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Return on Investment (ROI)


Return on Investment (ROI) is a financial metric that’s widely used to measure the probability of gaining a profit from an investment. It is a ratio that compares the gain or loss made from an investment relative to its cost. The formula for ROI is: ROI = (Current Value of Investment – Cost of Investment) / Cost of Investment.


The phonetics for “Return on Investment (ROI)” would be: riːˈtɜːrn ɒn ɪnˈvɛstmənt (ɑːr oʊ aɪ)

Key Takeaways

    1. ROI is a Performance Measure: Return on Investment is a ratio that measures the gain or loss made on an investment relative to the amount of money invested. It is a widely used indicator for comparing the efficiency or profitability of different investments.
    2. Comprehensive Understanding: ROI takes into consideration the time value of money, which is a fundamental concept in finance. A ROI ratio can be negative, which signifies that the investment made more money than it cost, or positive, which means the investment lost money.
    3. Critical for Investment Decisions: By comparing ROIs from different investments, investors can choose the most profitable one, or reduce risk by diversifying their investments. It is an essential tool in finance and a critical factor for investment decisions.


Return on Investment (ROI) is a critical financial metric in business because it measures the probability of gaining a return from an investment and is thus used to make financial decisions. It is a ratio that compares the gain or loss from an investment relative to its cost. The ROI quantifies the extent of an investment’s profit or loss, helping investors, managers, and business owners to assess the efficacy of an investment or compare the efficiencies of different investments.

Hence, it serves as an excellent tool for making investment decisions, determining potential returns, comparing investments against each other, and assessing whether the company is using its resources efficiently. ROI is an indicator of the profitability and success of an investment and is essential for making finance and business decisions.


The purpose of Return on Investment (ROI) in finance and business is to gauge the profitability and efficiency of an investment or to compare the efficiency of different investments. It is a ratio that directly compares the amount of profit generated to the cost of the investment, thereby providing a measure of performance that can be used to evaluate the profitability of individual investments. It helps investors, business owners and managers to make decisions about where best to allocate their assets for maximum performance.

ROI is customarily used for making investment decisions by assessing the potential return and comparing it with other investments. It can also aid in measuring a company’s profitability and help in making financial predictions. ROI can apply to various aspects of a business, from marketing to IT to human resources. In any case, it helps organizations develop profitability estimates and choose the best methods and approaches to reach their financial objectives. Expressing the return in percentage form makes comparisons between diverse investments, or the efficiency of different departments within the same company, more straightforward.


1. Stock Market Investment: If an investor buys shares in a company for $10,000 and after one year, the value of the shares has increased to $12,000, the ROI would be 20%. This is calculated by taking the net profit ($2,000) divided by the cost of the investment ($10,000), then multiplied by 100 to get the percentage.

2. Real Estate Investment: If a person buys a house to rent out for $200,000 and earns $20,000 a year in rental income, they have a 10% ROI per year. In this case, the annual return ($20,000) is divided by the total investment ($200,000), resulting in the ROI.

3. Marketing Campaign: Suppose a company spends $5,000 on a marketing campaign and as a result, they generate $20,000 in additional sales. The ROI would be 300%, calculated by taking the net profit ($20,000 – $5,000 = $15,000) divided by the cost of the investment ($5,000), then multiplied by 100 to get the percentage.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is Return on Investment (ROI)?

ROI is a financial metric used universally in business and investing. It measures the likelihood of earning a profitable return from an investment. It’s expressed as a percentage and calculated by dividing the net profits by the total costs of an investment.

How is ROI calculated?

ROI is calculated using the formula:ROI = [(Net profit / Cost of investment) * 100]%

What is an example of ROI?

Suppose you invested $1000 in a business and, after a year, you earned $200 from it. Your ROI would be calculated as [(200/1000)*100] = 20%.

What is a ‘good’ ROI?

There is no definitive answer because what is considered a ‘good’ ROI can vary between industries, individuals, and risk tolerance. The higher the ROI, the better. A good and moderate ROI may often fall between 5% and 15%.

Can ROI be negative?

Yes, ROI can be negative. A negative ROI means the costs of investment outweigh the profits, yielding a loss rather than a gain on your investment.

How can one improve ROI?

ROI can be improved by increasing sales, reducing costs, and maximizing efficiency. Tactics can include effective marketing, cost-effective production, and strategic management of resources.

Is ROI the only measure of investment success?

Although ROI is a common and useful measure, it’s not the only one. There are other indicators like the Internal Rate of Return (IRR), Return on Equity (ROE), and payback period, which offer different perspectives on the profitability and effectiveness of an investment.

How does ROI apply in business decisions?

Businesses often use ROI to compare different investment opportunities or strategies. It provides a quick and easy way to estimate the profitability of an investment and aids decision-making.

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