Can KPIs Help Us Make Better Marketing Decisions?

by Kristi Moss
April 27, 2016

Behold the KPI: the Key Performance Indicator. It’s a single, measurable value that demonstrates how effectively a company is achieving a particular marketing objective.

The term might be new, but the idea is not. Coupons, business reply cards and 800 numbers have been part of measuring marketing success for decades.

KPIs are useful in tracking progress and proving the effectiveness of digital marketing campaigns, but they are only meaningful if we use them to make educated decisions about strategies and tactics.

In the digital world, KPIs are virtually limitless, and they vary by objective. KPIs could be impressions delivery, CPM goals, click through rate or cost per click, just to name a few. At Paulsen, we use KPIs to frame our digital campaign discussions. By starting with the end in mind, we can provide a clear tactical path.

Many clients still use digital media campaigns to enhance brand awareness and increase the reach of other tactics. If brand awareness and reach are the objectives, viewability is a key KPI.

We are all aware of the viewing issues that come with banner advertising, but video campaigns offer a video completion percentage metric—and sometimes even a completion percentage guarantee. In these scenarios, we might find that the KPI defines the tactics we are using. Our banner campaign might become a video campaign because we started with the end goal in mind.

The rise of content marketing has created new measurement challenges. Ad server analytic systems are generally not set up to measure the KPIs that marketers value in content campaigns. Content engagement is key. Make sure you understand what KPI metrics the publisher can provide before the campaign starts. Most publishers are very accommodating to analytics needs if they are aware up front what they are expected to measure.

The amount of data can be overwhelming, but taking the time to figure out what’s important is key to making our marketing campaigns even better.