4 Best Practices for Measuring Marketing ROII

A recent study by Forrester Research revealed that U.S. marketers wasted as much as $7.4 billion in one year on low-quality digital display ads. Overall, marketers estimate that they waste 20-30% of their advertising budgets. This waste represents a serious threat to an organization’s success, which is why it’s so important for companies (and their marketing consultants) to carefully track and measure the ROI of every campaign.

What is Marketing ROI?

ROI stands for Return On Investment. Simply put, your marketing ROI is the amount of business revenue generated by your advertisements, as compared to the amount of money spent on those advertisements. ROI can be positive (indicating that your campaign is making more money than it costs to run) or negative (indicating that it costs more to run your campaign than you are making from it).

How to Calculate Marketing ROI

How to calculate marketing ROI

The marketing ROI formula itself is relatively straightforward. Collecting the data, however, can be challenging. The following best practices should help you monitor the metrics that matter for your marketing campaigns, allowing you to make adjustments and focus your spending on the efforts that generate real revenue for your business.

#1: Structure Your Campaigns So That You’re Always Testing

When it comes to marketing, there’s always room for improvement. When you start a new campaign, make sure you’re prepared to continue testing and evolving as you go in order to improve your ROI. The easiest way to do so is to map out several options in the areas below:

  • Calls-To-Action: What do you want your audience to do? Maybe you want them to provide their email addresses so they can download a white paper or case study. Maybe you want them to sign up for a free trial or make an immediate purchase. Have different options in mind so you can experiment to find out which CTA yields the best results.
  • Ad Copy: Sometimes, it can take some testing to find the right message for your audience, and once messaging has been used for awhile, it can become stale. Vary your ad copy to find the most compelling messages and be ready to change your messaging often enough to keep your audience interested.
  • Ad Creative: does a bright picture draw more interest? A .gif instead of a still image? You’ll never know until you test.
  • Landing Page Design: If you’re sending people to a landing page where they can complete a desired action, you will want to test different versions of your landing page. Consider changing where you place your CTA buttons, including (or removing) a video, and using different images to see which ones perform best.

Before you launch your campaign, think about what you plan to test and when you want to do it. It’s easier to implement changes on a regular schedule versus doing things haphazardly once you have moved on to other projects.

#2: Implement Ad-Level Tracking

Before you launch an on- or offline campaign, think about how you intend to measure your results. Depending on your purchasing process, tracking ROI can be a real challenge. Consider the following scenarios:

  • Do people call your business directly? Call tracking services like CallRail can give you unique telephone numbers to use with each of your advertising campaigns so you know which ones are generating revenue.
  • Are you mailing postcards or brochures as part of your campaign? Generate individual offer codes for each mailing, or ask customers to present the card in person.
  • When all else fails, ask! If there isn’t a clear-cut way to track the results from your ad campaign, you can ask how customers heard about you as part of your on- or offline check-out process.

Online tracking will usually involve monitoring your website traffic using Google Analytics and a combination of trackable goals, UTM codes, and cookies to record where your visitors came from and how they interacted with your website. Some tips to keep in mind:

  • A dedicated landing page with its own UTM code can tell you how users found your site and what they did when they arrived.
  • Other ad platforms, like Facebook ads, use pixels to track ad performance. These little bits of code are added to your website to track what happens when a user visits from one of your ads.
  • Platforms like SalesForce and other CRMs use tags to track how users engage with your website and your offers.
  • E-Commerce tracking in Google Analytics can be used to record transactions completed through your website. Using the above tracking codes, you can determine if a purchase was a result of your ad campaign.

#3: Connect Your Tracking to Google Analytics

Google Analytics for Tracking Marketing ROI

As mentioned, many of the tracking tools you’re going to use to monitor your marketing ROI will operate through Google Analytics. The platform offers conversion tracking, e-Commerce tracking, and metrics like time on site, number of new users, pages per visit, and other data that can indicate whether or not a campaign is performing well.

