- Analysis: determine your key performance indicators
- Optimization: Work on metrics that need improvement
- The last word
You might think - if I set up an ad campaign correctly, why then should I make campaign performance optimization? Thing is, often there is no way to know why demand across a certain vertical or channel decreases or increases over time, or what part of the day your audience clicks more on ads. Plus, traffic fluctuation is a normal thing for digital advertising, and what could work well yesterday may not necessarily lead to success next week.
Thus, the performance of the campaign will change and it is important to be prepared for such changes and monitor metrics. Only this way you’ll discover what adjustments need to be made to reach effectiveness both in short and long-term perspectives.
Analysis: determine your key performance indicators
For starters, in order to assess your ad campaign performance, you need to understand where to look at. Determine the goal of the digital campaign and then the key performance indicators - the number of served impressions, click-through rate CTR, unique visitors of website/landing pages, number of leads, cost per lead, engagement rate, etc. Brand awareness KPI metrics typically includes the following core KPIs:
Tools for measurement. There are various tools that can help you to measure campaign performance. For example, in Google Analytics you can measure the number of unique users you get during the campaign. As well you can find out how your advertising landing page performs by reviewing the bounce rate, time people spend on a page, and other metrics.
Ultimately, one of the most important metrics that you need to measure in Google Analytics is conversion rate. Conversion measurement is usually applied for CPC performance campaigns - When your target audience is already accustomed to your brand/product, they trust you, and they easily purchase from you. Thus your campaign aim will be to get conversions.
In case customers are not familiar with your product or service yet, it is recommended to start with a brand awareness campaign on a CPM basis - cost per impression is much cheaper than cost per click.
With CPM your cost per click can also be much cheaper. For a thousand impressions, you theoretically can get up to thousand ad clicks (if the offer draws the attention and interest of viewers).
Many ad platforms including Google ads focus on CPM advertising model for branding campaigns as it is most suitable for reaching top-funnel campaign goals.
If you run a CMP advertising campaign using advertising technology like a demand-side platform the analysis of branding marketing campaigns will be much easier than the manual measuring with third-party tools. It aggregates the data automatically in real-time and delivers it in the easy to grasp reports.
Campaign performance metrics you can fetch and analyze on SmartyAds DSP:
- The number of impressions - the overall number of times that your ad was served to the Internet users.
- The number of clicks - how many clicks you achieved for this per impression campaign.
- Spend - this metric is measuring how much ad budget you spent while serving the campaign.
- CTR or click-through rate - is the ratio of users who clicked on your ad to the number of total users who viewed the ad.
- Win rate - the percentage used for measuring how many times your bid won the auction (for the right to serve impressions).
- eCPM - Effective Cost Per Mille, the percentage used for measuring cost for a thousand impressions.
In order to generate a report on SmartyAds DSP, you need to choose a particular period (day, week, month) and select the performance metrics you want to measure.
The custom performance report with necessary data will be generated in real-time. On the screen below you can see the dynamics of the campaign (by metrics) and how it changes over time.
Optimization: Work on metrics that need improvement
Low CPM is a goal every advertiser would want to achieve. It basically means that you pay per impression less - how to improve CPM then? If data reports show that your CPM and ad spend are high or if you discovered that you barely have any traffic there are good signs you should apply the following campaign performance optimization steps:
The better you know your target audience the better chances you have to decrease your CPM. Plus, a correctly channeled message always appeals to the interest of a particular customer. Facebook and Google ads recommend advertisers and marketers to preserve their advertising money by setting targeting so that ads hit only the right viewers at the right time and best channel. SmartyAds has 30+ targeting options that you can use to instruct your system on who when and how should see your ads.
Don’t narrow down too much! How to reduce CPM? Narrowing down your audience is a good way to do so. However, if you apply too many targeting options for a single ad campaign it will mean that your ad will be seen by fewer people (so you get negative result). If you noticed that you don’t have enough traffic, review your targeting options and remove excessive targeting criteria (stick to one or two options).
Apply automatic CPM optimization
Another important indication of your campaign performance on DSP is your win rate. If data indicates that your win rate is low this might mean that your bids are not competitive enough to win impressions during online auctions. Such metrics may need improvement.
When you have a limited ad budget you probably also try to limit the bid amount with a CPM cap. However, if it is too low you might end up not reaching the number of impressions you wanted. In this case, you need to make your bigs as competitive as possible. Still, they need to be optimal to win but not too high to draw unnecessary spending.
