Report: CPM Is Most Used Media-Buying KPI But Marketers Care More About ROI, Brand Safety

Just in time for this year’s upfront market, the ANA is out with a new study that will likely fuel debate about the key performance indicators that drive how media is bought and sold.

The study finds sharp differences in the KPIs valued most by marketers and those used to execute media buys.

According to the study the media KPIs that marketers say are most important are based on outcome and measurement quality while the most used KPIs focus on efficiency and exposure. The top-most used KPI for example is CPM (cost per thousand viewers). But from the marketer perspective that metric doesn’t even make the top-20 most important KPIs, per the report.

“In today’s complex, multi-faceted media marketplace, KPIs have become critical to measuring success,” stated ANA CEO Bob Liodice. “Marketers now demand specific and accurate indicators measuring the efficiency of their media buys.

The study finds the top-five most used KPIs to be:

  • CPM (cost per thousand)
  • CPC (cost per click or interaction)
  • Unique Reach
  • ROI/ROAS (Outcome versus Marketing Investment) Based on Spending or Lift



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Meanwhile, marketers find the following to be the five most important KPIs:

  • ROI/ROAS (Outcome versus Marketing Investment) Based on Spending or Lift
  • Exposed ROAS (Spending and Lift, only using valid measured exposures as a base)
  • Brand Safety Metrics
  • Customer Lifetime Value
  • Conversion.

The report also reveals the top “emerging” KPIs that underline the broad shift from buying media to buying audiences:

  • Data Source Quality
  • Customer Lifetime Value
  • Conversion
  • Targeting Information Quality.

“Today’s media leaders find themselves with an incredible opportunity to step up and become true business partners who are key drivers of growth versus just cost containment managers of large spends,” said Charlie Chappell, vice president of media at The Hershey Company. “Yet our industry has struggled to provide clear guidance on how to link the media metrics to the outcomes that matter most to our C-suite.”

Among the reports conclusions: The growth in D2C category advertising (accelerated by the pandemic), the growing discipline of performance marketing, and C-suite demands to drive measurable business results may be making outcome-based media KPIs more pervasive and mission-critical.

The full report is available here.


1 comment about "Report: CPM Is Most Used Media-Buying KPI But Marketers Care More About ROI, Brand Safety".
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  1. Thom Kennon from Free Radicals, May 19, 2021 at 8:14 a.m.

    The ANA is a criminal enterprise profiting from their on-going fleecing of their member marketers. Check the faux incredulity of chief con Iodice responding to massive delta between how marketers measure value and how his real masters - the media buying/selling cabal - make money. The enduring lie: "CPM" positioned as a "KPI". It ain't - it's a cost.

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