June 4, 2019

Marketing ROI: Which Channels Get You the Most Bang for Your Buck?

With hundreds of marketing channels to choose from, it can be difficult to choose the best one for your business—and this is an understatement. When I say the best marketing channel, I mean that channel that brings you the highest return on your time, effort and money.

The key to marketing success is correctly identifying the best channels for your products and your audience. But, how do you that? Identifying the marketing channels which get you the most bang for your buck can be difficult to say the least. However, you will be better equipped to choose suitable marketing channels for your business after going through the following comparison of the different marketing channels.

Email Marketing

Over the past few years, email marketing has been the most consistent performer of any marketing channel. As of June 2017, email marketing generated medium ROI for 43% marketers worldwide, highest ROI for 30% of marketers, and lowest ROI for 17% marketers. 10% of marketers did not use this marketing channel at all.[1]

While the results are predominantly positive for email marketing, making the most out of an email marketing campaign is easier said than done. More than a billion emails are sent each day, which means that 2.5 million emails are delivered per second. So, getting your target to open your email can be a lot of hard work and that’s just half the battle.

The other half of the battle is ensuring that your target clicks on the link in the email. Your clickthrough rate or the number of people clicking on the link in your email is the most significant measure of your email marketing ROI.

While many marketers are paying heed to the CTRs and conversion of their email marketing campaigns, only a few are paying attention to other performance metrics such as bounce rate. This metric is the rate of failed message delivery due to wrong email, server error, the inbox being full, or the message landing in spam. Another metric to monitor is list growth rate which is the rate at which your email list is growing, not growing, getting worse or diminishing.

Despite its challenges, email marketing can be a good marketing channel for maximizing your marketing ROI. Why do I say that? Firstly, everyone uses email and mobile devices make it accessible at all times of the day. Moreover, email is more cost-effective than many other channels and it works practically at every stage in the customer journey.

SEO (Organic Search)

The marketing channel that yields the best ROI, at least on paper, is SEO or organic search. SEO generated medium ROI for 41% of the marketers, highest ROI for 32% marketers and lowest ROI for 17% marketers. 12% marketers did not use this marketing channel at all.

It is technically feasible to get started in SEO without any monetary investment. However, significant money and/or time investment will be required to scale your strategy to a meaningful level. When you first use this marketing channel, you will be left wanting more. However, you need to understand that the true power of SEO lies in its ability to scale exponentially over time.

Here is the how you can calculate your ROI from SEO.

Say your primary goal is to sell a specific product that costs $200 and you run a SEO campaign for it. You pay $2000 per month to your SEO agency for their services and generate 15 sales per month from organic traffic.

1 month × $2000 = 2000 investment

15 sales × $200 = $3000

In this case, your ROI would be 150%.

Social Media

For measuring ROI, the social media marketing channel is categorized into types: organic and paid ads. Organic social media generated medium ROI for 39% of the marketers, highest ROI for 20% marketers, and lowest ROI for 33% marketers. 8% marketers did not get any ROI from organic social media. On the other hand, the paid ads on social media generated medium ROI for 36% marketers, highest ROI for 17% marketers, and lowest ROI for 24% marketers. 23% did not use this channel at all.

Organic social media is a good option if the primary aim of your marketing is to build brand awareness or customer engagement. But, if your objective is customer retention or customer segmentation, then it is best to use other marketing channels. On the other hand, paid social media can help you increase lead generation and brand awareness but isn’t a good option for increasing retention or customer engagement.

Over the years, the term ‘social media marketing’ has exploded in popularity. In fact, a few years ago, it was all the rage. A marketing channel known for its massive reach, organic social media marketing can help you reach each and every member of your target market if it is executed correctly. But, if you don’t execute it correctly, your ROI will be exceedingly low.

Other Marketing Channels

With the exception of paid search marketing like AdWords, other channels have performed poorly in terms of ROI when compared with the above-mentioned marketing channels. Traditional marketing channels such as billboard advertising, flyers and TV ads are no longer producing a good return on investment. Additionally, online PR and outreach isn’t as effective as it once was.

So, does that mean that ignore these marketing channels and choose one from social media, SEO, PPC and email marketing for your campaign? Most definitely not! Your marketing ROI will depend on a range of factors and not just the marketing channel you choose. These factors include your target audience, the budget available, your specific objectives and your product or service.

Having said that, your core marketing channels should be SEO, PPC, email marketing, and social media if your vying for marketing effectiveness and an increased return on investment (ROI).


by Bobby J Davidson

I love our companies  and we love what we do.  For more information on the Davidson Family of Companies, visit www.bobbydavidson.com/about.  Sign up for my Newsletter at the bottom of this page.