For many big brands, the spate of new tools that make up the marketing toolkit pale beside the only metric that really matters: long-term in-market performance, as opposed to moment-by-moment in-media impressions.

“Media metrics are basically a currency,” explained Sasha Wolfe, head of media at quick-service chain Taco Bell. “The gap between how we measure media and how we measure our business is pretty large.”

As she told delegates at the Association of National Advertisers’ (ANA) 2019 Media Conference, cost per thousand, gross rating points, target rating points and impressions are key performance indicators (KPIs) for media experts.

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Sasha Wolfe, head of media, Taco Bell

“But none of these things is a KPI for our actual business,” Wolfe asserted. “Our business is only successful if more people come to Taco Bell on a daily, and weekly, and quarterly basis.” And while the marketing-focused indices “are tools that we use to do our jobs,” they’re not critical indicators of overall performance.