ANA Releases 'KPIs That Matter,' Finds The Most Important Ones Aren't Always The Most Used

The most important KPIs, or key performance indicators, used by advertisers to assess the value and effectiveness of their advertising and media aren't necessarily the ones they use most often, according to the findings of a new report from the Association of National Advertisers.

The report, "Media KPIs That Matter," is based on a survey the ANA's Media Leadership and Digital & Social Media committees fielded among their members in January and February, and found that while returns on advertising investment, followed by brand safety, lifetime customer value, and conversions and/or sales are the most important indicators, the most common ones used are by far ones that rely on the efficiency of advertising: CPMs (cost-per-thousand), CPC (cost-per-click), unique reach and site visits.

“Marketers now demand  specific and accurate indicators measuring the efficiency of their media buys," ANA CEO Bob Liodice said in a statement released with the report, adding, "This report demonstrates  they  are keeping a keen eye on every aspect of their investments.”


The report identifies and ranks 39 KPIs, only five which rank among the top dozen for both most important and most used: ROI/ROAS; conversions; unique reach; site visits, and viewable impressions.

The report represents an important benchmark for the ad industry's often subjective and illusive valuation standards, and it also provides a valuable snapshot of newer and emerging performance indicators:

  • Data Source Quality
  • ROI/ROAS
  • Customer Lifetime Value
  • Conversion
  • Targeting Information Quality
2 comments about "ANA Releases 'KPIs That Matter,' Finds The Most Important Ones Aren't Always The Most Used".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, May 19, 2021 at 8:29 a.m.

    This report makes me wonder whether anyone involved understands what the term "key performance Indicator"--or KPI means. When we are told that most advertising marketing execs don't even rate CPMs as important while CPM tops the list for media people isn't this a signal that something continues to be very wrong. How can a CPM, calculated on wildly inflational and often inaccurate "audience" data indicate anything? Why are media people still wedded to such a misleading yardstick of "performance"? Most important, why don't media and marketing people speak the same language? Why the disconnect? We are told that media planning and buying is integrated with creative and client marketing---but is this true? This study suggests that the answer, in too many cases, is it aint.

  2. Clayton McLaughlin from Labelium replied, May 19, 2021 at 8:47 a.m.

    I don't think it's so much that media and marketing don't speak the same language, or even that there's a huge disconnect from the top of a marketing organization to the bottom. I think it's VERY hard to buy media in real-time with influences such as Lifetime Value or in some cases even ROAS (because both would have to be predictive - doable, just not often enough). Totally agree that CPM is definitely not a proxy to greater, more important metrics. I believe this study is pointing out that organizations (internal & with partners) need to do a better job of connecting real-time buying capabilities with actual business performance. For e-commerce only companies, this is much easier to do than large organizations that depend on brick & mortar sales of any kind.

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