The great thing about online advertising from an advertisers point of view is that with all the reporting and metrics available, never before has advertising been so trackable.
If you want to know how well your ad has performed, it’s just a case of looking at the reports that should be available to you. In fact, this is the first point to keep in mind – when agreeing to a deal with a site or network to advertise, you should always ask them what level of reporting they will provide.
If they are a large company, then they should be able to provide you with daily reports telling you how many ad impressions you received and how many people clicked on them at the very least.
If you are advertising on a small site, then they may not have this available to them, or only as a Google Analytics report (which is great for website stats, but is the worst possible way to track ads).
If it’s a small site you should probably forgive them this, as there are other ways you can make sure you are getting value for money.
If it’s a huge site or network however and they can’t or won’t offer this, then you should seriously question the abilities of the people working at that company, or at least how much they really care about your advertising business (many companies are able to create daily reports, but would require the salesperson to forward it to you – if they can’t be bothered to do this, then they probably won’t provide you with a good service).
There are three metrics that any network will be able to provide you with:
- Impressions: This is the number of times your ad is shown. If your objective is getting your brand name out there, then the more impressions you deliver the better.
- Clicks: This is the number of clicks your ad receives and is a good measure of how well placed your ad is. Although clicks don’t line up with sales necessarily, if the users of the sites you advertise on aren’t interested in your ad, they won’t click on it.
- CTR: This stands for “Click Through Rate” and is the ratio of clicks to impressions you receive. It is the most effective way of judging the success of your ad and should be used when comparing different sites. The industry average is 0.1% which means every 1,000 ads shown creates one click. Each ad on each site behaves differently though, so you may see consistently higher or lower results than this. Strangely, human behaviour is consistent in it’s clicking pattern, and the CTR for your ad on any site will likely remain consistent over time.
- Conversions: This is a generic term for users completing the desired action, such as purchasing a product or signing up to a service. If you are advertising to encourage a specific action then you should ensure you have a way of tracking your ad’s effect upon this action (such as the ad leading through to a specific URL).
- CPA (Cost per Acquisition or Cost per Action): As well as a pricing model, CPA can be used as a measure of efficiency for your marketing spend. For example, if you receive 10 conversions from your £2,000 ad spend then it has cost you £200 per conversion, or in other words, you paid a £200 CPA. You can use this measurement to work out how much you are/you want to pay per conversion, and then attempt to garner a CPA below that target via optimising.
- ROI: This stands for return on investment, and is basically the way to work out if your advertising was worth the money you spent on it. For example, if it costs you £200 CPA to get a new sale, but you also get an additional sale by giving away hot chocolate at 20p a cup, then your ROI for your ad spend is pretty terrible!