Advertising Metrics

This page discusses seven popular advertising metrics that measure what you did; that is, where and how you spent your budget.



Media planners use these seven metrics before a campaign. They also use them after a campaign, for analytical purposes. The metrics remain part of the permanent record of the campaign and help media planners make increasingly better decisions in future campaigns.


Navigational Metrics

These seven advertising metrics are all navigational metrics. That is to say, they can help you steer your program toward higher profitability, by indicating which tactics worked better than others; which lists worked better than others; which headlines, offers and body copy worked better than others; and so on.

For more detail on navigational metrics, go here.

The information you get from using navigational metrics will cumulatively help you more effectively gain your prospect’s awareness, engagement, understanding, belief and favor, which – generally and theoretically, and depending on the soundness of your overall marketing strategy – will result in higher profitability. That is, it will deliver a higher Return on Investment (ROI), often called Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI).

Here are brief descriptions of the seven navigational metrics I mentioned, with links to more detail:


First Four of the Seven

Reach is a measurement of the size of the audience to whom you will communicate. Frequency is the average number of times your ads will be shown to an individual or household. These are basic metrics used almost universally by advertisers of all sizes.

Gross Rating Points (GRPs) equal Reach times Frequency. If you are new to advertising, you will probably notice that this is one of the more frequently used phrases in the office. Target Rating Points (TRPs) are Gross Rating Points times the ratio of the specifically targeted audience to the total audience.



Last Three of the Seven

Impressions equal the number of exposures of an ad or commercial to people or households in your audience. (See here for a distinction between "Impression" and "Pageview.")

Cost per Thousand (CPM) is the cost to reach 1,000 people or households. Cost per Point (CPP) is the cost to reach one percent of the audience. 

See the Marketing Metrics List for a complete enumeration of all the metrics (both advertising and PR) discussed on this site. The list indicates which metrics are navigational metrics metrics and which ones are evaluative metrics.

The marketing metrics list is organized (to the best of my ability) in a logical order, so as to help you grasp the big picture of marketing measurement and see things in perspective -- which is especially important if you are new to measurement.

For a description of the difference between institutional and direct-response advertising (a crucial difference but sometimes overlooked by advertisers and often by top management), go to Types of Advertising.


Evaluative Metrics

To measure your actual profitability, you need evaluative metrics. Evaluative metrics can measure profitability; they can identify increased revenue or decreased costs that resulted from your program. That is to say, they can put a dollar value on your program.



Generally speaking, navigational metrics are different in advertising and PR, but evaluative metrics are the same for both advertising and PR.


Measurement of Online Advertising

For an overview of the advertising metrics used in online advertising, as opposed to traditional advertising, go to Online Advertising.


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