Beginner's Guide to Performance Marketing

Performance Marketing is an online advertising strategy that combines paid advertising and brand marketing together, but the marketer only gets paid once the completed desired action takes place. Find out more about Performance Marketing and what strategies you can use.

What is Performance Marketing?

A female marketer analysing data (graphs,numbers) of a campaign performance.

Performance Marketing is an online advertising strategy that combines paid advertising and brand marketing together. Still, the marketer only gets paid once the completed desired action takes place.

According to Taboola Blog, performance marketing is an alternative to old-school marketing strategies. This type of online advertising makes use of data insights and customer behavior to identify the most effective ad campaign performance, delivering only the ads that are likely to be clicked on by consumers.

Performance Marketing is a great strategy for companies that want to bring in more traffic, generate leads or increase conversion rate to grow their business. As in this type of marketing, the marketer only gets paid once the completed desired action occurs, like when a customer buys a product or completes an email form submission.

Invoca Blog () in one of its articles claimed that “performance marketing is the best-kept secret of digital marketers”. The article explains how companies can use this strategy to build their businesses, so instead of working with a set budget, you know exactly how much your advertising investment costs per lead or sale.

How Does Performance Marketing Work?

Today, there are many methods that performance marketers have at their disposal. The most common ones are: Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and Display Advertising such as Facebook and Google Ads.

Performance Marketing works by having a marketer set up an online campaign then use paid advertising to gain awareness of their business.

The second step is to create content that will tempt the customer, so they want to buy from you. This could also be referred to as a lead generation. Another step to take is to build trust with customers through social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.

Once the customer has been attracted, then conversion takes place by converting them into a sale or signing up for an email list. The latter can be particularly effective at building brand loyalty over time and maximizing your return on investment.

Once you have gained enough attention and made enough sales, this will lead us into our final step of scaling up through content marketing which includes increasing traffic flow to the website through blogging and on-site SEO.

This can also include guest posting on other blogs, becoming a contributor to industry publications, or something else of that nature which will help you build more awareness around your brand and increase traffic flow to your website over time.

Many performance marketers have turned this into an art form by implementing different marketing channels and utilizing various marketing automation tools to their campaigns.

This marketing strategy has been successful in helping companies grow their revenue streams without spending too much money on expensive ads first.

Advantages of Performance Marketing

Money on trees as a female waters it. This shows the marketing dollars spent on marketing channels will generate revenue for your business.

Performance marketing has a lot of advantages. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Marketing dollars are spent only on marketing channels that will generate revenue for your business;
  • Marketing automation makes it easier to understand which marketing activities work and which don't, allowing you to scale more efficiently over time;
  • Many performance marketers have turned this into an art form by implementing in different marketing channels and utilizing marketing automation;
  • Marketing can begin on day one of your marketing campaign. This is especially valuable for businesses that are not marketing savvy, as you don't have to worry about getting a company ready from scratch before you start marketing;
  • For new businesses, it can be a way to get noticed by your target market and gain awareness of their business;
  • It is also an effective marketing strategy for generating sales without spending too much money on expensive ads first; and
  • For companies that have been around for a while with no budget, performance marketing could still be successful in helping them grow their revenue streams.

Benefits of performance marketing

Performance marketing has many benefits. For one, it is one of the most cost-effective marketing strategies. This is good news to all businesses, especially those that do not have the budget for other marketing strategies.

Performance marketing is also a handy method to make sales without spending a lot of cash on ads. It is extremely efficient and can be used for marketing strategies like affiliate marketing.

Performance marketing also has many benefits that are not related to business, such as: 

  • It helps with measuring the ROI of every dollar spent on ads by tracking each lead, sale, form submission, etc.; 
  • It gives businesses insights into their customers' behavior so they know what kind of product they want and how to deliver it; and
  • Brands can also use performance marketing strategies like affiliate marketing for customer loyalty programs, etc.

It is also effective in building your brand and increasing awareness about your website among potential customers before they even visit it.

