Small Business Owners: Do You Really Know the ROI of Your Online Ads?

return on investment
Online ads ROI

I have just read an interesting article from The Sydney Morning Herald highlighting small business confusions about online ads. The news piece is interesting because it talks about how small businesses have no clue about the effectiveness of their online ad placements.

A survey conducted by Yellow Pages on 1,800 small and medium-sized enterprises owners reveals that 69 percent of business owners don’t measure the ROI of their online advertising. It is a surprising fact, indeed. But the surprises don’t stop there.

In addition to that, 79 percent of SMEs don’t have a strategy to guide them in their online investment, including online ads, while only 13.2 percent of business owners make well-informed decisions related to online ads based on the return on investment figures.

The confusion is highlighted by this fact: 30 percent of business owners make their advertising decisions not by analytical and tracking tools, but by asking customers how they found them.

If you need to cut costs, don’t overlook your online ad expenses

Small business owners – if are in a campaign of cutting your business operation costs, you should not overlook your ad spending.

It is true that the online world is both exciting and lucrative, and reaching them will give your business leverages; it is also true that online ads are usually more cost-effective than the off line counterparts, but if you are not following the good ol’ rule of thumb of measuring the ROI of your ads, you are wasting your hard-earned money for nothing.

How to measure your online ad ROI?

According to, there are some ways you can consider to measure your online ad campaign ROI:

  • Hiring online expert to manage your Internet marketing campaigns and do the analysis of ROI.
  • Use Google Insights to plan campaigns, Google Analytics to track campaigns and Google Adwords‘ internal ads analytic system.
  • For your email marketing campaigns, use tools provided by reputable email marketing companies to track and measure the campaigns’ performance.
  • To measure phone leads, use tracking tools provided by reputable phone call tracking companies.

…but I am too confused!

The rapid changes in the online world is often too confusing for business owners, but at least you need to follow common sense and best practice in getting your ads to display in where they should be and in maximising the returns of your ads.

Of course, you don’t need to learn all of those things yourself before you make any business decisions. You obviously need others to help you out. I recommend you to seek professional advices from the right sources (a hint: Don’t ask for advices from online ad brokers – it’s better to ask your fellow business owners who have worked with online ads before for some pointers and recommendations.)

Ivan Widjaya
Watch your online ad spending