Ad Tech & Ad Ops

How to Calculate Return on Advertising Spend (ROAS)

Return On Advertising Spend, (ROAS), is a marketing metric that measures the efficacy of a digital advertising campaign. ROAS helps online businesses evaluate which methods are working and how they can improve future advertising efforts.

Calculating ROAS

Gross Revenue from Ad campaign

ROAS = _______________________

Cost of Ad Campaign

For example, a company spends $2,000 on an online advertising campaign in a single month. In this month, the campaign results in revenue of $10,000. Therefore, the ROAS is a ratio of 5 to 1 (or 500 percent) as $10,000 divided by $2,000 = $5.

Revenue: $10,000

___________________ ROAS = $5 OR 5:1

Cost: $2000

For every dollar that the company spends on its advertising campaign, it generates $5 worth of revenue.

Why Return On Ad Spend Matters?

ROAS is essential for quantitatively evaluating the performance of ad campaigns and how they contribute to an online store’s bottom line. Combined with customer lifetime value, insights from ROAS across all campaigns inform future budgets, strategy, and overall marketing direction.

By keeping careful tabs on ROAS, ecommerce companies can make informed decisions on where to invest their ad dollars and how they can become more efficient.

Don’t Forget these Considerations when Calculating ROAS

Advertising incurs more costs than just the listing fees. To calculate what it truly costs to run an advertising campaign, don’t forget these factors:

  • Partner/Vendor costs: There are commonly fees and commissions associated with partners and vendors that assist on the campaign or channel level.
  • An accurate accounting of in-house advertising personnel expenses such as salary and other related costs must be tabulated.
  • If these factors are not accurately quantified, ROAS will not explain the efficacy of individual marketing efforts and its utility as a metric will decline.
  • Affiliate Commission: The per cent commission paid to affiliates, as well as network transaction fees.
  • Clicks and Impressions: Metrics such as average cost per click, the total number of clicks, the average cost per thousand impressions, and the number of impressions actually purchased.

What ROAS is Considered Good For?

An acceptable ROAS is influenced by profit margins, operating expenses, and the overall health of the business. While there’s no “right” answer, a common ROAS benchmark is a 4:1 ratio — $4 revenue to $1 in ad spend. Cash-strapped start-ups may require higher margins, while online stores committed to growth can afford higher advertising costs.

Some businesses require a ROAS of 10:1 in order to stay profitable, and others can grow substantially at just 3:1. A business can only gauge its ROAS goal when it has a defined budget and a firm handle on its profit margins. A large margin means that the business can survive a low ROAS; smaller margins are an indication the business must maintain low advertising costs. An ecommerce store in this situation must achieve a relatively high ROAS to reach profitability.

After reading this, you should have a solid understanding of what ROAS data tells you about your account and how to best take action to optimize. Goals may differ across your different campaigns, but the end goals remain the same: increasing your profits and allowing you to grow your business.

FAQ Related to ROAS

How can I make my ROAS better?

Improve Mobile-Friendliness of Your Website
Refine Your Keyword Targeting
Use Geo-Targeting
Spy on Your Competitors
Optimize Your Landing Pages
Use Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) Strategies.
Promote Seasonal Offers

How do you analyze ROAS?


ROAS equals your total conversion value divided by your advertising costs. “Conversion value” measures the amount of revenue your business earns from a given conversion. If it costs you $20 in ad spend to sell one unit of a $100 product, your ROAS is 5—for each dollar you spend on advertising, you earn $5 back.


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