All You Should Know About Performance Marketing

All You Should Know About Performance Marketing

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Syed Aquib Ur
Syed Aquib Ur Rahman
Assistant Manager
Updated on Dec 13, 2023 18:01 IST
Discover the power of performance marketing for targeted, cost-effective advertising strategies. Unlike common methods to track vanity metrics, this approach ensures precise tracking and measurable results. Learn how to optimise your campaigns in real-time, control your ad spending effectively, and reach specific audiences across diverse digital channels. Dive into the world of measurable ROI, granular targeting, and enhanced budget allocation.
Performance marketing

If paid marketing efforts are not working out for your business, and you are spending a lot more than the actual results, it is time to switch to performance marketing.

The digital ecosystem makes it possible to measure and analyse marketing efforts accurately, as compared to offline marketing. 

So much so, that businesses today create marketing campaigns for a single purpose, let’s say, improving paid traffic. All of these efforts are measured independently and in real-time. 

But, think about this scenario: a business hires an ad agency and pays money upfront in hopes of generating leads or sales through optimising clicks using Google Ads. What if the agency is unable to get the desired results? It is clearly a loss of time and money for the business. 

This is where performance marketing comes in. 

This blog post covers the following

  1. What is performance marketing?
  2. How does performance marketing work?

What is Performance Marketing?

Performance marketing is a strategic approach of business owners who pay ad agencies only when one or more marketing goals are achieved. Also known as performance-based marketing, it is intended to provide an optimal ROI through paid means instead of organic means. 

Refer to: Organic vs paid marketing strategies

In general, performance marketing is mostly used for paid channels of digital marketing such as search engine marketing, social media ads, display ads, native ads, and others. 

But one of the best examples of it is probably affiliate marketing. Here, the affiliates earn commission only when their target audience clicks on the links under their YouTube videos or blog posts, and buys the product or service. (Also read: Differences between digital marketing and affiliate marketing)

Not only does performance marketing allow businesses to control their ad spending, but gives credibility and exposure to marketers or ad agencies. 

How Does Performance Marketing Work?

Let’s find out who all are involved, the common platforms, and factors to consider in performance marketing. 

Groups in Performance Marketing

There are four groups that are together involved in any performance marketing campaign. 

  1. Business Owners – The ones who are looking to sell their products or services with the help of marketers.
  2. Publishers – They are usually affiliates, influencers, ad agencies with websites, or media houses
  3. Tracking Platforms – Using these platforms, business owners and affiliates are able to track key performance indicators
  4. Outsourced Program Management – This party is responsible for managing the performance marketing campaign

Popular Platforms in Performance Marketing

As mentioned earlier, performance marketing is used for paid networks, here are some

  1. Google Display Network – It is a cost-effective channel to reach a larger audience through text, image, and video formats. Performance marketers can automate bids, tweak campaigns, use exclusive GDN features such as keyword contextual targeting, and much more. It is recommended that you download the freely available Google Display Network playbook, from Think With Google site. Also, you may check out the Google Ads Display Certification from Google. 
  1. Facebook Ads – This network comes with a few more options than the display ads of Google. It does not rely on cookies to retarget audiences but uses Facebook IDs, Custom Audience, conversion pixel, and more. 

If you are new to Facebook ads, check out the short Advertising with Facebook course on Coursera. 

Most Important Factors in Performance Marketing

  1. Customer Segmentation – Performance marketing cannot yield results without targeting marketing efforts to a specific group of interested, to-be customers. 
  2. Bidding – It refers to how much you invest in keywords for paid ads. Refer to types of keywords.
  3. Conversion – Good conversion is key to effective performance marketing

Common Metrics in Performance Marketing

Click-Through Rate 

This is an important key performance indicator of how successful are your ads. It also gives you an idea of what you need to do to tweak your marketing efforts. 


Cost per click or CPC is the cost of clicks divided by the total number of clicks that the ad received. It is advised that CPC should be kept as low as possible without lowering the delivery of ads.

Cost Per Conversion

This refers to the cost of the ads divided by the number of conversions. This metric shows which campaign is not working out, as well. 

Types of Performance Marketing

These are some of the main areas where performance marketing works are below. 

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing involves partnering with affiliates or publishers who promote a product or service in exchange for a commission based on the actions taken by their audience. Affiliates earn a commission when their referrals make a purchase, sign up for a service, or complete another desired action.
Affiliate marketers often have access to affiliate platforms or software that provides detailed analytics, tracking these metrics and offering insights into the performance of their promotional activities. 

