Crucial Metrics to Track for a Successful Paid Ads Campaign


When it comes to paid ads campaigns, there’s one thing that’s more important than your budget, creative, ad copy, or even your offer – it’s your metrics. That’s right, your success in digital advertising boils down to knowing your numbers. In this article, we’ll show you the Crucial Metrics to Track for a Successful Paid Ads Campaign

But here’s the twist: Not all metrics are worth your focus. 

Some of them are mere illusions, what we in marketing call “vanity metrics,” and they’re the junk food of your marketing strategy. They’re alluring, flashy, and oh-so tempting. But much like junk food, they lack real substance and can cloud your vision, preventing you from seeing the true state of your ad campaigns.

Even worse, you might be throwing away your time, and worse, your hard-earned money, on these deceptive metrics. If you’re caught in the vanity trap, you’re essentially navigating the intricate maze of digital marketing with a blindfold on. 

By the time you reach the end of this post, you’ll be armed with the knowledge of which metrics truly matter, how to dissect them, and how to use them to boost your ROI through the roof. Let’s dive in.

The Four Essential Ads Metrics You Can’t Ignore

In the digital ad landscape, there are a few key paid ads metrics that are absolutely non-negotiable – regardless of the ads platform you’re using. These metrics are the indicators that tell you whether your ad spend is generating a return or simply burning a hole in your pocket.

  1. 1. Conversion Rate (CVR):This is the proportion of users who carry out a desired action after clicking on your specific ads. It could be a range of actions – from making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or downloading a whitepaper. A low CVR might be a good indicator of a disconnect between your ad and the landing page, or it might just mean that your ad isn’t compelling enough.
  2. 2. Click-Through Rate (CTR):This tells you the percentage of people who clicked on your ad after seeing it in their feed or search results. A low CTR could mean your ad isn’t relevant or attractive to your target audience. On the flip side, a high CTR means your ad is resonating with your audience, but don’t break out the champagne just yet. A high CTR with low conversions is like a party with no guests.
  3. 3. Return on Ad Spend (ROAS):This is a measure of the revenue generated for every dollar spent on advertising. It’s a crucial metric that helps you understand whether your ad spend is profitable or not on each platform. This metric is calculated as the total revenue generated from the campaign divided by the amount spent. ROAS can be discussed as a percentage or as a multiplier.  
  4. 4. Cost per Acquisition (CPA): This is the average amount you have to spend on ads to acquire a customer. It’s crucial to know this number because if your CPA is higher than the lifetime value (LTV) of your customers, you’re operating at a loss. 

These metrics are not just numbers. They’re powerful tools that can help you make data-driven decisions about your ads. They can guide your campaign optimization efforts and help you maximize your ROI on your advertising budget. But remember, these metrics don’t exist in a vacuum. They should be analyzed in conjunction with other metrics and within the context of your specific marketing goals and the customer journey. 

Next, we’ll dive deeper into the key metrics that are crucial at different stages of the customer journey. 

Metrics Across Different Phases of the Customer Journey

Just when you thought “track these four metrics” was a complicated enough ask, we’re here to kick it up a notch. That’s because when we’re talking about metrics, it’s not a one-size-fits-all game: the numbers you should focus on change as your potential customer moves through their journey. Your customer isn’t just clicking on an ad and making a purchase; they’re going through a process: awareness, consideration, and decision. Each phase has its own key metrics you need to keep an eye on.

Awareness Phase Ad Metrics: This is where it all starts. Your potential customer has just encountered your brand. At this point, it’s all about reach and impressions. Now, you might think, “Wait, didn’t we just dismiss these as vanity metrics?” Well, in the right context, they’re not. During the awareness phase, these metrics are crucial in assessing how well your ad creatives are doing in capturing initial attention. 

Consideration Phase Ad Metrics: Once your potential customer knows about you, it’s time to pique their interest. Here, the metrics are similar to those for social media engagement. You’re looking at click-through rates (CTR), comments, shares, and likes on your ads. These give you a sense of whether your message is resonating with your target demographic and prompting them to learn more.

Decision Phase Ad Metrics: This is the moment of truth – will they become a customer? Here, your ad’s conversion rate is king. You’ll also want to keep a close eye on cost per acquisition (CPA) and return on ad spend (ROAS). These metrics tell you whether your ads are effectively driving not just actions, but profitable actions.

It’s not enough to merely track these metrics. Understanding them and utilizing them to optimize your ad campaigns at every stage is crucial. For instance, if your clickthrough rate is low during the consideration phase, it could be a sign that your ad creatives need a revamp to make them more compelling. If your conversion rate is underwhelming, it might hint at the need for a landing page makeover or a more enticing offer.

