How to Measure the Success of Your Digital Advertising Efforts

rsz_chart-1Identifying and selecting the right key performance metrics is a great strategy to measure the performance of our advertising efforts and spot those areas in our digital publishing where we need to make improvements.

But sometimes, it gets tough to figure out the right measures and determine the sucess or failure of ads inside our digital publications. When that happens, it always helps to take a step back from analysing effectiveness, and start to give ourselves some really great insight into how our digital publishing strategy is performing for us.

Sovrn Vice President of Publisher Services, Chris Crawfurd, identifies four metrics that go beyond CPM and Fill Rate to help digital publishers measure the success of their ad efforts. These metrics provide a targeted way of assessing digital ads’ health, as a disparate and more complex part of digital publishing.

1. Revenue per Visitor

The purpose of running this equation is to gain a better understanding of the average value advertisers are placing on your readers. The eventual goal is to not only increase traffic, but to increase revenue per visitor as well. This indicates that you are increasing your value to the buy-side marketers.

Total Monthly Ad Revenue / # of Monthly Unique Visitors = Revenue per Visitor.

Once you determine the average value of a reader on your site for several months, you can create a baseline value and set goals for the future.

From here, you can also begin to gauge the right spend threshold for getting a positive return on paid marketing channels.

2. Revenue per Page

By calculating how much revenue is generated from a particular page on your site, you gain a more in-depth understanding of how much each piece of content is worth. The goal is to discover which piece of content drives the most revenue.

Let’s say in the month of December you earned a total of $5,000 from digital ads.

Track this monthly so you can start to identify reoccurring trends. For example, let’s say Page D consistently attracts the majority of your total monthly pageviews. Why is that? Is there a specific topic you’ve been covering on that page? Is there a certain type of content you’ve been hosting (webinar, PDFs, e-books, etc.) on that page? Once you identify the culprit, you can clone that methodology to please your readers and increase your earnings sitewide.

Furthermore, once you determine the highest-performing page, be sure to take a look at how many ad zones you have on that page. For example, if Page D sees 40 percent of your monthly pageviews and you only have (1) ad zone on that page, you might want to consider adding more zones to multiply the number of ad requests, and thus revenue, for that page.

3. Pages per Visitor

Your average pages per visitor is a metric that you can easily pull straight from Google Analytics and other site analytics tools. This metric provides a high-level understanding of reader engagement on your site. If you can determine how many pages each visitor views, you should be able to figure out a strategy for increasing that number by identifying reoccurring trends month over month.

Another lens to view this metric through is by calculating the average number of ad requests per visitor.

Keep in mind, pageviews is a different metric than visitors. One visitor can have multiple pageviews.

4. Revenue per Audience Segment

Running this calculation requires insight into your audience demographics, but many ad partners and analytics tools provide publishers with that info. The goal is to determine which one of your audience segments is generating the most revenue. You may find that the segment providing you with the most traffic is not providing you with the highest revenue. This calculation is similar to revenue per page from above:

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