How to Measure Online Display Advertising: The Most Important Metrics

How to Measure Online Display Advertising: The Most Important Metrics

Many businesses are incorporating display ads into their digital marketing strategy. Display advertising has the potential to increase brand awareness and visibility and to reach specific target audiences. 

If there’s one thing marketers love, it’s tracking metrics, but not all display advertising metrics are equally important. Learn how to measure online display advertising and determine the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.

The Very Basics of Digital Advertising Metrics


Impressions are one unit for measuring online display ads you have to know. A single impression occurs every time your display ad appears on a web page. On many digital ad platforms, impressions are the basis for how you are charged for an ad. 

Paying for impressions is similar to printing postcards and sending them to your targeted audience. You have to pay for each postcard printed and sent, even though not all the postcards guarantee you a new customer. (You can’t even be sure the receiver will even read your postcard.)

Impressions work the same way. You pay to serve your display advertisement to potential customers, but an impression does not guarantee a response, an action, or even more than a passing glance from the person seeing the ad. 

Since you’re online right now, you’ve no doubt had display ad impressions served to you. There are probably some you decided to click on, and others you scrolled on by. This is why you cannot measure online display advertising by impressions alone—the number of impressions really doesn’t give you an idea of the performance of your advertisement.

CTR (Click Through Rate)

CTR is the next basic metric for measuring display advertisements. Going back to sending a postcard, CTR is like knowing how many people didn’t initially throw your postcard away. CTR is just what it sounds like: it is the percentage of viewers who clicked on your advertisement. But just because someone brought your postcard inside doesn’t mean they are a new customer. 

There are a variety of reasons why a viewer may click on an advertisement, whether they do it by accident, out of curiosity, thinking it’s something else, or genuine interest. 

But Wait, There’s More

However, unlike postcards, the digital paper trail doesn’t end here. A lot of digital marketers may focus on impressions and CTR, but there are a lot more analytics to collect when you’re creating and optimizing a digital marketing campaign. 

If you want to make the most of your digital marketing dollars, find a company like Agility that knows how to measure online display advertising in a way that gives you results and helps you create a pattern for successful campaigns. 

How Do I Know If My Advertising Is Working?

Although impressions and CTR are ingredients in measuring online display advertising, there are many other tools that can give you a better idea of how your advertisement is working. Looking at a slew of programmatic advertising metrics may be overwhelming. But here at Agility, we are ready to help simplify measuring analytics so that you can understand them, whether you are the owner of a startup, a mom trying to become a famous blogger, or a student studying marketing. We’ll take you through the full-funnel attribution, starting with the basics and drilling down to the nitty-gritty details that give you a better understanding of who is seeing your advertisements and what they are doing after. 


Reach sits a step above impressions. Reach is the data about who is actually looking at your display advertisements. In other words, it’s the number of unique individuals who see your advertisement. When someone is counted as a unique view, the system then knows not to show them the same advertisement on a different website. 

Return on Investment (ROI)

ROI is an important factor when planning a successful marketing campaign. It’s the question every business person asks themselves: “Are you making more than you’re spending?” ROI tells you if your advertisements actually work—and how well. 

From impression rates to other advertisement costs, first tally up how much you spent. Then you turn over to the other side and see what new customers came from your advertisements and whether your new customers’ spend more than the advertisements cost.

View-Through Conversions

If you’re concerned that impressions that don’t lead to a click are going to waste, consider the value of a view-through conversion. View-through conversions happen when a customer sees your ad, doesn’t click on it, but later converts. This metric can help you analyze which ads are the most effective and what makes them effective, such as which sites they appear on and where they appear on the page. 

Lifetime Value (LTV)

LTV deals with the accounting and ROI of a marketing campaign. The LTV is the lifetime value of a customer or, on average, how much each customer will spend in a lifetime. This helps you gain an understanding of how much a new customer might be worth and can guide you when setting budgets for advertisements, impressions, and other digital marketing.

Conversion Rate

When calculating the conversion rate, you take the number of visitors to your site and divide it by the number of purchases. For example, if you have 675 visitors to your site with 250 purchases, you’ll divide 250 by 675 and get 37%. The conversion rate can help you determine how many visitors you’ll need before reaching your sales goals. 

Cost Per Conversion (CPC)

Now that you have all the ingredients of measuring online display advertising. You can get down one of the most important metrics, CPC, or how much it will cost to gain a new solid customer. 

Agility is here to spare you the headache of figuring out the right digital advertising metrics to track and what they mean. Let us give you the tools you need to be successful and understand digital marketing without putting all the weight on your shoulders. Contact Agility today and begin using our platform to track your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for display ads.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.