How Do Leaders Measure Advertising Impact?

By Greg Grzesiak Greg Grzesiak has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
Published on April 11, 2024

In the dynamic world of advertising, selecting the right metrics or key performance indicators (KPIs) is crucial for gauging success. We’ve gathered insights from industry experts, including a Chief Marketing Officer and a marketing manager, to share which KPIs they prioritize. From tracking website engagement metrics to assessing website traffic as a KPI, explore the diverse perspectives of fifteen professionals on measuring the impact of advertising campaigns.

  • Track Website Engagement Metrics
  • Prioritize Return on Investment
  • Focus on Return on Ad Spend
  • Zero in on Conversions
  • Combine Number of Created Instances
  • Monitor Cost Per Acquisition
  • Analyze Session Duration Insights
  • Gauge Brand Awareness Impact
  • Measure Excess Share of Voice
  • Calculate Customer Lifetime Value
  • Drive Leads and Sales as KPI
  • Evaluate Cost Per Qualified Lead
  • Monitor SERP Visibility
  • Check Click-Through Rates
  • Assess Website Traffic as KPI

Track Website Engagement Metrics

A key metric I look at is website engagement. For our clientele, everything needs to drive to brand experience, either for the first time or for the seventh.

Based on the campaign creative and message, I consistently look at the various engagements through web metrics to make sure we’re hitting the mark in bringing them in, and then expanding their experience from the ad campaign to the brand experience. These are essential to ensure that message and placement are resonating.

Amy CantwellAmy Cantwell
Vice President of Media Strategy & Owned Media, Pinnacle Advertising


Prioritize Return on Investment

I’ve run the gamut from bank teller to ultra-marathon runner, to TV show host, to CEO coach. These diverse experiences have taught me to view business through a multifaceted lens. Every job, every role, every challenge contributes to a bigger picture and brings invaluable lessons—much like each KPI in an advertising campaign.

One of the interesting parallels I’ve drawn from my ultra-marathon experience is that your biggest competition is your own self. Similarly, in advertising, your biggest hurdle is not your competitors, but your own inability to measure and interpret KPIs accurately. It’s about choosing the right metrics, understanding what they signify, and using that knowledge to make strategic decisions.

In the realm of advertising, if I had to choose one KPI that holds paramount importance, it would be the Return on Investment (ROI). This metric is essential because it directly quantifies the success of an advertising campaign in terms of financial return. By evaluating ROI, we gain insights into the profitability of our marketing efforts, allowing us to allocate resources more efficiently and make informed strategic decisions.

A positive ROI indicates that our advertising is not only resonating with our target audience but also driving conversions that exceed the cost of the campaign. This key performance indicator ultimately serves as the ultimate litmus test for the effectiveness and sustainability of our advertising strategies.

So, whether it’s click-through rates, conversion rates, ROI, or customer acquisition cost, each KPI serves as a beacon, guiding us towards more effective strategies and better outcomes.

Peter LewisPeter Lewis
Chief Marketing Officer, Strategic Pete


Focus on Return on Ad Spend

If I had to pick one, it would be return on ad spend (ROAS). Clicks and impressions show interest, but ROAS tells me the cold, hard truth: Am I generating revenue that outpaces my ad spend? This is where we use AI. It lets us analyze ROAS alongside website behavior and customer lifetime value to see which audiences convert best.

This lets me optimize campaigns in real-time, not wait for reports. ROAS and AI insights help me refine targeting, maximize efficiency, and deliver campaigns that resonate with the right people at the right time.

Dylan YoungDylan Young
Marketing Specialist, CareMax


Zero in on Conversions

At KARMAjack, when it comes to measuring the impact of our advertising campaigns, conversions take the spotlight. Why, you ask? Because in the bustling world of digital marketing, actions speak louder than impressions. Conversions, whether they’re sales, sign-ups, or leads, are the truest measure of success. They’re not just numbers; they’re stories of people who believed in what we’re offering enough to take the next step.

This focus helps us keep our eyes on the prize: driving real, tangible results for our clients. By prioritizing conversions, we ensure that our strategies are not just creating noise but resonating with the right audience, compelling them to act. It’s about making meaningful connections that convert interest into action.

For us, conversions are the heartbeat of any campaign, indicating vitality and growth. They guide our decisions, refine our strategies, and, most importantly, celebrate the moments our clients’ dreams become their customers’ reality.

Larry WeidemanLarry Weideman
Operations Manager of Search, KARMA jack


Combine Number of Created Instances

For PPC/SEM and Paid Social Retargeting campaigns, which I normally use for driving new business, I mainly look at four KPIs: number of opportunities created, pipeline created, number of new customers, and new revenue created.

