What are video advertising metrics?
Audience responses are unavoidably subjective, and in that sense, an ad’s success can be hard to measure. Metrics try to solve that problem by allowing advertisers to build a comprehensive picture of an ad campaign’s effectiveness. By collecting and analyzing different kinds of data — from audience demographics to population size and click counts — advertisers can objectively gauge how well an ad campaign is doing in relation to its goals.
This push for objective assessments of advertising campaigns isn’t new. Industries like broadcast TV and film, for example, have been working with concepts like ratings and audience reach for decades. While metrics predate digital advertising, though, new technologies have given rise to unprecedented possibilities when it comes to monitoring user reception and ad performance.
Why track metrics?
There are 3 big, interconnected reasons why you should track metrics for your ad campaign:
- Monitor the campaign’s success (or failure)
- Identify points for improvement for current and future campaigns
- Boost your campaigns’ returns
On the most basic level, metrics give you concrete figures for dissecting the performance of your ad campaign. It’s one thing to say that your ad runs on popular websites; it’s much more useful to know that, say, your video ad received 3,000 unique views from a specific website over the span of two days.
Metrics give your assessments granularity — essential for developing sophisticated campaigns that make the most of every dollar in your advertising budget. Every ad campaign pursues specific goals and target audiences. To reach those goals without blowing up a company’s finances, campaigns must possess a great degree of precision. Metrics give you the tools and information needed to achieve that.
That same granularity lets you pinpoint where your campaign could be going wrong, too. In terms of troubleshooting or optimizing an ad campaign, metrics let you get to the heart of the problem. With concrete numbers in hand, you can make better-informed course corrections as the campaign goes on. If you find that serving ads on a certain publisher results in low play rates, for example, you might want to look into how well-suited your ad is to the content on that publisher’s site.
Similarly, data collected from previous campaigns can also inform decisions for any similar campaigns that may be launched in the future.
Ultimately, metrics give you concrete information so you can make optimal decisions for your ad campaigns. By helping you identify and cut superfluous expenses, choose cost-effective solutions, and more, metrics can help ensure that your ad campaigns meet — or even exceed — expectations.
What are the basic metrics you can track?
For digital video advertising, there are tons of elements that you can track to gauge a campaign’s success. New formats and technologies abound, and the industry frequently sees proposals for new measurement standards and practices.
To make things easier, we can group metrics according to the elements they try to measure:
- User data and behavior
- Traffic or reach
- Engagement and conversion
Here you’ll find critical information like user demographics (age, gender, geographical location, etc.) as well as market research into consumer preferences and expectations. This helps you slice audiences up into discrete segments, define your target audiences, and tailor your campaign to their unique tastes.
Previously collected reports on user preferences can also help you plan the structure and approach of future campaigns. These reports can cover everything from audiences’ preferred platforms or methods of watching video to the success rates of different ad formats with particular audience segments. Studies that show the percentage of online video watchers who prefer interactive ads to standard ones, for example, can help you decide on the format for your next video ad.
Traffic or Reach
Metrics that focus on measuring exposure, like impressions or view counts, fall under this category. These let you know how many people have actually seen your ad, defining the bounds of the market from which you can expect responses or conversions for your product. These types of metrics are also good starting points for gauging your campaign’s overall efficiency — typically judged on how big an audience you can accrue for a certain amount spent or effort expended.
Engagement and Conversion
Ultimately, all advertising tries to drive concrete results or sales for the company. While exposure is a good start, it doesn’t always go far enough in estimating the impact of an ad campaign. There’s a difference, for example, between a user who visited a webpage that happened to have your ad playing on it and a user who chose to watch your specific video ad to the end. The latter are much more likely to translate to actual returns for your brand or product, and engagement-focused metrics try to zero in on those slices of your audience.
There’s no immediate way to verify that an ad has hooked a viewer, so metrics in this category tend to use indirect signals like completed views, click-through rates (e.g., signing up for a newsletter when prompted), social media shares, and so on.
Choosing the right metrics
Not all metrics will prove useful for every video ad campaign. Rather than trying to keep track of every possible aspect of your ad delivery, it’s best to define specific goals and select key metrics to complement those goals.
An ad campaign that aims to generate initial awareness for a new product, for example, might be more concerned with reach. In this case, view count might matter more than completion rates; simply getting the ad to the user, even if they only watch partway, might already count as a win.
Your choice of key metrics should also account for other factors, such as the platforms or channels you’re using, your target audience, and so on. Keep in mind, too, that any measurement or analysis of video advertising metrics should adhere to pre-defined standards to ensure integrity of results. The Interactive Advertising Bureau maintains guidelines for measuring video ad performance across different platforms, for example. Despite the IAB’s industry clout, however, these are by no means the only standards in use throughout the market. As you serve ads on a variety of publishing platforms or channels, it’s worth keeping these considerations in mind if you want accurate performance measurements for your campaigns.