3 Industries Getting the Most ROI from Digital Marketing

June 27, 2023 | Digital Marketing


If you’re familiar with digital marketing, then you know how heavily data-driven it can be. In this digital age, a well crafted and executed digital marketing campaign leaves no doubt about its effectiveness. Still, with all the data to draw from, proving the return on investment or ROI of your digital marketing plan can be a tough task. This is echoed in Hubspot’s State of Inbound report – where 40% of marketers indicate that one of their top challenges is proving the ROI from their marketing activities.

(Source: Hubspot’s State of Inbound Report)


So why is ROI sometimes so hard to prove? Simply put, it’s hard to determine what affects a consumer’s purchasing decisions. With so many factors at play, including cultural, social and psychological indicators, Marketers can have a hard time determining what truly pushes a consumer through the buying process. However, there are steps you can take to ensure that your digital marketing strategy is being as effective as it can be. Setting up Key Performance Indicators or KPIs such as measuring social media growth, website traffic, and lead conversion can show how well your digital marketing strategy is affecting your audience.


Companies that are late in adopting a full fledged digital marketing plan are quite literally, going to be left in the digital dust. The days were consumers are solely relying on traditional media sources to gather information are long gone. According to a report by Smart Insights, 50% of searches today are being done via mobile. The report also indicates that 91% of Facebook usage is done via smartphone with a strong showing of 88% of Facebook revenue coming from mobile advertising. While some industries may struggle to prove the ROI in their digital marketing efforts
there are some industries who are killing it in the digital arena. Here are three industries that are getting the most bang for their ‘digital marketing’ buck.

  • Retail


The retail industry is booming. In 2015 alone sales were estimated to be $24 trillion worldwide according to a report by eMarketer.com. Further studies done in 2016 sited that the industry would invest over $15 billion in online and mobile advertising. In this age where consumers tend to visit online stores more frequently than the brick and mortar location, the industry’s move to dominating digital marketing spend is no less than expected.


In an industry that invests so heavily online, a good ROI on their efforts should be expected. Right? For other industries it might not be so easy to determine. However, for the retail industry, the numbers don’t lie. In a 2016 report by RetailMeNot, 76% of Retail Marketers in the US have said that their ROI on Digital Marketing strategies was greater than any of their offline marketing efforts. With the advent of more consumers gathering information online and more specifically via smartphones, the industry is moving heavily towards investing digital marketing spend into mobile marketing.

(The Graph above shows the percentage of Marketers receiving ROI in Digital Marketing within the Retail Industry.)


This industry has also heavily adopted social media as a way to push their marketing efforts. Introductions from platforms like Instagram, have now allowed prominent retail brands to add shoppable links to their photos. This is good way for marketers using the social platform to measure ROI from these channels by measuring click-throughs and purchases that may come from using the platforms. With the ability to gather data from such actions, Marketers can tailor their content creation and digital marketing strategies to what consumers are most responding to in an effort to improve and exceed future ROI projections.




(Target has become one of the most engaging retailers on social media with their eye-catching posts and captions.)


  • Entertainment


Let me ask you this - If you’re looking for the latest movie trailer, where do you go? My bet is that you’d probably visit Youtube or a social media channel related to the movie. I know I would. Why is it that we think of social media first when it comes to gathering entertainment related info. Probably because of how much social media platforms facilitate sensory content, whether it be visual or auditory. Industry marketers more than realize the effect social channels have on their audience and seek to utilize these platforms to showcase their upcoming content.


​​ These channels become the place where entertainment marketers get to heavily engage with fans, assess their reactions and decide how effective their product, in this case a movie, will be. ​​ Building conversation and encouraging participating through giveaways encourages their audience to share and spread the word to their peers – one of the good ROI indicators of how well their marketing efforts are being perceived. Studies have shown that movie goers that share a movie promo are more likely to purchase tickets for that movie. In turn, movie goers are more likely to see a movie based on recommendations from their peers - and where do most online recommendations take place these days? On social media - where follows, shares and likes abound.


(Netflix is one of the few entertainment companies dominating the social media landscape.)



Although social media plays a dominant role in the entertainment industry’s digital marketing efforts, it also shines in the email marketing arena. According to Trackmaven.com, email promotions in the entertainment sector have the highest open rates among all other industries. This indicates a great demand for entertainment related products and communication and also a great KPI to measure the effectiveness of their digital marketing efforts.

  • Food


If you have a social media profile, chances are that you’ve taken a photo or two of your meal at any given time. As humans, we develop emotional connections to the foods we love – after all that’s where we get the term comfort food. But not only is an emotional connection developed, but our loyalty to products and brands as well.


Food companies, knowing our connection to food not only for survival but also for comfort and pleasure have used digital marketing channels to create content with loads of sensory appeal. Blogs, photos and instructional videos are popping up everywhere with a goal to draw the audience in.


One food brand reporting great success with their digital marketing ROI is Kraft Foods. They have been able to take engagement data from their digital marketing strategies to craft content that continues to achieve their goals. One look at their blog would entice even the novice foodie among us – with delicious and creative recipes abounding. But they’re not relying solely on their blog. Kraft Foods can be found everywhere from social media platforms to Youtube – using a digital multichannel approach to ensure that their content gets seen no matter where their audience hangs out.