Best Practices for Tracking Return-on-Ad-Spend (ROAS)

Nic Zangre Updated by Nic Zangre

ROAS Overview

Return on Ad Spend reports allow marketers to marry Ad Spend data with Attribution / ROI data. For marketing executives, this is a key concept because many companies spend millions of dollars on ads (literally!) and would like to see their return on that ad spend. ROAS reports allow you to answer questions like:

  • How many impressions on Linkedin does it take to create a new lead (or opportunity)?
  • For each dollar I spent last month on an ad campaigns, actual bookings/cost, how many dollars of revenue did I generate?
  • Which channel performs best: AdRoll, LinkedIn, Google Ads, BING, etc.?
  • What % of new business originates from Advertising and Pay-per-Click campaigns?

Here's an example of a ROAS report (showing LinkedIn as a source):

Sample CaliberMind Return on Ad Spend report

UTM-Tracking / Setup Prerequisites:

In CaliberMind, there are 3 key mechanisms that enable ROAS:

  1. Setting up a website tracker to track "page visits" and "identify" users when they fill out a webform. We recommend using Analytics.JS.
  2. Exporting Ad Performance and spend data from your ad platform(s). This data will contain daily spend for each Ad (pay-per-click and/or banner ads). Similar to the data a CFO would use to budget for employees and operational reports, this data is used for Digital Marketing Managers and CMOs to allocate media budget. We have native connectors to most ad platforms For example, you may export data from:
    1. LinkedIn
    2. Google Ads
    3. AdRoll
    4. Bing
  3. Tagging your URLs with Ad IDs, Campaign IDs, and UTMs.

In the URL example below, you'll see some query string parameters which are used tag the URL for reporting. This requires discipline and a strong process which needs to be implemented by your marketing team. Additionally, some Marketing Tools (like HubSpot) has the ability to help generate these URLs when building out marketing landing pages. We, at CaliberMind, use HubSpot and our team has a pretty rigorous process when setting up each ad. You can see below as an example that the back-half of the URL has specific Ad and Campaign ID data in the URL's Query String. These parameters are made specially to match up to spend and performance data exported from the ad's platform.

Marketing URL Example

Sample CaliberMind Marketing URL


CaliberMind Legend

Default settings*

  • utm_source -- which ad platform was used
  • hsa_cam -- which campaign id was used
  • hsa_ad -- which ad id was used

To change the defaults, we recommend non-advanced users to contact their CSM, or, for advanced users, you can edit the SQL in the system views directly:

  • Response Summary (v_response)
  • Performance Summary (v_performance)
  • Event: AnalyticsJS (v_event___analyticsjs)
  • Campaign Summary (v_campaign)

ROAS is a bit tricky to set up but the payoff to your organization's decision-making will make it well worth your while!

How did we do?

Creating and maintaining a custom advertising budget for ROAS

Why Is CaliberMind ROAS or ROI Different Than My Ad Platform?