Digital advertising – what metrics?

Digital advertising analysis

As with any form of advertising and marketing, it’s essential to measure the effectiveness of your digital advertising. Analysing the metrics will help you determine what worked well and inform your future marketing efforts and spend.

So, what metrics should you be looking at when evaluating the success of your campaign?

We recently ran a six-week digital display campaign to advertise a promotional offer on behalf of a retail client. We ran a campaign with two different news publishers alongside adverts on Facebook and Instagram, each targeted at the same demographic audience.

Below is a summary of the metrics we evaluated and our findings. As these results will influence our future campaigns, we thought it useful to share them here.

Firstly, we looked at the statistics given to us by the advertising suppliers and focused on the following two metrics:


Digital advertising is often sold based on impressions. This measure is the number of times that your advert is displayed. All three of our advertising platforms performed well in terms of impressions with an extremely low cost-per-impression across the board.

However, while a high number of impressions may look impressive, it’s only a small part of the picture.

Clicks and click-through rate

The number of clicks is a more meaningful measure as it shows interest in your product or service. There’s little point achieving a high number of impressions if the ad isn’t relevant to the people you’re showing it to.

At this point in our analysis, there was a clear leader in terms of performance with Facebook achieving a click-through-rate of 0.67% compared to 0.31% and 0.32% for the other two platforms. However, all three campaigns could be said to be effective as they all achieved above the 0.07% industry average.

Another significant finding was that the cost-per-click for Facebook was 90% lower than the other two.

Next, we moved on to Google Analytics, and this is where things got more illuminating.


Naturally, you would expect the number of users to correlate with the number of clicks. However, this is often not the case, and you may find that the number of clicks reported doesn’t match in analytics. Google filters out traffics from spambots and multiple clicks from the same users. Our advice is to treat the number of clicks figure cautiously and rely on the stats in analytics.

Again, Facebook came out tops with significantly more users than came from the other two platforms.

Bounce rate

The bounce rate shows the percentage of visitors who navigate away from the website after viewing only one page. Assuming your site has more than one page, the lower the bounce rate, the better as it indicates that your visitors have an interest in being there.

The bounce rates for the traffic generated by the news publisher agencies were both above 84% while that from Facebook was 65%. A lower bounce rate for the traffic from Facebook indicates that it was higher-quality.

Pages per session and session duration

The average number of pages per session and the time spent on the site were useful metrics for us to review as our ad was promoting a specific brand. We wanted people to visit the website and browse the different product options available to them. The site isn’t ecommerce, so they aren’t able to purchase online. On that basis, the higher the number of pages and time spent per session, the better.

Again, Facebook was the clear leader with almost double the average number of average pages per session and time spent on the site.

Our analysis was quick and simple, but it gave us a useful insight into the effectiveness of each campaign. While at first glance, all three campaigns appeared productive, digging a little deeper showed that initially, we were just looking at vanity metrics.

In this instance, the Facebook campaign was the most cost-effective and drove higher-quality traffic to the website. If we run a similar campaign in the future, we now know where to focus the budget.

So, if you’re embarking on a digital advertising campaign, make sure to analyse the metrics at the end of the campaign.

Image credit: Pixabay