Marketing Analytics: Which Advertising Metrics Matter the Most?

With the likes of impressions, reach and cost per acquisition, we have more information than ever to really drill down into the results of our ad spend.

If you want to know which ones to focus on, for reporting and future planning, then we have a rundown of the most important metrics you should track.


This is the big one that your eye will be drawn to with most marketing campaigns: how many people completed the action that you wanted them to?

Depending on the nature of your business, the conversion goals that you set up will vary. For some businesses, this may be a sale through their e-commerce site; for others it may be an action like filling out a form.

While setting these up, you can also assign a value to the conversion, which allows the advertising platform to do the maths for you! By entering in the average value of these conversions, the platform can then give you the ratio of profit to advertising spend.

For example, if you spend £10 on a PPC campaign and achieve two sales with an average value of £20 each, the profit generated is £30. These are fairly simple equations, but when you’re dealing with a larger scale and multiple campaigns, assigning these values allows you to get the right information at a glance.


This will usually be the largest number on your advertising dashboard, as it’s all of the times that your ad has been served up to users. From there, a smaller percentage will interact and fewer still will complete that conversion goal. For this reason, impressions can sometimes be known as a vanity metric, as they look big and flashy, but don’t always impact your bottom line.

Each platform that you use will measure impressions slightly differently, as there can be some differences in how these users are accounted for. In Facebook’s case, an impression is counted when the content is sent out, not when the user has seen it.

You want to use this metric combined with others to assess your campaign. If impressions are high but interactions are low, this means your content is being shown but your target audience isn’t all that interested. This could mean an issue with targeting or the content; you can run split tests to find out which it is.

Lifetime Value

If you have a subscription-based service or a service that people use often, you can track their lifetime value. This is really useful if you acquire traffic through different sources, like social media and PPC. You can use this information to find out which source brings you customers that are likely to stick around.

On some channels, you may find that users look for a deal but don’t continue to purchase, as the user behaviour and targeting is different. Being able to drill right down into this information ensures that your marketing budget is being spent in the best way.

Quality Score

If you’re running ads through AdWords, then this is a very important metric. The quality score of your page affects how much you pay for ads, where they will be positioned and their overall likelihood of success.

This is essentially how Google assesses your page against competitors that want to advertise for the same products or services. The ranking factors include:

  1. Relevance – How closely aligned is your ad to what is offered on the page?
  2. Landing Page Experience – Is your site well designed, speedy and does it offer a great user experience?
  3. Expected CTR – How many people are likely to click through from your ad to your site? This is gauged by measuring how well your ad performs initially, then the future performance is estimated.

If the quality score determined by these factors is low, then you’ll pay more for the same results. Monitoring this score for each ad you set up will allow you to get a higher number of clicks and possible conversions without increasing your budget.

Dwell Time

This is an often-overlooked metric that can give you real insight into your users. It’s basically a more complicated way of describing how long your average user stays on your site!

From this information, you can find out a lot about who your user is and what they’re looking for. If you have a high dwell time on the landing page from your advert, but no conversions, then your user isn’t fully satisfied with the information on there.

It’s all about investigating the user behaviour on your site to push them to the desired goal. When the targeting is right, they’ll be interested in what you have to offer on the site. From there, you’ve got to satisfy their curiosity with the right information to get to that last stage.

You may already have customers that know all about your brand and products, so they will convert whether this information is there or not. However, the vast majority of your new customers need reassurance and explanation before they commit their cash.

Bounce Rate

This metric has a huge impact on your overall site quality in the eyes of the search engines. These are the users who make it to your site but then exit without taking any actions or visiting a second page.

A high bounce rate can indicate a much bigger problem, as it can mean there’s something about your site that users don’t like. You can break this down into individual pages to diagnose the problem. It may be a security concern, something broken on the site, or a pop up that’s scaring these users away.

Google suggests the following fact finding for anyone experiencing a higher than normal bounce rate:

“… if just a few pages are the problem, examine whether the content correlates well with the marketing you use to drive users to those pages, and whether those pages offer users easy paths to the next steps you want them to take. If a particular channel has a high bounce rate, take a look at your marketing efforts for that channel: for example, if users coming via display are bouncing, make sure your ads are relevant to your site content.”

As with everything, there are exceptions to this rule however. For example, higher bounce rates can be expected on blogs designed to answer a simple question, such as ‘how to fry an egg’. A high bounce rate in this scenario can simply mean that the user found the information they wanted right away.

Advertising metrics are always changing and evolving, so it’s essential to stay on top of them. Investing in professional marketing training from the Chartered Institute of Marketing is a great way to ensure you’re an effective, up-to-date marketer who’s always ahead of the curve.

Find out more about our CIM-accredited training to turn your marketing department into a powerhouse.


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