ROI Marketing

Marketing ROI: Definition and how to calculate (and optimize) it?

All about Marketing ROI: find out how to calculate and optimize it to maximize your results. Click here to find out more!

In today’s competitive world, it’s important to evaluate your marketing performance on a regular basis. Marketing ROI is one of the key metrics that do just that. More precisely, it’s a return on investment linked to marketing and communication expenditure. It’s crucial for anyone seeking to evaluate the effectiveness of their strategies and investments.

You’re investing money in marketing and communications, but do you really know what return you’re getting?

In this article, we’ll break down what ROI means in the context of marketing. Then, let’s take a look at how to calculate it easily and the different methods for optimizing it. Marketing ROI is surely one of the most important marketing performance indicators to track. Understanding this metric will help you make more informed decisions and accelerate your digital growth with confidence.

What is Marketing ROI?

Return on Investment, or ROI, is a financial formula used to measure the value of the benefits generated by marketing investments. In this field, it’s used to assess the profitability of marketing and communications expenditure. In other words, ROI helps you understand whether the money you put into your campaigns is generating sufficient profit.

The marketing ROI calculation includes the revenues generated and the costs of a marketing campaign.

The result of this calculation is usually expressed as a percentage. This gives a clear picture of the performance of your investment. For example, an ROI of 100% means you’ve doubled your initial investment. It’s simple, isn’t it?

But why is it so important? Because without it, it’s hard to judge objectively which campaigns are working and which need adjustment. As a paid media agency, we can confirm that ROI doesn’t just measure success. It provides valuable insights that can guide your future marketing decisions. By highlighting the most effective strategies, you can allocate your budget more wisely. As a result, you can concentrate your resources where they count most.

How is Marketing ROI calculated?

Calculating ROI may seem daunting, but it’s easier than it sounds. To calculate ROI, companies use this basic formula:

  • ROI = (Revenue generated – Cost of marketing campaign) / Cost of marketing campaign × 100
How to calculate marketing ROI?

This formula gives you a percentage that represents the direct return on your marketing investment.

Example of a marketing ROI calculation

To illustrate, let’s imagine you’ve spent 10,000 euros on an advertising campaign to promote the release of a new pair of sneakers. Thanks to this campaign, for example, you’ve generated revenue of 50,000 euros. Your calculation would be as follows

  • (50000 – 10000) / 10000 × 100 = 400 %

An ROI of 400% means you earn 4 euros for every euro spent. We can therefore conclude that your investment is profitable.

It’s also crucial to take into account all the costs associated with the campaign for accurate measurement. This includes not only direct advertising expenditure, but also indirect costs. These include, for example, the cost of digital marketing tools and your team’s time.

What is a good marketing ROI?

A good ROI rate is 5:1.

In the context of marketing, return on investment (ROI) is a key performance indicator. We’ve already seen that it measures the effectiveness of marketing investments in terms of revenue generation.

However, defining what constitutes a “good” ROI rate can vary considerably depending on the industry, the type of campaign and the company’s specific objectives.

Perception of a good ROI rate

  • Industry standards: A good starting point is to understand your industry’s standards. For example, e-commerce might have different ROI expectations than a B2B company offering professional services. As a general rule, a positive ROI is always favorable, but precise expectations may vary.
  • Campaign objectives: What you consider a good ROI will also depend on your objectives. A campaign aimed at increasing brand awareness may have a lower ROI than one focused on direct sales. But it can be just as valuable in terms of long-term value.
  • Comparison over time: Analyzing the evolution of ROI over time can provide valuable information. A steady improvement in ROI indicates that your strategies are becoming more effective, even if the ROI rate doesn’t reach high figures immediately.

A good ROI rate

  • ROI of 5:1 is considered strong: A return of five times the cost of the investment is often considered a good ROI in many sectors. This means that every euro invested generates five euros in revenue.
  • Minimum acceptable: The minimum ROI threshold for a profitable campaign is often 2:1. Below this level, costs can be prohibitive in relation to the benefits generated.
  • Context is crucial: It’s important to note that these figures can vary. For example, in high-margin sectors or long-term campaigns, even a lower ROI could be acceptable if the long-term benefits in terms of customer loyalty and brand value are significant.

Why is marketing ROI important?

Return on investment (ROI) in marketing is not just a performance indicator. It’s a central element guiding the strategies of companies of all sizes. Analyzing ROI enables companies to justify their marketing spend, optimize their campaigns, and maximize the overall effectiveness of their marketing efforts.

Strategic budget allocation

The primary benefit of rigorous ROI tracking is the ability to allocate budgets more strategically. Knowing which campaigns generate the best return enables you to redistribute resources where they are most effective. In this way, you improve the overall performance of your marketing activities without necessarily increasing expenditure.

Campaign optimization

Another crucial aspect of ROI is its role in campaign optimization. By measuring the effectiveness of different approaches, marketers can quickly identify and capitalize on the tactics that work best, while abandoning or adjusting those that fall short of expectations. This continuous improvement approach is essential to remain competitive in an ever-changing digital landscape.

