What is a Performance Marketing Agency and Why You Desperately Need One

by | Nov 14, 2022


In today’s world, brands and marketers are increasingly able to track the impact of their marketing efforts. As customer preferences, technology, web design, and marketing techniques become increasingly more sophisticated, performance marketing is where your business can measure ROI in real-time.


While branding and design agency partners will always be important, the need for this new type of specialized performance marketing agency will drive online growth for brands both in the near and long term relationships with their customers.




What is Performance Marketing?


Performance marketing is a comprehensive term for online marketing and advertising programs focused on and driven by a measurable, attributable conversion. Conversions can be anything from a lead to a demo to a trial signup to a sale — or anything in between, but the “conversion event” is set up front as the goal and a cost-per-action (CPA) is typically also targeted.


The goal of the performance marketer is then to hit the conversion goal volume and CPA, balancing scale with efficiency.


While some performance marketing agencies charge a commission or referral fee for each lead, this is sometimes called an affiliate model.  Other performance marketing agencies charge on a traditional percent of media spend model but still focus on the conversion objective (this is the model at Upgrow).


Performance marketing can include many traffic channels but the most common are search engine marketing or Google Ads, affiliate networks, social media marketing, SEO, paid content marketing ads, and other types of paid-for-performance marketing channels.




Performance Marketing Channels


  • Search Engine Marketing / Google Ads – With the right specified targeting, search engine marketing (particularly via Google Ads) can produce outstanding results with an excellent measured return on investment (ROI). Google Ads enables you to bid on certain keywords in order for their clickable ads to appear in Google’s search engine results. It’s very scalable, the conversion intent is high and you can get immediate results.





    Results of Google's search results












    Source: Google.com




    • Social Media Marketing – There are many ways to use social media marketing. As a performance marketing agency, finding the right opportunities that will increase conversions is absolutely pivotal. Three key examples of this phenomenon are Facebook AdsLinkedIn Ads, and Google Ads. Through social media marketing, you can leverage their respective main sites in order to get either your own product or your client’s product to as wide an audience as humanly possible. The numbers below clearly show the reasons why social media marketing continues to grow at an exponential rate.




    70% of social marketer' top goals for social media is to increase brand awareness












    Source: Smartinsight.com







    • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Creates comprehensive, direct and engaging content to answer the questions users search on Google is vital for organic page traffic. Search Engine Optimization (otherwise known as SEO) is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results. This can include (but is not limited to) content creation, earning links, and developing a site easily indexed by search engine bots. Every facet of search engine optimization is absolutely essential to any performance of your marketing efforts.

    • Programmatic Advertising – Think banner ads but targeted specifically to users who are likely to be interested in your product.  Using programmatic technology, advertisers are able to serve ads to users based on their interests, demographics, cookie data, and browser activity.






    Why is Performance Marketing Important Now?


    Analytics and attribution are increasingly more available for sophisticated brands across industries and sectors. Subsequently, getting a solid ROI for both marketing budgets and their corresponding channels is increasingly important.


    Therefore, having an performance marketing agencies that specializes in delivering results is a must. It’s a must because through the successful usage of analytics, attribution and channels, brand marketing managers can both report real results in real time as well as take credit for the traffic and sales they drive.


    E-commerce and B2B brands alike benefit from these channels, whether they’re converting sales or trying to build a prospect list by way of an email marketing lead capture form. Through this method, running at a cost-per-lead or ROI goals make the program more efficient and more scalable.  


    In the early days of the internet, there wasn’t much competition. Marketers could easily find one person who did everything they needed to be done. This was true even though it meant paying double what you might pay now. There weren’t many options and most people didn’t know how to use the internet very well.


    As the internet grew, so too did the demand for web design and development services. This was great news because there were fewer marketing agencies providing those services.


    Marketing agencies began popping up everywhere. They offered different types of digital channels like email marketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), PPC marketing, etc. But they still focused on just one thing. And that was email marketing.


    Email marketing is a potent marketing channel that uses email to advertise the goods or services your company offers. Email marketing is a type of direct marketing as well as digital marketing. By incorporating it into your marketing automation initiatives, it can assist in informing your clients about your most recent products or offers.


    Through various forms of marketing emails, it can also be extremely important in your overall marketing strategy for lead generation, brand awareness, relationship building, business performance goals, and consumer engagement in between transactions.


    As the internet evolved into something we recognize today, it became clear that some companies were doing a lot more than just sending emails. Some were creating entire websites. Others were developing mobile apps. Still others were selling products.


    This led to another problem. How do you pick out the best performance marketing agency for your needs? You don’t want to hire someone who does nothing for you. Yet, you don’t want to go with


    How well does performance marketing work? See some of our case studies for examples of how we’ve achieved client success in driving customer acquisition.




    What to Look for in a Performance Marketing Agency




    When seeking a performance marketing agency to partner with, here are a few things to look for:


    • Multi-Channel Expertise – Whether it’s affiliate marketing, search engine optimization, high conversion web design, paid advertising, or a combination of the above therein, companies often rely on agencies to deliver results in the form of traffic, leads, and/or sales. Having a holistic background in both marketing strategy and driving performance is a key consideration for the agency you ultimately end up choosing. It’s important to note that even though these channels are distinct, they do not work in silos. Consequently, a trusted partner that can handle all of them and has a track record for complete performance marketing management is a top factor.

