How to Measure the ROI of Online Marketing
This year, companies expect to allocate 30% of their marketing budgets to online strategies, and that number is estimated to increase 35% in 2018. More businesses are shifting their marketing spend to digital because of its higher ROI and the ability to generate greater results for less money.
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Calculating your return on investment (ROI) for any given marketing strategy tells you whether you’re getting your money’s worth from your efforts, and can help you allocate your budget more effectively.
It can also help you demonstrate the value of your marketing strategy to top executives – and for digital marketing, that value can be extremely high. But how exactly do you measure the ROI of online marketing?
On this page, we’ll take a look at some tips for measuring and improving the ROI of your online marketing efforts.
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Meausuring your online marketing ROI
ROI is calculated using two primary metrics: The cost to do something and the outcomes generated.
When calculating the ROI of your online marketing efforts, it’s important to track and measure metrics that directly tie to revenue, profit, and other actionable metrics that relate to the goals of your business. These metrics include things like leads, conversion rates, and A/B test results.
Most marketers use Google Analytics or a similar platform to track and evaluate their digital marketing efforts and set up custom goals to track the most important events for their business. If you don’t yet use the platform, we recommend that you start in order to get a better understanding of the value of your campaigns.
Which marketing channels product the highest ROI?
With traditional marketing strategies, you pay to reach an extremely broad audience, whether that’s the viewers of a TV show, the subscribers of a magazine, or the residents of a certain postal code. It can be difficult to measure the effectiveness of these strategies, since you can’t directly track who takes action after seeing an advertisement.p>On the other hand, online marketing allows you to use tools like Google Analytics, 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 you can measure the exact return for each.
Pay-per-click advertising (PPC)
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.
With Google AdWords, 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 AdWords 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 = $2,000 return
In order to calculate 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%.
Of course, the 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.
Search engine optimization (SEO)
Like PPC advertising, you can easily calculate the 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.” And 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 $1,000 each month for their services, let’s take a look at your ROI.
1 month x $1,000 = $1,000 investment
50 sales x $200 = $10,000 return
Your ROI in this case would also 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 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.
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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 ROI of your content marketing efforts, it’s helpful to look at a few key metrics:
- Consumption: Page views, unique visitors, downloads, time on site, bounce rate, cost per visitor
- Sharing: Number of times content has been shared or linked across the web or on social media
- Lead generation: Form or email address submissions, guide downloads, opting into email campaigns
- 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:
- Web traffic
Calculating the exact ROI of a content marketing strategy is challenging, since most visitors won’t convert after reading a single page on your site, so using different attribution models is often a better way to see 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.
You can also use Google Analytics to track the ROI of your email marketing campaigns.
To do this, you just need to select “Email” as your channel, look at the value of your goal completions, and compare this to your monthly spend on email marketing. Then, you can use the same formula above to calculate your ROI.
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 MyEmailFX, you can analyze key metrics like open rates, clickthroughs, and unsubscribes to continually improve your ROI.
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, someone 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 paid social media campaigns. This will allow you to easily determine how much you’re paying per impression or click and adjust your spending to get the greatest results.
Tips for improving online marketing ROI
Here are a few tips for improving the ROI of your online marketing.
Avoid vanity metrics
First of all, it’s important to stay away from vanity metrics that don’t correlate to numbers that matter. While vanity metrics may make your marketing efforts look good, they don’t contribute to your actual website objectives. Some common examples of vanity metrics include things like site visitors, subscribers, and social media followers.
Instead, focus your attention on engagement metrics that relate to ROI, tell you what content is driving results, and reveal opportunities for growth. Engagement metrics include things like repeat page views, conversion rate, and comments per post.
Experiment and adjust spend
Experimentation and continual testing can help your business increase conversions, improve your online marketing ROI, and accelerate growth.
Conducting A/B tests and conversion rate optimization (CRO) allow you to test your campaigns and adjust your spend on each channel based on the results.
It’s also helpful to set aside part of your budget for experimentation. You man even uncover new tactics that you can add to your marketing mix to improve your ROI.
Digital marketing plans from WebFX
WebFX is an award-winning Internet marketing agency, and we offer everything from SEO and PPC to content marketing, email, and social media plans.
At WebFX, our custom digital marketing plans are designed to help clients maximize ROI and achieve their business goals. In fact, our online marketing plans increase client revenue by 20% on average.
Want to learn more about how digital marketing plans from WebFX can help your business maximize your online marketing ROI?
Call 888.449.3239 or contact us online today to see how WebFX can improve your online performance.