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What Is Digital Marketing ROI? (And How to Measure Yours)

Digital marketing ROI is a metric that measures a digital marketing campaign's return on investment (ROI) — or how much profit your digital marketing efforts generated. Keep reading to learn more about ROI in digital marketing, including how to measure and improve yours!
A financial analysis presentation with a line graph labeled 'Calculate ROI', a pie chart, a rising profit arrow, dollar sign icons, and labels for costs and marketing expenses.

What is ROI in digital marketing?

Your digital marketing’s ROI is a measurement of your online marketing campaign’s profits or losses, which you calculate with the following formula: (net profit / total digital marketing costs) x 100. Measuring your online marketing ROI helps you determine the effectiveness of your strategies.

What is the ROI of digital marketing?

Why measure ROI in digital marketing?

Measuring your Internet marketing ROI is important because it tells you what’s working and what’s not. If you don’t measure your ROI, you won’t know if your campaigns meet your expectations or even return positive results. This lack of measurement can result in lackluster results and wasted marketing dollars.

If you measure your digital marketing ROI, on the other hand, you’ll be able to refine your campaigns based on your measurements. For example, if your PPC ads perform much better than your emails, you might decide to focus more on PPC or make improvements to your email campaigns.

Measuring ROI is also crucial for proving your digital marketing campaigns’ success, which helps you secure more funding for marketing.

How to use Google Analytics and other ROI tracking tools

Online marketing ROI tracking tools have lots of capabilities that can help you evaluate and improve your marketing campaigns. Here are five tips to help you use these tools to their full ROI tracking potential.

1. Create custom goals in Google Analytics

Making the most of Google Analytics involves making custom goals.

Custom goals allow you to track the actions that matter most to your business, like someone:

  1. Joining your email newsletter
  2. Purchasing your product online
  3. Completing your contact form

When you have custom goals, you can easily measure your site’s performance and return.

Creating custom goals isn’t a confusing process, either. To see your current goals, and add new ones, click on Admin and then choose Goals under the View column. Here’s the page you’ll end up on:

Google Analytics goals screen

If your business depends on leads, for example, you can base your goals on users reaching your contact confirmation page.

The best part is that you can add a monetary value for goal completions, which can help you put a dollar amount to your strategy’s ROI.

For ecommerce companies, Google Analytics provides a dedicated area for tracking ecommerce goal completions and shopping behavior. To get to this section, click on Conversions > Ecommerce and then choose the ecommerce report you want to view. Here’s the ecommerce overview report.

Google Analytics ecommerce overview

Here, you can see:

  1. Shopping cart abandonment rates
  2. When users abandoned their carts, like during billing and shipping or payment
  3. Which products earn the most sales and drive the most revenue
  4. How many views, adds to cart, and purchases a product gets
  5. How much revenue a coupon code or limited-time promotion generated
  6. And more

All this data provides your business with immense insight into your marketing campaigns’ performance.

If you send an exclusive $10 coupon to email subscribers, for example, you can track how many readers acted on that offer via Google Analytics.

Set aside some time to outline the actions you want to track, then create them in Google Analytics!

Unsure about setting up Google Analytics and custom goals? WebFX can help!

With WebFX on your side, you’ll have Google Analytics set up in no time. Plus, you’ll have a dedicated account manager that will work with you to create custom goals that track the actions that matter to your business the most.

Just contact us today to learn how our award-winning team can help!

2. Account for multiple touchpoints

Typically, customers interact with your company multiple times before converting. They may, for instance, first hear about your business through a Google search, then read a few blog posts on your site, then see some PPC ads, then finally convert. Sometimes, the customer journey is even longer than this.

A long customer journey makes it difficult to determine how much each touchpoint contributed to the conversion. Marketing tools such as Google Analytics can help you estimate how much each touchpoint contributed to a conversion.

