Benchmark your ROI

Compare your ROI with the WARC database

Compare your ROI with the WARC database

Use WARC's ROI tool to see how your campaign payback compares with the effectiveness case studies in the WARC database.

The tool asks for your campaign information, including campaign costs, incremental revenue increases, and incremental costs. It then benchmarks your returns against the ROI figures of WARC case studies.

Category-specific results are available for campaigns in the sectors with sufficient historical ROI data: food, financial services, household & domestic, soft drinks and toiletries & cosmetics.

The ROI figures used are based on profit. If you are only able to provide revenue data, the tool will benchmark your results in terms of incremental sales returns shown by WARC case studies.

Use the ROI Benchmarker

The median ROI in the WARC database is 1.8:1

ROI figures are calculated in terms of profit generated by advertising activity. ROI levels in the WARC database are distributed as follows:

Notes: This chart displays the percentage of case studies from the WARC database that fall within a certain range (for example, between 1.5:1 and 2:1).

To compile this information, we have looked at all ROI figures cited in case studies of successful advertising from the WARC database since the year 2000. The chart displays the distribution of ROI figures that are based on profit – in other words, the profit delivered by advertising investment. Other forms of return, including ratios based on incremental sales, are not included in this chart.

The percentage figures in the chart are calculated as:

number of cases within the given range x 100
number of cases citing a profit ROI

The long-term ROI could be even higher

  • The ROI figures in the WARC database are mostly calculated within a one-year timeframe.
    ROI can vary widely between campaigns and categories, with a short term impact from less than 1:1 to more than 10:1.

  • Long-term ROI could be double the short-term ROI.
    Evidence in the WARC database strongly suggests that the long-term impact of advertising is approximately twice the short-term impact, so the 1.8:1 median return in the database could become 3.6:1 over a longer timeframe. Read more in the Advertising Research Foundation paper Why aren't you looking at the Long Term ROI of ads?.

  • Evidence suggests that the impact of advertising is almost always positive.
    This may sound counter-intuitive, given the competitive nature of advertising, but is well explained by Les Binet & Sarah Carter of adam&eveDDB in Mythbuster: Advertising is a risky investment.

Les Binet

ROI calculations: How to get your sums right
Les Binet's definitive guide to calculating ROI outlines potential pitfalls. These include: failing to measure financial payback at all; confusing sales increases with incremental sales; treating all direct sales as incremental; treating revenue as profit; using the wrong profit margin; and careless use of the term 'ROI'.

Read more about measuring ROI

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