The 2021 Digital Advertising Manual: Rethinking Campaign Objectives, Creative & KPIs​

March 31, 2021 — 9 Minute Read

After the challenges of 2020, businesses are back in growth mode.

Many already shifted their product lines and services to support their customers in whatever situations they might face next. They’ve also given consumers more choices in how they discover and buy their products and services, including new delivery options, contactless appointments, and curbside pickup.

To keep growing, businesses are focused on broadening their customer base and increasing customer lifetime value. They’re looking to their marketing teams and agencies to drive these goals in the most efficient and cost-effective way—with digital campaigns.

At Criteo, we surveyed 1,000 senior marketing executives from around the world about their 2021 plans. We asked if they would cut back on any marketing activities and found that digital marketing campaigns are seeing the least disruption compared to other activities like events and exhibitions.1

59 percent of marketers say that their digital marketing campaigns are going ahead as planned, 25 percent say they're being reviewed, and 16 percent say they're delayed.

But to be the most efficient and cost-effective, digital campaigns must be optimized for a specific goal and deliver measurable results.

In this mini manual—a companion to The 2021 Digital Advertising Manual: Rethinking Budgets & Channels for the New Customer Journey—we have more data to help you set the right campaign goals and frameworks for building and measuring ad campaigns for every stage of the customer journey.

Click here to download The 2021 Digital Advertising Manual.

2021 Marketing Objectives

Every business wants to increase profits and grow, but from a marketing perspective, there are many paths to achieve these goals.

In our survey, we asked marketing leaders what objectives they are focused on to bounce back this year.1

Almost half of marketers say customer acquisition and retention are key to growth.​ About a third say that building brand value and improving ROI are important objectives.

Chart showing that acquiring new customers is the top marketing objective in 2021.

Campaigns for real customer journeys

To meet the top marketing goals, you need a commerce media strategy to engage consumers at every stage of the path to purchase. The digital commerce ecosystem is crowded. If you don’t have campaigns designed to get consumers from awareness to loyalty, you’ll miss opportunities to grow sales and customer lifetime value.

Here are two scenarios based on the top objectives in our survey that show the importance of holistic campaigns accounting for the complete customer journey:

Customer AcquisitionPurchase funnel going from awareness to consideration to conversion.

Remember, the path to purchase is never linear. Consumers have many encounters with different businesses as they decide what to buy—including with you and your competitors. It’s important to engage with new customers on every channel as they move through the funnel.

Customer RetentionPurchase funnel going from consideration to conversion to loyalty.

Invest in your customers to transform them into loyalists. It takes multiple purchase cycles to build trust and become one of the companies a consumer purchases from frequently.

Build more impactful ad campaigns

Here, we have frameworks to build commerce media campaigns that drive meaningful outcomes no matter where your customers are in their journey. See the right audiences, creative, and KPIs to meet each campaign goal and drive your high-level marketing objectives.

Awareness

Audiences

Commerce
Reach new customers that are interested in products or services like yours. Build your audience with commerce data that shows products people are interested in, brands they like, and meaningful demographics such as purchase power and gender to drive interest and engagement.

Contextual
Reach consumers that are most likely to be interested in your products and services without third-party cookies. Use all the contextual signals on a webpage (including text and image analysis) to target the right audiences.

Location
Reach consumers in proximity to your stores. Use location technology to identify new customers who visited or were near physical store locations—or your competitors’ nearby locations—to drive them to shop online and in-store.

Similar
Reach new customers that act like your best customers. Build your audience with commerce data that shows browsing and purchasing behaviors to drive interest and engagement.

KPIs

Cost per completed video
The price you pay each time a video ad is viewed to completion. Calculated as total cost divided by total completed views.

Reach
The share of your audience exposed to at least one display ad. Expressed as a percentage.

Viewability
The share of ad impressions that are actually seen by consumers.

Creative

Rich Media Ads
Capture attention with a combination of video and brand creative, plus animated elements and interactive features.

Rich media awareness ad for a clothing brand.

Video Ads
Maximize video views with in-stream and outstream ads across the open web.

Video awareness ad for a car brand.

Connected TV Ads
Leverage your video assets for non-skippable pre-roll or mid-roll video ads in premium streaming content to ensure your message is delivered and seen.

Connected TV awareness ad in a streaming platform.

Consideration

Audiences

Commerce
Reach new customers that are interested in products or services like yours. Build your audience with commerce data that shows products people are interested in, brands they like, and meaningful demographics such as purchase power and gender to drive interest and engagement.

Contextual
Reach consumers that are most likely to be interested in your products and services without third-party cookies. Use all the contextual signals on a webpage (including text and image analysis) to target the right audiences.

Location
Reach consumers in proximity to your stores. Use location technology to identify new customers who visited or were near physical store locations—or your competitors’ nearby locations—to drive them to shop online and in-store.

Retailer
Reach consumers that are actively browsing retailer websites and in the mood to buy—without the need for third-party cookies. Target ads using retailers’ first-party intent and purchase data to drive interest and sales.

