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The Importance of Reporting and Campaign Analytics for Programmatic Advertising

Jimmy is a Customer Success Manager at StackAdapt who, beyond all else, works to ensure his clients have a thorough understanding of all the capabilities they have in the platform.

There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to running your digital campaigns. You have to target the right audience, in the right geo, on the right devices. You need innovative creatives that stand-out, you’ve got to set your goals and budgets, check them mid-flight, optimize and so much more. Keeping everything organized and managing your workflow is one of the main benefits of using a Demand-Side Platform (DSP). Having the ability to gain insights on all of your campaigns from one place is so beneficial when running programmatic campaigns, which is why reporting is my favourite feature in StackAdapt.

Reporting plays such a crucial role in the success for your campaigns. The data you collect allows you to gain valuable insight from previous campaigns, while allowing you to monitor current campaigns in real time, so you can make adjustments to live campaigns on the fly. Reporting allows you to make informed, data-driven decisions to improve the performance of your campaigns, removing the guesswork, and moving you closer to your campaign goals. This is why I rely heavily on Reporting and Insights in StackAdapt. If you want to be successful, having insights to the performance of your campaigns is priceless.

What should you report on?

In StackAdapt, there are 5 standard reports I always go back to: Geo, Device, Domain, Creative and Audience. With these 5 standard reports, you can get a complete view of your campaign and how each element performed according to the campaign goals.

Which geo had the most engagement? Which audience had the highest conversions? Which creative performed best? Which device was most used to view your ads? Which domains saw the highest traffic? 

Every time I create a campaign, I build these standard reports. This allows me to refer to the metrics gathered through the campaign’s flight, in real time. Once I have these reports built out, I cross reference data to gain even more insights. Which audience in which geo had the most conversions? Which audience responded best to which creative?

The amount of insight that can be gathered from these types of reports is invaluable. Media buyers might build reports differently, but building reports and analyzing data throughout your campaign is necessary nonetheless. For example, here is an example of a standard report I would run for a conversion campaign, in the e-commerce travel vertical.

From this report, we can conclude the following:

Example 4.2 – 970×250: This creative is responsible for driving the most cost efficient performance related to user engagement, accounting for a $0.89 eCPC and $10.06 eCPA. Recommend applying a Bid Factor to this creative to ensure more impressions are won.

Example 1.1 – 300×600: Generating only 1 conversion, this creative accounts for the highest eCPA achieved. Recommend pausing this creative if performance continues to fall.

Example 3.1 – 160×600: With 0 conversions achieved, along with the most expensive eCPM and eCPC, recommend pausing this creative from serving.

These insights will allow us to make the appropriate optimizations to the campaign, in an attempt to improve performance.

When should you set up and run reporting?

One of the most important recommendations I give to my clients when it comes to reporting is that, for best results, you shouldn’t wait until your campaign is over to gain insights. You need to be thinking about what you want to report on even before you launch your campaign, and you need to monitor your campaign while it’s live.

Waiting until your flight dates have ended to run reports will leave large gaps in your campaign activity, which will have you guessing at how to improve next time. So, with that in mind, here are some pre, mid and post campaign reporting items you should consider when setting up your next campaign.

Pre Campaign:

Before you launch your campaign, have an idea of what you want to be reporting on. Is this an awareness campaign? If so, you’ll want to measure impressions. Is it a conversion campaign? If so, you’ll need to establish what you consider a conversion (is it a sale or a form fill?), and ensure you’re tracking them. Besides the goals of your campaign, what do you want to gain insights on? For example, do you want to know which geo performs best, which device you have the most traction on, what time of day your ads are best received? Having all of this decided upon before launch will help with how you set up your campaign—allowing you to have the automated reports ready to go right from the launch rather than playing catch up at the end.

In fact, you can set up scheduled reporting ahead of time. There won’t be any data to review prior to launch of course, but you can get a head start on keeping yourself organized by having data emailed to you.

Mid-Campaign:

Once your campaign is live, you should be optimizing throughout its duration. If you’re pacing behind, be sure you make adjustments—and keep track of the adjustments you made. If you wait until the campaign ends to run your reports, you may find that your campaign could have performed better to reach your goals if an adjustment was made while it was live. This is one of the main benefits of StackAdapt’s Insights tool—you’re able to pause or enable campaign targeting directly from the report! This means that if you have an ad that isn’t performing, rather than continuing to spend budget on it, you can pause it right away, while you make other campaign adjustments.

Post campaign:

After your campaign has wrapped up, revisit the objectives and goals set before the launch, pull out the list of mid-campaign optimizations you made, and summarize the campaign results. You will want to keep unique elements of the campaign in mind, such as scope and summary of entire buy, to ensure you are analyzing the data appropriately. If you have multiple line items, be sure those are summarized, along with a summary of all creatives you used. This will give you a full, complete picture of your campaign to gain learnings that you can apply to future campaigns.

What is the takeaway?

Reports are crucial. And not just after the campaign is over. A common misconception is that reporting happens after a campaign is complete. That may have been true for television or radio ads, where there was no real way to monitor performance or make optimizations in real time. We are in the world of programmatic, real-time bidding, and one of the biggest benefits is the ability to build, optimize and report on campaigns all in real-time—it’s in the name!

So the takeaway is simple: take advantage of the reporting capabilities available in your DSP. They’re there for a reason and you can see an immense improvement in campaign performance if you leverage your campaign reports effectively.

Reach out to your StackAdapt Representative to learn more about how you can best leverage reporting in your campaigns.

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