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Impressions & Clicks Suck – Learn How to Measure What Matters in Programmatic

It’s the beginning of the month and you are eagerly awaiting your monthly display campaign report from your media agency. You check your inbox and notice your Account Manager has sent you the same Excel spreadsheet you expect every month. After opening the document, you see the same metrics you always see: impressions and clicks. If you are lucky impressions and clicks are broken down by device type and creative. You take these numbers from your media agency and put them in your own report that you will present later to your bosses.

If this situation sounds familiar I want you to ask yourself a question: how is reporting on display impressions and clicks moving your business forward? Most likely, it’s not. And what is worse is the people above you, your CMO and VP of Marketing, do not care if you increased your CTR or decreased your CPM. What do they care about? How display affected the bottom line. That is what you should be reporting on!

To show how display is really moving your business, you need to define your campaign objective and the most important metrics to measure. In this article we will go over how to do this by creating a comprehensive measurement plan. Ready to get started?

What is a Measurement Plan?
A measurement plan is an outline of how you will measure the success of your campaign. The first part of the measurement plan outlines your campaign objective and the tactics you will use to complete it. After you define your campaign objective and tactics, the next step is to specify your key performance indicators (KPIs) and supporting metrics. Finally, your measurement plan will describe the goals you need to reach to be successful.

Defining Your Campaign Objective & Tactics
The first step to any campaign is to summarize the campaign objective and tactics. Before you get started, you need to ask yourself two important questions:

1. What is this campaign trying to achieve?

2. How will we know when our campaign has achieved its objective?

Question #1 is designed to help you figure out the key objective of your campaign (we will get to Question #2 later in this post). Your answer should, most likely, align closely to your company or department’s overall business objective. For example, let’s pretend you are an ecommerce marketer with an online store and multiple offline locations. If this is the case, the answer to “what is my campaign trying to achieve?” is probably selling more products.

After outlining your campaign objective, you should identify your tactics. Your tactics are the strategies you will use to meet your objective. In our case, since our objective is to sell more products our display tactics can be to sell more products online and to drive visits to our offline stores.

Pick Your KPIs

Choosing your KPIs and secondary metrics is the next step in the measurement plan process. Continuing our example, the KPIs for our campaign could include transactions, revenue, and find a store searches. Please note that you should not select more than one to two KPIs per tactic to determine the success of your campaign. Instead, you need to pick the most important metrics that directly impact your campaign objective.

Next, select a few secondary metrics for your campaign. Secondary metrics should be indicators of success that are connected to your KPIs. For instance, good secondary metrics for our campaign could include CPA, add to carts, product views, and return visits.

Finally, you need to decide how you will segment your KPIs and secondary metrics. Segments will help you slice and dice your KPIs to see where your campaign is performing the best and where you need to optimize. Some common display segments include:

  • Device
  • Creative
  • Behavioral Audience
  • Websites
  • Location


Setting Your Target

The final piece of your measurement plan is to answer Question #2 and set targets for your KPIs. Baselines are extremely important because they are the true indicator of campaign success. If you do not set baselines before your campaign begins, you will have no way to tell if your campaign performed well, poorly, or somewhere in between. Additionally, baselines give your campaign a sense of importance, making it easier for you to push your campaign optimizations. It is definitely easier to convince your creative team to design new banners to test when you tell them the campaign is 5% under its target goal.

An easy way to set campaign baselines is to improve on what display did the year before. Take a look at your reports for the same time period last year and set a goal of a 5% to 10% improvement. If you do not have year over year performance data, look at how your campaign behaved over the last few months to project how it will perform in the future. It may not be 100% accurate, but you can reevaluate your baselines after a few months and adjust accordingly.

Measurement plans are extremely important for laying the ground work for success and should be made before every display campaign. They help define the KPIs and metrics you will use to show your campaign is a success. In addition, it will help you show your bosses the true impact of your work. So stop measuring impressions and clicks, and start getting real insight into how your display campaigns are improving your business.

Drowning in Paper

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