Why is Marketing Return on Investment Difficult to Measure?

Laura Caveney
4th October 2020

Measuring your return on investment holistically and on a campaign and channel level is vital to getting the most out of your marketing. We explore why it’s so tricky to track and how to get around it.

ROI, or return on investment, is one of the main marketing metrics. It basically means, how much money are we making by investing in marketing? That includes your team and tools costs, but it also includes any paid budget you might use too (otherwise known as return on ad spend, or ROAS).

In this blog, we’re going to break down why marketing ROI is so tricky to track, but so important to track correctly. Let’s jump in.


Editor’s Note: Are you looking to skip straight to the sell? Ok, ok, you caught us. Our marketing attribution tool plugs the data gap to prove your marketing ROI. By tracking every single touchpoint a user has with your website (that includes calls, live chat sessions and forms too!), you can understand every customer journey and identify how your marketing is impacting sales.Get started today by booking a demo, or find out more about marketing attribution.

Book a demo Ruler Analytics


Why is it hard to track marketing return on investment?

Well, there are a few reasons why it’s hard to track. We’ve broken it down to these four main reasons.


Data disconnect

This is the big one. Your lead and marketing data is out there but it’s just disconnected.

The problem is, you can’t track website visitors and understand where they’ve been referred from at the point they become a lead (unless you use marketing attribution tools like Ruler!).

Your source data for each and every lead is floating in the cloud, but you just can’t access it.

So, when a new lead fills in a form for example, you don’t get much more info than their first name, their company and their contact details.

Here’s how you can track each and every website lead, to help solve that data disconnect.


Lack of offline conversion tracking

Another issue is the inability to track your conversions.

So you can track click to call and form submissions with Google Analytics, but what data are you actually getting?

Usually, you’re just getting the volume of leads. You’re not getting any information about where that lead came from. This can be really frustrating as it means you’re left with little information about what’s working well to drive new leads, or even new sales.


Note: We wrote an easy guide to tracking offline conversions. Find out how you can track every inbound call, form submission, live chat session and more. Download the eBook for FREE here.Offline Conversion Tracking - Banner - Download


Understanding the full journey

Look at it like this. A user visits your site after searching a keyword that one of your blogs appeared for organically. But, they don’t convert. They visit you again three more times. First by a social referral. Then by a paid advert on Google. Lastly, they visit your website from a direct search at which point, they subscribe to your email marketing.

Wait for it. They receive an email, and they click on the link and become a customer by calling your business.

That’s a total of five visits by five different channels. Each played its part, but how do you understand which channels are working to bring you leads, and which are converting them into customers?


Long sales cycles

Another common issue is long sales cycles. Even if you’re eCommerce and so have sales happen purely online, most marketing applications have a tracking timeframe of 90 days. So, if a lead converts after 90 days, you’re missing key data on where a sale has come from.

And what is the point of marketing, if your reporting is only giving you part of the picture?

This is where marketing attribution comes in.


How to track leads from marketing to sales

To find out our true marketing ROI, you need to be able to track your leads from marketing to sales.

Normally, marketing generates the leads and throws them over the wall to sales. It leaves sales missing key data about their new leads. And, it leaves marketing missing data on how their efforts are working to drive low or high-quality leads that are resulting in revenue.


Introducing Marketing Attribution

Marketing attribution is a way to track each and every lead, and, each and every touchpoint. It means you can get full visibility of your leads and their interactions with your content. Finally.

Ruler uses a closed-loop model that allows your team to quit reporting on clicks and conversions, and start reporting on what matters the most to your business: revenue.

How does it work?

It’s simple.

Ruler Analytics tracks anonymous visitors to your website over multiple sessions, sources and keywords.

When a user converts into a lead, whether that be via phone call, form or live enquiry, Ruler Analytics will integrate with your chosen CRM (or wherever you’re storing your lead data) and fire the relevant data over.

Once the deal or sale closes into revenue, Ruler Analytics passes the monetary information back to your marketing analytics tools, like Google Analytics and ad platforms so you can report on real sales and revenue.

lead source marketing - closed loop framework - www.ruleranaytics.com


It’s this framework that simplifies the process when it comes to calculating the return on investment of your marketing efforts.


Understand your marketing return on investment with Ruler Analytics

Using software like Ruler Analytics, you can map your entire customer journey, giving you a clear view of how each customer found, what made them decide to buy, how they got in touch and their value to the business.

You’ll be able to keep an eye on the full lifetime value of each customer and compare it with the cost of getting them into your sales funnel.

You can combine data from both sales and marketing, getting the right information from both departments to prove where your leads came from and what marketing efforts brought them in.

And you know what that means, right?

A clear, definitive marketing ROI that you can use to sell your agency, our your marketing team to your senior team. You’re welcome!

Find out more about getting started with marketing attribution by booking a demo with the team. We’ll show you how to prove your return on investment right in our dashboard. Or, if you prefer, how to push our data into your preferred analytics software.

Book a demo Ruler Analytics