KPI mismatch: UK brands and agencies struggle to set common marketing objectives

Although a majority of European brands and agencies say setting KPIs is collaborative, a new study reveals that many continue to use conflicting metrics.

A new study reveals that brands and media agencies often use conflicting metrics to measure marketing success, a trend particularly prevalent in the UK.

The study commissioned by programmatic marketing and analytics platform DataXu surveyed 374 senior marketers at brands and professionals at media agencies across the UK, France and Germany, and discovered that even though both brands and agencies believe that setting KPIs should be collaborative, this may just be lip service.

In the UK, most media agencies prefer to focus on ROI (46 per cent) and website visits (34 per cent), while brands prefer to measure conversion rates (36 per cent) and shares or likes (34 per cent).

More UK brands felt very certain they know which KPIs are best for business than media agencies, but the striking thing is that their objectives were clearly misaligned.

“These findings indicate that although brands and media agencies across the UK are working together to design, run and measure campaigns, they use different metrics for success,” says Chris Le May, DataXu SVP and MD of Europe and emerging markets.

The study reveals that agreeing on the best KPIs can be testing for both parties. For example, 62 per cent of brands and 72 per cent of media agencies in the UK say they find it challenging to get valuable KPIs from each other.

The study also suggests that the agencies and brands that confront such challenges find it difficult to agree on KPIs. 47 per cent of these media agencies say that brands do not measure the right KPIs. Similarly, 58 per cent of brands say that the KPIs used by media agencies do not align with their business objectives.

Although the UK has the greatest mismatch, brands and media agencies are also the most likely to talk through the discrepancies. 85 per cent of brands and 72 per cent of media agencies in the UK say that they would challenge the KPIs presented by the other.

“This study is a call for all parties involved in digital advertising to reconcile their metrics and define success according to direct business outcomes,” Le May adds. “At the end of the day, what matters is that brands, agencies and tech partners are working together to implement the best solution for the brand.”

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda was Editor for from 2016 to 2018.

Related Topics

Tech Startups