8 min read
Published On: 2023-06-05
Driving optimum return on ad spend (ROAS) has never been more important than it is in today's ever-changing ecommerce landscape. However, approximately 45% of businesses have difficulty determining an accurate ROAS. As a result, they miss out on critical insights and potential profits.
"ROAS isn't just a metric; it's a magnifying glass that brings the effectiveness of your ad campaigns into sharp focus," explains Laura Patterson, a renowned expert on marketing strategies. Moreover, in the highly competitive ecommerce industry, this laser-like intensity is essential to success and growth.
This blog post will demystify the concept of ROAS in the context of ecommerce. We'll provide a deep dive into understanding this critical metric, unpack its calculation, highlight some common pitfalls to avoid, and discuss some strategies to improve ROAS.
ROAS is a marketing metric that measures the effectiveness of a digital advertising campaign. It's calculated by dividing the revenue generated from an ad campaign by the cost of that ad campaign.
Revenue from ads / Cost of ads = ROAS.
For example, if you spend $100 on an advertising campaign and it generates $600 in revenue, your ROAS would be 6. This means that for every dollar you spent, you earned five dollars in return.
Think of ROAS as a compass guiding your advertising investments. A high ROAS indicates that your advertising campaign is successful in generating revenue, while a low ROAS suggests that your campaign is not performing well and might need to be reviewed or changed.
While it's true that the basic formula involves dividing revenue by ad spend, the reality is often more nuanced. It's critical to ensure that the revenue you're attributing to a particular ad campaign is indeed a direct result of that campaign. Be wary of attributing all sales to your ad efforts without considering other factors such as organic traffic, word of mouth, or non-digital marketing efforts.
While ROAS is an important metric, it's essential to consider it in conjunction with other important performance indicators like profit margin, customer lifetime value (CLTV), and customer acquisition cost (CAC).
For instance, a high ROAS may not be as positive as it seems if the associated campaign also has a high CAC, or if it's driving sales of low-margin products.
Inaccurate data has been a problem for marketers since Apple released the iOS update in 2021. They need to reevaluate their approach and keep an eye out for additional metrics, such as blended ROAS (bROAS), that can provide them with a more holistic understanding of the efficacy of their marketing efforts.
This metric can be particularly useful for ecommerce businesses using several advertising platforms simultaneously. It allows them to evaluate the overall return on their ad investments, rather than focusing on one platform at a time.
Siddharth Dwivedi, cofounder of XOR Labs shared an interesting post on blended ROAS:
bROAS is calculated the same way as regular ROAS: by dividing the total revenue generated by the total ad spend. The difference is that, for bROAS, you're considering revenue and ad spend from all your advertising channels, not just one.
While a high ROAS indicates a successful advertising campaign, it does not necessarily mean that the business as a whole is profitable. Businesses must consider their total operating costs, including product costs, overheads, and other non-advertising expenses.
Remember not all revenue is created equal. A business might have a high ROAS on a campaign that targets existing customers but this doesn't necessarily indicate that it's attracting valuable new customers to the business. Always consider the source of the revenue when evaluating ROAS.
There are several key factors that can impact your ecommerce ROAS. Understanding these factors can help you optimize your advertising campaigns to generate better results.
The quality and relevance of your ads can make a significant difference in their effectiveness. Ads that clearly communicate your value proposition and speak to your target audience are more likely to generate clicks and sales. It’s important to regularly review and optimize your ad creative to ensure it is resonating with your target audience.
For instance, if you are selling a luxury skincare brand, your ads should reflect the high-end nature of your product. Using high-quality images and videos that showcase the product's benefits can help attract the right audience. Additionally, using ad copy that speaks to the target audience's pain points and how your product can solve them can increase the chances of conversion.
Effective targeting and segmentation are critical to generating high ROI from advertising campaigns. By understanding your target audience and segmenting them based on behavior and preferences, you can create highly targeted ads that are more likely to convert. Platforms like Facebook and Google allow you to target specific demographics, interests, and behaviors, enabling you to reach the right people with the right message.
For example, if you are selling baby products, targeting new parents or parents with young children can be a highly effective strategy. You can segment your audience based on their age, gender, location, and interests to create ads that speak directly to their needs and wants.
Improving your conversion rate is one of the most effective ways to boost your ROAS. By tweaking your website design and user experience, you can increase the likelihood of visitors making a purchase or taking the desired action. Common strategies for improving conversion rate include optimizing landing pages, simplifying checkout processes, and using persuasive copy and imagery throughout the purchasing journey.
For instance, having a clear and concise call-to-action (CTA) on your landing page can make a huge difference in conversion rates. Additionally, simplifying the checkout process by removing unnecessary steps and providing multiple payment options can reduce cart abandonment rates and increase sales.