I normally use Paid Social campaigns for Awareness and Education (TOFU/MOFU), and there I mainly look at KPIs that measure content consumption: video views or clicks to blog/content.

Radu VladislavRadu Vladislav
Head of Growth Marketing, Filestage


Monitor Cost Per Acquisition

As a seasoned digital marketing expert specializing in driving high-quality business leads and improving e-commerce growth, I prioritize specific Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) based on the campaign’s nature.

For lead generation campaigns, my go-to metric is CPA (Cost Per Acquisition) or Cost/Conversion. This KPI is indispensable, as it directly correlates to the efficiency of the ad campaign in generating valuable leads within the allocated budget. It allows for precise tracking of investment returns, helping businesses understand the exact cost of acquiring a new customer, which in turn helps with strategic budget allocation and campaign optimization.

In e-commerce, I usually look at ROAS (Return On Advertising Spend) – it predominantly takes center stage with those campaigns. This metric is essential because it measures the gross revenue generated for every dollar spent on advertising. ROAS provides a clear picture of the campaign’s effectiveness in driving sales and is a critical factor in evaluating the profitability and scalability of e-commerce marketing strategies.

Claire JarrettClaire Jarrett
Founder, Jarrett Digital Ltd.


Analyze Session Duration Insights

Session duration from advertising campaigns is an unconventional yet highly informative metric we track. This metric gives us insight into how long users stay engaged with our site after clicking on an ad. It shows the relevancy and quality of our content and the intuitiveness of our site’s design. A longer session duration indicates that our advertising is not only effective in attracting users but also in holding their interest, which is crucial for a tool designed to enhance productivity.

We consider session duration essential because it’s an indicator of user interest and potential for conversion. In the field of SaaS, where user engagement is a precursor to subscription or purchase, understanding how well our advertising sustains user interest is critical. It helps us fine-tune our messaging and user experience to better meet the needs and expectations of prospective users. This focus on keeping users engaged longer not only improves our conversion rates but also enhances the overall user experience, reflecting our commitment to creating value at every touchpoint.

Alari AhoAlari Aho
CEO and Founder, Toggl Inc


Gauge Brand Awareness Impact

Brand awareness measures the extent to which consumers recognize and recall a brand. It is essential for establishing trust, credibility, and familiarity with the target audience. By monitoring brand-awareness metrics such as brand recall or brand recognition, advertisers can gauge the effectiveness of their campaigns in increasing brand visibility and presence in the market.

Brett BergerBrett Berger
Co-Founder & COO, Flow Sparrow


Measure Excess Share of Voice

Excess Share of Voice (ESOV) is a clear measure of advertising impact in either driving growth or potential share erosion. In simple terms, it reveals if you’re shouting loud enough for your brand’s size in the market.

ESOV compares how much you advertise to how big your market share is. If you advertise more than your market share, that’s positive ESOV. This could help you grow your market share in the future by outspending competitors. If you advertise less than your market share, that’s negative ESOV. This risks losing customers to louder competitors.

For example, if your brand has a 20% market share but accounts for 30% of the advertising, your ESOV is positive (+10%). You’re louder than your size, which attracts more customers. But if your share is 30% and advertising only 20%, your ESOV is negative (-10%). You’re quieter than your size, so competitors can drown you out.

Tracking ESOV over time shows if your advertising matches your market position. Positive ESOV means overspending to grow. Negative ESOV means underspending, risking lost customers. ESOV directly links ad spend to market performance, making it valuable for measuring advertising impact and deciding how much to spend versus competitors.

Ricci MaseroRicci Masero
Marketing Manager, Intellek


Calculate Customer Lifetime Value

No campaign is the same, but for my agency, we run lead-generation campaigns since acquiring new leads is one of the first steps to higher sales and revenue.

One key performance indicator (KPI) I prioritize is Customer Lifetime Value (CLV), as this determines how much a customer can generate for my business and how this affects monthly revenue goals. How can you calculate CLV? I multiply the average purchase value (APV) by the customer’s average purchasing frequency (APF); CLV = APV x APF. For my business in high-ticket services, every purchase value increases my profitability.

Why do I consider this essential? CLV tells you, the marketer, how much to spend on customer acquisition. You’re no longer spending x amount on acquisition without knowing how much that lead is bringing into your business for the duration of that relationship.

Secondly, CLV forces me to focus on customer retention, not just acquisition. Research by InsightSquared has shown that reducing your churn rate by just 5 percent can increase your company’s profitability by 25 to 125 percent. This means launching CLV-focused advertising campaigns can keep me in business for longer than average.

