Marketing KPIs Are at Odds

The key performance indicators that marketers use most often to track the results of their media investments are rarely the same KPIs that those same marketers consider to be most important. This is a key finding from the ANA Media Leadership Growth Council’s study “Media KPIs That Matter.” In fact, only one KPI is in the top five of both lists.

The council conducted a quantitative study, as well as qualitative interviews with select respondents, to learn which media KPIs are most valuable to marketers. The findings revealed a list of 39 KPIs that marketers use to assess their media investments. Respondents were asked to share which of those KPIs they consider most important, as well as which they use most often. 

Top five most important KPIs:

  • ROI/ROAS (outcome versus marketing investment) based on spending or lift
  • Exposed ROAS (spending and lift, only using valid measured exposures as a base)
  • Brand safety metrics 
  • Customer lifetime value 
  • Conversion

Top five most-used KPIs:

  • CPM (cost per thousand)
  • CPC (cost per click or interaction)
  • Unique reach
  • ROI/ROAS (Outcome versus marketing investment) based on spending or lift 
  • Site Visits

The KPIs cited as most important KPIs for media are mostly outcome-oriented yet also focused on measurement quality. The most used KPIs are mainly about efficiency and are primarily focused on the top of the funnel, which favors measuring the “stimulus” over the “response,” according to the report.

The report findings suggest that marketers who oversee media management are being held accountable for business outcomes. The report also indicates that quality wins over quantity in terms of a brand’s media exposure driving those results.

When asked, “Which KPIs are new/emerging for your organization’s media?” ROI/ROAS landed in the top of the list yet again. Interestingly, customer lifetime value and conversion, both long-time staples for marketers are gaining ground for media measurement.

The top new/emerging KPIs:

  • Data source quality
  • ROI/ROAS 
  • Customer lifetime value
  • Conversion
  • Targeting information quality

The council also asked respondents which KPIs they consider to be “head fakes”; those endorsed by a media partner that are rarely useful—and potentially could be misleading. 

KPIs most cited as “head fakes”:

• Likes
• Sentiment/comments
• Shares (on social media)

These so-called vanity measures are often cited as more about engagement than performance.

Overall, the results suggest that marketers involved in media strategy and decision making have a huge opportunity to help improve marketing and media performance, as well as drive revenue—and that starts by better aligning their KPIs with their desired outcomes. 

This article originally appeared on MKTGinsight.