While it is relatively easy to calculate the ROI for equipment and machinery, it can be hard to measure for less tangible departments, like marketing and packaging. Yet, it doesn’t make these elements less crucial to your business’s overall performance. Adequate visual content offers great return on investment when approached strategically.
Marketing efforts’ returns can be particularly challenging to pin down. How do you know if the quality of your bottle shots in your online store impacts people’s shopping decisions? If the featured imagery on social media influences sales? If the video on your landing page converts to longer website sessions?
But, measuring the performance of your photos and videos will empower you with better insights on how to deliver value to your business… without having to constantly second-guess yourself!
What is the formula for the ROI of visual content?
Return-on-investment is a percentage that identifies the revenue made in comparison to the time and money spent creating your visuals. Here is what the equation looks like:
Here's a concrete example: you can determine the ROI of your Facebook promoted content by applying the formula below.
This means that for every $1 you spent on this piece of promotional content, you earned $3 back. A great start for sure!
What is a good ROI?
According to experts, an ideal ROI ratio is 5:1 or 500%. For every $1 you spent, you make $5 in return. As a rule of thumb, a 200%, or 2:1 ratio, means your company would only break even after the cost of production and marketing, which is not ideal.
To keep things simple and attainable, aim for results mentioned in the example above: an ROI of 300% is a great starting point. You can always aim for 500% at a later stage!
How do I define both “return” and “investment” in my business?
The truth is, your imagery (photos, videos, graphics, etc.) creates a myriad of benefits, other than just sales, and those can sometimes be hard to define.
You can define the “return” on visual content by the increase in brand awareness, audience engagement and overall sales. Keep in mind that the human brain processes images in as little as 13 milliseconds and studies show that 93% of consumers consider the visual appearance of a product to be the key factor in a purchasing decision!
Your “investment” will come in different shapes and forms: internal production costs (marketing team), external production costs (photographer), time spent planning and managing content strategy (marketing manager), advertising (Facebook, Instagram, Google, etc.), software and equipment (WineDirect, iPad for tasting rooms, etc.)
Building upon the standard ROI formula, you can define “return” and “investment” like this:
How can I maximize the ROI of my visual content while working on a budget?
Custom visual content communicates your brand's unique offerings and commitment to quality in a way that stock imagery never can. But how can you afford it?
Get your core trade assets done right, once and for all. Online services like Outshinery create stunning bottle shots without the need for physical products. They will also take care of updating vintages for free!
Push photos and videos everywhere. Use them on your website’s homepage, banner ads, online shop, social media posts, Facebook/Instagram ads, email marketing, tasting notes, tourism flyers, postcards, blog posts, press releases, product launches, etc.
Produce key visual assets that can be repurposed across a campaign, or even multiple campaigns. Posts that include images produce 650% higher engagement than text-only posts, so it’s ok to re-use that image more than once!
Schedule your marketing efforts. By using a calendar to plan, set goals, track resources, and more, you can achieve maximum effectiveness, on budget.
Ask for support. Involve your team in strategy meetings to make sure everyone is aligned. Inquire with fellow industry members in private Facebook groups. Talk to an expert.
So what should I measure?
Let’s look into concrete examples of what you could be measuring to calculate the ROI of your visual content marketing.
a) Look at your website sessions:
Similar to how you track your goals, you can track your website sessions to determine your value of return. Jump into your Google Analytics account and head to Audience > Overview > and select the dates you want to review. (Note: if you have over 1,000 sessions a day we recommend a month over month view, otherwise stick to the week over week view.)
Start recording your metrics in an excel sheet to identify spikes and relative downturns that may also be reflected in your sales! Tip: if you’re ready for more Google Analytics, go to Acquisition > Referrals and check out what has been sending traffic your way. Take note and try to repeat these successes!
b) Survey your social media awareness:
Record metrics like volume and reach. You want to know how far your message is spreading. Pay particular attention to the numbers displayed on your Facebook Business Manager and/or Instagram Insights.
In the same spreadsheet you started above, in another tab, include:
Reach: the number of unique users that saw your post or story on any given day.
Impressions: the number of times your content, whether a post or a story, was shown to users.
Engagement rate: this is your post engagement divided by post impressions.
Now, look at those numbers over time: how are they trending? Can you confidently report how your social media awareness is building up? Nowadays, great brand awareness starts on social - if these three indicators are increasing month over month, you are doing something right!
c) Measure your social media engagement:
There are a multitude of platforms that can help you out with this measurement but here are some basic metrics you can identify on your own: shares, comments and clicks per post.
These metrics will give you the data to understand how engaged your followers are with your content. Many social media specialists value these metrics over likes and awareness metrics. They are great indicators of how your content is amplified and your brand awareness is building up.
Visuals are memorable and effective, because they help people process, understand, and retain more information more quickly. Take the driver’s seat by tracking your visual content ROI regularly. Experiment, learn, tweak and repeat. This may just be one of the best, overlooked investments you can make!
Check out our recent webinar with Outshinery on how to tell a compelling visual brand story: