# CBA vs ROI (cost benefit analysis vs return on investment)

** Updated to include a new comparison example between CBA and ROI in the second table below **

A great table and explanation of the difference uses and value of the two forms of measurement for social marketeers, from Angie Schottmuller in Search Engine Watch:

 Cost-Based Analysis (CBA) Return on Investment (ROI) Formula Benefits – Costs ( Benefits – Costs ) / Costs Example \$12,000 B – \$1,000 C = \$11,000 CBA (\$12,000 B – \$1,000 C) / \$1,000 C = 11 or 1100% ROI Format Dollar Value Percentage or Ratio Purpose Analyze estimated cost impact. e.g. make a profit, break-even, take a loss. Analyze investment effectiveness for generating a profit. Focus Profit Investment Return Common Use Compare options using a common currency and justify bottom-line feasibility of spending. Assess profitability as a basis for continuing and prioritizing future investments. Answers… Will we come out ahead? How effective were we at coming out ahead? What kind of payback did we get for the investment?

Note: An ROI of 1 or 100% implies you’d get back what you put into it, while CBA, also sometimes known as Cost-Benefit Analysis, has a \$0 “break even” point.

Notice how in the examples above, the CBA for two different tactics with very different costs could be the same, while respective ROI sheds further light on the investment effectiveness.

I have added comparison below, to better illustrate how the same CBA for two different sets of figures, but which delivers a different ROI figure, all the better to help guide investment:

 COST-BASED ANALYSIS (CBA) RETURN ON INVESTMENT (ROI) Formula Benefits – Costs ( Benefits – Costs ) / Costs Example 1 \$55,000 B – \$44,000 C = \$11,000 CBA (\$55,000 B – \$44,000 C) / \$11,000 C = 0.25 or 25% ROI Example 2 \$155,000 B – \$144,000 C = \$11,000 CBA (\$155,000 B – \$144,000 C) / \$144,000 C = 0.076 or 7.6% ROI

Anyhow that’s not all from Angie (and me with example #2), in the post there’s also a very helpful section on different calculation formulas which comes with the following presentation including said formulas for social SEO among others:

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