Mastering the art of tracking and interpreting these metrics gives you the upper hand in the ever-competitive digital marketing arena. But don’t stop here – each ad platform has its unique metrics that you need to understand. Let’s dive into those next.

Platform-Specific Metrics

After understanding the essential paid ads metrics, it’s time to delve deeper. Each advertising platform has its own set of unique metrics that can provide you with crucial insights. Remember, it’s not just about understanding these metrics, but also knowing how to leverage them to enhance your campaign performance and ad relevance. Let’s take a closer look:

Meta: Facebook and Instagram Ads

Let’s start with Facebook and Instagram, two of the most popular social media advertising platforms. While the general metrics are still important, there’s one that stands out: the Thumbstop Ratio. This metric measures how you if your ad creative has the power to make a user pause their endless scrolling. A high Thumbstop Ratio? That means your ad receives attention and increases brand awareness.

Next is the Click-Through Rate (CTR), which tells you how many users clicked on your ad after seeing it. This is a good indicator of your ad’s conversion rate potential. Toss in Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) and Cost Per Mille (CPM), and you have a comprehensive understanding of your ad campaign’s cost effectiveness.

Google Ads and PPC

For Google Ads and PPC, one of the most important metrics is the Quality Score. It measures the relevance and quality of your keywords and ads, and impacts your Ad Rank and cost per click (CPC). Why should your marketing team care? Better Quality Scores can mean lower costs and a higher position in the search results.

Conversion Rate and Cost Per Acquisition remain critical here too, helping you understand how many users are actually taking the desired action after clicking your ad and how much it costs you to acquire a new customer.

TikTok Ads

Moving onto TikTok, the hot new platform on the block. With its unique user base, TikTok offers a few different metrics. The Cost Per View (CPV) is particularly important, given the platform’s video-centric nature. You’ll also want to keep an eye on Click-Through Rate and Conversion Rate, similar to other platforms they’re just as crucial for understanding the effectiveness of your ad creatives and measuring the success of your marketing strategy.

LinkedIn Ads

Last but not least, we have LinkedIn, the go-to platform for B2B advertising. Key metrics here include the Click-Through Rate, Conversion Rate, and Cost Per Conversion. The latter is particularly important, as LinkedIn ads can be more expensive than other platforms. You need to ensure you’re getting a good return on your investment.

By tracking and understanding these platform-specific metrics, you ensure your ads are performing their best on each ad platform. And remember, in the world of digital marketing, data is your compass. It guides your marketing goals, helping you make informed decisions and save money.

After the Click: Understanding Post-Click Behavior

Your clickthrough rate is soaring – impressive! But the story doesn’t end when your ad receives a click. The next chapter? Post-click behavior. It’s here that you can fine-tune your ad campaigns, creating a powerhouse for ROI. Let’s unpack the post-click metrics that matter.

First off, we have the Conversion Rate. This is the percentage of users who take a desired action on your site, be it making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or filling out a form. It’s essentially the endgame for your ad campaign. A low conversion rate might indicate your ad copy or creative is out of sync with your landing page, or perhaps your call-to-action isn’t as compelling as it could be.

Next, there’s Average Time Spent on Site. This metric gives you a glimpse into how engaging your site is. If users are clicking through but not spending much time exploring, it could suggest your content isn’t capturing their interest, or your site’s navigation is a bit of a maze. Remember, the longer a user stays on your site, the more likely they are to convert.

Then there’s Pages Per Visit. This metric tells you how many pages, on average, users are visiting during a single session. More pages often mean more engagement. If this number’s low, consider having your marketing team improve the internal linking strategy to encourage more browsing.

Lastly, let’s talk about Average Order Value (AOV). This is the average amount of money each customer spends per transaction. Why is this metric so important? Well, by increasing your AOV, you’ll be making more money from each transaction, thereby boosting your overall revenue without necessarily having to attract more customers. Techniques to increase AOV could include upselling, cross-selling, or offering free shipping for orders over a certain amount.

By digging into these post-click metrics, you’ll gain a better understanding of user behavior on your site. And with these insights, you can make informed decisions to optimize your site, enhance user experience, and ultimately, drive more conversions. So, remember, the click is just the beginning – what comes next is equally, if not more, important.

The Impact of iOS Updates on Ad Tracking

Remember when Apple dropped the bombshell that was iOS 14? It sent a shockwave through the advertising world. Now, with iOS 17 on the horizon, it’s clear this isn’t a one-off scenario, but a new reality we need to adapt to.

