Five Simple Steps for Measuring the ROI of your Digital Campaigns

8 min read

So, you’re stepping out into a new direction in your marketing campaigns. You’ve¬†convinced your boss it’s time to go all in on digital.¬†That’s great, but don’t jump in without the proper preparation. Follow these five steps to ensure your efforts are strategic, measurable, and results-oriented.


Step 1: Define your Marketing Goals.

Maybe you’re trying to generate awareness for your brand, or you’re interested in driving conversions to your website to boost sales. Either way, identifying your goal ahead of time will make the measurement, reporting, and revision cycle easier to navigate. Here are some goals and measurement guidelines to consider:

  • Encourage brand loyalty. Loyal fans are your brand‚Äôs biggest advocates. A good way to measure this goal is by identifying increases/decreases in social shares.
  • Drive website traffic.¬†Use¬†Google Analytics to monitor the percentage of traffic coming to your site via social platforms.¬†This¬†number should increase over the course of your social campaign.
  • Generate leads.¬†Develop lead-generating landing pages for your campaigns and create A/B tests to measure and refine them. Tailor your landing pages¬†to the product or service you‚Äôre selling, the goals of your campaign, and the customer‚Äôs journey in the sales funnel. Be sure the¬†look, feel, and voice of the landing page¬†matches¬†the ad¬†that led¬†to it.
  • Increase revenue.¬†Keep tabs on your sales as you unveil new social campaigns. To determine the ROI of your efforts, use a custom goal¬†in Google Analytics to measure purchases from guests acquired through a social channel. This isn‚Äôt a perfect science, but¬†it¬†can give you a good idea about how well your efforts paid off.

STEP 2: CREATE CUSTOM URLs for your campaigns.

Custom URLs come into play when reporting on your campaign. If you tag¬†your ads, they’ll appear conveniently¬†within the “Campaigns” section of your acquisition data in Google Analytics. Here, you can easily determine the source,¬†medium, and content which led to the greatest traffic and engagement with your site. You can measure these numbers against the cost of your ad placements to determine whether your investments are¬†meeting your expectations.

To create custom URLs for your campaign, use¬†Google’s helpful URL builder. Keep in mind that you’ll want to be consistent with how you’re naming each¬†respective field (source, content, etc.). Not¬†doing so will make your data confusing and hard to cross-examine.

When placing ads, use custom URLs with each placement. If you’re promoting your holiday event on, your URL might look like this:

Here’s what these custom URLs will look like in your reporting dashboard:

Google Analytics Custom URL Reporting Acquisition

Note that custom URLs can also be implemented within email and social media campaigns. If you’re using them correctly within e-newsletters, you can monitor how many of your subscribers are clicking through for¬†tickets to your holiday show.

If you’re using AdWords, your¬†campaigns¬†will automatically report within the “AdWords” section of your Acquisition data. There is no need to set up custom URLs for these campaigns.


STEP 3: when applicable, SET Up e-commerce tracking.

You can easily track purchase activity within your site using e-commerce tracking from Google. To set this up, follow the tutorial in the Google Analytics Help section.

While this might seem like heavy lifting, tracking these purchases will pay off when reporting on your digital ROI later on. In keeping with our holiday show example, you can use e-commerce reporting to measure the average sale from each of your email subscribers and determine the percentage of subscribers who became ticket holders. You can use these insights to determine the value of your subscription list and the value each new subscriber brings to your revenue projections.

Use custom URLs in partnership with e-commerce tracking to attribute value to your social followers, those interacting with your ads, and anywhere else¬†you’re promoting your show.


Step 4: measure conversions.

Google Analytics is a key resource for understanding how your social media marketing is affecting your web traffic. Within Google Analytics, you can see your social channels and which outlets (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) are working to convert traffic. Additionally, you can see how engaged your social traffic is by looking at the bounce rate, average duration of visit, and pages/visit of these guests. These insights will help you determine not only the quantity but also the quality of your social traffic.

