How to Choose the Right Partner for Your Performance Marketing Strategy

September 7, 2023

In a recent survey from Wunkerkind, 44% of marketers said they plan to increase investment in their performance marketing strategy over the next year. The reason is simple: amidst changing market dynamics and rising media costs, it only pays to allocate ad spend across channels that drive measurable outcomes. 

The good news is brands aren’t in it alone. Finding the right partner to guide and implement campaigns, maximize budgets, and drive efficiencies can help to ensure the success of your performance marketing strategy. Learn what to expect from an outside agency and questions to ask before initiating a new partnership below.

What Does a Performance Marketing Partner Do? 

Whereas traditional advertising is typically paid for based on the volume of views and impressions, performance marketing is predicated on results. A performance marketing partner is primarily responsible for developing and managing outcome-based media strategies from start to finish. That includes, but is not limited to:

  • Actively listening to the brand’s needs and tailoring a marketing plan aligned to the brand’s goals.
  • Assisting brands in defining key performance indicators (KPIs), set benchmarks, and provide reporting to track progress toward those KPIs.
  • Creating a bidding strategy to reach the brand’s target customers and drive more efficient use of the brand’s budget.
  • Ongoing analysis of campaign data to unlock optimization tactics that drive positive ROAS and accelerate brand growth.

Who Needs a Performance Marketing Partner? 

Are you held accountable for proving a positive return on ad spend? Do you measure success based on leads, conversions, or sales? If you answered yes to either of these questions, chances are performance marketing plays a role in your overarching strategy. 

In terms of specific types of businesses that directly depend on performance marketing, some examples include: 

Retailers: For ecommerce and omnichannel marketing operations, performance marketing is the primary vehicle for driving revenues and conversions. Retailers track metrics such as cost-per-acquisition (CPA), return on ad spend (ROAS), and conversion rates to optimize their marketing campaigns and maximize revenue.

Startups: New businesses must ensure every dollar spent on advertising and marketing delivers a qualified lead or purchase. Performance marketing allows them to test different strategies and channels quickly and with a budget that matches the business’s advertising capabilities and goals. 

Gaming Apps: Given the billions of mobile gaming apps available, it’s not enough to stand out; reaching the right consumers is essential. Developers use performance marketing to drive app installs and in-app engagement. They can track metrics like cost-per-install (CPI) and retention rates to optimize user acquisition strategies.

Financial Services and Pharmaceuticals: Banks, insurance companies, and drug brands operate under tighter advertising rules than other brands. These companies have also depended on direct-to-consumer advertising since their very beginning. 

Local Businesses: Restaurants, salons, and gyms are among the most traditional performance marketers. Location targeting has elevated the practice of promotions and offers, tracking foot traffic and conversions.

Subscription Services: Companies offering subscription-based services, like streaming platforms or subscription boxes, must maintain a steady stream of new subscribers to thrive. Performance marketing allows them to track the cost of acquiring each new subscriber and their lifetime value.

See how Shavekit partnered with Fluent to drive 5x the ROAS vs. other leading performance channels.

Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Performance Marketing Partner

A solid foundation for any partnership is built on clear communication, trust, and transparency. You’ll want to confirm that your partner has the time to dedicate to your campaign and the resources and expertise to support its continued success. Here are a few questions to ask before jumping into a new partnership:

1. What can I expect in terms of client communication and collaboration?

Why It’s Important: Communication is key to ensuring campaign alignment. The best performance partner should not merely sign off on your goals and guarantee execution. Instead, they’ll offer a realistic path to achieve them. Maybe you need to start with a lead generation program before jump-starting a direct sales effort. It all comes down to prioritizing the marketing channels you want to use while remaining curious about alternative strategies to get the desired results.

2. How do you define a successful performance marketing strategy?

Why It’s Important: While performance marketing is about delivering precise metrics and clear outcomes, the variables of each campaign are as unique as the brand and its goals and messages. A good partner will always manage expectations about return on investment. If a performance partner ties a specific spend to the promise of a specific result, quiz them intently. A solid performance agency should be able to outline success metrics and the accompanying variables. 

3. What tools and tech integrations do you have available to measure campaign success?

Why It’s Important: Every company relies on analytics to understand what is — and what isn’t — driving results. You’ll want to find a partner with the right infrastructure and tech integrations to track performance and verify the accuracy of the data and leads you’re investing in. If a prospective partner is unwilling to provide robust and transparent reporting on a consistent basis or offer clear recommendations for how to optimize your campaigns, then it may be time to look elsewhere.

4. Does your agency provide anything unique or proprietary compared to others?

Why It’s Important: One of the most difficult obstacles to a successful performance marketing campaign is restricted access to exclusive inventory. This scarcity often results in intense competition and inflated costs for high-performing ad placements across mainstream channels. Partners that own their own media can help you unlock incremental audiences outside the walled gardens (learn more here). With campaigns fueled by first-party insights, you’ll also reach your target audience with a higher degree of efficiency and accuracy. 

5. What optimization strategies will be applied to achieve maximum efficiency and ROAS?

Why It’s Important: Performance marketing is all about data-driven decisions. A successful partnership involves continuous testing and optimization. Your partner should have a strategy in place to test different elements, such as ad creatives, targeting, and landing pages, and then optimize based on the results. This iterative approach ensures that your campaigns always improve and adapt to changing market conditions.

Ready to Launch Your Performance Marketing Strategy?

Performance marketing may span industries and channels, but the goal is always the same: to drive measurable outcomes. Whether you’re launching your first performance campaign or simply looking for a new agency to help take your customer acquisition strategy to the next level, we’ve got you covered. Learn how to unlock exponential growth and expand your acquisition strategy with Fluent’s owned and operated digital media portfolio.

Connect with us here to get started!