Through performance marketing, we combine advertising with innovation skills that reach and entice audiences with authentic and relevant messaging. Creative teams are in charge of doing content that plays an integral role in this equation, as it aims to provide the consumer with value at every conversion stage. In addition, content marketing optimizes the emotional connection with its audience where creativity plays a crucial role, and ultimately, conversion.
The problem, however, relies on marketers and agencies working in the digital domain who have started a technological innovation all on their own – and often dismiss the importance of high-quality creative advertising content.
For marketing, creative problem-solving comes where innovative tech cannot reach. Although some of the mechanics of executing creative strategies are an integral factor in success, creativity, or rather the art of marketing, remains the main driver of performance.
Creative work strategies remain equally essential and have a symbiotic relationship where creativity meets excellence. By defining digital performance objectives, team members identify existing gaps and new opportunities for content creation.
So, how can we fix this?
People, not search engines
Data-driven marketing provides more insight into consumer behavior than ever before. However, as important as it seems, there are still human beings behind search queries, clicks, and likes.
This means that establishing an emotional connection with a user, or potential leads, through a basic human truth is more important to marketing success than ever before.
Yes, keywords in a search strategy are the foundation, but they don´t guarantee conversion. Case studies indicate that if SEO copywriters and content writers aren´t writing for readers in an authentic, relevant, and engaging way, even the most data-rich strategies will not see optimal results. The same applies to social media or banner ad formats.
What about data-driven creativity?
In an ideal scenario, data would inform but not dictate creativity. For digital agencies, this would mean having the creative and data teams working together closely to analyze and observe behavior and subsequently find insights that inform campaigns and drive potential strategies.
Similarly, analyzing the performance data of a campaign will also give creatives insight into what works and what should be optimized.
“Data doesn’t need to be boring and dull to digest, creativity is the perfect pairing. Creatives are here to perfectly compliment the performance marketers in the digital industry” – Cara Pedder, Head of Creatives, Performics South Africa.
Creativity and performance relationship
Creative performance is an approach to creative marketing tasks that involve using data to track performance and shape the development or distribution of creative assets. These tasks include things like designing visuals for ads, planning videos, and writing copy for blog spots. Using data as an analytics tool allows you to measure a creative process and its impact on your marketing goals and make data-based decisions to change and improve performance.
How to get started with performance creative marketing
So, how do you use performance creativity to improve your marketing content in your agency and, ultimately, get better results in your campaign’s performance?
Here are five essential steps to follow – the five Ts of performance creative marketing.
A crucial first step is setting goals or targets. You need to know what you’re aiming to achieve so that you can track your progress. Perhaps the goal of a blog post is to get people to sign up for your email newsletter.
Maybe the objective of your video is to persuade people to sign up for a free trial of your service. With an ad, the target might be a purchase. To make your goals more useful and easier to track, make smart movements, which means they should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant to your larger goals, and time-bound.
Another vital step is setting up the technology to track your marketing performance. The performance tracking and data analytics and data analytics tools you’ll use may vary according to the medium you’re using. Here we’ll provide some to have into consideration.
Google Ads: If you’re using your creative assets in online ads, the digital advertising platform you’re using likely includes performance tracking and analytics features. Google Ads is perhaps the most common example of such a platform.
Social media platforms: Like with advertising platforms, many social media sites also include built-in analytics tools that help you track how both your organic and social media ads are performing.
SEO tracking tools: There are various tools you can use for tracking how your content performs in search engines. If you’re posting your creative assets on your website and optimizing your pages for search, you can use tools like Google Search Console to track performance.
Google Analytics: Google Analytics is one of the most used web analytics tools. It lets you track and analyze a wide variety of metrics, from how users arrive on your site to how many users convert on a given page.
MarketingCloudFX: MarketingCloudFX also lets you track many kinds of metrics across numerous channels. It offers tools for lead tracking, email tracking, search engine performance, and more. You can even access video recordings of how users interact with the content on your site.
A key part of performance creative is testing the changes you make to your creative marketing assets to see how updates affect their performance. For instance, you could adjust the color scheme in an ad or the CTA copy in a blog post to see if the change leads to more conversions. If the update results in an improvement, you can keep the change and go on to test another element.
This process is called A/B testing. In addition to testing elements of your creative themselves, you can also test aspects of how you distribute your ads or other marketing materials. For example, you might test different ads with different audience segments.
You can then show each segment the ads they like best, personalizing your marketing for your users and improving your results. While you can start with best practices and other similar benchmarks, remember that what works best varies from agency to agency. The only way to be sure what works best for you is to run a test!
