ROI and Marketing Analytics for Business Managers

Jan 15, 2024

<a href="" target="_self">Geoff Campbell</a>

Geoff Campbell

Geoff Campbell is a PPC and Paid Media Manager for eCommerce, Industrial, and Enterprise brands.

ROI and marketing analytics for managers

Begin with the End in Mind 

Let’s begin by stating the obvious – Digital Marketing is responsible for helping grow the top line revenue of a business. This is most often achieved by lead generation or by direct online sales through ecommerce.   We want to bring potential customers to our website, when they are researching solutions to problems or when they are ready to buy. Depending on the complexity of the product or service, they may just want to buy something right off the website, or they might want to talk to someone knowledgeable, who can clarify what is needed and make a recommendation that would solve their problem.  Digital marketing’s job is to find those people and to get them to engage with your business in a way that grows revenue.  

The goal for any marketing program is to produce ROI – Return On Investment.  

Calculating ROI

Net Profit / Digital Marketing Costs x 100 = ROI

In digital marketing, the ability to measure Return on Investment (ROI) is a crucial skill for managers seeking to justify their ad spend. Effective ROI tracking not only provides insights into the performance of marketing campaigns but also empowers managers to make data-driven decisions that can significantly impact the overall success of their initiatives. Having some idea of what you should be looking for at each stage of the marketing funnel will help you set the right expectations for your campaigns and understand if they are performing as they ought to. 

Measure Each Part of Your Marketing Program Correctly

Simply stated, for every dollar you spend you want to earn 2 dollars in revenue, and in digital marketing, everything is measurable so it should be simple right? Ideally yes, but it’s important to know what each part of your campaign is responsible for doing and how that contributes to your overall objectives. There are things that are important to marketing that may not always have a direct causal correlation with revenue numbers, but are nonetheless important.  It’s important to understand what numbers to look at for every stage of your marketing funnel, and whether your campaigns are delivering the intended results. Not every type of campaign has the same job, but they are all an important piece of the marketing puzzle.   

Keyword Research: Where It All Starts

Key Metrics:

  • Monthly search volume – how many searches are there for a given term. 
  • Keyword Difficulty – how difficult or expensive will it be to acquire the clicks. 
  • CPC – Estimated cost per click (for PPC Campaigns)

Understanding the words your target audience is using

Whether we are considering organic search or paid search, keyword research is crucial for understanding buyer intent as it helps identify the terms and phrases potential customers use at different stages of their purchasing journey. By analyzing keywords and their search volumes, marketers can discern whether users are seeking information, comparing options, or ready to buy. 

For instance, informational keywords like “how to choose a laptop” indicate early-stage interest and often have high search volumes, while transactional keywords such as “buy laptop online” signal readiness to purchase and might have lower but highly targeted search volumes. Aligning content and campaigns with these insights ensures that marketing efforts effectively address the specific needs and intentions of the audience at each stage, optimizing for both reach and relevance.

Marketing Metrics Along the Funnel

It’s helpful to think of marketing as a funnel.  At the top of the funnel is where you reach out to the largest number of people to try to find out who might be interested in your product or service. The middle stage is the people who know about your business and are researching you as one of several potential solutions to their problem.  The bottom of the funnel is all about conversions, sales and close rates. (For organizations with sales teams, it’s important to view the marketing funnel as connected to the top of the sales funnel.)  The journey of the customer from awareness to purchase has been nicely described by the AIDA model of marketing.

The AIDA Model Explained

The AIDA model in marketing is a framework that outlines the stages a consumer goes through during the purchasing process: Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action.

Attention: The first stage is about capturing the consumer’s awareness of a product or service through advertising, social media, or other marketing efforts.

Interest: Once attention is captured, the goal is to generate interest by providing more detailed information and engaging content that highlights the benefits and features of the offering.

Desire: In this stage, the marketing efforts focus on creating a strong emotional connection, making the consumer want the product or service by emphasizing its unique value and addressing their specific needs or pain points.

Action: The final stage encourages the consumer to take a specific action, such as making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or requesting more information, thus completing the conversion process.

