When you start spending money on digital marketing, how much should you expect in return?

The holy grail of marketing measurements is the return on investment (ROI). This mighty metric is used to evaluate the efficiency of marketing campaigns by comparing the amount of return to the cost. It essentially reveals how marketing investments are performing, what needs to improve, and whether you’re getting your money’s worth.

But how do you accurately measure ROI in digital marketing?

Measuring ROI in Digital Marketing: Getting Started

Calculating ROI in digital marketing is difficult to do, but it’s certainly not impossible. Think of ROI metrics as three separate categories: front-end, middle, and back-end.

Front-end: Marketing activities such as social media, content and video marketing, and ads touch users long before a purchase takes place. Typically known as the awareness stage, this is where marketers are deployed to explore and engage prospective customers.

Middle: This is the connector between attracting and closing leads – it measures aspects like conversion and bounce rates, helping to drive leads closers to customers.

Back-end: This metric reveals how much your marketing efforts are costing with the revenue you’re receiving in return.

In order to connect marketing and revenue, it’s important to measure every stage of the marketing mix, from top-of-funnel traffic all the way to customer acquisition.

ROI Checklist: 7 Things You Need to Track

Measuring clicks alone isn’t enough to show your digital marketing pays dividends. The following provides the 7 must-track data points for digital marketing ROI:

1. Unique Monthly Visitors

This metric provides an overall snapshot of the number of people coming to your website. It gives marketers insight into the digital reach and effectiveness of their marketing campaigns, as data can be segmented by sources like paid, organic, social media, etc.

2. Cost Per Lead

One of the best ways to measure ROI is with cost per lead. This metric not only explains how many marketing dollars it takes to pull in a lead but provides a general sense of whether or not your digital marketing initiatives are profitable.


One of the fundamental ways to evaluate paid digital campaigns is through Return On Advertising Spend (ROAS). This metric allows you to measure which methods are working and how they can improve future advertising efforts, including budgets, strategy, and direction.

4. Qualified Leads from Marketing

Part of the process of generating leads is understanding what drove them to take action. This metric helps marketers to adjust resources and campaigns to create more content to encourage actions from users.

5. Top Website Content

Do you know what type of content brings in the most traffic to your website, or produces the most leads? Identifying trends in content and user behavior will allow marketers to segment content to match customer demands.

6. Bounce Rates

This term pertains to the percentage of visitors who leave your site after viewing one page. The higher the bounce rate, the less you’re retaining visitors.

7. Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) 

It takes money to acquire new customers with paid marketing, and this metric reveals exactly what that cost is. This metric is calculated by the total spend divided by the number of acquired customers.

The father of business consulting, Peter Drucker, famously said, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” With digital marketing, it’s important to measure attributions across the entire buyer’s journey, as every piece plays a significant role in measuring the success of your campaigns.

How do you measure your ROI for your marketing initiatives?

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About The Author

Nick is an accomplished content, email, and social media strategist. When he's not pouring his heart and soul into his work for Brand Buddha, you can find him on a warm beach indulging in a chilled whiskey, neat, while listening to the Gipsy Kings and applying his A/B testing magic to his tinder bio.

Nick Spence

2019-07-15T22:36:19-07:00May 22nd, 2018|

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