Google Analytics has an Attribution beta feature. You can get attribution data under Attribution as well as Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels. The program offers several attribution model options, including:

  1. Last click: Attributes the conversion to the last element clicked
  2. First click: Attributes the conversion to the first element clicked
  3. Linear: Gives equal credit to each element clicked
  4. Time decay: Gives more credit to clicks that occurred closer in time to the conversion
  5. Position-based: Gives 40% of the credit to the first and last clicks and 20% to the remaining clicks
  6. Data-driven: Distributes credit based on data from your account, creating a custom attribution model

Google Analytics attribution report

It’s important to attribute credit for conversions as accurately as you can so that you know how much each channel and campaign element contributed to your ROI.

3. Invest in call tracking software

Does your business get phone calls from potential and current clients?

Then you need call tracking for tracking and measuring your digital marketing efforts.

Call tracking is a valuable tool because it helps you track offline actions, like phone calls, resulting from your online efforts, like SEO.

Remember, everyone approaches shopping differently.

While Buyer A may prefer to fill out your contact form and wait for your response, Buyer B may decide to call your team instead. If you don’t have call tracking set up, you can’t prove that Buyer B found your company online thanks to SEO.

That’s why you need call tracking.

Call tracking works by dynamically changing the phone number on your website based on users’ behavior. Someone who finds your site through organic search, for example, sees a different number than someone who gets to your site through an online ad.

No matter which phone number a person calls, their call gets forwarded to your business.

Many different call tracking solutions are available.

The tools that offer the most value, however, are the ones that integrate with applications like Google Analytics — CallTrackerFX is one example.

That means you can log into Google Analytics and see data related to your phone calls, like how many people called your business during a specific period.

Tools like CallTrackerFX also sync with your customer relationship management (CRM) software, which makes your sales team’s lives easier.

Even better, CallTrackerFX includes call recording and call transcription.

No matter which call tracking solution you go with, it’s a smart and proactive way to track your digital marketing performance and ROI, especially if you’re a lead-based business.

Interested in seeing what CallTrackerFX can do for your company?

Connect with WebFX, and learn how your business can use CallTrackerFX (without the hassle of setting it up) to track your digital marketing efforts and help your sales team close more leads.

Learn More About Our Call Tracking Solutions Get Started With a Free Quote

4. Set up UTM parameters to track campaigns

An Urchin Tracking Module (UTM) parameter is another excellent way to track your online marketing results.

UTM parameters include:

  1. Campaign source
  2. Campaign medium
  3. Campaign name

They appear at the end of a URL, like “https://www.example.com/?utm_source=source-name&utm_medium=medium-name&utm_campaign=campaign-name.”

Google offers a free tool for generating UTM parameters (and auto-adding them to your URL), so don’t worry about creating your UTM parameters manually.

With UTM parameters, you can track:

  1. User behavior
  2. Campaign performance
  3. Traffic referrals from other sites
  4. And more

For example, your business could use UTM parameters to track, measure, and organize the traffic that comes to your site through specific initiatives, like email marketing.

You could track this data down to the individual email sent, too, which provides you with even more data and insight into your efforts.

The best part is that your UTM parameter data goes to your Google Analytics account, which helps you make Google Analytics your dedicated space for monitoring and measuring your digital marketing campaigns.

UTM parameters do require some time and organization because you want to ensure accurate tracking and analysis. Working with a digital marketing agency like WebFX gives you all the benefits of UTM parameters without the work.

Your dedicated account manager takes care of mapping, creating, and setting up your UTM parameters. You can then check the data in Google Analytics — or have your account manager analyze and break down the data for you.

5. Build dashboards to track strategy performance

Digital marketing brings your business a lot of data, especially when you have tracking mastered.

The problem, however, is working through all that data to:

  1. Determine ROI
  2. Find opportunities for improvement
  3. Discover which strategies perform best

That’s why businesses use dashboards.

