The Problem with External Industry Benchmarks

Is that a lot of clients and agencies accept them hook, line, and sinker.

“Industry benchmarks” are used regularly in KPI presentations by media and digital agencies to justify the success of campaigns. Let me ask you one loaded question though — when was the last time your campaign actually underperformed vs “industry benchmarks”? Why is it that 99% of the time campaigns surpass the benchmarks?

It is my contention that “industry benchmarks” for digital advertising and social are starting to become irrelevant and should be considered vanity metrics because we always hit or surpass them all the time. Instead of relying on anonymous sources of data for campaigns, we should just benchmark against our previous best efforts and the our challenge is to constantly beat ourselves.

Setting Brand Performance Benchmarks

Historical data plotted and analyzed beats “industry benchmarks” any day. Once you determine what metric/KPI you are targeting, you need to constantly challenge yourself and your agency partners to suprass that with every new campaign. This applies regardless if it’s CPC, CPM, CPL, CPA, engagement, Cost per Share, or ROAS.

Media campaign reports should be adjusted so that the data shown is against the best historical campaign. Once you do that the analysis becomes richer and significantly actionable. If the reports always say that you’re doing well, you become complacent. That should never be the case because once that happens, growth stops.

“Our biggest competitor is oursleves.” -Lu Guanqui

Build your brand’s internal historical digital benchmarks and be relentless in beating your best everyday.

You Might Also Want to Read:
What Traditional Media Outlets Don’t Get About Digital Advertising
The Number 1 Reason Why Your Business Should Go Digital
How to Disrupt Yourself the No Nonsense and Practical Way

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Carlo Ople

Author Carlo Ople

Founder and writer of and for full disclosure I'm also the Vice-President for Digital Marketing Strategy of PLDT/Smart, the largest telco in the Philippines. Prior to this I co-founded a digital advertising agency (DM9 Digit) which we sold to Dentsu, the largest single branded agency in the world. I also co-founded one of the biggest tech websites in the country, Unbox ( Views do not represent PLDT/Smart and are purely my own.

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