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How to More Effectively Measure the ROI of Design

By November 28, 2019 Uncategorized

Knowing a return on investment is crucial. Businesses will pour thousands, sometimes millions into marketing campaigns. But what do they get in return? Knowing the ROI is essential for a few reasons. It lets you know:

– If you should implement a new strategy or approach
– How well your customers are responding to the changes
– If the investment proved successful or if ended up costing you money (negative ROI)

When a company hires a marketing team, they expect results. At some point, managers would like a physical representation of what their marketing has done for them.

Good, bad or ugly.

They want to know, and more importantly, deserve to know, just how well your marketing and design strategy is working.

For marketers, giving their clients an accurate representation of how a change has positively influenced their return is a struggle. It’s been reported that nearly 40% of marketers find that proving the ROI of marketing activities is a challenge.

Unlike SEO services, design projects are tricky to measure. Are you or your client getting the most ‘bang for their buck’? Not to fear. There are some proven methods for getting a somewhat accurate account of ROI and ways to effectively measure.

Ways To Measure ROI of Design

Let’s get to it. Sadly, many will try to convince you that there’s no way to produce the ROI of design, not accurately anyway. If you have heard that it’s not possible, or that those numbers aren’t relevant or are unreliable.

Prepare to be amazed.

It’s possible to measure your ROI of design. While it’s possible, you’ll also need to know that the process is not a simple one. It does take a fair amount of planning, followed by expert execution.


Stay Current With Your Marketing Metrics

Knowing how well you’re doing with your other marketing strategies can give you some indication of how influential design can be for your business. Digital marketing metrics take into consideration both internal and external factors, Where these two overlap. You should also look for UX stats. Creating a pattern that can identify a problem will help in improving your ROI for design.

Let’s work through an example shall we? Your marketing team has just completed a full redesign for a client’s website. Your client went from having a basic page that could have passed for being built in the late 90s to a sophisticated page with amazing modern graphics, eye-popping color, and more straightforward navigation. If you want to determine how all your hard work has paid off, how can you do so?

If you knew what your metrics were before starting the project, you’d have a great point of reference upon completion. It’s vital that before starting a task for design, that you and your client know how well they’re doing right then and there. These reference points will serve you well when trying to determine the ROI of the new design.

As a marketer, you are probably familiar with the necessary digital metrics such as;

  • Bounce rate
  • Click rate or click through rate
  • Funnel abandonment rate
  • Course conversions
  • Session duration

These paint a pretty complete picture of how well a site is performing and how effective the website design is working. Whenever you go to make changes, be it updating a home services site with a new video upload or upgrading a checkout funnel of an eCommerce site, take note of where you are.

To get the most accurate numbers, and projected changes, you’ll want to be using some type of analytic software. Google has free tools available. Other notable mentions such as HubSpot, and Insider have all been ranked highly for ease of use and value generations.

Specific software will help you to isolate individual factors and filters, giving you a better view as to how the changes have influenced customers’ perception and increased conversions. Bottom line: Know your baseline metrics.

Tracking Conversion Sources

In another example, what would happen if your design elements for your website included being mobile-friendly. This is a vital design element every company should be using. It can certainly help you rank higher on the search results.

But it also provides a more fabulous user experience. In fact, for websites that aren’t currently mobile-friendly, they can expect 45% of consumers to leave because of the poor design, layout, and readability.

When tracking conversion sources, use the tools you have at your disposal. How will you know that if you implement a new design strategy, anything will change? Use your starting metrics then look at the current numbers after you’ve applied the design changes. How are these different, and how does that number play into an amount that you can quantify?

> It may be difficult for some people to wrap their heads around conversions. It can even be more confusing when these conversion sources are subject to change, by almost an endless possibility of influences. Basic marketing statistics and the goals of your business must work with these changes.

Conversion sources could be anything from:


  • Organic Traffic
  • Social Media
  • Referral Programmes
  • Affiliate Programmes
  • Email marketing and so on

Having a fixed value goal for your design may seem like the best long term plan. But having more fluid short term goals will allow your business to stay reactive with your design decisions.

How your users will navigate the website, what they click on, where they go, their entire journey can all be boiled down into data. This data is the ingredient you need to measure the user experience now and in the future.

What many marketers find is that while it may be difficult to pinpoint the ROI of the design itself, using comparative values in what’s called A/B testing, to be a more effective route.


A/B Testing- For Substantial Changes

When you want to know how a change has affected your bottom line, or if it was worth the time and frustration, there’s no better way than to use A/B testing. This can be used for minor changes but is highly useful for comparing values of significant change, I.e., a complete website redesign.

When a change is complete, two variations can be used for obtaining ROI, the old and the new. If you’re stuck between options for a graphic, an image or for a colour option, this is the way to find out which one to pick. Simply track the conversions from each option and that is a key indicator for which option is working.



Multivariate Testing- For Smaller Changes

Making minor changes to a website, such as reconfiguring the look of a call to action button, may not seem like it could impact any numerical factor. But it can. Trust me.

Let’s say your client’s website had no CTA. With the presence of one, they have now increased their conversion rate by 20%. Because of the addition of just one design element, making it easier for a customer to request more information, you now have a value to show your client a positive ROI.

Multivariate testing works differently than A/B testing, in that each element is assigned a value. You create all the different variations possible, then test. Whichever produces the positive changes, is the winner. Values can also be collected from cues such as social listening and brand awareness.


Social Listening

Do you know what everyone is saying about your brand, your social media or your website? Listening to your audience, and reviewing the feedback can be extremely useful.

Most people aren’t afraid to let you know where you can improve.

Finding out where you stand in the eyes of your viewers can be very beneficial. But how can you elicit a response even to collect the data?

You can ask for feedback from your visitors, asking them to rate their visit or other similar methods. Some companies will ask a person to rate their experience on a scale of 1 to 5, which can give them some indications as to how they are doing.

Using social listening and taking in data from their responses can be an excellent start and a point in which you need to reference later. When combined with A/B testing, you will start to get an accurate picture of what your return on investment is.



Brand Awareness

How well does your audience know you? Do you think that your customers would be able to pick your brand out of a line up? Brand awareness is vast, but should be a primary goal for the design team. Everything your company puts out should be cohesive, and easily identifiable with what you do.

When trying to measure your return on investment, you can’t just look at the instant results. You have to look long term.

When rebranding, especially, the design team will have to overhaul many features which could include the website itself. Elements such as, A new logo design, or new profile pictures on social media may not be enough.

This isn’t nearly half of what happens behind the scenes of graphic design and digital marketing services, but it all plays are part of the cost.

When you consider that the result of making changes to the design, is better brand awareness. Creating a more uniform brand experience will give you more customers and a more loyal customer base.

The higher your conversions are directly related to how well the design team has done and how well they are implementing strategies.



Before beginning a new design project, whether it be a complete website overhaul or a change in branding, it’s always best to know your marketing metrics. Using analytical tools, get familiar with your baseline numbers, such as the bounce rates, CTR, course conversion, and session duration. Jot down these numbers or keep a spreadsheet to identify the changes that occur after you’ve finished the design project.

You can expect there to be some fluctuation in the numbers. Your viewers may have preferred certain features before the changes, such as the familiarity of layout, or they found navigation easier. But if you know how they felt before the changes, you can quickly remedy the dip in satisfaction.

Try, try and try again in the form of testing is the tried and true method for effectively measuring the ROI of design for grander scale changes. You’d have a clear representation if the change were worth the investment. For smaller changes using a multivariate approach might be more useful. Gather data from essential sources such as customers’ feedback, and you will have the data required to produce a measurable ROI.


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