First, let’s clear the air: Yes, these updates have made ad tracking more challenging. And yes, this can feel like a major setback. But here’s the thing – it’s not the end of the world. It’s a shift, a change we need to navigate intelligently. 

Let’s take a closer look at what these updates mean for your ad tracking.

Apple’s iOS 14 introduced App Tracking Transparency, requiring apps to ask users for permission to track them across other apps and websites. And wouldn’t you know it, a significant number of users opt out. This means less data for us marketers to work with.

iOS 17 is set to tighten the reins even further. It will automatically remove tracking parameters (UTMs) from the links you click in Mail, Messages, and Safari in Private Browsing mode. This is a new privacy-preserving feature that Apple is adding to its operating systems in an attempt to crack down on the tracking behavior of advertisers and analytics firms.

So, how do we navigate these choppy waters? By focusing on what we can control and finding new ways to understand our audience. Here’s a couple of strategies to help you do just that:

  1. 1. Leverage Platform-Specific Metrics:With third-party data becoming scarce, platform-specific metrics are more valuable than ever. They can provide insights directly from the source, helping you understand campaign performance and adjust accordingly. 
  2. 2. Invest in First-Party Data:Now’s the time to double down on collecting and analyzing your own data. Think email subscriptions, customer surveys, and website analytics. This data is consent-based, reliable, and not at the mercy of third-party restrictions.
  3. 3. Embrace Privacy-Forward Advertising:It’s clear that privacy is not just a trend but the future of digital advertising. Embrace privacy-forward strategies, like contextual advertising, that allow you to reach your target audience without infringing on their privacy.

Sure, the landscape is shifting, and we’ve got some challenges ahead. But remember, the most successful marketers aren’t those with the most data, but those who know how to use it effectively. So let’s roll with the punches, adapt, and continue delivering killer campaigns. After all, isn’t that what we do best?

Case Studies and Examples

Sometimes, the best way to learn is through real-world examples. So, let’s take a look at a couple of case studies that shine a light on the power of tracking the right metrics and making data-driven decisions.

Case Study 1: The Personal Injury Lawyer 

Most Personal Injury Lawyers optimize for leads, but leads are not the number they really care about. Case in point: when a leading personal injury firm wanted more leads, they turned to Tier 11 to take over their $1M+ per year Google Ads budget. 

Because Tier 11 optimizes for the metrics that really matter, we learned very quickly that it was signed accident cases which would actually move the needle for our client. 

After we corrected the tracking and offline conversions setup, we started sending that data back to google along with optimized ad campaigns and creatives. As a result, their cost per signed case dropped to $1518 —  their target was $5000! 

All this was because they let us pick the right metrics to optimize.

Case Study 2: The High Ticket Coach

When a high ticket info-marketer faced declining opt-ins and sales, they knew they needed to do something. . . but weren’t sure what that something was. They turned to Tier 11 to figure it out. 

Based on the data, we were able to determine that their ads were optimized to the point that the most lift would come from post-click optimization. Our Conversion Architecture team immediately got to work, performing deep research and optimizing the copy and design of their existing opt-in funnel. We also optimized their ad-to-landing page alignment (“ad scent”). 

The project was a success. They saw a significant increase in both the opt-in and the click-to-purchase conversion rates, but that’s not all! Their sales to application page rate improved from 12% to 21% and their click-to-purchase conversion rate improved from 7.4% to 10%

This combination allowed them to reduce ad spend while maintaining profitability, all because we chose to focus on the right metrics to guide our work together.

These case studies drive home the importance of tracking the right metrics. It’s not about vanity numbers that look good on paper, it’s about the metrics that truly indicate the success of your campaigns. As a marketing executive, understanding these metrics empowers you to lead your team in the right direction and make strategic decisions that positively impact your company’s bottom line.

The Pitfalls of Misleading Vanity Metrics

You’ve probably heard the saying, “What gets measured gets managed.” But what if you’re measuring the wrong things? That’s where vanity metrics come into play.

Vanity metrics are the numbers that make us feel good but don’t necessarily contribute to our bottom line. They make ad campaigns appear successful, boasting high social media engagement like likes, shares, and impressions. These are great for some reports, but they might not correlate with actual revenue or growth. Yes, they’re simple to track, but allowing them to dictate your marketing strategy is a risky move.

Let’s dig deeper and explore a couple of the most common vanity metrics you might encounter in digital marketing:

– Likes: If your ads receive a large number of likes, it can feel satisfying, but it doesn’t necessarily mean success. A ‘like’ is a passive action that doesn’t guarantee further engagement or a conversion. 

