How to do ROI Analysis in Google Analytics

You can do ROI analysis in Google Analytics by using the ‘ROI Analysis’ and ‘Cost Analysis’ reports. Through these reports you can calculate the ROAS (Return on Advertising Spend) of various marketing campaigns under different attribution models. Google Analytics calculate ROAS as: Conversion Value / Channel Spend

Here, Conversion value is ecommerce revenue and/or goal value. For example, let us suppose:

  • Your ad spend for Google Adwords in the last one month was $100
  • Your ecommerce sales from Google Adwords in the last one month was $1000

Now Google Analytics will calculate ROAS for Google Adwords as: $1000 / $100 = 1000%

You should consider investing more in those marketing channels/campaigns which have higher ROAS.

The ‘Cost Analysis’ report

Through the ‘Cost Analysis’ report you can determine the ‘Cost Per Click’ and ‘ROAS’ of all those marketing channels for which you imported the cost data in Google Analytics. What that means you can determine the ROAS (Return on Advertising Spend) for marketing campaigns like: Bing ads, Facebook ad campaigns, Affiliate campaigns, Display campaigns, Email campaigns etc. In order to view the ‘Cost Analysis’ report, navigate to Acquisition > Campaigns > Cost Analysis in your GA view:

cost-analysis

cost-analysis2

The downside of the ‘cost analysis’ report is that all of the ‘ROAS’ data is calculated using only one attribution model called ‘Last Non-Direct Click’. So if you want to do ROI Analysis under different attribution models (esp. Data Driven Attribution) then you need to use the ‘ROI Analysis’ report.

The ‘ROI Analysis’ report

Through this report you can determine ‘Cost Per Acquisition’ (CPA) and ‘Return on Advertising Spend’ (ROAS) for each marketing channel under different attribution models. So instead of just the regular CPA, you can determine:

  1. Last Interaction CPA
  2. Last non-direct click CPA
  3. Last Adwords click CPA
  4. First Interaction CPA
  5. Linear CPA
  6. Time Decay CPA
  7. Position Based CPA
  8. Data Driven CPA
  9. or CPA based on any custom attribution model

data-driven-roas

Similarly, instead of just the regular ROAS, you can determine:

  1. Last Interaction ROAS
  2. Last non-direct click ROAS
  3. Last Adwords click ROAS
  4. First Interaction ROAS
  5. Linear ROAS
  6. Time Decay ROAS
  7. Position Based ROAS
  8. Data Driven ROAS
  9. or ROAS based on any custom attribution model

To access the ‘ROI Analysis’ report, navigate to Conversions > Attribution > ROI Analysis in your GA premium view:

roi-analysis-report

roi-analysis-report2

Note: The default attribution model for the ‘ROI Analysis’ report is ‘Data Driven Attribution Model’ and ROI analysis report is available only in Google Analytics 360/premium enabled property. 

In the context of attribution modelling in Google Analytics, we do not measure the “conversions” generated by a particular marketing channel.  What we actually measure is the conversions generated by a particular marketing channel under a particular attribution model (like ‘Last click conversions’, ‘Data driven conversions’ etc for say ‘paid search’). Similarly, in the context of attribution modelling in GA, we do not measure ‘ROAS’ for a particular marketing channel. What we actually measure is ROAS for a particular marketing channel under a particular attribution model (like ‘Last click ROAS’, ‘Data driven ROAS’ etc say for ‘paid search’).

Requirements for doing ROI Analysis in Google Analytics

There are four main requirements for correctly doing ROI analysis in Google Analytics:

  1. Ecommerce tracking setup
  2. Goal Conversion tracking setup
  3. Availability of cost data in your GA reports. The cost data is simply the cost of running your marketing campaigns.
  4. At least 60 days of historical data in Google Analytics (in order to make the data statistically significant). This data include: ecommerce data, goal conversion data, cost data and website usage data.

Unless you do not meet all of these requirements, your ROI analysis is most likely to be inaccurate. However without ‘cost data’, GA won’t be able to calculate ROAS. So importing cost data into GA is critical. To get the cost data in your GA reports you need to carry out following two tasks:

  1. Link your Google Analytics account to your Google Adwords account. Once the two accounts are linked, Google Analytics will automatically start getting cost data (‘campaign cost’, ‘cost per click’, ‘return on advertising spend’ etc) from Adwords.
  2. Import cost data from all non-Google paid marketing campaigns via Google Analytics ‘Data Import’ feature (available under ‘Admin‘ > ‘Property‘ > ‘Data Import‘). You can also use GA management API to automate this process.

data-import1

cost-data

I generally upload one month of cost data for non-Google paid marketing campaigns in the first week of every month. If you are using some third party tool to automate the cost data import process then you can import cost data every week or even every single day into GA. Once you have imported cost data into GA, it will automatically get integrated with your website usage data, goals data and ecommerce data. Thus allowing you to do detailed ROI analysis for your marketing campaigns via ‘Cost Analysis’ and ‘ROI Analysis’ reports.

Google Analytics already provide website usage data (like sessions, bounce rate etc) so you do not need to set it up separately.  To get ecommerce data (like revenue) in your GA reports, you need to set up ecommerce tracking. Similarly, to get goal conversions data in your reports, you need to setup Conversion tracking. Make sure that each Goal you set up is assigned correct ‘Goal value’. Otherwise your ROAS calculations may not be accurate.

Note: Google Analytics can calculate ROAS retroactively for your marketing campaigns.

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Himanshu Sharma

Certified web analyst and founder of OptimizeSmart.com

My name is Himanshu Sharma and I help businesses find and fix their Google Analytics and conversion issues. If you have any questions or comments please contact me.

  • Over eleven years' experience in SEO, PPC and web analytics
  • Google Analytics certified
  • Google AdWords certified
  • Nominated for Digital Analytics Association Award for Excellence
  • Bachelors degree in Internet Science
  • Founder of OptimizeSmart.com and EventEducation.com

I am also the author of three books:

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