While ROAS is typically calculated on a per-campaign basis, it’s important to also consider the long-term value of customers. By focusing on delivering exceptional customer experiences, you can increase customer retention and boost the lifetime value of each customer. Providing value beyond the initial purchase — such as through loyalty programs or personalized recommendations — can help build strong, long-term relationships with customers and generate more revenue over time.
For example, offering a loyalty program that rewards customers for repeat purchases can incentivize them to continue buying from your store. Additionally, sending personalized recommendations based on their purchase history can help increase the chances of repeat purchases.
By taking into consideration these key factors, you can optimize your ecommerce advertising campaigns to generate better results and boost your ROAS.
Now that we’ve explored some of the key factors that affect ecommerce ROAS, let’s dive into some strategies for improving it.
The quality and relevance of your ad creative can make a big difference in its effectiveness. Experiment with different ad formats and messaging to see what resonates most with your target audience. Consider testing different images, colors, and calls to action to optimize your ads for conversion.
For example, if you are selling clothing online, you could experiment with using lifestyle images of people wearing your clothes in different settings. You could also try using bold, eye-catching colors to grab the attention of potential customers. Additionally, you could include a clear call-to-action in your ad, such as "Shop Now" or "Get 20% Off Today".
Your bidding strategy can also impact your ROAS. Try adjusting your bids based on different factors, such as device usage or demographics, to see what generates the best results. You can also use bid modifiers to increase or decrease your bids based on the likelihood of conversion.
For instance, if you notice that mobile users are more likely to convert to your website, you could increase your bids for mobile devices. Similarly, if you find that users between the ages of 25-34 are more likely to convert, you could adjust your bids accordingly.
In addition to testing different ad creatives, refining your audience targeting can also help improve your ROAS. Take a deep dive into your customer data to understand their behaviors and preferences, and use this information to refine your audience targeting. You can also use lookalike audiences to find new customers who are similar to your existing customers, increasing the likelihood of generating conversions.
For example, if you sell skincare products and notice that your current customers are primarily women between the ages of 25-40, you could create a lookalike audience based on these characteristics. This would allow you to target new customers who are more likely to be interested in your products.
Retargeting campaigns are a powerful way to re-engage users who have interacted with your brand. By serving ads to users who have previously visited your website or added items to their cart, you can remind them of your brand and give them another opportunity to convert. Retargeting campaigns typically have higher conversion rates than other types of campaigns, so it’s worth investing in these as part of your advertising strategy.
For instance, if a user added a product to their cart but didn't complete the purchase, you could retarget them with an ad featuring the product they left behind. You could also offer them a discount code to incentivize them to complete the purchase.
Finally, to truly optimize your ecommerce ROAS, it’s important to leverage analytics and data to inform your decision-making. Here are some specific ways you can use analytics to boost your ROAS:
By using tools like Google Analytics, you can track which ad channels are generating the most revenue for your business. Focus your advertising efforts on the channels that are most effective, and consider scaling back or eliminating campaigns that are not producing as much ROI.
For example, suppose you notice that your Facebook ads are generating more revenue than your Instagram ads. In that case, you may want to allocate more of your advertising budget to Facebook and less to Instagram. Similarly, if you notice that your display ads are not generating much revenue, consider eliminating them altogether and focusing on other channels.
Your customer data can also help you better understand which campaigns, messages, and products are resonating with your audience. Use this information to optimize your campaigns and messaging, and to fine-tune your product offerings to better suit your customers’ needs.
For example, if you notice that your customers are more likely to purchase products in a certain category, you may want to focus your advertising efforts on that category. Or, if you notice that a certain message or value proposition is resonating with your audience, you may want to incorporate that messaging into your ads and landing pages.
A/B testing is a powerful tool to help optimize your ad campaigns. By comparing two versions of an ad or landing page, you can see which performs better and make data-backed decisions to improve conversion rates. Experiment with different elements of your ads and landing pages, such as headlines, copy, and imagery, to see what generates the most conversions.
For example, you can test two different headlines for your ad and see which one generates more clicks and conversions. Or, you may want to test two different product images to see which one leads to more purchases. By continually testing and optimizing your ads, you can improve your ROAS over time and drive more revenue for your business.
ROAS is an important metric for ecommerce businesses to track, as it allows them to optimize their advertising campaigns for maximum ROI. By focusing on ad quality and relevance, refining audience targeting, optimizing conversion rates, and leveraging analytics, businesses can continually improve their ROAS and generate more revenue from their advertising efforts. By following these tips, you can be well on your way to generating better results from your ecommerce advertising campaigns.