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  • Writer's pictureRoundabout team

Your performance marketing KPIs are obsolete

Measurement in a post-third-party ecosystem

It’s a tale as old as time for marketers: “how do I know the ROI of my ad investment?”

Every advertising innovation claims to solve the measurement conundrum. And that age-old problem grows even thornier as marketers defend shrinking budgets and grapple with new privacy regulations that are phasing out third-party cookies.

But at a time when advertising approaches are changing to more privacy-forward, contextual strategies, is “what’s the ROI” or “what’s the CPM?” even the right questions anymore?  Perhaps the better question is: how can we adopt new success metrics and KPIs to reflect the new marketing landscape? 

Or, put another way, it’s the how and the what marketers are measuring that needs to evolve. 

The new metrics

The current benchmarks brands are using to measure success don’t hold up in the new landscape. While KPIs like click through rate (CTR) and cost per thousand (that beloved decades old holdover from linear television days) continue to be the yardsticks for success, we need to dig deeper into the data and look at additional ways to monitor results.

There are actually more digitally native yardsticks that enlightened marketers can use to look at advertising effectiveness: bounce rate, visit duration, readability, and response time.

These are all really good examples of metrics that deliver real insight into whether or not a campaign is working. And, these are all KPIs that are better ways to identify and validate success in this new era of privacy forward advertising.

Why cost-per-click is golden

Let’s look at cost-per-click – a highly underutilized way of approaching success.

CPC has always been considered an affordable method to drive traffic. But for the performance marketer, it’s truly a dream investment – especially when working with premium publishers.

When every dollar spent must be justified, it allows the hidden benefit of an A/B test opportunity to check creative or messaging without the fear of budget being impacted.

Plus, attached to in-depth creative like native content, and CPC is the logical way to drive ultimate results. Fully 67% of consumers report that they are more likely to engage with contextual ads in trusted publishing environments.

While we’ve seen a few industry experts call for tech innovation to replace cookies, it makes far more sense for advertisers to use different methods altogether to best generate a response from targeted consumers.

Once you’ve identified the strongest performing creative and messaging, it’s time to look at the effectiveness of the overall content package. How long are visitors staying on the page?

This is where the true value of working with premium publishers comes into play as you already know you’re tapping a relevant and engaged audience. But, just because there is a built-in audience, doesn’t necessarily translate to increased performance so it’s important to keep an eye on these metrics. 

What bounce rate can tell you

High bounce rates are not always a bad thing: it might indicate that a reader came, clicked and got what they needed.

But if you’re looking to engage a reader in for something more long-form, it might tell you that your ads are not in the right environment or context.  Maybe it’s a signal that you need to change your call to action or headline.  

Your ad headlines need to be aligned with the content on the page that the user is clicking through to. There is no point chasing a high CTR through catchy headlines that don’t align with the landing page content exactly – it leads to poor user experience and a high bounce rate. 

Time spent can trump CTR

When it comes to more contextual solutions like native content, metrics like time spent on site and scroll time are far more relevant indicators of success than CTR.  It’s a clear indication of engagement.  

The landscape advertisers operate in has changed. It’s time to embrace different ways to measure for success in a world devoid of third party data. Only then will performance-driven marketers see bang-for-buck results and improved efficiencies.

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