Digital marketing dashboards serve as a handy tool for tracking and summarizing your digital marketing performance. They compile all your data into bite-sized chunks that offer quick answers to the questions decision-makers ask most, like:

  1. Which channels drive the most leads, sales, or revenue
  2. What is the ROI of our different marketing channels?
  3. What is our website’s overall conversion rate?
  4. Which pages have the highest conversion rates?

You can often customize your dashboards, too, which can help you focus on the online marketing metrics, channels, and actions that matter most to your company.

While you can use Google Data Studio to create your business’s marketing dashboards, it’s a time-intensive process to build your dashboards and organize your data. Keep in mind that if you import a significant amount of data, Google Data Studio can become sluggish.

That’s why companies will generally invest in a marketing platform that includes reporting dashboards, like MarketingCloudFX.

MarketingCloudFX is handy because it compiles all your marketing data, from search to email to social, in one place.

In addition to a main dashboard that summarizes your efforts, this proprietary and AI-powered software also provides specific dashboards for each channel.

Dashboards make your life easier. In an instant, you can show teammates and company leaders how a strategy, like content marketing or email marketing, impacts your bottom line. Plus, you can quickly assess a strategy and spot opportunities to improve it, like by A/B testing your email subject lines.

How to measure digital marketing ROI for 5 strategies

With traditional marketing strategies, you pay to reach a broad audience, whether that’s the viewers of a TV show, the subscribers of a magazine, or the residents of a particular postal code. It can be challenging to measure the effectiveness of these strategies since you can’t directly track who takes action after seeing an advertisement.

On the other hand, online marketing allows you to use tools like Google Analytics and MarketingCloudFX, which let you monitor, measure, and improve nearly every aspect of your campaigns.

Let’s take a look at some high-yield Internet marketing strategies and how to measure the digital marketing ROI of each:

1. PPC advertising

Pay-per-click, or PPC, is an advertising model in which you can target search engine users based on the words and phrases they search. The ROI you receive from ads is also sometimes to referred to return on ad spend (ROAS).

Here’s an example of PPC ads on a Google search engine results page (SERP):

PPC search ads ads candles

With Google Ads, you can research potential keywords, choose the most effective ones, and determine how much you’re willing to pay for each click.

You can also integrate your Google Ads account with your Google Analytics account to evaluate what site visitors do after clicking your PPC ads and how your PPC advertisements help you reach your goals.

For example, let’s pretend your primary goal is to sell a product that costs $200, and you run a PPC campaign with a cost per click (CPC) of $2.00. If 100 people click your ad and 10 people make a purchase, here’s how you calculate your ROI:

  • 100 people x $2.00 = $200 spend
  • 10 people x $200 = $2000 return

To calculate your online marketing ROI, you can use the standard formula of (Return-Investment)/Investment.

So, in this case, (2000-200)/200 = 9, meaning that your ROI would be 900%.

ROAS Calculator

Of course, the digital ROI from your PPC efforts will depend on the quality of your campaigns. But since you can quickly and easily calculate your PPC ROI, you can allocate more spend to the campaigns that drive the greatest results and improve the ones that don’t.

2. SEO

Like PPC advertising, you can easily calculate the digital ROI of your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts using Google Analytics.

All you have to do is navigate to the Acquisition tab, select All Traffic > Channels, and then click “Organic Search.”

Google Analytics channels report

If you set up custom goals in your Google Analytics account, you can see conversions. You can also integrate Google Analytics with your site’s ecommerce platform to calculate the exact value of sales.

Let’s continue with the example above. If your site generates 50 sales per month from organic traffic, each of these sales is worth $200, and you pay an SEO agency $1000 each month for their services, let’s take a look at your ROI.

  • 1 month x $1000 = $1000 investment
  • 50 sales x $200 = $10,000 return

Your online marketing ROI, in this case, would be 900%.

Keep in mind that if your business operates on a B2B model, you might not have direct ecommerce sales to measure. However, you can still easily calculate online marketing ROI if you know the approximate value of each of your leads.

