Measurement Insights

EMR is the New ROAS

Understanding return on investment is the core question marketers must be able to answer about how their media channels are performing. Traditionally, marketers obsess over ROAS (return on ad spend) with revenue as the only metric determining return. This is an outdated and misguided approach that doesn’t give marketing leaders enough context to make more strategic decisions about how to make the most of their marketing investments. We measure return based on how digital media investments drive sustainable growth, brand awareness, offline sales, customer acquisition, and more. We call this new metric Enterprise Marketing Return

Enterprise Marketing Return (EMR) is a single unifying metric that shows the holistic impact of marketing investments in order to fuel better decision making. ROAS is a limiting metric, as it misses the bigger picture. Many marketers operating against ROAS alone find themselves asking questions such as – 

  • How much true lift, or incremental impact, are my media investments having relative to my business’s baseline performance?
  • How are my media investments impacting offline performance and how do I quantify that impact?
  • Is ROAS helping me get the new customers my business needs?
  • How do I focus on media that is driving the most valuable customers?

EMR is the natural evolution of ROAS. It quantifies the full value you are getting from your media investments, and it allows you to evaluate and understand the trade-offs of your media mix decisions.

Let’s use brand search vs non-brand search as an example to bring the concept of EMR to life. Non-brand search typically performs poorly from a ROAS perspective relative to brand search – leading marketers to believe they should lean-in and invest in brand search. The reality is that non-brand search actually drives a high volume of new customers whereas brand search is reaching customers already looking for your brand, leading to low incrementality.

As illustrated in the brand search vs non-brand search example, using EMR as your leading metric drastically impacts your mix decisions to account for a more holistic view of return on investment. 

Without a comprehensive view of marketing return like EMR, you are directing your entire marketing budget to sub-optimal targets. We find that clients often need to remix 25%-40% of their marketing once they start using EMR. What are you missing out in your marketing mix?

Ovative is a digital-first media and measurement firm seeking to transform the measure of marketing success. At Ovative, we help brands move the needle. We are curious. We value your brand. We want to see you succeed. Connect with us to learn more!


Beth McKigney

Senior Vice President, Measurement

About the Author

Beth is the Senior Vice President of Measurement at Ovative. She is responsible for developing, implementing, and supporting proprietary technology products that enable clients to unlock insights across marketing channels and devices. Since joining Ovative in 2013, Beth built Ovative’s Site Analytics & Optimization practice and Marketing Analytics Platform (MAP). She is spearheading development of new technology products focused... Read More >>

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