Similar
Reach new customers that act like your best customers. Build your audience with commerce data that shows browsing and purchasing behaviors to drive interest and engagement.

KPIs

Cost per mille (CPM)
The price you pay per one thousand impressions. Calculated as total cost divided by total impressions times 1,000.

Cost per visit goal
A goal set for the price you pay each time a consumer clicks an ad to visit your website or landing page. Cost per visit is calculated as total cost divided by total visits.

Creative

Retail Media
Draw attention from retailer website audiences as they consider their options with onsite commerce display ads that blend branding creative and product information.

Retail Media consideration ad for a mattress brand.
Rich Media
Show your brand personality through video and images, and feature relevant products or services based on popularity or shared interest. Allow consumers to interact with products right in your ads.

Rich media consideration ad for a home furnishings brand.

Store Ads
Show local store information alongside images and products currently available in-store to drive foot traffic.

Store consideration ad for a home furnishings brand.

Video Ads
Combine video and products in display ads to drive business results at early stages in the customer journey.

Rich media video consideration ad for a travel brand.
Rich Media + Video

Conversion

Audiences

Contact List
Reach online and offline customers already in your database. Build audiences using your first-party customer and transaction data to drive sales from known customers. Enhance these audiences with commerce data showing real customer journeys.

Retailer
Reach consumers that are actively browsing retailer websites and in the mood to buy—without the need for third-party cookies. Target ads using retailers’ first-party intent and purchase data to drive interest and sales.

Website Visitors
Reach consumers that recently visited your website. Build audiences of one-time visitors to convert them, or engage existing customers to drive repeat purchases.

KPIs

Cost per acquisition (CPA)
The amount you spend on a consumer’s action, such as a purchase, form submission, or completed booking. Calculated as total cost divided by total conversions.

Cost per click (CPC)
The price you pay each time a consumer clicks on your ad. Calculated as total cost divided by total clicks.

Return on ad spend (ROAS)
How much revenue you make for every dollar of ad spend. ROAS is expressed as a ratio, like 2:1. If your KPI is a 2:1 ROAS, that means you want $2 in revenue for every $1 invested. Measure ROAS from online and offline purchases to get a true sense of campaign performance.

Creative

Dynamic Product Recommendation Ads
Encourage interested consumers to complete their purchase with dynamic product recommendations and relevant promotions.

Dynamic product recommendation ad for a clothing brand.

Retail Media
Convert ready-to-buy shoppers with sponsored product ads on retailer websites. In addition, bring relevant audiences back to complete their purchase with offsite ads.

Retail Media conversion ad for a bike brand.

Store Ads
Show local stores and buy online, pick up in-store options alongside products available today to drive offline purchases.

Store conversion ad for a clothing brand.

Video Display Ads
Feature video assets in dynamic product recommendation ads to drive customer acquisition and sales while maximizing the reach of video content.

Video + Dynamic Product Recommendation

Loyalty

Use a combination of consideration and conversion campaign tactics to increase purchase rate and average order value among consumers who have bought from you in the past.

There are many audience scenarios you can use to target and engage existing customers. Here are some examples to help you get started:

Store customers, online customers, lapsed customers, category customers, top spenders, cross sell audiences, at risk customers, seasonal shoppers.

Align every campaign with real business goals

In Criteo’s survey of 1,000 marketing executives, 50% said website sales is one of the most influential metrics for their marketing plans. Others include repeat customer sales (41%), average customer spend (40%), and new customer revenue (39%).1

These top metrics are tangible—it’s all about the bottom line. Marketers need to be able to prove that the people who viewed their ads then interacted with the business.

When awareness, consideration, conversion, and loyalty campaigns run together and you have access to the right data, it’s possible to link metrics like reach and views to business metrics like those in our survey. Let’s look at an example.

Measuring Connected TV-Influenced Outcomes

It’s challenging to understand the impact of branding video and connected TV campaigns on the bottom line. But when these ads run with lower-funnel campaigns, you can capture users further up the funnel and guide them through their path to purchase.

Using full-funnel reporting and cross-device data on real customer journeys, marketers can see the impact a connected TV campaign has on sales and revenue.

Diagram showing sales that occurred within 30 days of consumers being exposed to a connected TV campaign.

Rethinking Budgets & Channels for the New Customer Journey

If you haven’t already read part one of The 2021 Digital Advertising Manual, download your copy here. You’ll get data and advertising strategies to help you allocate your budget across channels and learn how to face issues like consumer privacy, brand safety, and diversifying ad spend.

Click here to download The 2021 Digital Advertising Manual.

1Criteo COVID-19 Impact on Marketing Survey, Global, October 2020, n=1,039

Tricia Carr

Tricia is a writer and editor obsessed with learning new things. She's written about everything from retail trends and marketing technology to cocktails and vegan food. When she's not creating content, she's probably getting lost in New York or cooking breakfast food.

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