To help your bids find this balance SmartyAds has added the CPM Optimizer function on DSP. Activate it and it will constantly adjust bids in real-time so that they easily win impressions without exceeding the CPM cap that you set up. Your bids will stay flexible so for the same CMP you will get more impressions and your conversion rate will also increase.
What’s also a big bonus is that CPM Optimizer this way will also decrease the cost per impression. So, now you know how to optimize CPM without big effort.
Control the budget distribution and daily spend
The algorithm of the typical advertising platform is created so that it spends the ad campaign budget by the date you set as the campaign end. The longer your ad campaign lasts the longer it delivers the ads to the audiences and calibrates how your ad budget is spent. In this case, campaign longevity means efficiency.
At SmartyAds we also highly recommend setting up the overall or daily budget limit for your digital campaign (measured in dollars or impressions). For instance, you can instruct the system to stop bidding when the daily spend reaches let’s say $50 (or 100,000 impressions per day). In the same way, you can control the total budget.
At this stage, you can adjust the budget distribution. If you set up “evenly” the system will bid evenly throughout the digital campaign lifetime. ASAP means that the campaign will bid as fast as possible when there’s an opportunity to win impressions.
Set up optimization rules
The data about how web sources perform on average may help you to select only those of them that bring real value and the best quality impressions. Such data would make achieving your marketing and advertising goals easier while reducing your CPM. Generating good quality traffic is much easier when you can select sources.
With DSP solutions you can instruct the system on how to select resources for ad serving according to their effectiveness. SmartyAds has in-built Optimization Rules feature that can put the site on the black or to the white list according to the conditions you set. When CTR, ad spend or both are higher/lower than a certain number, you can automatically attribute them to the corresponding lists.
Activate the click booster
With in-built features such as Click Booster on SmartyAds DSP, you can automatically increase the number of clicks for your digital ad campaign in real-time.
With this function turned on the system will learn how to select and target only the best sites and apps that have the highest CTR while filtering out suspicious or ineffective ones. This will help advertisers to increase ad clicks and conversions. It will make the total cost per click decrease as well.
Improve your creatives and landing page
At first, you may not realize how important the creatives and the landing pages are. Still, the data is stubborn - users often point out that advertising messages and creativity aspects heavily affect the effectiveness of brand campaigns.
Landing pages. With Google Analytics report you can track how many visitors come to your main site or landing page, the real bounce rate, number of leads, how many subscribe. You can also track social interaction and social media to find out more about your potential customer.
If numbers are not good it may be hard to achieve a good conversion. In this case, you need to revise the user flow on your site and the quality of content. Is design clear enough? Do your customers land on the right page when they click on the ad? Is language adjusted to the audiences who see it?
Creatives. A different creative may deliver much better results. When launching new campaigns the best practice is to test them first with A/B testing and measure the data. Before launching make sure you’ve adjusted dimensions to the right environment - mobile web, in-app, desktop, CTV.
Make sure the ad is appealing and includes a call to action. If you are not sure if your creative is performing well on SmartyADs DSP you can include a third-party tag that will measure social interaction.
Review delivery time and frequency
If metrics show you lack impressions and clicks as a result you may end up not reaching enough sales. Look for the mistakes in your marketing strategy. At this stage, you should also revise campaign settings and find out why they fail to deliver positive results.
Why does the campaign performing badly? There may be several reasons from too narrow targeting to technical problems so it’s better to consult your manager first.
The average problem a company may face is when the ads are delivered at the wrong time.
What are the operating hours of your business? Ensure that they align with the time when ads are shown. In case you deliver ads internationally also make sure creatives are localized and users see them during the waking hours (in their timezone).
With dayparting on SmartyAds DSP, you can select days and hours when your users see the ads. Mind that many people these days struggle from excessive ads and that’s why adjusting frequency capping on DSP to optimal 3 impressions per user will help you improve user engagement and save budget from overspending.
The last word
Ad campaign performance measurement and subsequent optimization can greatly reduce the cost per impression. Apart from reducing impression cost correct optimization can increase campaign CTR, conversion rates, leads, ROI, user engagement, mentioning on social media, sales, the revenue you get from campaigns, and more.
Solutions like SmartyAds DSP make the process of metrics measuring easy as it aggregates the data for your top funnel CPM marketing campaigns. This way advertisers can make insights in real-time, learn the optimization strategy, and apply necessary corrections to boost campaign effectiveness in the future.
Start grow and optimize your ad campaigns with SmartyAds DSP!
Liz Tokareva, Director of In-house Products of SmartyAds