Top of Funnel Key Metrics:

  • Reach – How many people did your ads get to 
  • Impressions – How many times did people have the opportunity to view your ads
  • Click Through Rates – CTR – What percentage of the impressions resulted in clicks.
  • Engagement Rates – How many people watched, liked or clicked on your content

Top-of-the-funnel (TOFU) metrics in marketing are essential for evaluating the initial stages of customer engagement and brand awareness. These metrics include website traffic, which measures the number of visitors to a site, and social media reach, which tracks the number of unique users who see a brand’s content. Other important TOFU metrics are impressions, which indicate how often an ad or piece of content is displayed, and engagement rates, such as likes, shares, and comments, which reflect how actively users are interacting with the content. Additionally, the number of new leads or email subscribers generated can provide insight into the effectiveness of TOFU marketing strategies in capturing audience interest

Mid-Funnel Key Metrics:

  • Click Through Rates
  • Repeat Visits to Website
  • Time on Website
  • Number of Leads Generated
  • Percent of Leads Qualified

Mid-funnel metrics in marketing focus on evaluating how well potential customers are being nurtured and moved closer to a purchase decision. These metrics include engagement rates with targeted content, such as time spent on page, click-through rates on emails, and webinar attendance. They also track lead qualification metrics, like the number of leads progressing to sales-qualified status and the conversion rate of content downloads or demo requests. By analyzing these metrics, marketers can gauge the effectiveness of their strategies in building relationships, addressing concerns, and fostering trust among prospects, thereby facilitating their journey towards becoming loyal customers.

Bottom-of-Funnel Key Metrics:

  • Cost Per Acquisition – Total cost of acquiring a new customer
  • Customer Lifetime Value – How much will a customer spend with you over the next 5 years.
  • Average Cart Size – What is the average spend size for every checkout (ecommerce)

Finally, at the bottom of the funnel, where the emphasis is on conversion and customer acquisition, KPIs shift towards metrics like conversion rates, cost per acquisition (CPA), and customer lifetime value (CLV). Tailoring KPIs to each funnel stage allows marketers to track progress, optimize campaigns, and ensure a seamless progression of potential customers through the marketing journey. It is essential to understand the difference between these levels of the customer journey and to understand how each contributes to the overall success of a marketing program.  Don’t ask for revenue metrics from the awareness level of the campaign. It’s not the job of an awareness campaign to directly drive revenue, but rather to set the stage for the long term growth of a company through building awareness.  If you keep building awareness, and you know that you can convert users at the bottom of the funnel, your top of funnel awareness campaigns will have an impact over time. 

It’s essential for managers to comprehend the various metrics at their disposal. Metrics such as customer acquisition cost (CAC), conversion rates, and customer lifetime value (CLV) are pivotal in gauging the effectiveness of marketing efforts. Each metric offers a unique perspective, and a holistic approach to analysis ensures a comprehensive understanding of ROI. As a marketing manager, your focus should be on metrics that tell a story about customer acquisition, retention, and overall business impact.

Attribution Modeling

Multiple Campaign Touchpoints – So Who Gets the Credit?

One of the challenges in ROI tracking lies in attributing conversions to specific marketing channels. Attribution modeling helps in assigning value to touchpoints along the customer journey. Whether using first-touch, last-touch, or multi-touch attribution models, marketing managers can gain clarity on which channels contribute most effectively to conversions. Understanding the customer journey is key to effective attribution modeling and, consequently, optimizing your marketing ROI. See Google’s Attribution Models

Implementing Marketing Analytics Tools

In the age of digital marketing, leveraging analytics tools is non-negotiable for effective ROI tracking. These tools provide valuable insights into user behavior, campaign performance, and audience demographics. From Google Analytics to more specialized platforms, the market offers a plethora of options catering to the specific needs of marketing teams.

Analytics is the discovery, interpretation, and communication of meaningful patterns in data. It’s an essential tool for every marketing manager.

Setting Clear Objectives and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

To measure ROI accurately, marketing managers must establish clear objectives and define key performance indicators (KPIs) aligned with overall business goals. Whether the focus is on lead generation, brand awareness, or customer retention, having well-defined objectives provides a benchmark for evaluating success. Setting the right objectives and KPIs is like creating a roadmap; it guides your marketing efforts and ensures you’re on the right path to achieving your goals. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) play a pivotal role in gauging the effectiveness of marketing strategies across the different stages of the funnel.


Ongoing Campaign Optimization (It’s not a 1 time job)

Marketing growth is an ongoing process that requires continuous optimization. Regularly revisiting and adjusting marketing strategies based on the insights gleaned from analytics ensures that the efforts remain aligned with business objectives. This iterative approach allows marketing managers to adapt to changing market conditions and consumer behaviors effectively. Optimization is not a one-time task; it’s a continuous journey. Always be ready to refine your strategies based on the evolving landscape of your industry.

