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  • Writer's pictureAnat Yaniv

Guide: The Basics of Calculating Incremental Sales

When running a campaign or a promotion, especially one with a conversion or sales goal, it is important to understand if the campaign was successful and hence drove the incremental sales you were hoping for.

What are incremental sales? Incremental sales refer to the additional sales generated as a direct result of a marketing activity that wouldn’t have occurred otherwise. These sales are above your base sales plan or projected estimates, directly linked to the marketing campaign you ran. By implementing these targeted marketing efforts, you can achieve these extra sales, demonstrating the campaign's effectiveness.

How can incremental sales be measured? The truth is that calculating incremental sales is inherently an estimation and you'll never be able to know the exact number. It's good to understand this fact and be comfortable with your best guess. Incremental sales are not easy to measure and you may not get an accurate read. However, even an estimation can provide valuable insights into the success of a campaign.

When you analyze the campaign's results, you can learn what worked, what didn’t, and how to apply these learnings to future campaigns. Being honest with yourself when calculating incremental sales is crucial because the results may not always meet your expectations. Keep in mind that every measurement, even if imperfect, is a step toward understanding and improving your marketing efforts.

Now let's learn the basics of calculating incremental sales.

Before we jump into these steps, I highly recommend using excel or Google sheets for this analysis. I find that its the best tool to pull all the data you need (often from different platforms) and analyze the result in a clean way.

Here are the 4 important steps to measure incremental sales:

Let's follow a simple example: You are about to run a 25% off promotion from November 1st to 15th.

Your goal: Generate +$20K in incremental sales from November 1st to 15th with the 25% off campaign. 

📊 Step #1: Understand what are your baseline sales

Take a look at a comparable sales period without any promos. Going back to our example, if you are running a two-week campaign from Nov 1st-15th, look for two weeks in your business that can be considered a baseline. i.e no holidays, no seasonal trends, abnormal weather or anything that could impact your business. This could be the previous month or maybe the two week leading to the campaign.

In our example, sales from Oct 1st -15th were $50K, and our average daily sales were $3,333.

📊 #2: Run the campaign and pull results.

Run your campaign. Once your campaign wraps up, export your daily sales data and find daily sales averages.

In our example, we are seeing that during the campaign period, we drove a total of $75K, and an avg of $5,000 daily sales.

📊 #3: Understand your results.

Now its time to understand if our campaign was successful. Let's compare our campaign sales data to the benchmark period. We can view it in few ways:

  1. The total $ incremental sales or total % incremental lift

  2. The daily average $ incremental or % incremental lift.

It's always good to look at the results from few angles to better understand your lifts.

In our example, we can see that the campaign drove additional $25K. If you remember, our goal was to drive $20K, but the campaign was so successful that it drove additional $5K beyond out expectations.

📊 #4: Learn, document and apply in the future. 

Now its time to deep dive into the details, the why, what was successful and what we can improve. And incase and our campaign was not successful, remember that it's a golden opportunity to uncover why.

Create a hindsight or After Action Report (AAR)- this is usually done in google slides and includes: campaign dates, goals, the different marketing channels and breakdown of the efforts, images, messaging and results (such as the images shown in our example).


👋 I’m Anat Yaniv, founder of TAG Marketing Services.

🌎 A B2C marketing agency, focused on growth and US market entry.

🎯 Services include: Fractional CMO/strategy, GTM, marketing audits, paid media strategy, data reporting, brand support and more.

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