No matter what content you create and/or what platforms you are using, setting goals is the first step in building a successful digital advertising campaign. You will have to answer the question “Was it successful?” at some point. Knowing the answer depends on who is asking the question in the first place. Depending on whether you are a supplier, a partner, or a member of the Zift team, you may have a different definition of what success means.

So, how would you know a campaign works, if you haven’t determined how to measure its performance? KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are a common tool used to help you do just that. KPIs are a type of performance measurement, used to evaluate the success of an organization or of a particular activity (such as projects, programs, products and other initiatives). Using these performance indicators can help you identify potential improvements for better success the next time around.

When it comes to digital advertising, KPIs vary in importance. You’ll likely weigh some of these more heavily than others, depending on who is asking the question (did it work?) and how you want to answer.

Click-through rate (CTR) is the percentage of users who saw your ad (or email, or tweet, etc) that also  clicked on it. It is commonly used to measure the success of an online advertising campaign as well as the effectiveness of email campaigns.  A number of factors can impact your ad’s CTR, including specific graphics used, the choice of keywords, or the targeting of the ad to a particular audience. It is an important KPI when measuring ad performance.

Conversion rate measures the percentage of users who take a desired action. I recommend looking at three different subtypes of conversion rates. The web conversion rate simply means that someone has filled out the form and downloaded a particular asset. A marketing qualified lead (MQL) conversion rate, means that person also meets specific pre-determined qualification criteria such as company size, industry, job title, frequency of visits, specific pages visited, etc.  Finally, there is the sales qualified lead (SQL) conversion rate, which typically means that person has budget, authority, need, and timeline. When they reach this stage, they become a qualified pipeline opportunity.

Return on investment (ROI) is key when talking about pipeline revenue. It helps you measure how much revenue is in play based on the average value of the solution being promoted, and the number of qualified leads from a specific campaign. We’ll talk more about how to calculate ROI, and the math involved, in a later post.

The final KPIs to put on your radar are client or channel partner-specific. Partners have their own internal goals they’re trying to meet. They also have bosses asking them to do specific things by a specific date and time. They might also have a budget they have to spend down by the end of the year, so they can finalize a budget for next year. Recognize and consider the KPIs important to partners while setting goals for and measuring the success of any marketing campaign.

Going forward, when you think about creating a successful campaign, start by asking yourself a few key questions about what success means to you, (and your partners) and set KPIs with your answer in mind.

Let’s hear from you!  What KPIs do you think are most important when measuring your digital advertising success?  Leave a note in the comments below.