Generating better ROI on digital marketing/advertising spend

Since the first online advert was posted in October 1994, digital advertising and marketing has developed into a multibillion-dollar industry.

Generating better ROI on digital marketing/advertising spend

Since the first online advert was posted in October 1994, digital advertising and marketing has developed into a multibillion-dollar industry. The Advertising Association/WARC quarterly Expenditure Report forecasts that, in Britain alone, ad spend will grow to £24.6bn in 2019, which represents a 4.6% increase on 2018. The UK’s ad market is expected to grow a further 5.3% in 2020.

The report further reveals that UK ad spend rose 4.2% year-on-year to reach £6.0bn in the first quarter of 2019. This marks the 23rd consecutive quarter of market growth and even covers the three-month period leading up to the original scheduled Brexit date of 29 March 2019.

So how does this impact franchises, where competition is exceptionally fierce? Digital transformation has added extra pressure to the way franchises operate and manage their digital strategies. The reasons vary from having multiple locations, contrasting marketing aims and goals between the franchisor and franchisee, as well as different technical abilities across franchisees and individual internal teams.

While clearly a segment with high potential and ever-increasing levels of sophistication, the cynical among us may well argue that advertising expenditure has become a battle zone where beating the competition at all cost has become a substitute for rational strategy. Not that there’s anything wrong with investing heavily in advertising if you can justify the expenditure. But if you’re swelling your budget in fear of being left behind, then you’re wasting precious money.

The key to unlocking a more systematic approach to advertising spend is something your franchise business undoubtedly has lots of – and it’s not cash, but customer data. In an age when consumers demand more relevant, personalised brand experiences than ever before, data-driven advertising strategies are key to increasing leads and improving ROI. To put this data to full use, you need to consider three factors.


Customer behaviour and their preferences underpin all great advertising. So, you need to know who your customers are, how they interact with your brand, and what their pain points are. Lastly, what makes them convert or not convert? Every bit of information you collect should be based on these business-critical aspects. Often the client data you already have, such as email subscribers, website analytics, and electronic point-of-sale stats, are adequate to help formulate actionable insights. These can be used to help shape your marketing communications.  

Data modelling and programmatic algorithms might be fashionable (and undoubtedly useful) terminology, but if you can get similar or even better information through website conversion analysis, then your advertising budget can certainly be put to better use.

that matter

Unfortunately, there are people who simply don’t know what they want. These customers aren’t worth your time. By separating these time-wasters from the people that truly matter, you’ll give your marketing strategy a fighting chance to maximise ROI. So, to better focus your marketing efforts and get more bang for your marketing buck, segment your data to identify the least and most profitable customers. Direct your entire budget at the latter.

Shifting to a digital approach will fulfil the needs of the tech-savvy consumer, helping to aid their overall experience and interaction with the brand. But be selective in your choices before implementing any; you need to understand the needs of customers and how you are going to provide the best solutions to their requirements.


The holy grail of digital advertising will always be about maximising conversions and ROI. The more customers you have the better, which is rather obvious. But, just as indispensable as acquisition is to business growth, it’s essential to pay attention to customer retention and its associated metrics. The more customers that you can attract, keep and continue to
sell to, the more likely you are to achieve your business goals.

To improve retention,
you’ll need to pay close attention to metrics such as loyalty and customer
satisfaction. H
aving an effective retention programme gives you the ability to identify, track and sell more to the customers who are most likely to become your long-term sources of revenue. So, before changing your focus to acquisition, boost your ability to hold on to your existing customers first. Reinforce your ties with them and try to lure back those you’ve lost along the way.

If you’re still not convinced, market research shows that acquiring a new customer is actually four times more expensive than upselling to a current customer. So, don’t hamper your franchise’s ability to scale, but allocate time and resources to a retention strategy. And if putting together a comprehensive customer retention or success plan currently feels out of reach, start with small steps. Track a few metrics to begin with, and you’ll be headed in the right direction.

Lastly, to survive in the digital world and generate a good ROI as a franchisee, you have to ensure your brand vision and business goals remain at the centre of your digital marketing strategy along with your customers’ needs and desires.

Jason Lark
Jason Lark