What is performance marketing software? Why use a performance marketing platform? Who does performance marketing?
These are questions we will attempt to concisely answer in this article, providing an overview and introduction into the world of performance marketing and what software is required to be successful in this world.
Performance Marketing traditionally refers to a form of Online B2C Marketing in which results are ultimately measured when a specific action - such as a sale, lead or click - is completed.
Within this world, there are fundamentally three distinctive parties which we will refer to as Brands, Performance Marketers and Affiliates.
To state things as simply as possible, a Brand (usually merchants, retailers or advertisers) will either do Performance Marketing themselves, or they will get a Performance Marketer (usually in the form of Agencies, Brokers or Networks) to do it for them. Beyond this, you get Affiliates (or Publishers) who operate on a more granular level, but are still performance marketers in their own right.
What Is Performance Marketing Software?
We now understand who does Performance Marketing, but we also need to look at the types of performance marketing that is done. The best way of doing this is to look at the three types of performance marketing software that exist, for they fulfil the key needs.
Landing Page Software
Landing Pages are where any one doing performance marketing will direct traffic, ultimately with the intention of generating leads. To be successful in this world, you need to be able to create, design and run landing pages that will convert highly in terms of any traffic on that page ultimately submitting their details and becoming a lead. Landing Page Software allows you - or a designer / developer you employ - to create these pages.
When it comes to measuring the success of your landing pages, there is only one real metric that any performance marketer should care about: Conversion Rates. To maximise your performance and ROI, you need to get your conversion rates as high as possible.
For tips on how to do this, check out: Landing Pages and The Art Of Conversion
Affiliate Tracking Software
This is software used to track the performance and results of individual Affiliates in terms of the sales, leads, clicks and impressions recorded. Being able to track affiliate activity accurately is a huge benefit for a performance marketer as it allows you refine your campaigns, and hone in on areas of improvement and make marginal gains on a granular level.
Within the world of Performance Marketing there also exists Ecommerce which specifically focuses upon the tracking of Sales (more so that other events such as impressions and clicks). In this model, a percentage of revenue is calculated as payment based upon Sales thanks to an Affiliate (Publisher), or Network. Whether this model works to a direct relationship between the Brand and Affiliate, or if the process is facilitated thanks to a network, agency or broker, the ability to accurately and consistently track results is vitally important to everyone involved.
When it comes to performance marketing, you can use Affiliate Tracking Software as a standalone tool to measure results using the required metrics, and you can also combine it with your first party data generation when also running lead generation marketing campaigns.
For a performance marketer, the ability to do the above will enable you to hugely improve performance in terms of adding value to your work, and identifying and eradicating fraudulent data.
To learn more about how to eradicate from your process, check out: Surviving The Murky World of Affiliate Marketing.
Lead Distribution Software
This is software that essentially gives each of the parties a way of managing all of the generated leads in terms of moving the data between systems, validating the authenticity of the leads, safely storing the leads and nurturing the leads from the initial point of generation though to an eventual sale. Within the world of lead distribution there is a whole range of activity that ultimately allows performance marketers to maximise the value of each and every lead, including the following popular solutions:
Lead Acquisition - Whether integrating your landing page software, social media integration, or receiving data from other sources.
Validation - There are multiple forms of validation, allowing marketers to eradicate fraudulent or otherwise unsuitable data from their process, saving costs.
Nurturing - This can take many forms, but refers to marketing efforts after the point of generation to nurture a lead to eventual conversion.
Security and Compliance - This is essentially when it comes to correctly handling and storing / transferring data within performance marketing.
Automation - Due to the large scale of leads generated and distributed within the world of B2C Performance Marketing, automation is a key tool in allowing marketers to scale their operation.
For more on Automation, check out: Lead Management Automation Will Skyrocket Performance
For more on Validation, check out: The HUGE Problem With Lead Validation
For more on Lead Distribution, check out: Everything You Need to Know About Lead Distribution
A Performance Marketing Platform Unites These Systems
So, we have our three key types of performance marketing software; a performance marketing platform is a system where these three individual softwares are united together, making performance marketing simpler for everyone involved. These software systems do exist in isolation and can be brought together using APIs, but a Performance Marketing Platform doesn’t require this as the systems are built together and are operated using one central interface (as opposed to three different ones).
A Final Thought
To be successful in Performance Marketing you need to ensure you have perfected each of the elements mentioned. Moreover, if running more than type of performance marketing, you need to have these elements working together in perfect harmony. In this sense, a performance marketer is like the conductor of these individual sections, keeping everything ticking over with the precision of a metronome. In this sense, a Performance Marketing Platform can be employed to great effect, allowing the Marketer great control of each individual element and eradicating any conflict between the systems.
Moreover, if the ultimate goal is to profitably scale your operation - which, for pretty much all of us it is - then automating as much of these individual processes as possible will allow a performance marketer to spend less time focusing upon manual jobs and more time focusing upon traffic and clients… realising this is the key to winning at performance marketing.
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