Every marketing team looks to leverage advertising channels to their fullest. In order to drive awareness, MQLs, pipeline — and ultimately revenue — from B2B advertising, you need to track the best success factors and strike a balance between top, middle, and bottom of funnel metrics.
When launching a B2B advertising strategy, you’ll monitor traditional metrics, like clicks and conversions. But these don’t tell the full story of campaign effectiveness. It’s crucial that you also measure key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with sales. In doing so, your team can make better decisions around which channels, tactics, and campaigns will deliver the right results.
Traditional Advertising KPIs
Traditional advertising metrics are good leading indicators of campaign performance. Examples include clicks, click-through rate, and conversion. These KPIs are great for assessing general interest and engagement with a particular campaign.
A click on your ad indicates that your message is compelling enough to get users’ attention. But the volume of clicks in a campaign tells just one part of the story. The more important part is what happens next.
For example, a user might engage with your ad and complete an additional action, or they might abandon the process. Having a clear understanding of the full customer engagement helps determine the value of those clicks.
Click-through rate (CTR) measures how often someone clicks on an ad, based on the number of times the ad is shown. CTR is a great indicator of campaign interest, but like clicks, can also be misleading without the right context.
A campaign could generate a low CTR if you’re targeting too broad an audience, even with a high amount of impressions. Or the opposite: a CTR might look high on a campaign that served fewer impressions overall, but to a smaller list. Consider these scenarios:
- Campaign A: 300,000 impressions and 100 clicks = .03% CTR
- Campaign B: 100,000 impressions and 50 clicks = .05% CTR
If the goal of your campaign is brand awareness, then maximized impressions across the most accounts in Campaign A would be a success. If you want more engagement, then Campaign B is more successful.
A conversion represents the action that you hope a user takes after they click your ad. Whether it’s filling out a form to get an ebook, watching a webinar, or requesting a demo, these actions are what your sales team can leverage to start a dialogue.
Revenue-Based Advertising KPIs
True sales and marketing alignment happens when everyone is working toward goals that align with your go-to-market strategy.
Traditional advertising metrics only give you a small piece of the puzzle. In order to show the business impact from your campaigns, you need to track revenue-based KPIs that directly account for the revenue generated by marketing. These include campaign reach, account lift, influenced pipeline, and return on ad spend (ROAS).
As account-based marketing (ABM) becomes more common, the first step is to identify a specific set of accounts that marketing and sales agree on and approve to drive new business. Instead of targeting broadly defined audiences using clicks and CTR, you can shift your focus to narrower target audiences and measure the reach rate of your campaigns against those audiences.
Reach rate measures the audience that has seen your marketing ad or campaign. When you distill your audience down to a reasonable size and then target them in campaigns, you can measure if your ads are being shown to a majority of these accounts.
This approach differs from tracking impressions, because a campaign could be serving a bulk of impressions to a small number of large accounts in an audience, without reaching smaller accounts that might be just as good a fit for your product.
Sales will have a new way to prioritize their outreach knowing that the companies they care about are seeing your brand in the marketplace.
As you measure the impact of ad campaigns, look at the increase in website traffic from targeted accounts. By reviewing traffic from a company before and after ads are served, you can see the direct impact of engagement with your campaigns.
The website pages your target accounts visit can help your sales team optimize when and how they reach out to start conversations. For example, if you see that a company was on your pricing page or browsing a solutions page, then sales can tailor the conversation to the interests of that prospective customer.
Pipeline is where marketers can really highlight their impact on revenue. If you can show direct impact on opportunities generated by your ad campaigns, you’ll be trusted to continue investing money into the most influential channels.
Pipeline metrics can be broken out in different ways, depending on how your company approaches attribution. On a basic level, you can consider ad clicks from targeted companies that turn into opportunities as “influenced.”
A more advanced metric would look at conversions that occurred during a defined “look-back window” after an opportunity is opened. You could tighten up your definition even further by requiring ad conversion to be the last touch before the opportunity was opened, in order to give direct attribution to the channel.
Used alone or in tandem, these metrics will show various levels of pipeline influence from your ad campaigns. Thinking about how you drive engagement that leads to opportunities will help your team win.
Return on Ad Spend (ROAS)
Metrics like ROAS are crucial for the planning and creation of data-driven activities like budget allocation per channel. Calculate ROAS using the following formula:
ROAS = revenue/spend
(Be sure to use the same date ranges for both revenue and spend)
For example: Imagine someone clicks an ad, requests a demo, an opportunity is opened, and then closed for $50,000. Let’s say you spent $10,000 on ads in the month the conversion occurred. You’re looking at a 500% return on ad spend (ROAS). This way, the channel that drove this conversion from ad to demo to closed deal can get credit for the revenue.
Then, use ROAS to optimize your budget in each channel. If one channel is showing significantly higher ROAS than another, you may want to direct more spend where you’re seeing higher returns while you continue optimizing the lower-performing channel by modifying things like targeting, keywords, and creative.
Say you’re splitting your budget equally between two channels. Channel A is seeing a 200% ROAS, while Channel B is only seeing a 100% ROAS. Consider taking some of your budget from Channel B and redirecting it to Channel A. Continue to optimize Channel B until it shows more ROAS before making them even again.
Key Takeaways for Effective B2B Advertising
These KPIs are not the only ones B2B marketers should use to measure advertising campaigns, but they’re a good start. Some key things to remember:
- Measure your channel performance through a business impact lens by using revenue-oriented KPIs.
- Continue leveraging traditional metrics as directional levers for optimization.
- Low clicks? Tweak your creative or audience targeting.
- Low conversions? Try some landing page optimizations.
- Always test to see that conversions are tracking correctly in your system of record.
- Consider building a dashboard that can calculate and monitor these metrics.
With ZoomInfo’s MarketingOS, your team gets access to the data points you need, and the ability to power your audiences and campaigns — all in one place.
Never forget your partners in revenue: the sales team. If you measure your B2B advertising campaigns using KPIs that directly enable your sales team, you’ll always win together.