The only downside of this form of marketing is that new businesses might not understand or trust the process enough to give it a go. 

How is Performance Marketing Different?

Money growing on trees as a male waters it. This shows that with performance marketing, not only you get results quickly, but you get money while running it.

Performance marketing is of course different in the sense that marketing is done with the focus on performance rather than awareness.

With traditional marketing methods like television commercials or print advertisements, there are costs upfront before any profit can be seen. But with performance marketing, not only do you get results quickly, but you also get the opportunity to make money while running your campaign.

Furthermore, traditional marketing methods are one-way communication channels that simply broadcast a message to potential customers and hope they take action But with performance marketing, there is an ongoing dialogue between marketers and their audiences so both parties can be sure of their needs before any agreement is made or purchase is completed.

Performance marketing makes for a more effective marketing campaign because marketers know what will work best in advance rather than stumbling through different options blindly, hoping something works out well enough to keep going with it.

Below are some reasons why performance marketing is different:

Performance marketing vs brand marketing

The difference between performance marketing and brand marketing might seem small. Still, it can have a huge impact on the success of your campaign.

With performance marketing, your product or service is displayed to potential customers. You measure its results by how many people buy something from that display.

Brand marketing consists of performing tasks like designing logos or creating slogans for products to be recognizable among competitors in stores.

The difference between those two approaches might not always be obvious at first glance. Still, it pays off in spades when considering what kind of budget would best suit each approach based on their nature.

Performance Marketing is more expensive because there are no guarantees about who sees an ad before paying impressions.

In contrast, Brand Marketing has less risk involved because the goal is simply getting attention through recognition rather than a sale.

Performance marketing and digital marketing

Performance Marketing and digital marketing are different but are considered as related marketing strategies. While digital marketing is focused on growing brands through digital channels, performance marketing aims to directly drive sales or leads by using paid traffic.

Of course, many marketing campaigns are a combination of performance marketing and digital marketing efforts used together at the same time.

Performance marketing is a great option for startups and companies with limited marketing budgets, like bootstrapped businesses.

For example, if you run an eCommerce store selling women's clothing online, affiliate marketing could be the way to go in order to gain exposure at a low cost. For this tactic, performance marketers search for affiliates who have existing audiences

Unlike traditional web ads where you pay for impressions (i.e., how many times your ad was seen), Performance Marketing pays for results achieved (clicks on specific links).

The difference between these two, though, is that there will typically be fewer people seeing your campaign because it's not showing up in front of everyone who visits your site.

However, those who see it have been more likely to complete what they're looking to accomplish from clicking through. And they aren't distracted by other offers presented while looking at your site.

Performance marketing vs content marketing

A female doing her makeup on live instagram as part of content marketing. Performance marketing can be complemented with content marketing.

Performance Marketing is a great way to get an edge over your competition and provide real results, and it can be complemented with content marketing, in such a way that performance marketing is used to drive people who like the content and want more of it.

It can also be very helpful if you're new to marketing or don't have the time, money, or resources for Content Marketing, as content marketing provides high-quality content that educates your target audience about what they want to know from you to grow their business with yours (i.e., how does this product/service help my company).

For example, you can use performance marketing as a way to get your initial traffic, and then offer them an eBook after they've visited which presents further value for their attention. This helps with conversion rates because those users know that they're getting quality content from you.

Unlike Performance Marketing which simply encourages clicks on one specific link, Content Marketers aim to create long-lasting relationships by providing valuable information. This information can be conveyed through blog posts, videos, infographics—anything that has value and will educate someone rather than sell them something outright.

Performance marketing vs affiliate marketing

Affiliate Marketing is Performance Marketing that offers incentives to people already your customer to promote a product or service for you.

Since Affiliate Marketers (or Publishers) have an existing relationship with the company, it's much easier to sell products and services.

Why? Because they simply need to share their affiliate links instead of coming up with compelling content every time they want someone else to buy something from them.

