Performance-Based Marketing: How to Double Results From Your Ad Campaign and Is It Possible to Apply to CTV?

Digital marketers are constantly challenged by new trends. Whether it’s programmatic advertising, intelligent automation or hyper-personalization, the next big thing to chase is always round the corner.  What sometimes falls by the wayside in this race of innovations and buzzwords, is performance metrics. Performance-based marketing offers a helping hand by being broad enough to be embedded in any hyped marketing approach and flexible enough to meet the most specific goals. And as performance never goes out of fashion, performance-based marketing is there for marketers to measure their efforts, evaluate results and rely on when reporting spends. Further exploration of its implications will help join the dots.

Under the Hood of Performance-Based Marketing 

In the spotlight of performance-based marketing there is, unsurprisingly, performance. It’s being predicted, tracked, measured and, more importantly, paid for. If mapping it on the classic funnel, performance-based marketing is focused solely on the bottom level, where consumers take actions.

Meanwhile, brand-based marketing stands for building awareness and attitudes to brands, which may or may not lead to actions. So, while brand-based marketing nudges consumers from the top to the bottom of the funnel, performance-based marketing’s focal point is where relationships between brands and consumers stop being “platonic”.

With regards to advertiser-publisher interactions, in performance-based marketing, advertisers agree with publishers in advance on the metrics they are being charged for, and all payments are being made based on the obtained results. This way, each object of advertisers’ expenditure has clear grounds, such as sales, leads, clicks, purchases, installs, views and so on. In order to align with various marketing aims and channels in use, performance-based marketing comes in many sizes and shapes to serve its purpose.

The Multifaceted Nature of Performance-Based Marketing

Performance-based ideas typically unite Affiliate marketing, social media marketing, sponsored and native content as well as other kinds of paid advertising under one roof. Each has its own peculiarities, though, in line with the performance-based concept, they all pursue measurable goals.

For instance, in social media marketing, the success of advertising is often assessed by clicks, sales leads or engagement, whereas native and sponsored content seek impressions (cost per thousand impressions/CPM), actions (cost per action/CPA), and clicks (cost per click/CPC). At the same time, the affiliate marketing measurement palette consists of reviews, recommendations, endorsements or applied incentives, like coupons and promotional codes. By the way, influencer marketing, that everyone has an eye for today, falls into the affiliate marketing category.

The recent cookie-less agenda has shuffled performance cards in advertisers’ hands, making desktop adepts less loyal and more confused. Desktop publishers, in the meantime, had to bid farewell to vast data opportunities provided by third-party cookies and welcome the uncertainty of consumers’ identity coming from first-party ad solutions. To stay afloat, yet true to their performance goals, some savvy marketers started exploring new data-driven platforms, such as Connected TV (CTV).

A drastic increase by 81% in hours spent by consumers using CTV devices in 2020, outlined by Nielsen, made it an attractive playground for marketers. Connected TV is about programmatic. Unlike other marketing channels, it has granular targeting and robust analytics up its sleeves, which obviously speak volumes. From the data standpoint, CTV frequently uses first-party data to target and retarget ads, in combination with third-party data to track the attribution across multiple devices. As for key performance indicators (KPIs), CTV provides access to viewability scores (how many times an ad was seen by a viewer), completion rates (how many times an ad was fully viewed), awareness, sales, and other metrics that may vary depending on a platform.

Making the Game Worth the Candle 

Use multiple platforms. Putting all the eggs in one basket is not the best approach in performance-based marketing, especially bearing in mind modern-day consumers’ multiple device habits. A study by Deloitte last year revealed that an average American household has 11 connected devices, including 7 different smart screens. Hence, using one advertising platform lowers the chances for an ad to be seen.  Furthermore, this makes it hard to evaluate the effectiveness of an ad campaign, as performance may vary from platform to platform. 

