The adage “You get what you pay for” may be true when you buy an expensive pair of shoes that don’t wear out or book a flight class flight that allows you to travel in style. For most marketers, however, getting what they pay for has proven far more elusive. Brands might buy space on a billboard near a highway, for instance, without being able to tell precisely how many people saw it and became new customers Similarly, a marketing team might invest a significant amount with an ad agency to create a 30-second TV spot that is amusing but fails to grow brand affinity.

The challenges with attributing tangible results to their efforts are just one of the reasons CMOs and their teams are increasingly turning to performance-based marketing as an alternative.

What is Performance-based Marketing?

As the name suggests, performance-based marketing service providers are only compensated based on established metrics, such as cost per click (CPC), pay per click (PPC), or cost per thousand (CPM) impressions. Performance marketing also makes sense as more brands make use of digital channels that offer greater visibility into consumer behavior during a campaign. Activity can not only be tracked across a brand’s website but social channels, third-party publishers, and other online properties.

5 Tips to make the most of Performance-based Marketing

While performance marketing strategies will need to vary depending on a particular brand’s objectives, here are a few principles to keep in mind to position yourself for greater success:

1. Diversify storytelling approaches to drive visibility and engagement

Consumers can get fatigued by intrusive advertising, to the point of ignoring or avoiding them altogether. One way to mitigate that risk is by developing ads and other performance marketing creative materials in multiple formats. Digital ads with high-impact visuals might always be a standard part of your campaigns, for example, but don’t stop there. Work internally or with agency partners to create mobile-first designs, video-oriented stores, and even audio formats that could be used in podcasts.

2. Align affiliate relationships with partners that reflect your audience’s interests

Publishers have increasingly become a valuable part of the performance marketing ecosystem given the credibility, trust, and reach they have to large audiences. These media sites have a vested interest in monetizing their traffic through affiliate relationships that compensate them every time someone clicks through a mention of a brand in their content.

Before allocating the majority of your budget to general-interest publishers, however, consider niche sites or even blogs that have a proven track record with your specific customer segments. Luxury brands, for instance, might gain traction faster with a more fashion-oriented publisher whose content is more clearly aimed at its target persona. Ask about any contextual targeting you can do based on the data a publishing partner has at its disposal.

3. Set clear expectations around marketing performance activities


Set clear expectations around marketing


Paid social advertising is another popular performance marketing tactic, but it also offers a case in point of where it can go wrong. Consumers might press a “like” button on a paid social post, for instance. They might comment on the ad, or even share it with their followers. There can be large numbers attached to these activities, but they won’t constitute “performance” for many brands.
E-commerce checkouts or even completed contact forms might represent far greater value for many marketers. This needs to be clarified at the outset of partnerships and campaigns.

4. Harness the power of data and product feeds to attract VIP customers

Plenty of men might shop for designer dress shoes when they have a special occasion like a wedding, but those working in executive roles might need to buy them more often — and be willing to pay for higher quality. The only way to truly compel your VIP customers to click through is by ensuring you build your campaign based on quality data and take advantage of a product feed management platform that can display your content in all the right channels.

Product feed management tools add a layer of intelligence to performance-based marketing by tying directly back to your internal analytics. This means whether you’re focusing on SEM, social media, or retargeting, you’ll be able to properly assess campaign effectiveness.

5. Evaluate, iterate, optimize, repeat!

Performance marketing isn’t just a way of holding your partners more accountable. It should also provide opportunities for greater testing and ongoing adaptation of your marketing content over time. Depending on the early results you see, for instance, consider the changes you might want to make in terms of your key messages, special offers, or where you’re targeting the content. Conduct A/B tests with a segment of your budget to see if one approach will work better than another.

Bonus tip: Find a product feed partner to maximize performance marketing ROI

To make your performance marketing successful, you’re also going to have some technical pieces in place. These include setting up tracking for data feeds, online ads, affiliate programs, retargeting, and more. Having accurate high-quality data can help you better promote your products. Highstreet.io specializes in performance marketing feeds and offers you optimized product data to ensure strong sales results.

Your performance-based marketing efforts can have a major impact on your bottom line. No matter the channels or the partners you turn to, make sure your brand is ready to perform at its best.
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