The Basics of Digital Advertising KPIs

by | Aug 2, 2019 | GUIDES

Digital Advertising KPIs Feature Image: "KPIs" with dashboard icon

Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs, are a guidepost by which to measure the efficiencies of your digital advertising efforts. Meeting the KPI is often the signifier of success or failure for an advertising campaign. 

It’s common practice to set KPIs before the campaign launches and then make strategic optimizations in order to reach the goal that you’ve established. Simple, right? Not always. 

Setting the right KPI for your campaign can be tricky. So, we’ve outlined a quick-reference guide for assigning KPIs to the type of campaign you are running. Let’s look to the tried-and-true marketing funnel to group KPIs by funnel position. 

Digital Advertising KPI Marketing Funnel Graphic: Awareness at the top, Engagement a t the bottom
"Learning Phase" Digital Advertising KPI section one

Awareness – Learning Phase

Let’s start at the broadest point of the funnel. At this stage, the goal is to build awareness of your brand, service or product among your target audience. The aim is to reach as many relevant people as possible, inform and stay top-of-mind among your audience. 

The KPIs you should consider for an awareness campaign are:

  • CPM: The goal is to serve the most impressions possible with your allocated budget. Grappling with when and when not to use CPM as a KPI? We’ve broken it down here.

  • Viewability: Optimize toward viewability standards so that the ads appear in spaces that are in-view to your target audience. 
  • Completion Rate: If you are serving video ads, optimize toward getting your target audience to watch the video ad to completion.
  • Cost Per Completed View: For video ads, optimize toward a specific price to get your target audience to watch a full ad to completion.  
"Consideration Phase" Digital Advertising KPI section two

Engagement – Consideration Phase

Let’s move onto the midpoint of the funnel. During the engagement phase, the aim is to influence consideration for your brand, product or service over your competitors. You want your target audience to … ENGAGE …  with your ads and associated landing pages, learning more about what you have to offer over your competitors. 

The KPIs you should consider for an engagement campaign are:

  • Cost per Click (CPC): Optimize toward the price you pay to get your target audience to click on the ad.


Expecting to see Click Through Rate on this list? Read more about why CTR will often get in the way of meeting business objectives. 

"Action Phase" Digital Advertising KPIs section three

Conversion – Action Phase

At the bottom of the funnel, you have really honed in on the portion of your target audience who is most likely to take an action. Success at this stage is heavily reliant on successfully moving your audience through the two upper phases, however, if you’ve adequately raised awareness and users have engaged with your brand, your audience is likely to take that final step. Optimizations at this phase should be focused on driving that action. 

The KPIs you should consider for a conversion campaign are:

  • Cost per Acquisition (CPA): Optimize toward the cost of advertising based on your target audience taking a desired action. For example, your main goal may be to drive more store visits, so the KPI upon which you measure success will be Cost per Store Visit.
  • Return on Ad Spend (ROAS): Optimize toward the revenue that is generated for every dollar that is spent on advertising. 
  • Brand Lift: Optimize toward the number of users who were influenced by the advertising to take a desired action.  


Now that you have your campaign KPI ironed out, make sure the other details are squared away with this 8-Step Campaign Setup worksheet.

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