The Future Of ROAS
As of October 2022 our conclusion is that you are best replacing ROAS with a more balanced set of metrics. However, there are good reasons to still check in with your return On Ad Spend every so often. Times and ways of working change, but just because something falls out of popularity, it doesn't mean it is completely defunct.
Why Should We Still Keep ROAS In Mind?
If you are starting out as a business and you are looking for something that can quickly be measured and fed back to your staff, ROAS is a great metric. You can always verbally give the caveat that it has some limitations, and then use it to create an easy-to-understand picture of how the company is doing at that moment in time. This will be useful in situations where you have a large team of workers who are front-line staff, and may not understand the complexeties of the metrics that management use.
Profit-focussed strategies benefit from using ROAS as a bench-mark to review campaigns. Rather than completely excluding ROAS from your metrics, you can use it alongside the others that we mentioned in our previous articles. Advertising can be a tricky game, and so if you have been using the Return On Ad Spend calculation already, don't just eliminate it from your way of working - phase it out slowly, or reserve it for monthly rather than weekly reports.
Comparison of campaigns is made easier. Again, if you are looking for some quck simple stats, why not use ROAS results to get a tempertaure check? This is something that doesn't take much time and (although it's sometimes considered a 'vanity metric') it will allow you to identify any obvious differences, and then you can decided to be more granular if need be.
What does the future hold?
Considering the fluidity of the digital marketing space at the moment, we cannot accurately predict whether ROAS will return to it's former glory, or if it has been black-listed forever. What we can say is that operating systems outside of Apple have taken their lead, and soon third party data from apps may entirely be a thing of the past.
In 2021 there was much discussion about Open Source operating systems (other than Android); MobianOS, PureOS and Tizen to name a few. Hacking your mobile device, or even being offered an aftermarket OS by your service provider will mean that data collection is severely depleted compared the way we previously worked. This doesn't mean that ROAS stops being a tool in your reporting, you simply need to know how to place your creatives when you plan your campaign. Are there platforms that you can advertise on who collect data independently? Are you targetting the right audience with your designs, theme and tone?
In short, it seems that ROAS will always be here for the people that want it. As a business you will just need to be aware of it's short-comings and also recognise that the return on your advertising is multi-layered: one little metric can't reflect your true investment potential.
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