Return on investment from advertising is one of the most important factors any business or website has to consider. For online websites this is no different, and there are many types of marketing channels available. The ability to maximize the best average ROI on digital marketing is crucial to being able to maintain reliable growth. So which type of online marketing delivers the highest ROI?
Return on investment is one of the true golden rules for any business. It means being able to demonstrate appreciable revenue from a business-related expense, and more importantly being able to demonstrate profit.
How do you know which marketing strategy is the best for average ROI? First you need to know which type of marketing channels are available and how they deliver results. The sort of results you get will be different between inbound marketing strategies and paid online advertising.
For inbound marketers, content, site structure, and branding that naturally appeals to shopper interests is key to bringing in natural growth. This means creating good content, and letting customers come to you. Paid advertising is less passive and hinges on pushing your product or service in front of shoppers to maximize visibility.
Both these forms have strengths and each one is made of up different kinds of specific marketing channels. Likewise, each one requires its own costs, and offers its own returns.
Which Type of Online Marketing Delivers the Highest ROI?
- Search Engine Optimization
By most accounts the time-proven strategy of search engine optimization (or SEO) is still one of the best digital marketing methods for ROI. One of SEO’s main advantages is that it can be low cost, but if done right can deliver huge results long term. Search Engine Journal ran a survey and found that 49% of people claimed that search engines like Google and Bing offer the best return on investment – even compared to other channels like social media, paid search advertising, and e-mail.
Data from Statista put SEO on top with 32% of marketers worldwide saying it offers the highest ROI; a significant 41% say it offers medium ROI. The long-term average advantages of SEO are impossible to overstate. Good SEO can give websites access to one of the largest traffic driving segments in the world. By 2019 search engines were still generating an impressive 65% of website traffic and nearly 70% of website revenue (on a last click basis).
This makes SEO one of the best digital marketing strategies for average revenue return. Brands and businesses have to overcome the initial hurdle of optimizing their site’s structure, content/keyword density, meta data, and mobile friendliness – but an optimized site has the potential to grow in rankings over time and passively deliver ROI for years afterward.
— SearchEngineJournal® (@sejournal) July 23, 2018
- E-mail Marketing
By some accounts e-mail marketing offers one of the highest ROIs. It’s a well-known style of marketing that requires some investment but is highly effective at putting brands in front of customers. It came in with the best median ROI for e-mail marketers, which in 2017 was as much as 124%. Its perceived value is also good among users, with nearly 1-in-3 claiming it delivers the best ROI, second only to SEO. Marketers can use this online advertising strategy to more effectively gain conversions later in the shopping funnel.
E-mail marketing’s main drawback is that it requires a proactive campaign to maintain a contact database and to reach out to customers. It also requires having access to customer e-mails in the first place which means brands have to build out their contacts with sign-up lists or on-site customer accounts. Businesses willing to pursue this type of online marketing will be able to expect good average results.
- Paid Search Marketing
Paid search marketing (or pay-per-click advertising) is one of the most dominant forms of online advertising with arguably the best immediate results. The primary advantage of paid advertising as an online marketing channel is that it provides a very quick ROI for new businesses looking to grow traffic fast, or for sites that want to capitalize on a short-term window.
Paid search advertising involves paying to have ads appear next to regular search results. The main platform for this is Google Ads (formerly known as Google AdWords) which dominates the PPC marketing channel universe. Another choice is Microsoft’s Bing. For Bing paid ads you’ll need a Microsoft Advertising account.
The only direct costs for paid search is the budget set aside for the keyword bids – making this a highly customizable paid strategy that delivers reliably high ROI. Paid search gives businesses the opportunity to select relevant search keywords and bid for the opportunity to show their ad. With a flexible ad strategy, advertisers can set their own PPC budget, curate their own campaigns, and finetune Google Ads ROAS to optimize their total ROI.
The median ROI for PPC can be as much as 23%, putting it well ahead of traditional display ads. In the world of paid digital advertising, search PPC still delivers the best results.
Paid advertising’s average return will vary from business to business and is dependent on your campaign and budget, but still makes up one of the three most common forms of marketing, working alongside channels like SEO, social-media, and email to provide one of the top performing marketing methods. Plus, it now surpasses all other channels as the top driver of revenue, responsible for over a 3rd of online sales.
- Social Media
Social media has quickly become one of the best new channels for digital marketing growth. In the last decade advertisers have learned that social media provides unique opportunities in both paid and organic segments with the ability to interact with shoppers firsthand. Plus, they can also exploit social paid ads strategies for even greater visibility.
1 in 4 U.S. shoppers now claim to prefer being contacted by brands via social media, making platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn crucial for inbound marketing growth. With the ability to curate a brand presence also comes the opportunity for marketing your services and eCommerce products. Marketers rank social among their top strategies with nearly 20% saying it offers them the highest return.
Facebook advertising represents the best channel for ROI, with Facebook services like advertising for Feeds, Messenger, Marketplace, and Instagram representing the greatest opportunity for delivering results.
Contact Radd Interactive for information on how to optimize your ROI with strategic search engine optimization, paid media advertising, and PPC services. Our team can give you help and resources for better online marketing. See our article for more info on SEO’s return on investment, including costs and tracking performance.