Marketers believe the “most important” KPIs for their media investments are generally not the same as the ones that are “most used,” according to a new ANA study.  (A Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is a measurable value that demonstrates how effectively a company is achieving key business objectives.)

Media KPIs That Matter” reveals that the most used KPIs focus primarily on efficiency and exposure while the most important KPIs are based on outcome and measurement quality. For example, while CPM is cited as the number-one most used KPI, it’s 22nd in terms of most important.

“In today’s complex, multi-faceted media marketplace, KPIs have become critical to measuring success,” said ANA CEO Bob Liodice. “Marketers now demand  specific and accurate indicators measuring the  efficiency of their media buys. This report demonstrates  they  are keeping a keen eye on every aspect of their investments.”


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


  • 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.

In all, 39 KPIs were identified in the survey and were grouped into six categories. Among the 39, only five rank among the top dozen for both most important and most used. They are: ROI/ROAS (Outcome versus Marketing Investment) Based on Spending or Lift; Conversion; Unique Reach; Site Visits, and Viewable Impressions (i.e., provides the opportunity to see the ad).

“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, VP 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. This report is an important step to bridge that gap and propel media to the leadership position it should rightly hold within all our organizations.”

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