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Measuring the ROI of Online Proofing Software

Measuring the ROI of Online Proofing Software

Businesses in every industry should be efficient and accurate to maximize profits and give excellent service to their clients. But no place is this expectation stronger than in the creative industries, such as marketing, design, and publishing. Online proofing software allows digital content to be reviewed and approved more precisely and efficiently than ever before. However, in the event a business does choose to invest in such software, it's got to be confident of the return it will receive. Here, the Aproove team examines the various metrics used to gauge the ROI of online proofing.

Understanding Online Proofing Software

Using an online proofing tool accelerates the cycle of approvals by helping teams work in a centralized, online environment and give feedback on and approve digital documents. It helps reduce email ‘ping pong’ and gets creatives and marketers on the same page. Online proofing often provides features such as version control, real-time collaboration and annotation, AI-powered features, and brand-asset libraries, streamlining stakeholder approvals and reducing the error-prone nature of tedious proofing.

The Importance of Measuring ROI

Measuring the ROI of online proofing is critical for several reasons:

Validate the spend: The software must be proven to bring in more value than it costs. A sound return on investment formula makes it possible to justify the money to those who control the purse strings.

Budgeting: Budget planning is more accessible when the cost of the software is fully understood.

Leverage Assets: Understanding the financial implications of the online proofing software also helps in planning assets. The impact is measured as an ROI (Return on Investment), showing how well the software performs and what can be improved.

Guiding strategic planning: A precise ROI analysis is a cornerstone of effective long-term planning and decision-making.

Measuring the ROI of online proofing is critical for several reasons

Key Metrics for Measuring ROI

Use key metrics to measure the ROI of online proofing:

Time saved: Thanks to online proofing software (such as that from Aproove), review and approval time is reduced. When you request changes to proofs and the changes are applied, a new proof version gets generated, and the stakeholders are notified automatically. This allows the users to compare the new and old proof.

Cost Saving: is a key advantage of online proofing software. The time saved on page shuffling and commenting directly translates to reduced labor hours, leading to significant cost savings. Additionally, fewer errors mean less rework and quicker project completion, further contributing to cost savings. The bypassing of the need to print and ship multiple proofs also saves money.

Increased Productivity: is a major benefit of online proofing software. The central working place provided by these tools allows teams to collaborate more effectively, leading to increased Productivity. This increased Productivity directly impacts the amount of work completed in a given time, thereby increasing the return on investment.

Improved Quality: Online proofing tools with features like version control and real-time smart review help keep the bar high. Proofing directly to the client’s desk ensures fewer costly last-minute changes and errors. Consistent quality can also lead to repeat business with satisfied clients.

Faster Time-to-Market: When time-to-market is critical, a faster online proofing tool might provide a competitive advantage, leading to quicker project turnaround and, in some cases, faster revenues.

Higher Client Satisfaction: Simplified workflows and better communication increase client satisfaction. Satisfied clients are more likely to provide follow-on business and referrals (as mentioned above)

Calculating ROI

ROI can be calculated once the ‘costs’ of the online proofing software can be quantified and contrasted with the ‘benefits’ – in the form of:

To calculate ROI, the benefits derived from the software must be quantified and compared against its costs. The formula for ROI is:

ROI = (Net Benefits/Total Costs) × 100

Identify Total Costs: This includes the cost of the online proofing subscription, implementation costs, training expenses, and any other associated costs.

Quantify Benefits: Benefits can be quantified in terms of time saved, cost savings, increased productivity, and revenue growth. For example, if the software saves 100 hours of work per month and the average hourly rate is $50, the monthly benefit is $5,000.

Calculate Net Benefits: Net benefits are the total benefits minus the total costs. Using the previous example, if the monthly cost of the software is $1,000, the net benefit is $4,000.

Compute ROI: Using the formula, the ROI in this example would be:

ROI = (4000/1000) × 100 = 400 %

To illustrate, let's consider a marketing agency that adopts online proofing software:

Scenario: The agency is reviewing 20 projects per month. Each of the projects require 5 hours for approval. The hourly rate is $50, and the process is carried out with online proofing software. The review time is 2 hours for each project.

Calculation example:

Time Saved: 20 projects × 3 hours saved per project = 60 hours saved per month

Cost Savings: 60 hours × $50 per hour = $3,000 saved per month

Software Cost (for the purpose of this example): $500 per month

Net Benefit: $3,000 - $500 = $2,500

ROI: (2500/500) × 100 = 500%

Use key metrics to measure the ROI of online proofing:

Challenges in Measuring ROI

While the benefits of an online proofing tool are clear, measuring ROI can present challenges:

Benefits that are tough to quantify: Improved client satisfaction or team morale.

Implementation Variability: There’s a chance that the software is not being properly implemented (eg, people might not be using the software features at all, or poorly adopted/trained on features).

Long-term impact: The ROI calculations might be all about the short-term benefit, but the long-term impact of the software might also be profound – and harder to quantify.

Best Practices for Maximizing ROI

To maximize the ROI of an online proofing tool, consider the following best practices:

Complete Training – Train all team members on how to use the software.

Integration with Existing Systems: Tie the software in with other tools and systems the team uses to be efficient.

Initial Setup: Install the new online proofing solution and configure it for specific tasks. Ongoing Maintenance: Evaluate how the software is running on a regular basis so you can make tweaks when necessary.

Continuous Evaluation: Screen the software for its effectiveness at least once a year to make any changes you deem necessary.

User Feedback: Gather feedback from users to identify pain points and areas for improvement.

Have goals: Clearly define measurable goals for what the software module should do – and make sure you’re tracking progress toward those ends.

An online proofing tool makes it easier to collaborate with dispersed teams and stakeholders, but most arguments favoring these tools involve intangibles that are difficult to quantify. Only focusing on tangible metrics such as possible savings in time, costs, productivity, quality, time-to-market, or client satisfaction can help map out the true ROI and serve as a yardstick to validate the decision to spend some money. Savings can be elusive and only sporadically reliable. However, if ROI measurement is approached as a structured exercise and best practices are implemented, the chances of successfully working it out increase significantly.

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