selections. When digital advertising became popular, we were astonished with how narrow our data selections could get while still creating a campaign with breadth and depth. Maybe this is why we flock to click-based KPIs so much – they’re obvious. We couldn’t click TV ads before, but now we can click digital ads, so of course clicks are the most important! With the sophistication of digital advertising now, clicks are no longer the only reason to spend money in digital.


While clicks are fun to see on reporting, we must not forget about several other digital KPIs. To start, digital can create great brand awareness. While this may not be as quantifiable as clicks, the sheer number of impressions you serve while still being targeted by zip code, contextual website content, and behavioral attributes can raise traffic to your website and interest in your business. A KPI of a successful branding campaign is an increase in website traffic. Clicks do not show the users who saw your digital ad and did not click – but they remembered your business name and came back to check you out later (which is also why digital advertising pairs with search engine marketing so well).


Other than brand awareness and clicks, digital has a ton of other conversion capabilities that make more sense for certain types of businesses. For example, retailers may benefit from Cost Per Conversion (CPC) for when someone adds a product to their online shopping cart and completes the purchase. A form-fill based business would benefit from a CPC that indicates when a user completes a form fill online.


Thinking outside the box when it comes to digital advertising is key. You must ask yourself the hard questions of what is the most valuable indications of success for your business. If a narrow CPC goal where in a month only three people convert but those conversions turned into new business, that could be an indication of a successful digital campaign! Maybe running 3 million impressions in a month to increase website traffic and brand awareness is key for you. The point is digital advertising is not a cookie-cutter solution; you must find the metric that is the most poignant for your business…and clicks may not be it.