In order to take advantage of the tracking you set up earlier, you’ll need to make sure that you have goals or conversions (such as lead submission forms) and e-Commerce tracking set up in Google Analytics. Since you’ll likely be using UTM codes to track your campaigns, you will also want to record those codes so you know how those campaigns will show up on the platform.

Before you launch your campaigns, perform some test actions to make sure Google Analytics is recording interactions using your UTM codes or other tracking mechanisms.

#4: Consistently Track and Revise Your Campaigns

Once you have your tracking place, create a regular cadence for reviewing and reporting on your ROI and other defining metrics for your campaigns. Bi-weekly tracking is recommended for monitoring the most important indicators like new leads or conversions, new customers, and overall ROI. Regular tracking will enable you to notice any serious positive or negative fluctuations and take action to improve your campaigns based on that knowledge. It will also create a long-term picture of your performance, so you have a better idea what to expect from month to month and year to year.


Are you struggling to get a handle on your ROI? Do you need better results? Talk to our marketing consultants about your concerns. We’re here to help!

YMC does a lot of lead generation for our B2B clients, and if you know anything about a B2B sales environment you’ll know that one of the most common questions that the sales team will ask when they see a new lead is “yes but are they qualified”?

In an environment where the sales team is often being held to some pretty high revenue per hour metrics, this question has a very tangible business impact. If your B2B marketing efforts are causing the sales team to chase after innumerable bad leads, it might be time to rethink how your marketing efforts can help qualify sales leads.

How to Define Qualified Leads

You may have sat in dozens of meetings between sales and marketing where this question was hotly debated. Generally, I’ve found that there are several reasons why sales and marketing teams disagree over the definition of a qualified lead:

  • The sales team doesn’t trust the leads marketing is providing because they don’t have enough experience or understanding with how those leads were qualified
  • The organization as a whole doesn’t feel comfortable with its lead analytics
  • The sales and marketing staff learned what constitutes a “qualified lead” at another organization, and…
  • The definition of a qualified lead is different at every business

It’s this last point that’s often most vexing. And so to keep things simple Young Marketing Consulting encourages a very short definition of a qualified lead:

The definition of a qualified #marketing lead? They’ve expressed purchase intent.

Once you all agree on that definition, the next decision for your team will be what lead activities are related to purchase intent. These activities could be any of the following:

  • Inbound contact (phone, email, etc.)
  • Web browsing behavior (e.g. visiting your pricing page)
  • Download/registration activity (taking a trial, signing up for a webinar, etc.)
  • Purchase (making a purchase of a related item)

Now that you’ve defined a qualified lead, the next question is how can marketing encourage that lead to express purchase intent? And the answer is lead nurturing.


What is Lead Nurturing?

Lead nurturing is the act of continually putting offers in front of a lead to drive them to purchase. 

Your goal is to keep your product or service top-of-mind for your leads until they either choose to purchase or decline your offer. And marketing can help accomplish this objective by regularly testing different offers for the lead audiences in question. Discount offers, educational materials available for download, invitations to webinars or Q&A sessions, social media outreach and sharing, all of these activities and more can be considered lead nurturing. As long as you’re reaching out to your leads on a regular basis with some kind of communication, you’re nurturing them.

What Are Some Good Ongoing Lead Nurturing Activities?

Generally, you want to encourage your captured leads to move through your marketing funnel toward a sale as quickly as possible. So, your activities should focus on time-sensitive calls-to-action that your audience will find irresistible. A few of the more successful lead nurturing campaigns we’ve seen have included:

  • An automated “Welcome” email campaign that provides a time-sensitive discount or bonus for purchase
  • Ongoing newsletters on topics of interest to “cold” leads, who are then reactivated based on the their open/click/web visit behavior
  • Small purchase opportunities to see if a lead is willing to make any kind of sale, which can then be leveraged into a larger opportunity
  • In-the-moment web browsing capture, either through a chat window on your site, a lead pop-up, or other action that encourages a web visitor to give you more information before they leave your site

This list is by no means exhaustive, but we hope it will help you understand how marketing can support the sales team in qualifying leads.