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What is Return on Investment (ROI)?

Learn all about digital marketing, we have built this glossary to help you understand everything to thrive in online marketing and promoting your website or business.

What is Return on Investment (ROI)?
Return on Investment, or ROI, is a key performance indicator (KPI) that's used across industries to determine the likelihood of financial return on a given investment. It's a ratio that compares the gain or loss from an investment relative to its cost. The formula for ROI is simple: (Return – Investment) / Investment. This figure will show as a percentage and can be used for making decisions regarding financial investments, gauging the success of marketing campaigns, or for assessing the feasibility of a business strategy.
In the digital marketing world, ROI plays an important role as it helps companies measure the return on investment concerning advertising and marketing spend. The aim is to ensure that the money spent on digital marketing strategies like SEM, email marketing, SEO, or social media, among others, produces a good return.
ROI helps to identify which strategies are working and which ones are not. This, in turn, enables companies to make informed decisions about where to allocate their budget for maximum effectiveness.
ROI's Role in Digital Marketing
ROI in digital marketing helps businesses decide where to invest their marketing budget by linking marketing efforts directly to revenue. This allows businesses to see which strategies and campaigns are offering the best return on investment, thereby helping to allocate resources efficiently. Moreover, understanding the ROI of different marketing strategies also provides insight into customer behaviour and preferences.
ROI also keeps the digital marketing objectives aligned with business goals. By providing hard data on the effectiveness of various initiatives, ROI helps businesses focus their efforts on profitable avenues. It helps in identifying and eliminating ineffective strategies, leading to more optimal resource utilization.
ROI is not a static thing, it can and should change as your business grows and evolves. Regular ROI tracking, therefore, is mandatory in the world of digital marketing as continuous shifts in trends, customer behaviour, and technological advancements can dramatically impact marketing strategies and their effectiveness.
ROI Examples
Suppose a business spends $1000 a month on a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaign. From this campaign, they make 10 sales, each bringing in $150. Hence, their total return is $1500. By subtracting the initial investment ($1000) from the return ($1500), and then dividing by the initial investment, you calculate an ROI of 50%. This means for every dollar invested in the PPC campaign, the company made $1.5 in return.
In another instance, consider a company that invests $500 on social media ads and gets 50 leads, out of which 10 convert into customers, each paying $100 for a product. The total return here would be $1000, and thus the ROI would be 100%. This shows the company doubled their investment through social media advertising.
These examples underline the significance ROI holds in ascertaining the success of digital marketing campaigns, thereby guiding future decisions involving budget allocation and strategy implementation.