Posted on Apr 12, 2024

Key Programmatic Advertising Metrics & Reporting

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Monitoring advertising KPIs and metrics is key to making data-driven decisions and improving campaigns’ performance. On the basis of analytical data, marketers can identify weaknesses and opportunities and, as a result, achieve better results and remain competitive. Let’s review key programmatic ad metrics and find out what you can do as an ad exchange owner. 

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9 Main Programmatic Metrics

Tracking all the available online advertising metrics allows for a deeper understanding of the campaigns’ performance. However, it is still essential to prioritize them and identify relevant KPIs — metrics reflecting the objectives. Here are several suggestions, although it is important for advertisers to remember that the selection of metrics heavily relies on the goals of every specific campaign.


Belonging to the list of display advertising metrics, the impressions KPI is the total number of times an ad was displayed on a publisher’s website. By tracking them, advertisers can measure their reach, although even a high number of impressions on its own is not enough to declare a campaign effective. An impression means that the ad was displayed, but this does not imply that a user definitely saw it. 


Among the key digital ad metrics, clicks indicate the number of users who clicked on an advertisement. Tracking clicks is a way to get a general understanding of how the audience is responding to an ad.


A conversion occurs when a user takes a desired action: for instance, this can be signing up for a newsletter or free trial, purchasing a product, booking a demo, etc. Calculating the conversion rate provides overall engagement insights and helps identify the most effective ads that resonate with the audience. 


Another metric crucial for digital advertising measurement is CTR, which stands for a click-through rate. That is the number of clicks divided by the number of impressions and then multiplied by 100 to generate a percentage. By calculating CTR, marketers can not only analyze the effectiveness of their ads but also make more informed decisions regarding their budgets.

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The CTC (click-through conversion) rate is calculated as follows: the number of clicks that led to conversions is divided by the total number of clicks and multiplied by 100. With this percentage in mind, marketers can identify if their advertising effort is cost-effective. 


Standing for video completion rate KPI in advertising, VCR measures the percentage of individuals who watched an ad from beginning to end. To calculate it, it is essential to divide the total number of users who completed the video by the total number of users who started watching it. The result (multiplied by 100) allows marketers to discover if the audience actually finds their video ads engaging.


Identifying CPCV (cost per completed view) implies dividing the total cost of a video campaign by the number of individuals who watched the ad till the end. With this metric, advertisers understand if they are getting a return on investment and can adjust their financial strategies accordingly. In general, the lower this rate is, the better.


To calculate CPA (cost per acquisition), marketers need to divide the total costs allocated to a specific campaign or channel by the number of customers who were acquired via this campaign or channel. Tracking this metric is important for evaluating the ROI, which helps refine marketing strategies. 

Bounce Rate

Bounce rate is the percentage of users who visit a website and then leave after checking out a single page. It is calculated by dividing the total number of single-page sessions by the total number of entries to a website. This rate reflects the website’s effectiveness in terms of retaining visitors, so if it is high, businesses may need to improve the quality of content, provide a better user experience, fix the page layout, etc. 

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Audience Segmentation Metrics

In terms of driving better digital advertising KPIs, audience segmentation plays a crucial role. It involves dividing the overall audience into smaller groups according to various characteristics. For instance, these can be purchase intent, online behavior, interests, demographics, etc.

By performing segmentation properly, marketers can enhance personalization, improve customer experience and campaign effectiveness, and ensure more effective use of resources. Here are several metrics (and not only) related to targeting and segmentation that it is essential to be aware of:

  • Audience overlap. For marketers, audience overlap has two meanings. First of all, this is the percentage of users who also visit their competitors’ websites. Understanding the size of such an audience allows for detecting threats and opportunities. Secondly, overlap occurs when an advertiser has the same users in two or more audience groups, which prevents them from reaching clients effectively while also increasing costs. 
  • Affinity index. Applicable to different types of content (including but not limited to ads, articles, videos, social media posts, etc.), this metric allows for measuring engagement and more effective segmentation according to engagement levels. Calculating this metric requires dividing the number of users who interacted with the content by the number of users who saw it. The result is then multiplied by 100.
  • Demographic composition. This term refers to the audience’s demographic characteristics and segmenting it into smaller groups according to customers’ gender, age, location, marital status, income level, and other relevant attributes.

Tracking these metrics enables advertisers to fine-tune their targeting strategies, create more personalized messages, and, as a result, reach their audiences more effectively. 

Viewability and Fraud Detection

Fake impressions and clicks mislead campaign analytical data and prevent marketers from adopting their strategies correctly while also decreasing ROI. Therefore, for marketers, it is crucial to ensure genuine ad viewability and minimize the risk of fraud.

The programmatic ecosystem offers multiple scanners and tools for detecting ad fraud, both for media buyers and publishers. Choosing programmatic marketplaces with already integrated security and transparency mechanisms is the way to protect the campaigns. Additionally, marketers should continuously analyze the campaigns’ performance for unusual patterns. 

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Predictive Analytics for Metrics Optimization

For optimizing display advertising KPIs (and not only), advertisers can leverage predictive analytics. With the help of machine learning algorithms, the following optimization steps are possible:

  • By analyzing historical data, algorithms can predict the performance of ad campaigns, enabling marketers to enhance them before launching.
  • Predictive analytics also allows for bid adjustments, which helps optimize ROI and prevent overspending. 
  • Applying predictive analytics, advertisers can ensure more effective audience segmentation and, as a result, improved targeting. Besides, it can be used to find new or similar audiences.
  • Additionally, algorithms can test and optimize ad creatives, as well as personalize them according to the preferences of every audience segment.

Consider SmartHub Your Trusted Partner

For ad exchange owners, there is no need to track digital advertising performance metrics like conversion rate or CTR. Instead, it is essential to ensure a safe and effective environment for their demand and supply partners. SmartHub, a white-label ad exchange solution, is already equipped with all the essential features, including the following:

  • A set of scanners for ad fraud prevention (Fraudlogix, GeoEdge, Forensiq, and others);
  • Advanced traffic filtering and targeting settings that allow for matching demand and supply partners effectively;
  • The platform supports the generation of ads.txt and sellers.json files, and using both of them enables you to prevent fraud, enhance trading transparency, and minimize malicious activities;
  • An extensive analytics dashboard for you to ensure data-driven optimization of the platform’s performance.

Choosing SmartHub means getting an ad exchange with robust ad fraud protection mechanisms without investing loads of time and money in development from scratch. For instance, after deploying SmartHub, ExplorAds managed to double its revenue and achieve a 487% ROI growth within 4 months. 

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What are the main KPIs for online advertising? 
The choice of advertising metrics and KPIs highly depends on every campaign’s goals. However, the main KPIs usually include the following: conversion rate, click-through rate, cost per acquisition, and click-through conversion rate. Monitoring clicks and impressions is essential as well.
How to track advertising performance metrics in the case of programmatic media buying?
Demand-side platforms are usually equipped with programmatic reporting features, so advertisers only need to choose a reliable and effective solution. It is essential to explore analytics and other features thoroughly before making the final decision and then continuously monitor the performance of the campaigns launched via the chosen platform.
What is the difference between ads.txt and sellers.json files?
While ads.txt focuses on fraud prevention, sellers.json is essential for a deeper understanding of the supply chain. On SmartHub, the best choice is to implement both of these files in order to minimize fraud risks. 
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