July 25, 2023

The Best Creative Performance KPIs to Track for Marketers

Master Spend, CTR, CVR KPIs for successful creative marketing campaigns.

Master Spend, CTR, CVR KPIs for successful creative marketing campaigns.

In the broad world of marketing metrics, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are our guiding light. Regardless of our role, mastering these complex metrics is our shared challenge. Let's embark on this journey to unlock their mysteries.

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The Importance of Creative Performance KPIs

Comprehending Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) is crucial in the realm of marketing. They serve as your guiding beacon, a strategic blueprint, that helps you navigate towards your desired objectives and ultimate marketing triumph.

Understanding KPIs

What exactly are KPIs? Simply put, they are specific measurable values that demonstrate how effectively a company is achieving key business objectives. KPIs are used to gauge the performance of a variety of company operations, but in our case, we are specifically interested in those that shed light on the effectiveness of marketing campaigns or a single creative asset. KPIs allow for a granular understanding of campaign performance, providing actionable insights that can be used to fine-tune marketing strategies and ultimately, achieve better results.

Navigating the KPI Landscape

By learning to differentiate between the merely 'nice-to-know' metrics and the crucial 'need-to-know' metrics, you can avoid being led astray in your journey.

Decoding the Jargon

ROAS, CTR, CVR – these might seem like cryptic codes at first, but each one holds significant meaning in the grand scheme of your marketing strategy. Understanding these terms is akin to learning a new language, a language that can unlock the true potential of your marketing campaigns.

Read more: Creative Performance Glossary

The Top Creative Performance KPIs to Track

The KPIs that stand head and shoulders above the rest are Spend, Click Through Rate (CTR), and (Micro) Conversions, or Conversion Rate (CVR).


If there's one KPI that you should keep a close eye on, it's Spend. In the context of marketing, Spend refers to the amount of money that has been expended on advertising. Ad platforms have become increasingly sophisticated, with the capability to dynamically allocate budget across different creatives, ensuring maximum reach and effectiveness.


CTR, or Click Through Rate, is another essential KPI to track. It provides a clear indication of the effectiveness of your ads. By tracking the CTR, you can understand how well your ad message is resonating with your audience, how engaging your ad creative is, and how effectively you are driving the desired call-to-action.

(Micro) Conversions, CVR

Conversion is the ultimate goal of any marketing campaign, and tracking Conversions, or more specifically, Conversion Rate (CVR), is crucial. It's important to note that each platform has its unique ways to track conversions. For instance, TikTok uses CVR as a KPI. Conversions can also be categorised as Micro and Macro conversions, with the former referring to small user actions that lead towards a larger goal (Macro conversion).

Diving Deeper into Key KPIs

Like the tip of an iceberg, what you see on the surface of these KPIs is just a small part of a much bigger picture. To truly understand their impact, we need to dive deeper. Here, we'll especially focus on Spend.


"Spend" as a marketing KPI is more than just a record of the financial investment made into your advertising campaigns. It’s a crucial metric that, when properly evaluated, can provide profound insights about the effectiveness of your ad creatives and guide your budget allocation strategy.

Understanding 'Spend' involves knowing:

Where is the money being spent?

Are your funds concentrated on a specific platform, targeting a certain audience segment, or allocated to different types of ad creatives? Pinpointing where your budget is going helps identify which elements of your campaign are consuming the most resources.

When is the money being spent?

Is your spending consistent throughout the campaign, or does it spike at certain times? Recognizing these patterns allows for better budget allocation and ad scheduling, ensuring your ads are run when they have the maximum impact.

What is the money being spent on?

Are you investing more in video ads, display banners, or interactive ad formats? Or inside one ad set, which iteration of your creative asset performs the best? Are certain creative elements being prioritized over others? Understanding the 'what' can identify which creative strategies deliver the best value for your spend.

'Spend' as a KPI goes beyond the monetary value—it's a robust analytical tool for evaluating your ad creatives. By understanding the 'where', 'when', and 'what' of your spend, you can derive actionable insights, allowing you to optimize your budget allocation, enhance the effectiveness of your ad creatives, and maximize your ROI. By closely examining this KPI, marketers can generate important learnings, adjust their strategies, and ensure that their budget is well-utilized and delivering the desired outcomes.

Read more: Ten Rules for Building a Winning
 Creative Feedback Loop


The Power of CTR

A high CTR is a clear indicator of a successful ad. It means that your ad is not just reaching the right audience but also engaging them effectively. A high CTR translates to more clicks, which could lead to more conversions – the ultimate goal of your marketing efforts.

(Micro) Conversions, CVR

Demystifying CVR

When it comes to conversions, it's essential to understand how attribution works. Each platform handles attribution differently, which can significantly affect your conversion numbers. Therefore, understanding the nuances of attribution on each platform is crucial to accurately interpret your CVR data.

The Influence of Platforms

Each platform has its own rules and regulations, its unique characteristics and quirks. But all play a pivotal role in shaping your KPIs.

Variation in Platform Metrics

Metrics can vary greatly across platforms due to a number of factors, such as different target audiences, varying ad formats, and unique algorithmic functionalities. As a result, it's important to adapt your strategy and KPIs based on the platform you are using.

Platform-Specific KPIs

Certain platforms also have their own unique KPIs. For example, TikTok uses CVR as a key performance metric. Understanding these platform-specific KPIs can provide valuable insights into the performance of your campaigns on these platforms.

Remember: Despite platform-specific metrics, it's crucial to focus on universal KPIs like CTR and Spend, as they consistently gauge performance and provide comparative insights across all platforms.

Understanding Attribution

Attribution is a complex but crucial aspect of marketing. Like a detective piecing together clues to solve a mystery, attribution helps determine which ad creative or campaign deserves the credit for a conversion.

The Complexity of Attribution

Attribution is inherently complex due to a multitude of factors, including multiple touchpoints, cross-platform conversions, and indirect conversions. Understanding these complexities can help you gain a more accurate picture of your campaign performance.

Attribution in Practice

Understanding attribution is vital for marketers, as it determines how credit is allocated to touchpoints in the customer journey. Advanced tools such as Segment provide multi-channel attribution insights and predictive analytics, while platforms like AppsFlyer offer specific solutions for mobile app attribution. Utilizing these resources, marketers can better comprehend their campaign performance and optimize for improved ROI.


In essence, investing wisely in your marketing campaigns is paramount. How much you spend, and more importantly, where and when you spend, can greatly influence the success of your strategies. By closely examining your 'Spend', you get a clearer picture of your campaign's efficiency, allowing you to optimize your budget and maximize your returns. Remember, the goal is to spend smarter, not just more, turning insights into actions for continual marketing success.


What are the best KPIs for creative performance?

Spend, CTR, and (Micro) Conversions or CVR are some of the key KPIs to track in creative performance.

Why is understanding Spend as a KPI important?

Spend as a KPI allows you to understand how effectively your budget is being allocated across different creatives, thus ensuring maximum ROI.

How is CVR used in TikTok?

CVR, or Conversion Rate, is used in TikTok to track the rate at which viewer actions (like clicks) turn into desired outcomes (like sales or sign-ups).

What is the role of a Creative Performance Lead?

A Creative Performance Lead guides the campaign towards its goals by tracking KPIs, interpreting data, and collaborating closely with art directors and performance marketing managers.

What role do different platforms play in shaping KPIs?

Different platforms have unique metrics and ways of handling attribution, thus influencing the interpretation and application of KPIs in campaign management.

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