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Data-Driven Marketing

FAQ: Which Marketing Channels Get the Best ROI?

Content, SEO, social, PPC? Which channels get you the most bang for your marketing budget buck? Find out our top picks for marketing channel ROI here.

5 mins read time
Alan Bedingfield
Alan Bedingfield

Jul 25, 2022

Choosing the right marketing channel is one of the first things you need to do when creating a marketing strategy for your brand. The success and ROI of your campaign depend on several factors, including the marketing channel you are using.

When you are new to the marketing game, ROI is critical. And you need to pick the channels that deliver the best ROI at the right time. The time marketing channels take to return your investment is crucial. Understanding short-term vs. long-term ROI for various marketing channels will help you spend money smartly.

Let's dive into the marketing channels with the best ROI and how and when you should use them.

1. Content

Content creation and publication is a long-term marketing strategy that delivers results both in the short and long run. Content has the most impactful ROI as it is sustainable with minimal cost.

The content you publish on your blog needs time to rank and send organic traffic. Research shows that it takes an average of 2 years to rank on the first page of Google:

average age of page google top ten


This is what makes content a long-term marketing channel that shows return with age. But how much do you earn from a single blog post?

It depends.

The ROI of content and blogging is more impactful than any other marketing channel and here is why:

  • The content you produce and publish impacts the entire funnel and isn’t just limited to one stage.
  • Published content doesn’t just impact traffic, but it acts as your brand’s voice. It is used for thought leadership, brand awareness, credibility, etc. 
  • The return on content is potentially infinite. As long as the content is there, it will continue to impact your brand, traffic, leads, credibility, and more.
  • It drives several metrics, including qualitative factors such as engagement.

Content has a consistent, impactful, and long-term ROI that continues to grow with your brand (as both age).

2. SEO

Content and SEO go hand-in-hand. Optimizing content and your website for search engines should be a part of your content marketing strategy. SEO has both long-term and short-term returns on investment.

On-page SEO shows results quickly as compared to off-page SEO, which has exponential, sustainable, and long-term ROI that covers your entire brand.

Backlinks, for example, that you acquire via guest blogging can continue to impact your website’s ranking and authority for years to come. The value of each backlink grows as the host website improves its authority, so all the outgoing links become more valuable over time.

SEO might cost you more as it requires consistency in terms of investment, but it has a high ROI that impacts your website for years to come.

3. PPC

PPC ads are great at delivering instant results. The ROI is quick and easy to calculate as every PPC click, conversion, and sale can be tracked. This type of granular attribution is quite complicated for other marketing channels (such as content and SEO).

Most ad networks (e.g., Google Ads) automatically calculate and show the ROI and ROAS of your campaigns. This helps you make the right decisions quickly because you don’t have to wait years to see how your PPC campaign performed.

The ROI of PPC ads is quick, but it has a high impact because it helps you drive instant traffic and sales. This has a direct impact on the profit and revenue of your business. Importantly, you can run almost any type of PPC campaign. For example, you can run a campaign for brand awareness that might deliver results for days (and even weeks or months) to come.

Once your target audience knows you and your brand name after seeing repetitive ads, you will continue to receive direct traffic from these people.

4. Social Media

Social media marketing has both short-term and long-term ROI, but results depend on your social media strategy and the social platforms you are using.

Organic social media has a long-term ROI and is more impactful as it shapes your brand image and credibility. If you are maintaining your presence on social media and publish new posts consistently (or even irregularly) without spending money on social ads, you will see a return in the long term (in most cases).

There are, however, certain social media platforms like TikTok and Snapchat that have a quick ROI, even with organic marketing.

Paid social media campaigns deliver instant ROI (like PPC) irrespective of social media channels. For example, if you are using Facebook ads to drive traffic to generate leads, you will be able to see leads instantly with quick and measurable ROI.

5. Email Marketing

Email marketing is a highly personalized marketing channel that has a high ROI. For every $1 spent on email marketing, you can receive up to $36 in return:

email roi


There are two key reasons for such a decent ROI:

  1. It is a personalized marketing channel where each email can be customized at an individual level automatically.
  2. Your subscribers allow you to send them emails and this makes it the only marketing channel with the customer’s consent (double opt-in).

How quickly will you receive this return?

It depends.

If you are running an email marketing campaign for your existing SaaS customers and want them to upgrade their plans, the ROI will be instant.

However, if you are sending weekly/monthly newsletters, it is a long-term investment because you are building a community of loyal and engaged subscribers. You won’t be able to see a return in such a case instantly.

The Best Marketing Channel for Your Brand?

You need a mix of both short-term and long-term ROI channels for your brand. Don’t stick with one type of marketing channel as it might prove disastrous.

Investment in marketing channels that take years to give a return might stall sales and revenue. You will have a high cash outflow with minimal or no cash inflow for a few good months as you will wait for the marketing channel to show results.

If you choose to invest in a marketing channel that gets results instantly, it gets problematic to maintain such a business model, especially if you have a high customer acquisition cost with a low retention rate. You will keep spending money to drive traffic and sales, and the moment you pause, your campaign, traffic, leads, sales, and revenue will get to zero immediately.

This is a reason why choosing both types of marketing channels is essential for your brand.

At First Page Strategy, we use content marketing and PPC together for our clients as a growth marketing tactic where PPC drives instant traffic and sales while content and SEO build a long-term and sustainable growth channel. You can stop PPC when content starts driving enough traffic and leads and this is the time when you can sit back and see numbers going up with no consistent marketing investment.

Learn how we can help your brand choose the right marketing channels with the right mix of ROI for exponential growth and sustainability.


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Alan Bedingfield

Alan is a strategic marketer and business leader with global experience working for organizations like Google, Microsoft, Toyota, and The Movember Foundation. Over the years, his work has shifted perspectives, influenced change, and driven results.

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