If you’re anything like me, you’ll have been paying lip service to the concept of ROI for years. I’m generally sceptical of the validity of most ROI calculations, but don’t have a credible argument for why we shouldn’t attempt them. I generally mumble something about ‘qualitative’ data and look a bit sheepish.

So in yesterday’s post on ten things to look for in a digital channel as part of a 21st century ‘beating the bounds’ visit, point 10 was about attempting a simple ROI assessment for the channel, to see whether it is worthy of further scrutiny with a view to making it more productive for the organisation. Here’s a quick suggestion for how you might attempt that.

Take three dimensions:

  1. Significance: how important is this channel to the organisation? This might relate to whether people would reasonably question its absence (e.g. a corporate website), its role in delivering important goals for the organisation, or its importance to senior management (but don’t over-egg the last one if it’s just a vanity channel).
  2. Resource: how much time and financial resource do we put – or should we be putting – into maintaining this? Just a sense of effort/cost, no hard numbers needed.
  3. Value: what does it provide us with in terms of helping to meet the goals we’ve set for it? This might be a cash saving, it could be a sustained increase in useful feedback received to a consultation, or might be the enthusiasm from colleagues for the insights they get from it – be open-minded.

For each of those dimensions, give then channel a High, Medium or Low score – it’s more important to complete the exercise than generate numbers. Be honest, be decisive.

Then apply this matrix:

Measure: High: Medium: Low:
Significance 1 point 2 points 3 points
Resource 3 points 2 points 1 point
Value 1 point 2 points 3 points

If anything scores 5 points or more, put it on a watch list of channels to be made more useful or less resource-intensive to maintain. 7 points or more? Put it top of the list. Anything score 3 points? Make a note of it for the business case next time you’re asked to demonstrate your team’s efficiency.

Finally, here’s a Google Doc version of the matrix, in case that helps (download the sheet to put in your own numbers):


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ROI Monkey strokes chin and nibbles heartily on breakfast bananas in approval of this article.