Justifying investments

In many cases, marketing budgets have to be approved by top-level managers or investors who require clear proof of the profitability of expenditure. Having solid ROI data helps to justify marketing investments in front of these stakeholders, showing how this expenditure contributes directly to the company’s growth and profitability.

Data-driven decision-making

ROI tracking encourages a culture of decision-making based on data rather than intuition. This minimizes the risks associated with marketing investment, and ensures that every dollar spent can be tracked and evaluated in terms of its contribution to the company’s ultimate goal.

Improved customer engagement

Finally, a thorough understanding of ROI helps companies to better target their campaigns, leading to improved customer engagement. Campaigns that are finely tuned to reflect customer preferences and behaviors not only sell, they also build customer loyalty and satisfaction, which is essential for long-term success.

Key indicators for optimizing marketing ROI

To refine and improve the ROI of your marketing campaigns, it’s crucial to focus on certain key indicators. These metrics provide you with valuable information on the performance of your marketing initiatives and help you make informed decisions to maximize your ROI.

1. Cost per Acquisition (CPA)

Cost per Acquisition is one of the most direct indicators of the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. It represents the average cost spent to acquire a new customer. By keeping a close eye on CPA, you can identify which strategies are the most profitable, and readjust or abandon those that cost too much in relation to the benefits they generate.

2. Conversion rate

The conversion rate is another key indicator. It measures the percentage of visitors who complete the desired action on your site. This could be a purchase, a registration, or a request for information. A high conversion rate indicates that your advertising messages and your site are effective in turning visitors into customers. Working to optimize your conversion rate can directly influence your ROI, increasing revenue without requiring additional investment in traffic.

3. Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)

Customer Lifetime Value is a measure of the total value a customer is likely to generate throughout their relationship with your company. By understanding CLV, you can better allocate your marketing spend to target the most profitable customers over the long term. Investing in long-term relationships with high CLV customers can significantly increase your overall ROI.

4. Cost per lead (CPL)

Cost per lead is also an essential metric for assessing the effectiveness and profitability of lead generation campaigns. It represents the average cost your company must invest to acquire a qualified lead. This metric is particularly useful in B2B strategies, where the final conversion may take longer and require several interactions.

By monitoring CPL, you can determine whether the costs associated with your lead generation efforts are in proportion to the potential benefits these leads could bring. A high CPL may indicate that your campaigns aren’t targeted enough. Or it may show that the message isn’t persuasive enough to convert the target audience into actual leads.

5. Revenue per Click (RPC)

In paid advertising, Revenue Per Click tells you how much revenue each click on your ads generates on average. This metric is particularly useful for paid advertising campaigns, as it gives you a direct view of the effectiveness of each ad. Optimizing your campaigns to improve RPC can directly increase ROI.

Optimizations to improve Return on Investment

Now that you know how to calculate ROI, let’s move on to optimizing your campaigns to maximize this return. Let’s take a look at some practical strategies you can apply today.

But to improve your ROI with confidence and accelerate your business, the best way is to call on a team of experts from a Web Analytics agency.

  1. Audience segmentation: Make sure your campaigns are targeting the right people. Accurate audience segmentation can reduce unnecessary expenditure and increase revenue by reaching those most likely to be interested in your products or services.
  2. Bidding and budget optimization: Adjust your bids for the keywords or ad placements that generate the best ROI. Don’t spend more than necessary on underperforming channels. Use historical data to predict where and when to increase or decrease your budget.
  3. Select and track specific metrics: Start by aligning your marketing metrics with your overall business objectives. Understand how each indicator contributes to your company’s success. For example, if your goal is to increase sales, metrics related to sales and customer acquisition may be more important than metrics related to social media likes. Evaluate the impact of each indicator on your return on investment. Some metrics have a more direct influence on revenue generation or cost reduction than others. Prioritize the metrics that have the greatest impact on your bottom line.
  4. A/B testing: Never assume you know what will work best. Test different versions of your ads, landing pages and calls-to-action to see which combination offers the best return. A/B testing can provide valuable data that will help you continually refine your marketing efforts.

Test, measure and optimize continuously to see new results. If you need help getting started or fine-tuning your current techniques, don’t hesitate to contact our team.


ROI is more than just a metric: it’s a central pillar of any effective marketing strategy. By understanding how to calculate and optimize it, you can not only increase your revenues, but also fine-tune your marketing approach to better serve your audience. Don’t forget that constant monitoring and adaptation to new information are essential to maintaining and improving your ROI.

Vincent Chevalier Levy

Vincent Chevalier Levy

After managing the largest marketing analytics & growth teams from the Silicon Valley (Electronic Arts & Udemy), Vincent decided to create Impulse Analytics in order to accelerate the growth of the accounts he manages. Vincent's focus on media, content & data helped him generate more than +50 million euros of revenue, +70 clients supported, 25 countries and counting ..

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