How to optimize campaign performance

When running a campaign with Adcombi, you probably want to optimize it along the way to get the best results out of it. Campaign optimization looks quite like operating a machine. There are several “buttons” to twist and turn to optimize your campaign and get the best results possible.

The most important settings to change are very much dependent on the goals and KPIs that you are pursuing. E.g. If your main goal is to generate brand awareness, you will have a different strategy and focus on different metrics than when you are focusing on generating traffic or leads. In general, there are three basic values that you can focus on: quality, performance, and price. You can’t maximize all of them, as improving one of them often affects the other two negatively. Therefore you will need to find a balance between them that aligns with your goals.

  • Quality means how well your ads will be displayed, on which domains, on which positions on those websites. This is very important for branding purposes.

  • Performance means how much the ads are capable of accomplishing customer behavior or interactions with your ads. Clicking on the ad, making a purchase, or filling out a form for example.

  • Price is of course how much (or little) you end up paying for your impressions, clicks, or conversions.

Optimizing your campaign should start with analyzing the campaign statistics and reports and evaluating different metrics and data. You should do this every couple of days ideally. Based on the data you can see, you can decide to optimize your campaign results by changing corresponding settings. Here are a couple of the most important metrics you should definitely look at, and how you can tune them.

As a general rule of thumb for any metric, it only makes sense to evaluate them when they are based on at least 1.000 impressions. Before that, the percentages are based on too small numbers to be trustworthy. 


By domains, we mean the websites that the ads will be delivered at. Any website that is connected to the programmatic network through an SSP is supported for showing advertisements. Domains can be reached by either the open RTB marketplace or through private deals that have been established with the publishers.

Which domains you would like to target depends on which of the three above values you’re looking for (quality, performance, or price). Usually, the higher quality domains are more expensive to advertise on, but these might be more suitable for the representation of your brand. In general, it makes sense to look at the individual performances of each domain (click-through-rates, eCPC, etc.) and decide which ones you would like to filter out. Use the domains section in AdActivate to manage your whitelist.

Click-through-rate (CTR)

The click-through-rate is the ratio of users who click on a specific link to the number of total users who view an advertisement. This is commonly expressed as a percentage; if a thousand impressions lead to one click, the CTR would be 0,10%. The CTR is a useful metric to judge the performance of (elements of) your campaign. A higher CTR means a higher percentage of people have been activated by the advertisement.

What percentage would suffice as a satisfactory CTR depends on several factors in your campaign strategy, but the rough standard for programmatic ads lies between 0,05% and 0,30%. The CTR on mobile devices is usually higher than on desktop, partly due to that there’s also a higher amount of people on mobile devices that accidentally click on an ad.

A few ways to optimize the CTR is by filtering out low performing domains, altering the bid-price, or changing the bid strategy.


To understand the eCPM, it’s important to understand CPM first. CPM stands for Cost per Mille. Which simply means the cost per thousand ad impressions. But when managing a campaign, CPM is basically used as a bid price - the price you want to pay. This is something you can simply set in the campaign setup.

When analyzing and monitoring a campaign, you want to know the actual price you have paid for your impressions. The effective CPM, so to speak - or the eCPM. When your campaign is set up with a CPM bidding strategy, the eCPM will just tell you if you are paying more or less than your bid price.

When your campaign is set up with a bid price per click (CPC), however, you will have no direct control over the price of your impressions, as the number of impressions will depend on how many impressions you need to get one click. In such a case, the eCPM becomes a valuable way to see if you are paying a reasonable price.

To optimize your eCPM, you can simply try to lower your bid price or filter out domains that end up being too expensive for your preference.


The eCPC is quite similar to the eCPM, but this one is based on clicks. The CPC price is generally referred to as the bid price for one click when you’re running your campaign on a CPC strategy. The eCPC means the effective cost per click, the price you’ve actually paid for one click.

When your campaign is running on a CPM strategy, you have no direct control over the price you pay for one click because this depends on how many people click on your ads. Therefore, the eCPC is an important metric to decide if you are paying a reasonable price per click.

To optimize your eCPC, you can try to optimize your bid price, or filter out domains that end up being too expensive for your preference. Furthermore, you can change between a focus on click-quality or click-price. The former will optimize towards clicks that have a low bounce rate, the latter will focus on finding the cheapest clicks possible.