What does ROI mean in marketing terminology?


Return On Investment, or ROI, is a key marketing metric used by businesses to measure the profitability of a given activity. ROI measures the performance of an investment against its cost, usually expressed as a percentage. Calculating ROI allows businesses to determine whether their investments are paying off, and helps them decide which strategies give them the highest return for their investments.

ROI is often used as a key performance indicator (KPI) for businesses to track the performance of their marketing and other initiatives. Calculating ROI for a business is a relatively simple numerical exercise, but understanding and analysing the results is much more complex.

ROI quantifies performance in marketing-related activities, and is typically calculated as follows:

ROI = (Revenue – Cost) / Cost

A typical example would be a business calculating the ROI of one of their ad campaigns on social media. To do so, they would need to take the revenue they generated from the campaign, subtract the cost of running the campaign, and then divide the result by the total cost of the campaign.


Revenue generated from campaign: £15,000

Total cost of campaign: £5,000

ROI = (15,000 – 5,000) / 5,000

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ROI = 200%

In this example, the ROI of the ad campaign would be 200%. This means that, for every £1 the business invested in the campaign, they would have generated £2 in revenue.

ROI is not the only metric to use when evaluating how well an investment has performed. It is important to consider the context when analysing ROI, and to look at additional metrics such as customer acquisition costs, cost per conversion, lifetime customer value and cost per click.

When analysing ROI, it is helpful to look at other metrics to get a more comprehensive picture of the performance of an investment. These metrics might include the total number of leads, impressions, clicks, and click-through rate. Additionally, you may consider metrics such as customer acquisition costs, cost per conversion and customer lifetime value. All of these should be considered when understanding ROI.

When calculating ROI for a marketing activity, it is important to consider both short-term and long-term results. While it is important to consider the immediate ROI of a marketing activity, it is also important to consider the long-term impact of the investment. This might include factors such as customer loyalty, brand recognition, and the ability to leverage the results of the marketing activity in the future.

To help guide businesses in their ROI calculations, there are a number of best practices and general guidelines they should follow.

Firstly, businesses should track the right metrics. To accurately measure the performance of a marketing investment, companies should track metrics such as ROI, CPA (Cost Per Acquisition), CPC (Cost Per Click), CTR (Click-through Rate) and CPM (Cost Per Thousand Impressions).

It is also important to understand the purpose of the marketing activity before calculating ROI. For example, if the purpose of a marketing activity is to generate more leads, then businesses should focus on metrics such as cost per lead and total leads generated.