What Is ROI in Marketing And How To Calculate?

September 6, 2022
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September 6, 2022 [email protected]

Fantastic! Hats off to you for becoming the marketing manager of your amazing company! 

Finally settling in with your team with the advertising budget you negotiate with the CEO and CFO to spend on a few campaigns, a billboard, or perhaps a 30-second commercial. As well as other digital marketing channels you are ready to implement with the budget you were given to.  After a while, you feel like the ads are working. Everything’s smooth and sailing. 

But not until your bosses ask you to report the Marketing ROI (MROI). All of a sudden, they want you to present exactly how much advertising ROI your marketing campaigns are generating in relation to the overall revenue growth of the company. Because it is not just enough to say that it is working without quantifying the results of your campaigns. 

They said “show us the money!”, “did that campaign generate revenue for us?”, “did we really make a profit?”  And when you heard this, you felt as if you had a bubble in your chest. You experienced a sudden panic attack and utter “RO-what?”. Hold on right there. Before you even overanalyze on what exactly it is, first, acknowledge that deriving the numbers would not be a piece of cake as you’d like.  But the good news is, it also isn’t that complicated.  ROI on advertising helps you successfully prove and convince your bosses the value of your advertising campaigns. That it is worth every penny they invested in it. 

So, read on because this article will help you learn marketing ROI definition, ROI marketing formula and steps in calculating marketing ROI. 

What is ROI in Marketing? 

Generally, ROI means “Return on Investment”. It is a financial ratio that determines the past and potential financial return and rewards of an investment. It is used to calculate how much of a value an investment is.  Businesses utilize ROI to measure the success and effectiveness of a specific aspect or project of a company, such as marketing. So, ROI in marketing simply means the return you generate from investing in a specific marketing or advertising project. That is, how much money you make from your marketing campaigns, less how much those marketing campaigns cost you.

Accurate marketing ROI measurement is more crucial than ever in today’s marketing environment, when companies must contend with rising customer expectations for tailored marketing experiences across all channels. The more precisely you can measure it, from channel-specific MROI to overall MROI, the more precisely you can demonstrate that it is working.

How is Marketing ROI Used by Companies? 

Companies make use of Marketing ROI because it is a crucial measure that marketers should monitor in order to assess the outcomes of their campaigns and advertising expenditures and to support and plan their upcoming marketing budgets. The ones that produce a better return on investment will probably be repeated, but those that produce a lower return on investment or a loss for the organization should be changed or abandoned. It also helps to track how the company is performing compared to their direct competitors in the market. Also it helps to make themselves accountable for their set budget and decisions. It prompts them to think deliberately and justify every dollar before they spend it. 

Whatever the objective, ROI helps companies stay on track for it and make sure that marketing efforts are used intended. 

How to Calculate ROI Marketing?

Marketing campaigns are investments. And like all smart investments they need to be measured to make sure the money was spent wisely.  So, how can you calculate ROI? There are several ways to do this. But the simplest and most straightforward formula goes like this. 

Marketing ROI = Sales Growth – Marketing Cost / Marketing Cost  

Sales growth minus Marketing Cost divided by Marketing Cost

It’s crucial to keep in mind that this formula bases its predictions on the notion that marketing activities are tied to overall sales growth or profit. 

This calculation results in a positive or a negative percentage. 

If a marketing campaign does not have a positive ROI then it probably shouldn’t be undertaken. Calculating the ROI of marketing efforts can be tricky. 

Easy, isn’t it? But on the other hand, it is a little more complicated than that. Especially when it comes to attributing or the profit you generated to your marketing. Because, the ultimate objective of the ROI calculation is to help connect the dots between all marketing efforts and revenue. 

Thus, that is the fundamental formula for calculating return on investment. However, the actual calculation of marketing ROI is a little more complicated. Marketers should take into consideration organic sales to produce a more accurate picture of the impact and ROI of their marketing campaigns.

