Marketing Impressions Aren’t Everything: Rethinking Your Marketing Metrics 

Michelle Moreno | May 29, 2024

Rarely does a day go by that a channel partner doesn’t ask how many marketing impressions to expect from a campaign or question why they’re not getting more of them. While it’s easy to report the number of impressions a campaign has received, the conversation becomes more complex when explaining that getting more impressions is often not the right pursuit.

Impressions are one of the marketing metrics local businesses should understand, but I’d like to make a case for why you should rethink your marketing results and expand past this single metric to understand marketing performance.

Analyzing marketing impressions

Take, for example, three channel partners running the same ads for the same brand. Campaign A is a store located just inside a major metropolitan area. Campaigns B and C are for stores located in rural areas about 20 miles outside of the same metropolitan area as campaign A. All campaigns started on the same day, with the same budget, and have been running for 5 days.

Campaign A: 8,576 impressions

Campaign B: 10,121 impressions

Campaign C: 19,632 impressions

At first glance, you may think, “Well, obviously, I would prefer the campaign C results.” But then you should ask yourself:

“If I choose the results of campaign C, am I sacrificing something I’d get with campaigns A or B?” and “Why would the more rural campaigns have higher impressions than the urban campaigns?”

Then, you may find yourself in an internal battle of wits likened to that of the Man in Black and Vizzini in The Princess Bride.

Before you drink from the wrong cup, let’s look at the bigger picture.

Because channel partners must decide between spending on marketing or prioritizing other business activities, there is an even greater demand for maximum ROI/ROAS. The objective for these ads becomes very clear: These dollars need to be used to reach people who are in-market and will be ready to buy very soon. Do these audiences cost more to advertise to? Yes. Is it worth it? Definitely. How do we achieve it? Keep reading!

It’s all about understanding where tactics fall within the marketing funnel. Campaign impressions are a key performance indicator (KPI) for awareness tactics that typically receive few clicks (like CTV or streaming audio). But for mid- and low-funnel tactics with the ability to track post-click activity, channel partners’ objectives are typically clicks or conversion rates. To achieve this, your campaigns must be optimized for your lower-funnel objective.

Marketing metrics that matter

If you work with BrandMuscle during your campaign, optimization happens when the digital marketing subject matter experts (SMEs) make small changes to ensure the campaign achieves its objective at the best possible cost. That may involve adjusting the radius, cost limits, frequency, and other adjustments. It also means that you may have to sacrifice marketing impressions to reach your objective. Going back to my earlier example, these campaigns are paid social traffic campaigns.

Table showing impressions, CTR, and conversion rate for campaigns A, B, and C

Earlier, you may have said that you’d prefer the campaign C results. But with the significantly higher click activity and conversion rates experienced by the other campaigns, you’re probably rethinking that.

Campaign C is different from the other two campaigns because it was optimized for impressions. It’s strictly an awareness campaign to get as many people as possible to see the ad but not necessarily click or convert from it.

Campaigns A and B are both properly optimized for clicks and are performing well for their first 5 days in flight. The difference between these two campaigns is simply location.

Campaign B is in a rural location. This channel partner must rely on a higher advertising frequency to a smaller audience. More optimizations are likely to be applied in attempts to achieve optimal performance. However, optimal marketing performance for this store location will always be less desirable than the urban location’s results. Regardless of which campaign achieves the highest click and conversion rates, both campaigns will receive the best possible outcome for their marketing dollars.

Elevate your marketing performance at the local level

At the end of the day, I hope you can agree: Impressions aren’t everything. Evaluate your marketing performance against the objective established for the campaign. Focus on your key performance indicators and work with a marketing partner you trust to optimize your campaign for the best possible results.

Need help boosting your local marketing? BrandMuscle has been helping brands drive results on the local level for over 20 years.

Get in touch with one of our marketing experts to learn more.

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