Performance Trends 2023: Tips for Getting Closer to Your Customer 

January 19, 2023

Platform privacy changes, looming recession, and an increasingly fragmented consumer journey are just some of the key challenges marketers will face in the new year. To help brands prepare for the year ahead, we asked Matt Conlin, Co-Founder and Chief Customer Officer at Fluent, and the experts at Kochava, Partnerize, and TUNE for tips on building a winning performance marketing strategy in 2023. 

In this post you’ll find:  

Meet the Performance Marketing Experts 

Performance Trends - Matt Conlin Headshot

Matt Conlin

Chief Customer Officer Fluent

Performance Trends - Mary Miller Headshot

Mary Miller

VP of Marketing Kochava 

Performance Trends - Charlie Calabrese Headshot

Charlie Calabrese

VP of Operations Partnerize 

Performance Trends - Lyndsey Fish Headshot

Lyndsey Fish

Dir. of Partnerships TUNE 

Q&A: Performance Trends & Predictions 

In an otherwise uncertain economy, performance marketing – the tried-and-true ad model that guarantees outcomes – is well-positioned to help brands drive measurable success. Learn how to get the most out of your performance strategy in 2023 with tips from the experts below. 

When it comes to building a strong performance strategy, what will separate the winners and losers in the new year?  

Matt Conlin, Co-Founder and Chief Customer Officer, Fluent 

“The success of any performance strategy is rooted in the company you keep. Invest in partnerships with the publishers, influencers, and communities your audience trusts. Take steps to diversify your acquisition strategy, identifying channels outside of the walled gardens that can offer greater transparency and accountability when it comes to campaign performance. And above all else – make sure you have the proper tech stack in place to measure success, drive optimizations, and scale your top-performing partnerships.” 

Lyndsey Fish, Director of Partnerships, TUNE 

“Quality over quantity: Winners of a strong performance strategy will choose quality over quantity and treat their performance partners like an extension of their brand. They will look at the full funnel of the consumer, segment performance groups, and optimize based on value. They will also take this approach when it comes to the value partners bring to the table and the up-front effort it takes to identify and win over audience targets.  

More experimentation in targeting and more refined use of performance partners: Just as marketers have settled in to learn which pandemic behaviors are continuing in our post-pandemic world, they’ll need to contend with new consumer behaviors in a recession (or at least under concern about recession).” 

Charlie Calabrese, VP of Operations, Partnerize 

“When it comes to building a strong performance strategy in 2023, winning marketers will leverage a diversified partner composition strategy, employing the right partners at just the right points in the funnel to capture audience attention at every point in the consumer conversion path.” 

Mary Miller, VP of Marketing, Kochava 

“Be open to exploring new channels and new media partners to diversify your reach potential beyond just mobile, social, and programmatic. Consider a strong, omnichannel media mix that incorporates OTT and CTV, factors in opportunities within OOH/DOOH, and explores retail media networks (RMNs). For example, Kochava’s turnkey partnerships enable advertisers to measure performance across channels via direct response attribution, incrementality, and more.”  

How can advertisers leverage performance marketing to drive ROAS during the current economic downturn?  

Matt Conlin, Co-Founder and Chief Customer Officer, Fluent 

“With rising inflation and an imminent recession, it’s no secret that brands are under added pressure to prove the value of their marketing efforts. During an economic downturn, the solution isn’t to slash your ad budget entirely, but rather, to make smarter investments. By working with a performance partner, you can de-risk your media spend with a pricing model that prioritizes outcomes. And with ROAS as a North Star, expect to see brand-building channels like influencer marketing shift from upper-funnel objectives to a more performance-centric approach.” 

Charlie Calabrese, VP of Operations, Partnerize 

“As we move into 2023, performance channels like partnership and affiliate will win even more favor with marketers thanks to the inherent safety provided in their outcome-based premise which pays only upon conversion. Further, on the budgeting side, compared to 2021, 2022 revealed massive tightening proving every ad dollar precious and making both channel efficiency and clear channel reporting paramount.” 

Mary Miller, VP of Marketing, Kochava 

“Don’t let your spending decisions with partners be purely driven on a simplistic customer acquisition cost (CAC) basis. Our internal team of data analysts, Kochava Foundry, has developed a proprietary insights analysis that discovers the true incrementality and intent behind acquisition efforts across your media partners. When you’re tasked with cutting budgets by 20-30% or more, it can help you do so while still maintaining or even improving quality customer growth.” 

What are some of your predictions for the future of measurement and attribution in 2023?  

Matt Conlin, Co-Founder and Chief Customer Officer, Fluent 

“As measurement frameworks continue to evolve, marketers must be able to learn, implement, and iterate quickly enough to adapt to fast-paced changes. With the introduction of new privacy legislation, it will be more important than ever for advertisers to lessen their reliance on third-party measurement tools and start building their own first-party data assets. By owning the relationship with your customers, you can build trust and gain insights to help create consistent experiences across the entire omnichannel consumer journey.”  

Lyndsey Fish, Director of Partnerships, TUNE 

“More brands will begin to take a multi-channel approach when it comes to attribution. Data has shown us it’s rarely one channel driving a sale, and the more a purchase is considered, the more a consumer will interact with multiple marketing channels to ultimately decide to buy. Rather than trying to optimize each channel, brands will begin to optimize across all channels, coordinating them to get the most from their budget.” 

Mary Miller, VP of Marketing, Kochava 

“Hybridization will continue, and marketers will need to embrace a diversified approach to understanding campaign performance across channels. SKAN 4.0 will provide improved insights over prior iterations, and by the end of 2023, we should all have a clearer picture of how Google’s Privacy Sandbox will change the game on Android. In the interim, marketers should explore their options for incrementality and lift measurement as well as media mix modeling (MMM).”  

How can advertisers work with a performance partner to drive continued engagement beyond the initial purchase, registration, or app install?  

Matt Conlin, Co-Founder and Chief Customer Officer, Fluent 

“Listen to the data – and don’t be shy when it comes to sharing it with your performance partners. Offering insight into down-funnel engagement metrics and other first-party data points can help you to identify your most valuable customers and find more like them. For example, through our new partnership with LiveRamp, Fluent is now making it easier than ever for advertisers to action on their first-party data. By building matched audiences, we can help brands unlock rich insights to enhance their targeting strategy, re-engage existing customers, and win back lapsed users – all in a privacy-safe way.” 

Lyndsey Fish, Director of Partnerships, TUNE 

“Get granular with remarketing tactics. Demographic targeting and A/B testing are the keys to success to continue to drive engagement beyond an initial interaction. Many performance partners have granular targeting capabilities and can exclude current customers. Card-linked offers, third-party email, personalized SMS, and cart abandonment tools are very helpful in reminding purchasers to add to cart or revisit the brand. Here’s where quantity does matter: use all these tools and test early and often.” 

Looking Ahead: Performance Trends in 2023 

With brands and consumers alike tightening their purse strings, marketers will be expected to optimize toward the channels yielding the highest returns. In 2023, marketers will not only shift ad budgets from branding to performance, but they’ll also diversify their media mix to unlock new audiences across the broader performance ecosystem. While 2023 will inherit some lingering challenges from 2022 – namely around measurement and attribution – performance marketing will remain a low-risk channel for acquiring new customers and driving business impact in an uncertain economy. 

If you’re looking to get closer to your ideal customers in 2023, connect with us here to get started.