Return on Investment (ROI) is the benefit to an investor resulting from an investment of some resource. A high ROI means the investment gains compare favorably to investment cost. As a performance measure, ROI is used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment or to compare the efficiency of a number of different investments. In purely economic terms, it is one way of considering profits in relation to capital invested.
In business, the purpose of the "return on investment" (ROI) metric is to measure, per period, rates of return on money invested in an economic entity in order to decide whether or not to undertake an investment. It is also used as indicator to compare different project investments within a project portfolio. The project with best ROI is prioritized. Recently, the concept has also been applied to scientific funding agencies (e.g. National Science Foundation) investments in research of open source hardware and subsequent returns for direct digital replication.
ROI and related metrics provide a snapshot of profitability, adjusted for the size of the investment assets tied up in the enterprise. ROI is often compared to expected (or required) rates of return on money invested. ROI is not net present value-adjusted and most school books describe it with a "Year 0" investment and two to three years income.
Marketing decisions have obvious potential connection to the numerator of ROI (profits), but these same decisions often influence assets usage and capital requirements (for example, receivables and inventories). Marketers should understand the position of their company and the returns expected.
In a survey of nearly 200 senior marketing managers, 77 percent responded that they found the "return on investment" metric very useful.
Return on investment may be calculated in terms other than financial gain. For example, social return on investment (SROI) is a principles-based method for measuring extra-financial value (i.e., environmental and social value not currently reflected in conventional financial accounts) relative to resources invested. It can be used by any entity to evaluate impact on stakeholders, identify ways to improve performance, and enhance the performance of investments.
Risk with ROI usage
As a decision tool it is simple to understand. The simplicity of the formula allows to freely choose variables e.g., length of the calculation time, if overhead cost should be included, or details such as what variables are used to calculate income or cost components. To use ROI as an indicator for prioritizing investment projects is risky, since usually little is defined together with the ROI figure that explains what is making up the figure.
When long term investments take place, the need for Net Present Value adjustment is high. Similar to Discounted Cash Flow you should use Discounted ROI instead.
For a single-period review, divide the return (net profit) by the resources that were committed (investment):return on investment = Net income / Investment where: Net income = gross profit − expenses. investment = stock + market outstanding + claims.
orreturn on investment = (gain from investment – cost of investment) / cost of investment
orreturn on investment = (revenue − cost of goods sold) / cost of goods sold
Complications in calculating ROI can occur when real property is refinanced, or a second mortgage is taken out. Interest on a second, or refinanced, loan may increase, and loan fees may be charged, both of which can reduce the ROI, when the new numbers are used in the ROI equation. There may also be an increase in maintenance costs and property taxes, and an increase in utility rates if the owner of a residential rental or commercial property pays these expenses.
Complex calculations may also be required for property bought with an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) with a variable escalating rate charged annually through the duration of the loan.
Marketing not only influences net profits but also can affect investment levels too. New plants and equipment, inventories, and accounts receivable are three of the main categories of investments that can be affected by marketing decisions.
RoA, RoNA, RoC, and RoIC, in particular, are similar measures with variations on how 'investment' is defined.