– Impressions: This metric shows the total number of times your specific ads were displayed, but it doesn’t mean that people actually engaged with it or even noticed it. High impressions do not always translate to action.

So, what can you do to avoid the vanity metrics trap?

Define your marketing goals: Identify the actions that directly propel your business forward. This might be conversions, sales, sign-ups, or another metric linked to revenue. Keep an eye on these.

Opt for actionable metrics: Choose the numbers that can guide your strategy. Metrics like your ad’s conversion rate, cost per acquisition, and return on ad spend can provide genuine insights into your campaign’s performance.

Dive deeper: Don’t just settle for numbers that inflate your ego. Instead, delve into the metrics that create a real, tangible impact on your business.

Remember, the ultimate goal isn’t to amass likes or rack up impressions. You’re here to drive tangible results. By focusing on the metrics that truly matter, you can avoid falling down the vanity metrics rabbit hole, save money, and make the most of your advertising budget.


Well, there you have it. We’ve taken a deep dive into the world of paid advertising metrics, and here’s what we’ve learned: not all metrics are equal. If you’ve been seduced by the allure of vanity metrics, it’s time to shake off the spell. They might make your reports look pretty, but they’re not going to help you optimize your campaigns or improve your ROI.

Instead, focus on the metrics that matter. Whether you’re running Facebook ads, Google Ads, TikTok ads, LinkedIn ads, or PPC campaigns, it’s essential to zero in on the metrics that truly reflect the performance of your campaigns. From click-through rates to conversion rates, cost per acquisition to return on ad spend, these are the numbers that will guide your strategies and help you make data-driven decisions.

Remember, tracking the right metrics gives you visibility into the effectiveness of your campaigns and your team. It’s not just about saving money; it’s about understanding where your efforts are paying off and where you need to tweak your approach. It’s about leveraging data to drive success.

But don’t take our word for it. Try it out for yourself. Start tracking the metrics we’ve discussed, interpret them, and use them to optimize your campaigns. You’ll be amazed at the clarity it brings to your marketing efforts.

Still feeling a bit overwhelmed? That’s okay. Digital marketing is a complex beast, and it’s why we’re here. We’d love to guide you through the labyrinth of paid advertising metrics. So why wait? Book a call with us today, and let’s start turning your data into actionable insights for your campaigns. You’ve got the power to transform your marketing efforts – let’s make it happen

FAQs in Relation to Crucial Metrics to Track for a Successful Paid ads Campaign

What are the crucial metrics to track for a successful paid ads campaign?

For a successful paid ads campaign, you can’t afford to ignore key metrics such as Conversion Rate (CVR), Click-Through Rate (CTR), Return on Ad Spend (ROAS), and Cost per Acquisition (CPA). These metrics allow you to assess the performance of your ads, understand the behavior of your audience, and make data-driven decisions.

Why are metrics important at different stages of the customer journey?

The importance of metrics shifts as your potential customer moves through their journey. During the awareness phase, metrics like reach and impressions assess how well your ads are capturing initial attention. In the consideration phase, engagement metrics like CTR, comments, shares, and likes come into play. And in the decision phase, metrics like CPA and ROAS are crucial to understanding if your ads are driving profitable actions.

What are some essential platform-specific metrics to track in your ad campaigns?

Each advertising platform offers unique metrics to guide your strategy. On Facebook and Instagram, the Thumbstop Ratio and CTR are important. For Google Ads and PPC, the Quality Score is crucial. On TikTok, pay attention to the Cost Per View (CPV). And on LinkedIn, key metrics include CTR, Conversion Rate, and Cost Per Conversion.

What is post-click behavior and why is it important to understand?

Post-click behavior refers to the actions users take after they’ve clicked on your ad and landed on your site. Metrics like Conversion Rate, Average Time Spent on Site, Pages Per Visit, and Average Order Value (AOV) give insight into how users interact with your site, helping you optimize your site and drive more conversions.

How do iOS updates impact ad tracking?

Updates like iOS 14 and the upcoming iOS 17 have introduced new privacy measures, making ad tracking more challenging. This leads to less third-party data for marketers. But by leveraging platform-specific metrics, investing in first-party data, and embracing privacy-forward strategies, marketers can navigate this changing landscape effectively.

What are vanity metrics in paid social campaigns and why should they be avoided?

Vanity metrics are numbers like likes, shares, and impressions that may make you feel good about your campaign, but don’t necessarily correlate with revenue or growth. They can be misleading and distract from the metrics that truly drive your business forward. To avoid the vanity metrics trap, define clear goals, focus on actionable metrics, and delve into the numbers that make a tangible impact on your business.