Jackie Long

Guide to determining KPIs for ad campaigns

How do you know if your ad campaigns are effective? Check out our guide for finding the right key performance indicators to help you evaluate your marketing efforts.

Marketing campaigns often vary significantly in effectiveness, and digital advertising can be particularly hard to measure correctly due to the prevalence of fraud. It makes things especially difficult when many companies don’t even have a specific standard for what makes a campaign successful

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are individual measures of how well a campaign is performing. These can be created from nearly any quantifiable data point, including traffic, conversions, and generated revenue. Most marketers use a combination of KPIs to determine the overall success of an ad strategy, since individual KPIs can be misleading.

Deciding which KPIs to focus on for your company will require some research. Some will be more useful and easier to find than others. Others may require special software or need to be calculated using different analytic tools or reports. Ultimately, you’ll want to find the right mix of KPIs to use and create a custom report to make it easy to compare how your campaigns are faring.

Here is a list of our recommended KPIs to consider.

Total traffic

Total traffic describes how many users come to your site via a campaign. This is the simplest, but also least effective, way to measure how well your campaign is performing.


  • Indicates reach of advertising
  • Quick measure of engagement


  • Can be inflated by advertising fraud
  • Does not indicate the quality of traffic


Any analytic software should show this KPI. Look for the UTM code associated with the campaign and find the column or number display that relates to the total number of clicks/traffic.

Total orders/conversions

Another quick measurement is the total number of orders or conversions, which shows how many orders were placed by users that came through a particular campaign or how many completed a specific action.


  • Gives a better idea of ROI than just traffic
  • Quick measure of effectiveness


  • Might include chargebacks/fraud/cancelled orders or users that completed an action for a specific result and never returned
  • Does not indicate how valuable conversions are


There are several ways to find this number. Some analytics tools will show this number directly when you search for the campaign. With others, you may need to look up how many people reach a thank you or completion page and segment that by campaign.

Revenue generated

Although it’s sometimes more difficult to find, revenue generated can show the actual ROI of a campaign, which it easier to determine how effective the campaign has been.


  • Shows the real value gained from a campaign
  • Easy comparison of money spent/money made


  • Might include revenue from chargebacks/fraud/cancelled orders
  • Does not indicate conversion rates


This KPI sometimes requires more research or workarounds. You may need to play with different segmentation options and create a custom report to find this information. Some fraud software will calculate this number for you.

Suspicious orders

Like revenue, suspicious orders can be difficult to determine if you don’t have fraud prevention services that track this statistc, but it is a useful indicator of the type of traffic each campaign brings in.


  • Offers insight into waste in a campaign
  • Can be compared to total orders for a better understanding of effectiveness


  • Does not indicate value lost or gained from the campaign


Finding this number will depend on your fraud prevention tools. You might be able to find this number through your shopping cart platform or fraud prevention software. Look for orders that were flagged as fraud or required additional verification and failed.

Campaign Score

A more holistic view of a campaign, the campaign score is a combined score based on individually scoring all traffic brought by a campaign and calculating the average score.


  • Indicates overall campaign performance in a glance
  • Includes assessment of multiple variables


  • Does not indicate conversions or value gained from campaign


This indicator requires the use of fraud prevention services. Not all software utilizes scoring. For those that don’t, there is usually an equivalent that will provide a campaign analysis.

No matter which KPIs you use, be ready to change up your advertising and try new things. Digital advertising is constantly changing, and the most effective marketing campaigns require trial and error.

About the author
Jackie Long

Jackie is a Content Specialist at NS8. With a varied background and over 6 years of content creation experience, Jackie works hard to provide a compelling range of informative articles.

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