Closing the Loop on Data Leverages the Power of Marketing Algorithms

Closing the loop on marketing data is imperative to provide ad platforms with real-world success data, enabling them to optimize campaigns effectively. Without a comprehensive feedback loop, marketing efforts remain in the realm of speculation, and the true impact of strategies on actual business outcomes remains elusive. By closing the loop, marketers gain insights into customer behavior, conversion patterns, and the overall effectiveness of their campaigns. This data, when fed back into ad platforms, facilitates more informed decision-making and allows for the refinement of targeting, messaging, and budget allocation. It creates a cyclical process where real-world success data becomes the driver for continuous improvement, ensuring that marketing efforts are not just reaching the right audience but also resonating with them and, ultimately, driving tangible business results.

Caveat : You Need Enough Data to Generate Real Insights

The amount of data needed for results to be statistically significant and measurable depends on various factors, including the complexity of the analysis, the variability of the data, and the desired level of confidence. In general, larger sample sizes tend to yield more reliable and precise results, reducing the margin of error in statistical analyses. Adequate data volume is crucial to ensure that patterns observed are not merely due to chance but are representative of the broader population or user base. Statistical significance is often tied to the concept of confidence intervals, and having a sufficiently large dataset helps in narrowing these intervals, providing a more accurate reflection of the true impact or behavior being measured. Striking the right balance between data quantity and quality is essential for deriving meaningful insights and making informed decisions in the realm of data-driven marketing.

The Indispensable Human Element

While analytics tools provide invaluable data, the human element remains crucial in interpreting and contextualizing the information. Marketing managers must complement quantitative data with qualitative insights, understanding the nuances that may not be immediately apparent in the numbers.

Data is powerful, but it’s the human interpretation that adds the context and turns it into actionable insights. 

In conclusion, effective ROI tracking and analytics are indispensable tools for marketing managers aiming to enhance the efficiency and impact of their campaigns. By embracing a holistic approach, leveraging advanced analytics tools, and staying attuned to industry trends, marketing managers can steer their marketing initiatives toward greater success.



Glossary of Marketing KPIs and Metrics

Conversion Rate
The percentage of website visitors who complete a desired action, such as making a purchase or filling out a form.
Click-Through Rate (CTR)
The ratio of users who click on a specific link to the number of total users who view a page, email, or advertisement.
Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
The cost associated with acquiring a new customer, calculated by dividing the total marketing expenses by the number of new customers.
Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
The predicted net profit a company expects to earn from a customer throughout their entire relationship.
Return on Investment (ROI)
A measure of the profitability of an investment, calculated as the net gain or loss relative to the initial investment cost.
Bounce Rate
The percentage of visitors who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page, indicating a lack of engagement.
Lead Conversion Rate
The percentage of leads that turn into customers, reflecting the effectiveness of the sales funnel.
Social Media Engagement
The level of interaction users have with social media content, including likes, comments, and shares.
Email Open Rate
The percentage of recipients who opened an email campaign, providing insights into email effectiveness.
Cost per Click (CPC)
The average cost paid by advertisers for a click on their ad in paid advertising campaigns.
Organic Traffic
The number of visitors to a website that come from unpaid, organic search results.
Churn Rate
The percentage of customers who stop using a product or service within a given period.
The total number of pages viewed by visitors on a website, indicating overall site engagement.
Net Promoter Score (NPS)
A metric measuring customer satisfaction and loyalty based on the likelihood of customers recommending a company to others.
Social Media Impressions
The total number of times social media content is displayed to users, regardless of whether they engage with it.
Ad Click-Through Rate (CTR)
The percentage of users who click on an ad after seeing it, measuring ad campaign effectiveness.
Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs)
Leads that are deemed more likely to become customers based on their interactions with marketing efforts.
Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs)
Leads that have been identified as prospects that are likely to become paying customers.
Cost per Lead (CPL)
The cost incurred by marketing to acquire a lead, calculated by dividing total marketing expenses by the number of leads generated.
Customer Retention Rate
The percentage of customers retained over a specific period, indicating loyalty and satisfaction.
Social Share of Voice (SSoV)
The brand’s share of mentions and conversations in a given industry or market on social media.
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