This article was originally written by Susan Borst for the IAB
When it comes to Key Performance Indicators, KPIs, we wanted to know what were viewed as the most important in the B2B digital space so we put out a call to IAB B2B Committee members to answer the question:
What key performance indicators (KPIs) are most important to your business and/or your client’s business and why?
Knowing the diverse composition of our nearly 150 active committee members, we expected diversity in responses, but one resounding similarity shone through which was that B2B marketers have moved well beyond the click as a leading metric of success and are moving toward a more holistic view of digital campaign effectiveness.
As you’ll see in the responses below, regardless of where the B2B leader sits in the B2B ecosystem, when it comes to KPIs, there is much for a B2B company to consider to evaluate the effectiveness of their campaigns including, but not limited to:
|Brand Perception||Lead to Conversion Rate|
|Business KPIs (a la Corporate Culture)||Lead Quality|
|Click Through Rate||Lead Volume|
|Conversion Rates||Return on Ad Spend|
|Cost per Action||Revenue Closed Deals|
|Cost per Click||Revenue Generated|
|Cost per Lead||Upsells|
|Engagement Rate||Video Completion Rate|
When it comes to KPIs, know this: just because it can be counted, doesn’t mean it counts. Take CTR for example. Once a standard metric for measuring the efficacy of campaigns, fat fingers and fraud have weakened its standing. CTR, CPC, and CPL: metrics like these measure tactics that apply to a specific stage of the buying cycle and can be measured on their own. But as you rise up the scale of performance measurement tactics, you find the increasing convergence of both attribution and value. It’s more valuable to know that your message was served to the right audience than it is to know a click. When you’re running an account based marketing program, lesser measurement tactics should be tied directly to the account so that they point to the KPIs that really matter, the ones that prove real ROI: deal velocity, deal size, pipeline, conversions.
~Tom O’Regan, CEO, Madison Logic
Our goal for AdRoll customers is to deliver on metrics that show growth: revenue, closed deals, upsells and cross-sells. It’s sometimes hard in the B2B world to quickly gather this data, due to the length of the sales cycle, so we’ll also look at more immediate metrics, like lead volume, lead quality, and conversion rates. Both sets of metrics play a big role in optimizing display ad campaigns for the best results.
~ Ben Earl, Head of B2B, AdRoll
ABM KPI’s are what I breathe every day. KPI’s in any business separate the wheat from the chaff and in Account Based Marketing, KPI’s usually center around increases in engagement from the accounts you care most about. Account Based KPI’s can come from many channels including: Online Ads, Corporate Website, email, and of course Sales Engagement. KPI’s managed correctly within ABM result in major increases in revenue for B2B Marketers, and given B2B’s longer sale cycle, we need to incorporate leading indicators of success with lagging revenue metrics.
~ Louis Moynihan, VP of Product Innovation, Demandbase (and IAB B2B Committee Co-Chair)
At Flite, our primary focus is the KPIs of our clients. In AdTech, and more specifically with CMPs, the KPIs are often bucketed by display and video; however those KPIs are starting to blur as viewability and engagement become increasingly crucial, and marketers realize that branding and performance can be achieved in the same campaign. The most commonly requested/prioritized KPIs are: Engagement Rate, Interaction Rate, Time Spent, Video Completion Rate, and CTR. These KPIs are the ones which showcase value on the awareness and interest fronts, allowing marketers to think more holistically about their advertising.
~ Jason Wolfson, Associate Director of Marketing, Flite
One set of key KPIs often overlooked is that of overall success for new and innovative pilots in the B2B space. How often do we apply rigor to the following, for B2B efforts?
- Was the project brought in on time, on budget, with minimal resources?
- Was the project socialized to Sr. Executives with alignment to business priorities and revenue impact?
- Was the project team successful in learning what worked, and what didn’t work, to inform future iterations of the B2B effort?
- Is there a PR or industry lesson to be shared, celebrated, and documented?
Marketing KPIs are critical to our success, but so too are business KPIs are just as important. And how well new ground is broken in the world of B2B Marketing, a new vista for many when it comes to digital, social, and content marketing, is an area we should be applying more regular measurement across verticals.
~ Andrew Goldman, Global Lead, Agency Holding Companies, Global Sales Organization, LinkedIn (and IAB B2B Committee Co-Chair)
From Mansueto Ventures perspective, we believe that today’s most used KPI is inconsistent with how the end result supposed to look. B2B marketers and their publishers partners needs to provide insightful key metrics beyond just click through rate. The measure of success should also be supplemented by our ability to match key demographics in the right environment and mind set, not solely be judged on volume. It is advised that we understand the full scope of the objectives for marketers in terms of delivery, performance, context, demographics, and ultimately success.
~ Steve Suthiana, Global Head, Digital Media & Operations, Mansueto Ventures LLC (and IAB B2B Committee Co-Chair)
For the most part, B2B direct response marketers focus on the following areas: click through rate, cost per click, cost per lead or action, lead-to-conversion rate, revenue generated and finally return on ad spend. Looking at all of these KPI’s holistically helps ensure that not only does the marketer drive quality leads, but also helps maximize the lifetime value of the lead.
B2B brand marketers tend to focus on: ad viewability, click through rate, ad placement (above or below the fold), time spent on site, ad interaction rate and post view or post click site interaction. Looking at these KPI’s holistically helps ensure that brand marketer ensures that they generate awareness with the right audience.
~ Ethan Simblist, Vice President, Digital Services, MeritDirect
To be up to date on the latest thinking on measurement, IAB encourages all B2B marketers, agencies and publishers to follow the work of 3MS, Making Measurement Make Sense. This is a cross-industry initiative founded by the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s), the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), and the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). This group works with the Media Rating Council (MRC), an independent body, who is responsible for setting and implementing measurement standards. The overall intent of 3MS is to revolutionize the way digital media is measured, planned, and transacted across the advertising industry in order to make it a more valuable medium for everyone involved in brand advertising and is focused on five areas:
- Defining impressions
- Establishing audience currency
- Creating a standard classification of ad units
- Defining ad performance metrics
- Establishing brand attitudinal measures.
The work of 3MS is important to follow because it provides the ecosystem with a variety of benefits including: a consistent approach and reliable metrics, and ensuring a roadmap and structure exists for ongoing standards development and measurement change management.
If interested in learning more about the IAB B2B Committee, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.