The Benefits of Measuring Your Ad Campaign in Impressions vs. Ratings

Micheal Smith

Micheal Smith About The Author

December 21, 2021 at 10:05 AM

The Benefits of Measuring Your Ad Campaign in Impressions vs. Ratings

If you run a business, you’ve probably heard the old adage “you have to spend money to make money,” which typically translates to spending ad dollars to generate sales. What we don’t hear very often is how to measure the results of your ad buys to gauge the success of your campaigns. To do that you’ll need to be able to collect the correct data and use it to track your campaign’s performance.  

Simply trying to use all the data you collect to make decisions will be overwhelming at best, so deciding what information will provide actionable intelligence is a must. Being selective about the ad metrics you decide to track will give you deeper insights, and the two most critical metrics for ad campaigns are ratings and impressions. 

The following is a breakdown of these two critical types of data, and when and how to track them. 

Learn What to Avoid When Developing Your Commercial

What Are Ratings?

You might be familiar with the term ratings as it relates to TV and radio advertising, but they're equally integral for many marketing campaigns.    

Ratings are the percent of the population that your ads have reached. They ultimately show broader coverage, and tracking ratings can help determine how many people are likely to view your ads. Probably the most well-known purveyor of the ratings methodology is Nielsen. They use a scale of 0 to 100 to represent percentage points. For instance, if there are 100,000 people with TVs in a particular location, and 1,500 of those people watch a specific show, that show will have a Nielsen rating of 1.5. It accounts for 1.5 percent of the population that may have seen a particular ad played during this show.  

A variety of elements could impact ratings, including the number of homes in a given area, along with seasonal viewing habits among viewers.  

What Are Impressions?

Screen Shot 2021-12-20 at 9.28.57 AMImpressions measure the number of potential viewers in an ad campaign. Unlike ratings, advertisers can measure impressions for a wide range of ads, including online campaigns. It's important to note that impressions are different from views. An impression occurs whenever an ad appears in front of viewers, but there's no guarantee that people saw them. For example, someone scrolling down a webpage may encounter your sidebar ad but not notice or pay attention to it. However, tracking impressions can give you a good idea of your ads' overall reach.  

Of all the digital ad mediums available, the one that has grown the most in popularity and represents an amazing opportunity to use impressions to measure success, is OTT services (over the top television). OTT advertising is a popular modern counterpart to TV and radio ads and includes streaming services such as YouTube, Hulu, and audio services like Spotify and podcast platforms. Impressions on OTT services reveal how many people may have seen a video or heard an audio ad on these platforms.  

How to Track Both Ratings and Impressions?

Both ratings and impressions have individual utility, but keep in mind that they provide different insights. Tracking both simultaneously across your campaigns will give you a better picture of your ads' performance. This complete overview will help you better measure your audience. In turn, you can further develop your future ad campaigns to improve performance continuously.  

When launching TV or radio ads, keep track of ratings to determine how many people in a particular location or other demographic are viewing them. At the same time, tracking impressions will enable you to gauge people's exposure to online ads. Based on these metrics, when compared to your goals, you can make any necessary adjustments.  

Calculating Ad Frequency

Screen Shot 2021-12-20 at 9.29.02 AMMost advertisers will want customers to view their ads multiple times, as this establishes awareness and recognition. The more people see an ad, the more the brand behind it will be top-of-mind among its audience. Over time, people are more likely to come to know and trust that brand over others. However, you want to avoid annoying audiences with too many ads, which could hinder rather than help your campaigns.  

Try to determine the right ad frequency to engage and connect with audiences without being overbearing. You can calculate ad frequency by dividing impressions by your reach, shown by your ratings. That is another reason why it's crucial to measure both ratings and impressions to ensure your campaigns' success. With the right ad frequency, you'll be able to grab and hold your audience's attention without irritating them in the process. Subsequently, you'll see increased brand awareness that leads to more engagement. 

Effectively Track Your Campaigns with a Media Partner

When running a complete marketing campaign that consists of multiple channels, tracking ratings and impressions will help you accurately measure their success. By setting specific goals for your brand awareness campaigns, you can better determine which numbers help achieve them. Based on the results, you can then alter your campaigns to optimize their performance. 

To ensure your campaigns benefit from adequate tracking and optimization, consider working with experienced professionals who can help yield optimal results. A dependable media partner will have the expertise needed to track your campaigns and adapt them accordingly.  

New call-to-action