Enhance your own experience in performance marketing by trying out any of the affiliate marketing websites out there.  

Native Advertising

Native advertising involves paid content that matches the form and function of the platform it appears on. It's designed to fit naturally within the user experience, often resembling regular content rather than a typical advertisement.
Generally, likes, comments, shares, and overall interactions with the native ad content can be measured for indicating performance quantitatively. Higher engagement indicates audience interest and interaction with the ad.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

SEM comprises paid efforts to increase visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs). It includes both PPC advertising and search engine optimization (SEO). SEM aims to improve a website's visibility through paid advertisements while also enhancing its organic search rankings through SEO techniques.

Importance of Performance Marketing

Performance marketing holds immense importance in today's digital landscape due to its ability to deliver measurable results, optimise spending, and drive targeted actions. Here are some key reasons why performance marketing is crucial:

Measurable ROI

Performance marketing allows businesses to track and measure the success of their campaigns in real-time. Unlike traditional marketing methods where success might be harder to quantify, performance marketing provides clear metrics. For instance, if a company invests in a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign, it can precisely track the number of clicks, conversions, and the cost per acquisition, enabling a direct calculation of ROI.

Cost Efficiency and Budget Control

One of the significant advantages of performance marketing is its cost-effectiveness. Advertisers only pay when the desired action is completed, such as a sale, lead generation, or website visit. This model ensures that marketing budgets are allocated more efficiently towards strategies that demonstrate actual results. For example, an e-commerce business might run affiliate marketing campaigns and pay commissions only upon confirmed sales, thereby controlling costs effectively.

Precise Targeting and Personalisation

Performance marketing strategies often involve granular audience targeting. Through data analytics and tracking, marketers can identify and target specific demographics, interests, or behaviours. This precision leads to more relevant and personalised campaigns, which, in turn, increase the chances of conversion. For instance, social media platforms allow advertisers to target specific age groups, locations, interests, and behaviours, ensuring that the ads reach the most relevant audience.

Diverse Channel Utilisation

Performance marketing operates across various digital channels such as social media, search engines, email, affiliate partnerships, and more. Businesses can leverage multiple channels simultaneously to reach a wider audience and diversify their marketing efforts. For instance, a travel company may use a combination of PPC ads for immediate bookings, content marketing for organic traffic, and influencer partnerships for broader visibility.


Parting Thoughts

So this was an introductory explanation of performance marketing. If you are looking to improve your paid marketing efforts online or are a beginner, do check out free digital marketing courses too. 


What are the key advantages of performance marketing?

Performance marketing offers several advantages, including precise targeting, measurable results, cost-effectiveness, and the ability to track and optimise campaigns in real-time. It allows businesses to allocate budgets more efficiently by focusing on strategies that generate actual conversions or desired outcomes.

What metrics are crucial in performance marketing?

In performance marketing, essential metrics include Conversion Rate (the percentage of visitors who complete a desired action), Cost Per Acquisition (the cost to acquire a new customer), Return on Ad Spend (ROAS), Click-Through Rate (CTR), and Customer Lifetime Value (CLV). These metrics help evaluate the effectiveness of campaigns and make informed decisions for better performance.

How does performance marketing differ from traditional marketing?

Traditional marketing often involves broad audience targeting and paying for ad placement without directly tying it to specific outcomes. On the other hand, performance marketing is highly measurable and focuses on paying for actual results, such as sales, clicks, or leads. It allows for more precise targeting and efficient budget allocation based on performance data.

Is it necessary to have a large budget for performance marketing to be effective?

No, having a large budget isn’t a prerequisite for effective performance marketing. The beauty of this approach lies in its flexibility and ability to start small and scale gradually. With careful targeting, optimisation, and focusing on high-performing channels, even businesses with limited budgets can see significant returns on investment in performance marketing.

How can businesses ensure transparency and prevent fraud in performance marketing campaigns?

Transparency and fraud prevention are crucial in performance marketing. Businesses can employ measures like working with reputable affiliate networks, using fraud detection tools, establishing clear terms with partners, regularly monitoring traffic sources and conversions, and implementing strict validation processes to maintain transparency and minimise fraudulent activities.

About the Author
Syed Aquib Ur Rahman
Assistant Manager

Aquib is a seasoned wordsmith, having penned countless blogs for Indian and international brands. These days, he's all about digital marketing and core management subjects - not to mention his unwavering commitment ... Read Full Bio