Measuring ROI the Brilliant Noise way

Measuring ROI is tough. Especially true for the kinds of work Brilliant Noise specialises in (content, capability, strategy etc).

We decided it’s not good enough to say something is too hard. So we set out to create a model of measurement that we can apply to every client we work with, titled ROI – the Brilliant Noise way.

So how do we do it?

To begin this process we started out on a discovery project. Our data team collected dozens of articles and literature about ROI and built up a picture of how other agencies have measured it in the past. We also talked to internal stakeholders about their experiences measuring ROI. This gave us a list of challenges:

  • ROI is difficult to calculate for organic/owned media marketing (organic search, direct mail etc) because attributing sales in these mediums is difficult – compared with paid media
  • Clients sometimes don’t need/want to measure ROI for their projects
  • Some work is so far away from a conversion that it is difficult to assign a monetary value to it – for instance culture change, capability building and strategy work

Based on this research, we developed a unique model for measuring ROI at Brilliant Noise. This model helps us build up to measuring ROI with some building blocks:

The model consists of 4 levels of measurement:

  1. Delivery – what did we deliver for the client? What did this project deliver? This is the most simplest of measurements, one which everyone should be able to work out…
  2. Value – this should still be relatively straightforward. What did a project contribute to a KPI (key performance indicator)? This KPI should be set in advance, and measured as part of the project
  3. ROI – the classic ROI calculation (the benefit or return of an investment is divided by the cost of the investment). This will require a definitive number for the return a project gives the client.
  4. Long term ROI – a more complex calculator looking at the longer benefits of a project, for instance improved brand perception or returns over a number of years

We developed a set of questions which would identify where a client or project sits within this model currently. We can then work with the client to move them up the pyramid until we are working out ROI.

So how does it work?

As an example of how this works, we can use an example SEO project:

  • Delivery – we delivered 20 new pages of content for the client, along with 30 technical changes
  • Value – these changes increased organic traffic by 10% over the course of a year
  • ROI – this delivered and ROI of 1.1 over the course of a year
  • Long term ROI – the project delivered a boost in brand search and brand perception which would increase sales by 5% in the long term – contributing to a long term ROI of 1.2

This is all well and good for projects that contribute to the bottom line directly, but still leaves out capability programmes, strategy etc which are more diffuse.

To calculate ROI for these projects we look for indirect impacts on the bottom line. For example, if a capability project aims to train teams to be better at a discipline (for example SEO), we would measure the value the programme like this:

  • Delivery – we delivered an SEO capability programme to a team in the USA
  • Value – this programme increased confidence in SEO in that team by 25%
  • ROI – as a result of the programme a number of pilots were set up by the team. One of these pilots was successful and was rolled out.  The rolled out programme delivered revenue of £x, resulting in an ROI of the capability programme of 1.5
  • Long term ROI – the long term impact of the successful pilot led to an ROI of 1.7 over the course of 3 years

Of course, collecting this data is still very, very difficult, and requires commitment over the long term. But the benefits can be transformative. A positive ROI score for a project can open doors for clients wanting recognition within a business and for agencies wanting to prove their worth. At Brilliant Noise, we certainly think it’s worth the effort.

If you would like to discuss how we can help you measure ROI then get in touch with our team of experts.