You can also use Google Analytics to set up goals for form submissions, quote requests, free trials, and more. And assigning monetary value to these goals can help you see how much revenue your SEO strategy generates for your company.

3. Content marketing

Content doesn’t cost much to create, and you can continually update it with relevant information to meet the needs of your niche.

To calculate the digital ROI of your content marketing efforts, it’s helpful to look at a few key Internet marketing metrics:

  1. Consumption: Page views, unique visitors, downloads, time on site, bounce rate, cost per visitor
  2. Sharing: Number of times content has been shared or linked across the web or on social media
  3. Lead generation: Form or email address submissions, guide downloads, opting into email campaigns
  4. Sales: Number of deals you close that you can attribute to content on your site

You can also use Google Analytics to evaluate key performance indicators (KPIs) including:

  1. Web traffic
  2. Conversions
  3. Revenue

Calculating the exact ROI of a content marketing strategy is challenging, since most visitors won’t convert after reading just one page. Using attribution models can help you understand its impact on your business.

That being said, if you’re getting more website visitors and conversions since implementing a content marketing strategy, and you’ve noticed an increase in revenue, your content marketing ROI is likely positive.

It’s important to remember that content marketing is a long-term strategy, and your one-time investment in creating it can produce results for years to come. It needs time to grow and mature, and you’ll often see the best results months or even years after you publish.

4. Email marketing

You can also use Google Analytics to track the digital ROI of your email marketing campaigns.

To do this, you just need to select “Email” as your channel in Google Analytics, look at the value of your goal completions, and compare this to your monthly spend on email marketing. Then, you can use the main ROI formula to calculate your return.

Depending on whether you use an email platform with a monthly fee or hire writers to create your email content, your email marketing cost could range from a few dollars to a few thousand dollars each month.

With tools like EmailMarketingFX, you can analyze key digital marketing metrics like open rates, clicks, and unsubscribes to continually improve your digital marketing ROI.

5. Social media marketing

Like other online strategies, you can use Google Analytics to track website traffic, on-site conversions, and sign-ups that originate from social media campaigns. And you can track social media interactions (shares, likes, follows) with tools like Buffer.

Then, you will need to determine the value of each new customer who clicks through to your site from social and makes a purchase.

For example, let’s say it costs $0.50 to gain a new Facebook follower and each new social customer is worth $5.00. If you gain 10 new followers, and they all purchase from your site, your ROI would be 900%.

You can also use in-platform analytics on sites like Facebook and Twitter to measure the success of social media ad campaigns. This will allow you to easily determine how much you’re paying per impression or click and adjust your spending to improve your results.

What’s a good digital marketing ROI?

In general, an Internet marketing ROI ratio of 5:1 is considered good for most businesses, with 10:1 being excellent. These are general guidelines, and your company’s ROI goals will vary depending on numerous factors.

What makes a good marketing ROI for your company depends, in part, on how much it costs you to produce or acquire your products. For most companies, you’ll need a marketing ROI of more than 2:1 to cover the costs of both your marketing and producing the goods you sell.

Companies with higher margins — the costs of producing goods compared to your sales price — don’t need as high of a marketing ROI ratio to break even or return a profit.

Want to speak with an expert? Call us at 888-601-5359

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Improve your Internet marketing ROI with WebFX

WebFX is an award-winning Internet marketing agency, and we can help you improve your digital marketing ROI with custom digital marketing plans and our marketing automation platform, MarketingCloudFX.

We offer a full suite of digital marketing services, including:

  1. SEO services
  2. PPC advertising management services
  3. Content marketing services
  4. Email marketing management services
  5. Social media marketing and management services
  6. Conversion rate optimization services
  7. And more

Plus, our MarketingCloudFX platform helps you track your ROI and offers AI-powered recommendations for improving it.

To learn more, request your free quote today!

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