    • Brand Protective – Getting quick deliverable results should by no means whatsoever come at the cost of potentially compromising the brand image. Make sure your agency understands your brand and the target customer, and offers advertising services. For example, Gucci could get a substantial increase in quantitative sales by slashing prices or offering deep affiliate commissions; however, the brand image that it cultivated would suffer. Before anything is signed, be sure to know for certain whether or not your marketing agencies understands your brand from the bottom up and can assure you your brand safety because that is how a great performance marketing agency works.

    • Recommendations and Referrals – No single digital marketing agency can do every aspect of the process perfectly well. Therefore, when you need a great referral for web development or UX, you want a well-connected agency that serves more than a decade that can plug you into other performance agencies and consultants.

    • Strategic – Do you want to work with an service digital marketing agency that runs all of their client’s accounts the same or one that will think beyond the Adwords interface and identify opportunities strategically. A good performance marketing agency services include recommend landing page conversion improvements, go deep into your analytics, suggests a web development, and find insights and recommend new channels to complement, grow your volume and meet your marketing goals.

    • Client-to-Team Member Ratio – Choosing an agency that handles a limited number of accounts per team member is a good idea because it provides more focus and attention on the clients in question. You don’t want to be an account manager’s fourteenth-ranked account, even if it’s at a discounted rate. Conversely, if an account manager only has one or two small accounts on their docket, then they may not have a lot of experience to work with.








    While branding and design agency partners can help your business gain awareness, performance marketing agencies can deliver results fast driving online growth both in the present, in the immediate short-term, and the overall long-term periods with their creative services. Whether it is a leading performance marketing agency or not, bringing on a performance marketing agency that has both multi-channel marketing expertise as well as a holistic background in marketing strategy can significantly improve your marketing results as well as saving time, ad spend, and most importantly delivering high ROI.




    If you’re interested in learning more about Upgrow’s performance marketing services, schedule a call with us today!



    Performance Marketing Agency FAQs


    What are performance marketing agencies?

    Performance marketing agencies use digital ads to measure results and gain insights through analytics. The most well-known performance marketing channels include Google Ads, social ads, and content marketing.

    What are the types of performance marketing?

    The most common types of performance marketing are search engine marketing, social media marketing, native advertising, paid content marketing ads (Google Ads, LinkedIn Ads, Facebook Ads, etc), and other types of paid-for-performance online marketing channels.

    What is the difference between performance marketing and traditional advertising?

    Performance marketing is focused on measurable results such as leads, sales, or signups. Traditional advertising focuses more on brand awareness and building relationships with customers.

    What are the benefits of performance marketing?

    Performance marketing allows you to track and measure results in real-time, giving you the ability to adjust your campaigns quickly and efficiently. Performance marketing also allows for more targeted advertising, as you can target specific audiences with tailored messages. Additionally, performance marketing is cost-effective, as it only charges when a conversion occurs. Performance marketing provides valuable insights into customer behavior and preferences which can be used to inform future campaigns. This is why selecting the best agency is critical for your brand.

    How does performance marketing help?

    Performance marketing helps businesses reach their business goals by providing measurable results and insights into customer behavior. Performance marketing services allows businesses to track and measure results in real-time, giving them the ability to adjust their campaigns quickly and efficiently. It makes it possible to target audiences more precisely with customized advertising campaigns and to potentially work with international clients. Additionally, performance marketing is cost-effective, as it only charges when a conversion occurs. 

    What does a performance marketing specialist do?

    A person that offer performance marketing is responsible for creating and managing campaigns that are designed to generate leads, sales, or signups. They will analyze data from past campaigns to identify areas of improvement and develop strategies to optimize future campaigns. They will also monitor the performance of current campaigns and make adjustments as needed. Performance marketing specialists must have a deep understanding of digital marketing channels such as Google Ads, Amazon Advertising, social media ads , and content marketing.

    Is performance marketing paid?

    Yes, performance marketing is paid. Performance marketing companies use digital ads to measure results and gain insights through analytics. The most well-known performance marketing channels include Google Ads, social ads, and content marketing, these channels are typically paid for on a cost-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-action (CPA) basis, meaning that the advertiser only pays when a desired action is completed.

    How to Choose a Performance Marketing Agency?

    Choosing the right performance marketing company is essential for achieving your desired results. When selecting an agency, it’s important to consider their experience and track record in the industry, as well as their ability to provide insights into customer behavior and preferences. Additionally, you should look for an agency that has a proven track record of success with campaigns similar to yours. It’s also important to make sure that they have the resources and expertise necessary to manage your campaigns effectively. Finally, you should ensure that the agency is transparent and provides regular updates on the progress of the online advertising.

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    Ryder Meehan

    Ryder has been on a 16-year journey to master digital marketing from every aspect. His resume includes Razorfish, Slighshot, Fossil, Samsung Mobile and Tatcha before launching Upgrow. Ryder is the acting CEO, heading business development and account services. He has been featured as a digital marketing leader on Forbes, PRNews, Business.com, Workamajig, Databox, Fit Small Biz and other outlets.

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