To make advantage of the power of performance creative, you’ll need to track your marketing’s performance over time, in addition to tracking the results of your tests. This is where the tools already mentioned such as Google Ads or MarketingCloudFX come in handy. You can use these tools to measure metrics such as views, conversions, bounce rate, and much more.
Tracking results let you see which marketing assets perform best for your agency, allowing you to refine your campaigns over time.
Performance creative isn´t a one-and-done strategy. You’ll continue tracking performance over time and adjusting your marketing materials to continually improve them. As you learn more about what works well for your company through testing, tracking, and refining your campaigns, your performance in creative marketing will continue to get better and better.
6. Increase communication between teams
As an additional performance creative tip, it requires you to combine the creative and analytical sides of your business.
If you have separate teams or team members working on creative tasks and data analytics, consider integrating them. Perhaps the teams can meet occasionally and provide each other with reports and updates to make sure both sides of your marketing department are on the same page.
7. Get creative with testing
Performance creative is about using data and testing things for yourself. You might want to start with best practices, but you can also test an idea that is a bit out of the ordinary.
Keep in mind that testing might reveal that your initial instincts weren’t right – and that’s okay! You never know for sure if something will work until you test it for yourself.
8. Find the right balance
An important aspect of getting performance creative marketing right is finding the ideal balance between creativity and data. You don’t want to base every decision on your gut feeling alone, but you also want your marketing to feel human and genuine.
It can be tricky, but to succeed with performance creativity, you need to find the right balance between decisions based and letting your creativity flow!
How can creatives benefit from having metrics?
Metrics are a very powerful tool that can help shape and improve performance whether your goal is optimizing creative operations or marketing campaigns. They are also a means to show an agency’s success against established KPIs. Metrics can be defined as a quantifiable set of numbers that give information about a process or activity. They provide measurements about how operations are functioning, or how a product content campaign in your agency is performing and offer up a base for you to suggest improvements. Most importantly, metrics elicit conversation and focus our attention on the things that matter. In this case, they will be used to measure creative and marketing deliverables.
Metrics have become a critical driver of success for agencies. Let’s take a look at how can they benefit creatives:
- Act as a catalyst to investigate and discuss organizational issues in the content strategy.
- Help you know and prove you are operating both effectively and efficiently.
- Supply historical information to assist in planning, forecasting, and resourcing from previous campaigns into an actual content campaign.
- Provide a feedback mechanism to make more informed decisions and make continuous improvements to your content.
- Support the case of resources, with data.
- Identify product trends.
- Provide insight into staff utilization and capacity for better deployment of resources and planning for surges.
It is equally important to remember that metrics are facts that need to be interpreted. They are not necessarily true but a trigger to investigate further. They don´t provide answers, however, they do provide insight. Metrics can be very powerful, so it’s important that you take pains to understand and use them in the right way.
The difference between proving you’re performing well as a creative and proving that your creative performed well is none other than metrics. Hopefully, you’ll be able to show strong performance in your product campaigns with high engagement numbers or conversion rates.
How to demonstrate you’re running a successful product campaign? Factors such as technology investment, time to market, and headcount should be included when measuring performance. Planning for this while you’re building the business case in-house will give you the data you need to prove you’re running the operation efficiently. Measuring performance will be as important as measuring the performance of what creatives are delivering.
What is performance marketing in digital marketing?
So often, we use digital marketing as a ubiquitous term. In reality, there are many types of digital marketing and the channels and capabilities of each type are growing every day.
One overlooked digital marketing strategy is performance marketing. With performance marketing, advertisers only pay when specific actions occur. For instance, when a viewer clicks through to their page or makes a purchase.
Performance marketing refers to a form of digital marketing in which brands only pay marketing service providers after their business objectives have been met or when specific actions have been taken, as said before, such as a click, a sale, or a lead.
Performance marketing works when advertisers connect with either agencies or publishers to design and place advertisements for their agency or any number of performance marketing channels – social media, search engines, video, embedded web content, and more. Instead of paying for an advertisement in the traditional way, these advertisers pay based on how well their ad performs, by measuring the number of clicks, impressions, shares, or sales.
How performing marketing works
Advertisers put their ads on a given channel and then pay based on how that ad performs. There are a few different ways to pay when it comes to performance marketing.
Cost Per Click (CPC)
Advertisers pay based on the number of times their ad is clicked on. This is a good way to drive traffic to your site.
Cost Per Impression (CPM)
Impressions are essentially views of your ad. With CPM, you pay for every thousand views ( so if 25,000 people viewed your ad, for example, you’d pay your base rate times 25.)
Cost per Sale (CPS)
With CPS, you only pay when you make a sale that was driven by an ad. This system is also commonly used in affiliate marketing as well.
