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ROI from digital marketing

    Does your digital marketing provide a quantifiable return on investment (ROI)?

    To know your ROI, you have to decide on the metrics that are important to your organisation. In other words, you need to get the right data.

    Quantitative Measures

    Here are some of the most common measures:

    • Cost reduction (eg. through automation)
    • Save time
    • Increase in productivity
    • Reduction in calls from customers asking for help
    • Increase in conversion rate
    • Increase in engagement rate
    • Direct sales from your website and the net profit you achieve
    • Open rates in an email campaign

    What about brand awareness from online advertising?

    • Your cost per click
    • Ranking high on specific keywords
    • How many people have opted out of your communications in the last year, compared to the previous year? 

    Qualitative Measures

    There are other, less obvious benefits. These are often qualitative but they can be tracked. For example, we have a client that is a large international organisation. They had 13 websites, using multiple content management systems. When a change had to be made across the entire company, the process took an eternity for the web team. It was incredibly frustrating. When we condensed the 13 sites into one, the relief was clear. That’s good for staff morale. It’s good for staff retention because it takes the hassle factor out of their job.

    Example Of ROI In Action

    The following “thank you” email from a client spells out how they were able to use their website to free up staff from non-productive tasks”

    “The best thing we ever did was come to you to sort it out.  Many thanks.

    “The ability to upload plans onto our website has been great and probably paid for itself 2 or 3 times over already. 

    “Now all contractors and suppliers need to do is download the info themselves and save me the time to print in labour and paper and copying costs and postage.  It all adds up very quickly.

    “Well done to you. That enough of a pat on the back for now.  Now get on your trusty steed and ride of into the sunset.”

    Michael Hardlitschke, Managing Director, HT Construction Services

    Data Is The Answer

    Just being “pretty” no longer makes the grade. Marketing is not exempt and even smaller  organisations are asking how their website can be measured to show a fact-based “return in investment” (ROI).

    Data-driven marketing is critical. Studies by organisations such as Forrester have found that companies have access to a plethora of data – but aren’t using it.

    The hard work comes at the front end but once you have good quality data, you can repeat the process over and over again. For example, if you run a series of email and website campaigns over the period of a year, you can track what worked and what failed.

    At the most simplistic level, drop the failed campaigns and run more of the successful campaigns. You don’t want to spam existing clients, so some successful campaigns will be saved for new clients. For example, at Easter you might run a proven campaign from last year that targets all the people that have been added to your database since Easter last year.

    Then run a new campaign for existing clients. Shape it based on the lessons you have learned from your other campaigns.

    AB Testing

    One way to highlight your ROI is to run several versions of the same campaign. Each one is modified so you can track the effect of the changes. It makes sense to limit a change to one key element, which makes the results so much clearer than confusing the trial with too many differences.

    For example, we are currently running two versions of the same website for a high profile Adelaide school. We are tracking the effect of movement and measuring its impact on the user journey.

    It may have no impact. Or it may result in one version having a higher conversion rate. If it’s the latter, we can track that user’s journey through the website and measure the improvement. If the visitor reaches provides their contact details, we can track all the way through to enrolment or abandonment. We can track this across both versions of the website. The client knows what the cost of the exercise is and can measure the conversion results for both, giving them a more sophisticated insight into their ROI.

    Another A/B testing Example

    We have another client that ran two versions of its enquiry page and continued to make sequential changes. Two key findings emerged. They were able to find the right format that maximised good quality leads but knocked out the time wasters. 

    Working on the version that attracted good quality leads, they were able to see at what point the contact form became too complex and enquiries started to drop away.

    By weeding out the tyre kickers’, the company was able to provide more time to highly qualified leads from people who are genuinely in the market to use their services.

    Track Conversions Through Google Analytics

    There are many ways to track conversions but here’s a basic way to do so using Google Analytics:

    Add Google Analytics event tracking for your conversions: more information on how to do it.
    Use Google’s URL builder to track referral traffic from your content to your conversion pages.

    Combining both of these will result in Google Analytics showing you not only how many conversions you had per type of conversion but which content source delivered it. As you understand which content channel delivers the highest conversions, you’ll be able to invest

    Software Is Your Friend

    Good digital marketing software sometimes has built in tools that not only tracks how you are performing but also suggests improvements.

    Your software might also include a modelling feature, which forecasts the results you can expect based on various permutations.


    Make sure you continue to invest in your digital presence because it will only become more important. We’ve yet to hear from anyone that says the digital age has peaked!

    In summary:

    • Set your goals and be clear how they will be measured.
    • Get the right data.
    • Continually test in the search for a superior ROI.
    • Put more resources into the activities that generate the best returns. Don’t waste any more time on activities that have low value for your team.

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