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July 9, 2018

How to Measure Mobile Advertising ROI

Identifying and assigning values to key performance indicators.


As more marketers shift their budget dollars to mobile advertising, it’s becoming increasingly important to measure return on investment (ROI) to understand and improve the effectiveness of campaigns. However, many marketers struggle to know where to start.

In fact, one survey of 400 marketers found 21 percent don’t know how to measure mobile ad campaign ROI or simply don’t measure it. And those who do are in the early stages of understanding it and implementing a strategy — 56 percent describe themselves as beginners, 31 percent intermediate, and only 13 percent consider themselves advanced.

If you don’t fall into that 13 percent, below is a crash course on measuring mobile advertising ROI.

Identifying key performance indicators (KPIs)

The first step is to identify your KPIs based on the goal of your mobile ad campaign. Are you looking to grow your brand awareness, increase engagement, or convert more leads? Your answer will determine what success looks like for your campaign.


A brand awareness campaign attempts to increase a company’s exposure to a particular audience. The KPIs for a brand awareness campaign are usually an increase in reach, followers, or traffic. The ROI in this case has to do with the time and the budget spent and the change in KPIs that resulted.

  • How many users saw your ad, and thus your brand, in their news feeds (aka total ad impressions)?
  • How did the campaign increase the number of followers and interest of your brand?
  • How much did traffic to your website increase during the time of the campaign?


A campaign that aims for increased engagement is trying to spark discussions about your company in a genuine way. Engagement serves as a good indicator of a user’s sentiment and interest in a brand, and it can be monitored through number of likes, comments, and shares, types of reactions, and social media mentions. The ROI for engagement campaigns has to do with the proof that the time spent engaging with the audience had an actual value.

  • How has engagement increased during the time of the campaign?
  • Was there a genuine interest from consumers?
  • What are the chances that these people will continue interacting with you in the future?


A conversion campaign uses a tangible hook to direct consumers toward a specific action. Whether it’s a free consultation, a report, or an ebook, companies use conversion campaigns to increase email subscribers, content downloads, or lead form completions. The ROI has to do with justifying the budget spent on the hook and the campaign toward achieving set goals.

  • Was the hook effective enough for people to provide their contact information?
  • How many new leads resulted from the campaign?
  • What is the quality of the leads?
Assigning values to KPIs

After you’ve determined your goal and identified your KPIs, it’s time to tackle the monetary value of the KPIs. There are different ways to do this, such as:

  • Calculating lifetime value: How much do you earn from each customer on average?
  • Calculating lifetime value multiplied by conversion rate: How much is each potential visit worth to you based on the percentage that converts?

Zoomcar, the largest car rental company in India, is an example that illustrates the benefit of assigning dollar values to KPIs. The company uses social marketing to drive mobile app installs, where users can make a purchase (its key conversion metric). Zoomcar knows that its lifetime value of a customer is $70, and that 40 percent of its mobile app users make a purchase. Therefore, it knows a mobile app download is worth $28 and can strategize accordingly.

What sales metrics is your organization already tracking that you can easily apply to your KPIs to truly understand your mobile advertising ROI? If you need help, get in touch with our mobile marketing experts today.

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