Marketing ROI = Sales Growth – Organic Sales Growth –  Marketing Cost / Marketing Cost  

Sales growth minus Organic Sales growth minus Marketing Cost divided by Marketing Cost

Revenue generated by a company is not necessarily attributable to the marketing department’s activities. For this reason, when calculating return on marketing investment, it is usually necessary to subtract organic growth from sales growth before subtracting marketing investment. It’s crucial to comprehend the whole ROI that marketing activities have produced when utilizing marketing ROI formula.  Be mindful that the marketing team’s approach, campaign efforts, and general overhead associated with campaign implementation can all affect what constitutes a “measurable return” and how it is defined. Let’s look at some important components to include in your marketing ROI calculations:

Total Revenue:

By considering the total revenue generated from a single campaign, marketers may receive a comprehensive evaluation of their efforts. It is optimal for strategic media planning, budget allocation, and overall marketing impact to take into account total income when calculating marketing ROI.

Gross Profit:

Relating in gross profit allows advertisers grasp the overall revenue that marketing efforts produce in proportion to the cost of producing goods and services. To achieve this, marketers should include the following in calculating marketing ROI: = (Total revenue less cost of goods to deliver a product).

Net Profit:

By adding the following to their calculation, marketers can more precisely determine how their marketing initiatives will affect net profit: = (Gross profit less additional expenses).

It’s critical to constantly establish the profit/expenditures and total ROI that your team will take into account when analyzing marketing ROI. Think about adding the following:

  • Internal and overhead costs
  • Agency costs
  • Media buy expenditures   
  • Creative expenses 

You must also use marketing analytics, which provide details on sales and conversions that directly related to your marketing efforts, in order to determine the marketing ROI. Utilizing marketing analytics that provide data on traffic, leads, conversions, and sales to calculate marketing ROI.

What is a Good Marketing ROI?

Now, you’re probably asking yourself right now, “What is a good marketing ROI?”
An acceptable ROI would be one where the revenue earned outweighed the expense.

A good marketing ROI is 5:1 — or $5 for every $1 spent.

An excellent ROI is 10:1, where you get $10 for every $1 spent. A good ROI will be highly dependent on your business. It relies on factors like your company’s overhead costs, margins, and industry. For some industries, an ROI of 3:1 isn’t great, but it’s definitely good for a business in a different sector.

Challenges with Calculating marketing ROI

When calculating your marketing ROI, you’ll discover that it can be challenging to do it accurately. One of its main challenges is the time frame calculating it. Sales growth is a long-term, multi-touch process that results from marketing. It is more likely that the month-over-month change we used was dispersed over a number of months or even possibly a year. As the campaign begins to penetrate the target market, the ROI for the first few months of the series may be low. Sales increase should follow over time, and the campaign’s overall ROI will begin to look better. 

Another difficulty is that many marketing efforts are created with goals other than solely increasing revenue in mind. Marketing firms take advantage of low ROI statistics by including additional soft metrics that may or may not eventually lead to increased sales because they are aware that their clients are results-driven. These could be things like brand awareness. 

Start Measuring your Marketing ROI Now 

Knowing all of the details discussed above about Marketing ROI, you can now start measuring yours now. And we hope that this helps your marketing team align to reach your company’s growth goals, and gives you a good starting spot for calculating a realistic marketing budget. Calculating your ROI helps you justify your marketing efforts. The better you understand ROI, the more you are able to continually improve your marketing investments. It will help you to spend your budget on campaigns that yield high returns for your company. 

After all, making money is what you’re in business for. 


What does ROI stand for in marketing?

ROI stands for Return on Investment. In marketing, it is a key performance metric that measures the profitability of an investment made in marketing campaigns or strategies. It helps businesses evaluate the effectiveness of their marketing efforts by comparing the gained benefits (returns) against the cost of the investment.

Why is ROI important in marketing?

ROI is crucial in marketing as it provides insights into the success or failure of various marketing initiatives. By understanding the return on investment, businesses can allocate resources more efficiently, optimize marketing strategies, and make informed decisions to maximize their marketing budget and overall performance.

How is ROI different from other marketing metrics?

While metrics like click-through rates and conversion rates focus on specific aspects of marketing performance, ROI provides a comprehensive view of the overall profitability of a marketing investment. ROI takes into account both the revenue generated and the costs incurred, making it a more holistic measure of marketing effectiveness.

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