Cost Per Lead (CPL)
Much like cost per sale, with CPL you pay when someone signs up for something, like an email newsletter or webinar. CPL generates leads, so you can follow up with customers and drive sales.
Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)
Cost per acquisition is similar to CPL and CPS but is more general. With this structure, advertisers pay when consumers complete a specific action ( which could include making a sale, sharing their contact information, or visiting your blog, among others.
Top Performance Marketing Channels
What channels work best when it comes to performance marketing? There are five types of performance marketing that agencies and advertisers use to drive traffic:
1. Banner (Display) Ads
If you’ve been online, you’ve probably seen plenty of display ads recently. These ads appear on the side of your Facebook newsfeed, or at the top or the bottom of that news web page you just visited. Though display ads are slowly losing their appeal due to the increasing popularity of ad blockers and what experts call banner blindness, many companies are still finding success with display ads that utilize interactive content, videos, and engaging graphic design.
2. Native Advertising
Native advertising takes advantage of the natural appearance of a web page or site to promote sponsored content. For instance, sponsored videos might appear in the “watch next” section of a YouTube page. Native ads are also popular on e-commerce sites – you may have seen them on Facebook Marketplace, for example. Native advertising works because it allows your sponsored content to live seamlessly beside other kinds of organic content. Often, users won´t differentiate between these kinds of content, allowing you to promote your brand in a way that feels natural.
3. Content Marketing
Content marketing is all about educating your audience. According to OmniVirt, it also costs 62 percent less than outbound marketing and generates three times as many leads. With content marketing, the focus is on providing useful information to users and putting your brand in context. For instance, a vitamin company might write a series of informative blog posts about the benefits of probiotics, with a link back to the probiotics they sell. Content marketing is a channel that can include blog posts, case studies, e-books, and more.
4. Social Media
For performance marketers, social media is a haven on earth. It offers not only the opportunity to reach users and drive them to your site- but users can also share sponsored content organically, extending your reach far beyond the original post. Facebook has the most extensive list of services for performance marketers, but other platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter also offer many opportunities to customers.
5. Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Most online research is done via search engines, and that means having a site that is optimized for search engine marketing is essential. In terms of performance marketing, the focus is primarily on cost-per-click (CPC), especially for paid advertising. For organic SEM, many performance marketers rely on content marketing and SEO-optimized landing pages.
With the future of digital marketing looking more promising each year, using performance marketing channels can help you scale your advertising efforts to meet your agency’s needs without stealing the bank.
Performance marketing is a creative and effective way to diversify your audience and expand your reach, all while capturing valuable data. And the benefits don´t stop there. When you embrace the full functionality of performance marketing, from native and affiliate advertising to sponsored social media content, you’ll find it’s easier than ever to grow your agency.
How important is performance in creativity in marketing?
Performance creative has a key role to play in enhancing return on investment (ROI) and is essential for achieving successful digital marketing strategies and delivering agency growth.
Essentially the meeting point between creative and KPIs-driven campaigns, performance creative ensures digital assets are fit for purpose to support campaign delivery teamwork. By underpinning audience data with channel-specific insights, marketers have the opportunity to have better products and services that can help drive ROI. In short, performance creative can enhance your campaigns and drive results for a brand.
This is a solution that will no doubt appeal to a growing number of clients who want to see further enhancements in their marketing strategies and combining creativity and technology will help them do that. To ensure clients stand out from the digital noise and speak to their target audiences in the most effective way, performance creative is key and has led to brands investing time, money, and effort into boosting their digital creatives through a performance creative lens
Performance creativity in marketing acts as a bridge between campaigns that are driven by KPIs/ ROI and those that lead with innovation and creativity. Traditionally, brands focused on one or the other, but today many are merging the two to create successful campaigns.
It concentrates on perfecting the end result, which is typically the call-to-action that an ad supplies for audiences. However, if an ad is praised for its creativity but doesn´t actually lead users to take the desired action, it can´t be considered a success under a creative performance model.
Therefore, when it comes to effective marketing focused on ROI, it is the strategy advertisers turn to as it incentivizes measurable results and makes metrics easy to track.
In a nutshell, creative performance combines two worlds: creativity and data and applies that information to the creation of content such as videos, designing ads, and copywriting for blogs. Metrics really come in handy here because they allow you to measure that creative process and the impact it had on the campaign you were leading. From there, data-based decisions are always key to making informed based decisions and improving performance.
Moreover, performance marketing appears on screen, as one of many marketing strategies, which refers to agencies only paying for services when an objective is met through a click, sale, or lead, on the content we mentioned before. It’s important because it helps you to expand your reach to many audiences. It´s also key in enhancing ROI and delivering agency growth.