When launching a new ad business, publishers often feel overwhelmed deciding which reporting features to offer. Publishers wonder: what are the must-have metrics? Would offering more reporting metrics distinguish their platform? Are there other important considerations when deciding how / what to report?
Having robust reporting capabilities means more than just offering metrics for the sake of metrics. Instead, the best reporting provides value to advertisers by telling a compelling story about human behavior using data. Optimal reporting provides insights an advertiser can use to interpret not just their ad’s performance, but their business performance as a whole.
In this article, we discuss the table stakes reporting metrics, as well as what metrics would make your reporting stand out.
Though reporting features vary by platform and industry, there are standard metrics most publishers report, like:
Beyond the previous metrics, your industry impacts which metrics are important to prioritize. For retail media and marketplaces, for example, advertisers expect to see the below data (you can thank Amazon for setting precedent).
There are dozens of alternative reporting metrics you could offer. Depending on your available ad units, you could include:
New ad platforms can survive without these metrics, but sophisticated advertisers will want to see them eventually. Data like video view completions and unique reach tell a more robust story than just raw impressions and clicks.
Getting the most out of your metrics doesn’t just end at impressions, clicks, and conversions. Segmenting this information can give you more granular insights into user behavior. For instance, publishers could segment and report based on:
Breaking out performance into audience segments not only gives you a better understanding of who is interacting with your ads, but also provides additional business context. If, for example, Allbirds realizes women infrequently interact with their ads, this could be due to the ad itself, but it could also be an indicator for opportunity to grow the brand and product with new colors and styles that appeal to a segment that may not originally been part of their core audience.
Again, reporting isn’t just about showing data, it’s about providing insights that tell a story. One way to do this is by offering recommendations based on advertiser reporting metrics.
This means proactively analyzing data and presenting this to users in real-time. Google, for example, offers insightful recommendations when you log into their portal, such as:
Here, Google provides value behind the numbers. They don’t just tell advertisers how they are doing, but how to do even better.
As mentioned, it’s important to use your reporting to tell a story and offer business insights beyond just interactions and results. Below are some examples of how leading ad platforms have done that:
1. Google: Google offers a variety of insightful data beyond basic reporting. When doing paid search campaigns, for instance, advertisers set up campaigns targeting their ideal keywords. After launching, you can then see exactly what search terms led to clicks, even if you didn’t specifically target that exact phrase.
Such insights help advertisers understand what phrases potential customers are using and which ones resonate. This is business information that could impact website messaging, ad copy, and so on.
2. Facebook: Facebook provides multiple ways of slicing and dicing campaign performance, key ones being basic demographics like gender and age. These insights could be helpful in tailoring messaging, setting up new campaigns targeting specific age/genders, identifying one’s target audience, and more.
3. LinkedIn: LinkedIn lets advertisers break down any campaign by demographic work data. For instance, after running a campaign targeting a certain industry, you can see attributes about who exactly interacted with the ads.
The breakdowns include by department, seniority, title, company size, and more. This is information that could influence your messaging and what types of companies you outbound to.
Publishers don’t need to reinvent the wheel with their reporting offering. Advertisers have standard expectations, and fulfilling these in an easy-to-read dashboard goes a long way.
However, clever publishers offer additional insights that go beyond standard metrics to really distinguish their platform. If publishers can help their advertisers understand how users interact with their brand and offer data-based recommendations, advertisers will value the publisher and continue to spend.
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