5 Metrics to Consider Beyond ROI

In this latest installment of the High-Five Nonprofit Marketing Ideas Video Series, I’m diving into marketing metrics. More specifically, how you can measure the success of a campaign other than return on investment (ROI), or 5 additional “R”s. Here’s the transcript of the above:

While ROI is a great way to determine what monetary benefit you’re getting out of the marketing dollars (and efforts) you’re putting in, it doesn’t always tell the whole story. And let’s face it, in nonprofit marketing, and especially with awareness-building, metrics simply don’t exist. And that is where I find marketers feel their hands tied – you know you need to build awareness, or do other marketing activities that don’t offer hard evidence of a return, but you also know that you need to be out there making sure people know who you are, why you exist and what you need to achieve your mission. The goal with today’s video is to offer you other frameworks you can use to both measure the effectiveness of and build a case to get your marketing dreams approved!

Here are 5 metrics to consider when measuring your marketing campaign:

Return on Objectives (ROO)

Whenever you’re putting together a marketing campaign, you should have clear objectives in mind—and it doesn’t always have to be money! An objective could be to engage a certain number of volunteers for an upcoming event or to increase awareness within a specific group. Focus on a specific outcome instead of the money you’re bringing in, especially because some outcomes, like increasing event attendance, can lead to more donations in the future.

Return on Engagement (ROE)

The majority of marketing campaigns are either completely digital or have a strong digital component, some of which will undoubtedly be on social media. So, instead of only tracking how many people donated to your association, consider the number of engagements you’re receiving. If your followers are liking and sharing your posts, watching the videos you create, and clicking on the links you put out there, they clearly like your content. That’s a good thing! It means you’re creating the type of content that the people that follow you want. It’s much better to have a smaller, more engaged audience than a larger, unengaged one. Think about it this way, if you were speaking to a room full of people, would you rather have 20 people that laugh, ask questions, and are interested? Or would you rather speak to a room of 1,000 people who just give you blank stares?

Return on Impressions (ROI)

Yes, this is still, technically, ROI, but measuring the number of impressions you’re receiving online is a great way to understand your reach. You could be running multiple campaigns at once—some on social media, others via email, more with paid ads—but the underlying number you want to know is how many people saw what you put out there. As I said, engagement is also key, but it’s still important to understand your full scope. Then, as you continue to watch these numbers, you can see how by continually popping up in front of people in different ways, they can slowly become part of your engaged audience. Bottom line is that impressions is also “opportunities to see” and the more you create, the more you will get remembered.

Return on Traffic (ROT)

What good is a website if no one visits it? And what good is a marketing campaign if you don’t know how many people are doing what you ask of them: visiting your website for more information? By tracking increases in traffic, you can then deduce what marketing efforts may have spiked that action. Then, you can double down on efforts like that to continue to grow the number of visitors to your website over time. Another great thing that comes out of monitoring your website traffic is understanding how many times someone visits, when, and their specific demographics. This information is key when building audiences for future marketing campaigns.

Marketing Return on Investment (MROI)

Okay, this one does have ROI in the name but hear me out. Instead of tracking the amount you made from a campaign and dividing it by your initial investment to get your true ROI, consider looking at the intangible resources it took to reach a goal. So, for a marketing campaign, there are many hours spent creating and executing a campaign. Try to figure out how many collective hours it took to create the campaign and then divide that by whatever your objective for the campaign was (new donors, new members, new subscribers, event attendees, etc). Then, you have a very clear idea of roughly how long it takes you to complete that objective and you can work on your efficiency from there.

So, the next time you’re creating a marketing campaign and need to come up with metrics to measure its success, don’t just default to ROI. Instead, think about what your actual goals are then create a benchmark from there. Money isn’t everything.