LinkedIn has conducted a survey to determine how digital marketers want to establish their ROI in haste and found that 77% of respondents attempted to do so within the very first month. Only 4% of respondents to LinkedIn’s survey measured ROI over periods ranging from six months or longer.

ROI is critical, but marketers are short-changing their marketing efforts by attempting to measure it much too fast. The professional network had surveyed over 4,000 digital marketers to measure their digital ROI on LinkedIn.

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Other key findings of the LinkedIn survey are that digital marketers are trying to prove their ROI in a shorter time than the length of their actual sales cycle. The typical B2B sales cycle can last between a month to two years, but the average B2B sales cycle mostly takes place over six months or more. And yet, the research shows that digital marketers attempt to measure the ROI of their marketing initiatives and programs almost immediately.

They added that the issue exists because the full return on a campaign cannot be determined until the completion of the sales cycle. When budget allocation decisions are taken for improvising short term performance, marketers might put more money into it to demonstrate initial lift, but the impact is not long-lasting. This also means that campaigns or channels better served by additional funding and more time, are shortchanged. More than 58% of digital marketers confirmed the urgency to measure ROI so that they could justify expenditure and place requests for future budgets.

LinkedIn shared the following findings from the survey to illustrate what digital marketers are measuring is the short-term impact of their campaigns and not the actual ROI:

  • 77% of digital marketers measure ROI in the first month of their campaign.
  • 52% measure ROI in less than one month for campaigns with sales cycles of three months or longer.
  • Only 4% of respondents measure ROI over six months or longer.

LinkedIn also cautioned against using cost per click to measure ROI, as CPC is a key performance indicator, but it does not demonstrate the impact of advertising expenditure. They maintained that cost per lead is a better indicator of measuring the success of the lead generation activity.

LinkedIn noticed that 90% of respondents were using KPIs to make optimization decisions within the first month, with 75% of digital marketers optimizing as quickly as two weeks into campaigns.

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As a result of the rush to judgment on campaigns, LinkedIn concluded that just 37% of digital marketers in the study described themselves as confident about their ROI metrics, while 40% are not actively sharing those with stakeholders.

The digital age is awash in data, demonstrating the power of marketing to build a brand, produce engagement, generate leads, and boost revenue. So, marketers need not struggle to prove their value and demonstrate their ROI.