Apply detailed targeting. It’s not particularly breaking news that targeting is paramount for getting consumers’ reactions to ads messages. So, having a nuanced description of a targeting persona with insights on relative needs, demographics, interests, and behavioral patterns is crucial. What goes hand in hand with sound targeting, is a wider reach, better engagement, and higher return on investment (ROI). No matter if it’s social media, desktop, mobile or CTV, all things considered, detailed targeting shows an ad campaign the way forward.

Adjust time frames. To capture consumers’ attention, an ad has to be timely This means it has to be shown exactly when a consumer is ready to see it. In other words, tailoring an ad campaign’s time frames to one’s target audience is vital. This is when marketers can put their deep knowledge of the consumer journey into practice.

Making use of Google’s micro-moments and A/B testing is a winning combo for a time-relevant well-performing ad campaign.

Create engaging content. Customers’ attention span is 8 seconds in 2020, according to Oracle. This is a decrease from 12 seconds reported in 2000. For marketers, such numbers mean that they don’t have much time to make their first impression. That’s why advertisers, similar to circus acrobats, have to balance between making their messages clear and out of the ordinary. As to the out-of-the-ordinary bit, it worships catchy headlines, short videos, browsable galleries, shoppable ads, TV-to-Mobile elements, Virtual Reality (VR), and Augmented Reality (AR).

Polish landing pages. In the digital environment, landing pages replace office reception spaces. They are responsible for making sure a potential customer converts into whatever performance goals are set. It goes without saying that a landing page has to look pleasant, be user-friendly, function smoothly, and be able to detect all the desired consumers’ actions. Bearing in mind how challenging it is to grab someone’s attention in this non-stop advertising merry-go-round, to play its part well, a landing page has to promise unforgettable customer experiences.

Tweak KPIs. When it comes to KPIs, any marketer would say that testing, tracking, measuring, and analyzing are the main steps on the ladder of performance-based success. Though this may seem straightforward, climbing this ladder is not a breeze. It requires a lot of experiments with tools, strategies and metrics before there’s a clear-cut understanding that everything works properly. Playing around with KPIs is time-consuming, but being invoiced for suitable results really pays off.

What to expect?

The embodiment of tangible results and budgeting clarity, performance-based marketing, remains a landmark to steer towards while navigating the ever-changing digital landscape. As data is its main asset, performance-based marketing aims to access as much of it as possible. Eventually, the more information marketers have on tap, the easier it is for brands to benefit from advertising. Of course, if marketers manage to make sense of the available data sets.

In the nearest future, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its Machine Learning (ML) algorithms are expected to assist marketers in processing huge data volumes. And this is not a scene from one of those futuristic movies where sophisticated cruel robots overtake humans. The reality of Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI) or weak AI, widely used for data analysis, is that it aims not to get rid of the human race but to free it up. So, owing to AI and its capabilities to process, analyze, and suggest optimizations in a flash, marketers will be able to enhance their results without being overburdened with routine.

Regarding the issues with actual data sources, the industry still has life-altering decisions to make. The agreement on what consumers’ information can be trackable without breaching their privacy will modify the processes of creating personalized ads, developing holistic omnichannel advertising experiences, and measuring performance. The Connected TV space is likely to introduce a unified Identifier for Advertising (IFA) on OTT devices, proposed by IAB, whereas desktop advertising plans to shed light on the terms of exchanging first-party data between its owners in the post-cookie era. Either way, some exciting updates to look forward to for all marketers out there.


If there’s something to pin hopes on in marketing, it’s definitely performance, especially when it’s fine-tuned to certain digital settings and business goals. Performance-based marketing offers a viable alternative to advertising ambiguity, by aiming to make advertising more strategic and resembling less a Russian roulette.

Before starting a performance-based route, it’s essential to check that the platforms, targeting, time frames, content, landing pages, and KPIs for an ad campaign are all set and ready.

Although fiddly in places, these preparations are reasonable tradeoffs for future coherent results.

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