However, this type of marketing comes with its own set of challenges. For instance, getting rid of spammy affiliates and making sure there aren't any frauds among those publishers who are actually trying hard but may not be as successful at selling items as others on the site.

Performance marketing vs growth marketing

Performance marketing is focused on driving the highest possible results from a single transaction. It's based on getting one person to buy something, but with as much of an upsell and cross-sale action for other items (think Nordstrom).

Growth Marketing is about optimizing your entire customer life cycle. For example: think about Facebook ads rather than Google AdWords. They're still performance marketers because their ultimate goal may be that you click through to make a purchase or sign up for some program.

Performance marketing and growth marketing are different in the sense that performance marketing is focused on a single transaction while growth marketing optimizes for your entire customer life cycle.

How to Measure Performance Marketing?

A male with a bag of money while money flying in, showing a return on investment.

There are various ways performance marketers measure performance marketing, this includes:

Return On Advertising Spend (ROAS)

This is a performance marketing metric for Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, and other digital channels.

Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)

Performance marketers typically track the performance of their campaigns against a specific conversion rate which determines how much they have to pay in order to convert a single customer.

Click-Through Rate (CTR)

Performance marketers often pay attention to the click-through rate which shows how many people are clicking on their digital marketing campaigns.

Conversation Rates (CR)

Performance marketers also look at the percentage of visitors that take a specific action after visiting their website. This can be anything from buying something or signing up for an email list.

Conversion Value Rate

Performance marketers also look at the total amount of money they are making per customer. This is often calculated by multiplying revenue with average order values.

Cost Per Click

Performance marketers typically pay only when someone has clicked on their digital marketing campaign and it can be advantageous to know how much you're paying per click.

Return on Investment

Performance marketers typically aim to have a positive return on investment, so you should also consider your overall profit margins after taking into account costs including interface fees and commissions paid out to affiliates/retailers.  

Performance Marketing Strategy 

A social influencer in marketing known as influencer marketing  that you can use.

Some of the performance marketing strategies you can use: are dynamic remarketing, influencer marketing, YouTube Shopping, B2B and B2C advertising, and visual search.

Dynamic remarketing

Dynamic remarketing is when you can display ads to people who have visited your website, and targeted digital marketing campaigns based on a variety of demographic factors such as location and age.

Influencer marketing

Influence marketing is when you work with influencers in different niches; for example, fashion bloggers or YouTube personalities. This is a performance marketing strategy that can be highly effective with the right influencer.

YouTube Shopping

Google's video platform has now become an e-commerce powerhouse and is becoming increasingly popular for performance marketers looking to drive sales of their products or affiliate offers.

Visual search

Visual Search is when you use Pinterest ads, Facebook Marketplace Ads, etc. to show users different products they can buy after searching for a certain image.

Pinterest marketing

Pinterest is where performance marketers go to find their market of fashion, home decor, and beauty-obsessed shoppers who are interested in buying new products. While some performance marketers use pins as part of brand awareness or engagement strategies, others have had great success using Pinterest to drive sales.

Facebook ads

Performance marketers can use Facebook Ads in a number of ways, including building brand awareness and prospecting for new customers. They're also effective when used as part of an affiliate marketing campaign. Affiliates can join the performance marketer's ad campaigns, driving clicks or conversions from their own followers or social channels.

Popular Performance Marketing Channels

A female out of a phone with a megaphone showing that she is doing performance marketing.

Performance marketers use the following performance marketing channels:

Facebook Ads

For example, a company will create an ad that promotes their product or service and pay to have it show up in the news feed on a person's timeline or sidebar.

There are many different types of these ads, including videos people can watch directly from mobile devices like smartphones or tablets.

Twitter Promoted Tweets (Paid Trends) 

This is similar to Facebook advertising. But instead, tweets appear at the top of someone's Twitter feed when they log into their account.