Here’s how to get the information you need:

  1. If you don’t have a Google Analytics account, use this guide to get started.
  2. To access your social traffic, select ‚ÄúAcquisition‚ÄĚ from the left sidebar. Then, click ‚ÄúAll Traffic‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúChannels.‚ÄĚ This will allow you to see how visitors are accessing your site (e.g. Social, Direct, Organic Search, Referral, Email).
  3. Measure your custom URLs in the “Campaign” section in your Acquisition data. Be sure to¬†look at¬†how visitors engaged with your site based on each ad you used to get them there. Did one piece of content perform better than others? Did one source lead to¬†more qualified leads?
  4. When you click into the social traffic, you’ll find information about the social networks that are bringing visitors to your site. Pay attention to the bounce rate, pages/session, and average session duration to understand how engaged your traffic is from each of these networks. This information can help you understand where to focus your time and energy during your social media planning and execution stages.
  5. At the top of the page, select ‚ÄúLanding Page‚ÄĚ as your primary dimension. This will give you insight into¬†which topics are converting best for your brand‚Äôs social media strategy. If you notice a trend among pages that are drawing high levels of traffic and/or engagement, stick with it and use those topics as starting points for generating content.

There is tons of data available in Google Analytics, and the best way to learn is by getting started. Use Google’s training resources to help you implement the best strategy for your brand.

Google Analytics Landing Page Reporting for Custom Campaigns



It’s time to tie your findings back to your initial advertising spend. In order to do this, you’ll need to know the following pieces of information:

  • How much did you spend on each ad placement?
  • What is your average cost/lead and¬†cost/acquisition?

The first number (your ad placement costs) is the easiest to track. Keeping a spreadsheet with ongoing expenses is a great way to do this.

The second two are a bit harder to track. The average cost/lead and cost/acquisition can be difficult to quantify. To determine each of these numbers, use the following equations:

Ad Spend ($) / # Leads = Cost per Lead ($)

(Sales Team’s Cost ($) + Ad Spend ($)) / # Acquisitions = Cost per Acquisition ($)

This information will help you determine your sales goals,¬†lead generation goals, and your marketing budget for the following year. But¬†you’ll need to know your average sale¬†and your sales ratio. Here’s what those equations look like:

Total Sales ($) / # Sales = Avg. Sale ($)

# Sales / # Leads = Sales Ratio (as a %)

When preparing for the year ahead, use the following equations to determine the number of leads and the number of sales you’ll need to meet your sales goals. You can also use this information to determine the advertising budget you’ll need in order to be effective.

Sales Goal ($) / Average Sale ($) = # Sales Needed to Meet Goal

# Sales Needed / Sales Ratio (as a %) = # Leads Needed to Meet Goal

# Leads Needed x Avg. Cost per Lead ($) = Next Year’s Advertising Budget ($)

To¬†tie these figures back to individual ad placements, you’ll need to go back to Google Analytics.¬†Ideally, you’ll have already set up Custom URLs, Goals, and Event Tracking. If you need help doing this, feel free to reach out to our team¬†of developers.

To measure the return on an individual ad, select “Campaigns” within your Acquisition panel. Select a secondary dimension of “Event Action.” Here, you can see the number of leads your ads generated.¬†How you set up your event should be based on your lead generation¬†goals. Maybe you want them to submit a request form, sign up for a newsletter, or complete an application. You can then use the formulas above to quantify the¬†return on¬†investment for each of your ad placements.


So, what’s a good roi on my marketing campaign?

At minimum, you must cover the cost of making and marketing your product or service. When factoring your break-even amount, consider the cost-of-goods-sold, marketing expenses, and overhead costs.

Obviously, the goal is not to break even. On average, a¬†marketing ROI ratio of 5:1 is considered healthy. Anything above that is considered exceptional.¬†Take time to determine your¬†campaign’s¬†goals and expectations¬†prior to¬†launching¬†so you can measure and refine once your campaign starts to bring in leads.


The Takeaway

The key takeaway? Your marketing team needs to communicate with your sales team. Keeping track of leads as they move through the sales funnel is crucial in quantifying the value of your advertising spend. Working with the sales team to track and measure these leads as they turn into sales will help you refine your ad strategy moving forward.