Guy SheetritGuy Sheetrit
Founder, Over The Top Inc


Drive Leads and Sales as KPI

Your advertising campaigns should drive leads and sales. Focus on that metric for your KPI as a measure of success. This is essential because you can’t pay your bills with likes, comments, and shares.

Robert BrillRobert Brill
CEO, Brill Media


Evaluate Cost Per Qualified Lead

We tout our law firm as “The Family Doctor of Business Law.” Our essential KPI for marketing is the Cost Per Qualified Lead. There is a subjective element to this metric because the intake team must learn what a ‘qualified’ lead is. There are plenty of people who will call us with problems that are nowhere in our wheelhouse. We have to measure both the cost and the quality of our leads to keep our marketing effective and efficient.

Matthew DavisMatthew Davis
CEO, Davis Business Law


Monitor SERP Visibility

As the CEO & Founder of RankWatch, where we navigate the dynamic landscape of SEO, we place special emphasis on tracking the “SERP visibility” metric to gauge the impact of our advertising campaigns.

While many focus solely on traditional KPIs like click-through rates or conversions, SERP visibility offers a unique vantage point by measuring how prominently our brand appears in search engine results pages (SERPs). This metric encapsulates not just clicks, but also the broader visibility and brand exposure our campaigns generate across various search queries.

By monitoring SERP visibility, we gain insights into our brand’s overall presence and influence in the digital sphere, guiding our strategies towards maximizing our online footprint and organic reach.

A defining moment came when a meticulously crafted advertising campaign led to a significant spike in SERP visibility across targeted keywords, even before the campaign gained traction in terms of clicks or conversions. This early indicator not only validated our campaign’s effectiveness but also highlighted the importance of brand visibility as a precursor to driving meaningful engagement and conversions.

It’s this holistic approach to measuring campaign impact that sets us apart in the realm of SEO and digital marketing, ensuring our efforts resonate not just with algorithms, but with real users seeking valuable content and solutions.

Sahil KakkarSahil Kakkar
CEO & Founder, RankWatch


Check Click-Through Rates

When I’m assessing the impact of my advertising campaigns, there are three key metrics I always keep a close eye on: Click-Through Rate (CTR), conversion rate, and Cost Per Acquisition (CPA). These three KPIs act as a funnel to tell me how an ad is doing, and where it needs work.

CTR, for instance, tells me how many people are actually engaging with my ad by clicking on it, showing me if it’s capturing attention and sparking interest. If the CTR is no good, then I know the message isn’t resonating, and I need either a redesign or a different audience.

If the CTR is high, then I look at the conversion rate. It’s a direct line to understanding if my ads are driving results for the business. If people are clicking but not converting into an interesting lead, then I know that the landing page, or the form, or the magnet might need work.

Once I have a decent CTR and a good conversion rate, I can then further refine by looking at my CPA. That means I’m looking beyond simple engagement and considering my actual ROI for the campaign or channel. How many of my conversions are becoming real, genuine customers, and how much am I spending to get them?

By focusing on each metric in turn, I can fine-tune my ad creatives and targeting to make sure I’m delivering ads that not only grab attention but also drive action that generates value. It’s all about keeping a finger on the pulse of how my advertising efforts are truly impacting the bottom line.

Jane IngramJane Ingram
Director of Operations and Marketing, Forwardly


Assess Website Traffic as KPI

I prioritize website traffic as a key performance indicator (KPI) when measuring the impact of advertising campaigns. It’s essential because higher website traffic correlates with the potential for lead generation. More visitors mean more opportunities for conversion, whether it’s through signing up for newsletters, downloading resources, or making purchases.

Increased website traffic indicates that our advertising efforts are effectively reaching the target audience and generating interest in the products or services we offer. It serves as an indicator of the visibility of our brand in the online space.

Monitoring traffic allows us to assess the effectiveness of our advertising campaigns in driving user engagement. By tracking changes in traffic patterns over time, we can identify which campaigns or channels are most successful in driving traffic to our website.

Damar WDamar W
Writer, Explainerd


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By Greg Grzesiak Greg Grzesiak has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

Greg Grzesiak is an Entrepreneur-In-Residence and Columnist at Grit Daily. As CEO of Grzesiak Growth LLC, Greg dedicates his time to helping CEOs influencers and entrepreneurs make the appearances that will grow their following in their reach globally. Over the years he has built strong partnerships with high profile educators and influencers in Youtube and traditional finance space. Greg is a University of Florida graduate with years of experience in marketing and journalism.

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