These are also labeled "Sponsored," which lets people know that this tweet was paid for by a business wanting your attention. Other tweets might be shown first without being sponsored.


Reddit performance marketing is a very effective way to get more traffic and sales. According to Reddit, "It's the front page of the internet." The site gets billions of views per month from its users who are active and ready to buy! However, it can be difficult for marketers and companies who want their ads shown on Reddit because there isn't a self-serve performance marketing option. Brands can buy ads on a CPM basis, but it's very expensive!

Search Engine Marketing

This is one of the oldest types; these ads show up when people search for certain phrases like Google. Search Engine Marketing is when an advertiser bids on the words they want to show up for.

For instance, if "Pizza" is a keyword, this could be seen when people search for it with other results being shown after them and in order of their bid price.

Effective Performance Marketing Strategies

There are many tools you can use as part of a successful performance-marketing strategy, including:

To get a feel for which tools you might need, ask yourself these questions:

  1. What do I want my social media presence to be? Do I want it personal or professional? Will this help me find customers and build connections with them in the process?
  2. When will an email list provide value for my business goals? How many emails am I willing/able to send each month without driving away subscribers because of spamming them too much (or not enough)?
  3. Would adding customer data into Salesforce give me more opportunities to engage with existing customers while also providing insight on how they were acquired originally and what could have turned them off to my business?
  4. Can I do even a few of these things without adding in paid social media ads or email marketing strategies?

If so, great! Do them and go from there. If not, what are the minimum steps that would help you build momentum with as little time and money invested upfront as possible?

Examples of Performance Marketing

A male marketer using specific keywords for SEO as the AI robot accomplishes it.

Some examples of performance marketing are the following:

  • Optimizing landing pages for specific keywords with title tags and meta descriptions will rank higher in search engines;
  • Adding webinars to your website or blog posts (to test interest); and
  • Creating videos of products being used by customers who can speak about them from personal experience.


In conclusion, performance marketing is a huge industry that has the potential to make you lots of money. It's not for everyone, but if it's up your alley performance marketing can be extremely lucrative.

It's not just about blogging anymore—it's about creating videos, podcasts, and other forms of media to grow your business.

In this post, we hope you discovered everything you need to know about performance marketing and why it is so valuable to grow your business.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Below are some of the most frequently asked performance marketing questions on performance marketing?

What is performance marketing, and how is it beneficial for businesses?

On a global scale, performance marketing is the single fastest-growing advertising medium.

Unlike traditional types of marketing, such as tv ads and billboards, which have been in decline for some time now, performance-based companies see their numbers grow year after year.

There's no doubt that affiliate marketers will be seeing an increase in competition when it comes to keywords they want to rank for—and this isn't just because other affiliates are looking at ranking higher themselves—but also because there are so many new people entering the industry every day.

What are the job roles specifically in performance marketing?

The job roles in performance marketing are very different from the roles in other types of marketing.

There are many differences, but the one that sticks out is how most performance-based companies don't have salespeople or account managers.

A majority of employees at these companies specialize in a specific area. This specialization will determine their main job role and all other tasks they perform throughout the day.

How is performance marketing used?

Performance marketing is used to generate ROI for clients, which is a very different proposition from other types of marketing.

Traditional marketing focuses on awareness and branding to build relationships with the customer base. In contrast, performance marketing focuses primarily on conversion rates.

Performance marketers are expected to find ways to attract customers through various channels to increase their chances of purchasing or taking another desired action.

Is SEO part of performance marketing?

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a form of performance marketing.

SEO is the process by which content creators attempt to rank their website for a given search term. Thus, increasing visibility in organic listings on major search engines and driving web traffic from those searches.

That said, SEO has been traditionally viewed as an online marketing tactic rather than PPC because it's often not cost-effective enough for paid campaigns.

What is a performance marketing platform?

A performance marketing platform is a system that connects advertisers with publishers to deliver ads.

The goal is for the advertiser and publisher to work together by giving each other what they need so both parties win.

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