LONDON: When it comes to setting business-driven KPIs, brands and agencies tend to prefer different measures, according to new research, which suggests the two sides need to align their digital metrics.

A study commissioned by programmatic marketing and analytics platform DataXu surveyed 374 senior brand marketers and media agency professionals across the UK, France and Germany, and found that while both claimed to collaborate on setting KPIs, the reality was rather different, especially in the UK.

Two thirds of brands and media agencies surveyed there described the process of setting KPIs as collaborative, while at the same time indicating different preferences for which KPIs they use.

Thus, most media agencies said they prefer to focus on ROI (46%) and website visits (34%), but brands prefer to measure conversion rates (36%) and shares or likes (34%).

Moreover, UK brands in particular felt very certain they know which KPIs are best, as 77% indicated; and 58% said the KPIs used by media agencies do not align with their business objectives.

Media agencies were less dogmatic about their own choice of KPIs, with 57% sure they knew which was best, but almost half (47%) saying brands don't measure the right ones.

"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," said Chris Le May, DataXu SVP and Managing Director of Europe & Emerging Markets.

All parties involved need to reconcile their metrics and define success according to direct business outcomes, he said, "because 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".

Fortunately, the lines of communication are not shut – 85% of brands and 72% of media agencies in the UK said they would challenge the KPIs presented by the other – and DataXu suggested both sides will need to tap this openness if they are to successfully align their objectives and craft collaborative, effective and business-driven campaigns.

Data sourced from DataXu; additional content by WARC staff