Report: 2021 Advertising Trends and Predictions

Low ROAS? Here’s Why It’s Happening & How to Solve It

Low ROAS? Here’s Why It’s Happening & How to Solve It

You set up an ad campaign in the hopes of generating as many clicks as possible to increase your traffic volume. After running the campaign for a few days, you notice that your return on ad spend (ROAS) is too low to justify. In other words, the revenue generated from your campaign is equal to or less than what you spent on it. Sooner or later, you’ll have to decide whether to end your campaign or make a drastic change to turn the situation around.

Why your return on ad spend is low

The secret behind low ROAS is in the formula. To calculate your return on ad spend, you need to know what your campaign cost and how much revenue it produced. If it cost too much or didn’t produce enough revenue, your returns may be negligible.

Let’s say your cost per click was $1.96. If you converted 4% of your paid traffic, it would take you 25 clicks to get a single conversion. In this scenario, each conversion would cost you $49. That means your average order value — the average amount of money your customers spend on an order — would need to be over $49 to make your campaign worthwhile. (Ideally, it would be three, four, or five times that.)

In this example, we see three metrics used to calculate your ROAS: 

  • Your cost per click
  • Your conversion rate
  • Your average order value

The same three metrics can reveal why your ROAS is low.

1. Your cost per click is too high

If you don’t follow online advertising best practices, your cost per click can rise exponentially. And that’s a big problem for your bottom line. The math is simple: The higher your costs, the lower your return. It thus makes sense to first optimize the costs you incur to run your advertising campaign. 

In order to reduce your cost per click, you first need to figure out why it’s so high. Maybe there’s high competition for the short-tail keywords you’ve selected. Or, you’re simply bidding too high for your target ad position. Or, perhaps your Quality Score is lower than you’d like. Once you’ve identified the problem, you can start working on a solution. 

quality score benchmark

One of the fundamental factors determining the cost of a Google Ad campaign is your Quality Score, which measures your ads’ quality and relevance for the keywords you target. A high Quality Score will lower your cost per click and increase your impressions. A low Quality Score, on the other hand, can cost you a 400% premium. 

To achieve a higher Quality Score, you must improve your expected click-through rate, ad relevance, and landing page experience. Try implementing these tips: 

  • Increase your CTR: Use compelling ad copy that connects to the keyword’s intent. For example, ad groups that target keywords with commercial intent (e.g., “buy tennis shoes”) should use commercial copy (e.g., “Buy Now”).
  • Improve your landing page speed: Load speed is a critical factor in a visitor’s experience. You can improve it by reducing the size of images and multimedia elements, compressing your HTML, CSS, and Javascript files, and leveraging browser caching. For lightning-fast load speeds, use AMP pages.
  • Optimize your landing page for every device: It should go without saying, but your web design must be responsive to adapt to every device and provide a better user experience.
  • Match your ads with its keywords: Your ad and landing page copy must correlate to the keywords you bid on. Add the keyword your ad group targets in the ad headline, copy, and URL.

2. Your conversion rates are too low

When optimizing an ad campaign, advertisers tend to focus on getting more clicks. As a result, they neglect the post-click experience, which leads to what advertisers consider “natural” low conversion rates.

Google Ads have an industry-wide average conversion rate of 4.40%, with rates ranging between 2.77% (Apparel) and 7.98% (Vehicles).

Google average conversion rate benchmarks

Facebook Ads show better results, with an average conversion rate of 9.21%, with rates as low as 2.31% (Technology) and as high as 14.29% (Fitness).

Facebook average conversion rate

When you aim for average, average is what you get. The truth is, your conversion rates could be much higher. 

To optimize your conversion rates, it’s key to follow digital advertising best practices. You have several options at your disposal: 

Postclick personalization profile fabletics example title

Add personalization

To be perceived as relevant by consumers, it’s important to serve up personalized content that resonates with your target audience. Only then will you see optimal conversion rates. 

Marketers who leverage personalization reap rewards. A study by Econsultancy and Monetate found personalized web experiences generated, on average, a 19% uplift in sales. Now that’s a worthwhile investment. 

Match your ads with your landing pages

A common mistake when creating digital advertising campaigns lies in an exaggerated emphasis on driving clicks. This mentality leads to an over-optimization in the pre-click stage and an under-optimization of the post-click stage, where conversions actually happen.

The truth is, your landing pages must meet the expectations you set in your ads. In other words, it’s important to have unique landing pages for every ad, as the messaging must follow through from the ad to the landing page to be effective. 

Optimize your landing pages

Your landing page design defines your user experience and influences their behavior. Beyond having an aesthetically pleasing page, it’s important to design one that converts. 

Enter conversion-centered design, which focuses on designing a website to elicit a specific action. This approach will maximize your conversion rates while fostering a good user experience. 

3. Your average order value is too low

A high conversion rate can seem like a panacea for any marketer, but conversion rates are a vanity metric without analyzing their relation to profits.

Since ROAS measures an ad campaign’s revenue, you must link your advertising conversions with an average order value (AOV) that justifies your campaign’s costs. 

Your digital advertising investment—the denominator in the ROAS formula—must be proportionally related to its potential revenue, unless your attribution model justifies a higher initial ad investment in the name of future profits. If that’s not the case, a high financial investment only makes sense when there’s a high AOV, and vice versa.

Therefore, when optimizing your ROAS, look at your AOV. If your conversion rate is average (based on your past performance and industry benchmarks), your AOV may explain your low ROAS. In that case, you can try the following tactics:

  • Encourage upsells/cross-sells: Present related offers before and after your customer makes a purchase. 
  • Bundle your offers: Package several related offers, with each individual item discounted.
  • Leverage email marketing: Segment your audiences based on their behavior and demographic data, and send automated campaigns to elicit recurring purchases.

Say goodbye to low ROAS with optimization

If your ad campaign costs too much or doesn’t produce enough revenue, your returns may be negligible. But it doesn’t have to stay that way. Instead of ending your campaign, take the time to optimize your cost per click, conversion rate, and average order value, and you’ll be rewarded with a higher ROAS. 

Get a complimentary conversion analysis 

We want to offer you a complimentary analysis of your ad campaigns. We will review your campaigns to analyze your post-click health, compare your site against industry and competitive benchmarks, and identify the most comprehensive opportunities to increase your ROAS. Our team will share insights on how we can increase your conversion rates, in addition to a comprehensive competitive analysis. Request your analysis here.

Ivan Kreimer
by Ivan Kreimer

Ivan Kreimer is a content writer at Postclick. As a freelance content marketer, he creates educational content for SaaS businesses like Leadfeeder and Campaign Monitor. He’s also written for influential publications like Entrepreneur, MarketingProfs, TheNextWeb, and more.

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