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The B2B Performance Marketing Guide: Basic Strategy and Tips

Performance marketing guide from PropellerAds

This post is also available in: PT ES

The PropellerAds main page says we provide ‘affordable B2B performance marketing solutions.’ That’s 100% true! But are you truly aware of what this mysterious ‘performance marketing’ means?’

Today, together with Anna Avramova, the Performance Team Team Leader, we will explain the basics of B2B performance marketing, show you an example of a strategy, and help you avoid at least the most common mistakes.

What is Performance Marketing?

In short, it is when a brand pays exclusively for its ad campaign’s performance, e.g., specific actions: clicks, deposits, downloads, leads, etc. The number of these actions and their reasonable implementation cost are the main goals of every performance marketing campaign. 

An example: an iGaming brand wants to attract 10,000 new leads from Brazil within a month. It has decided to run a performance marketing campaign with Facebook ads and PropellerAds. In both networks, the brand pays exclusively for the leads. For example, the PropellerAds campaign was set for the CPA Goal 2.0 bidding model, so the budget was spent only on a desired action: registration at the platform.

To make it clearer, let’s assume the same iGaming platform also applies brand marketing. What is the difference between its campaigns – for example, performance marketing vs. brand marketing?

Performance marketingBrand marketing
A media buying campaign that showed the brand’s ads and paid only for leads. All the impressions, clicks, and further interactions were carefully tracked and vividly measured.An ad on TV shown during prime time. The brand paid for the ad space, no matter how many people would see it. The results of the campaign were hard to measure: it wasn’t possible to understand who signed up exactly after watching this ad.

So, performance marketing (in a perfect world) is:

  • Always measurable

  • Always has particular KPIs

  • Only spends money on the desired actions

And, of course, it сrosses paths with various other marketing types and channels. What are they?

Performance Marketing Channels

As we already know, performance marketing is about measurable metrics and KPIs. Very logically, it mainly uses the following payment models:

  • Pay Per Click (PPC) –– when you pay every time a user clicks your ad

  • Cost Per Action (CPA) –– when you pay for a certain action of a user, like a sign-up/deposit

  • Cost Per Lead (CPL) –– a case of CPA, when you pay for a user to leave their contact details

  • Cost Per Mille (CPM) –– price per 1000 impressions.

Overall, there are many more models, so we are describing the most basic ones that are suitable for most businesses.

What channels are the most effective and convenient for these models? There might be plenty of options, depending on a particular brand and product, but the top popular and widely-used ones are:

Affiliate marketingAdvertising with the help of third-party marketersPurchasing ads from YouTube bloggers who leave their referral links
Programmatic media buyingAdvertising with the help of ad networksPropellerAds campaigns
Social Media MarketingPaid advertising on social networksInstagram, LinkedIn, Facebook
Search Engine MarketingPaid ads in search enginesGoogle Ads

B2B Performance Marketing Metrics

There is a vast number of performance marketing metrics, and their choice depends on a particular business. The more or less universal ones are:

  • Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI) –– the overall campaign efficiency profit-wise.

  • Conversion to Sale –– the ratio between all the attracted users and those who made a purchase

  • Cost-Per-Sale –– the amount spent per sale, with the margin from this sale in mind

  • Revenue dispersion by Customer –– a metric that helps to understand if the promo was successful due to many customers or it paid off thanks to a couple of them.

Your Performance Marketing Strategy and Media Planning

Remember our example about the iGaming brand that wanted 10,000 leads in Brazil? The big question is, how did they know they wanted this number of leads, and why should they have been Brazilian?

Most likely, the information on these desired performance marketing KPIs didn’t come out of nowhere but became a result of the following preparation steps:

Step 1. Market Research

The first step of your campaign is to peep at your competitors’ efforts in search ads or social media. Luckily, there is plenty of performance marketing software at your service:

Anna Avramova: Remember: you don’t need to copy everything your competitors do –– they are not necessarily right. What is more, you’ll never know if their methods really bring them quality leads or just waste the budget. So, overall, spy tools should be your inspiration, not a guideline.

Such research can give you an idea of the most attractive GEOs and channels for your campaign.

Step 2. Goal Setting

This one is about funnels: what do you want a user to do when they come to your landing page? For example, here is how it can look for our fictional iGaming brand:

  • Visits the landing page

  • Clicks the sign-up button (that redirects them to the iGaming website)

  • Creates and verifies the account

  • Adds a payment method

  • Makes the first deposit

Depending on the product, this funnel might look absolutely different, so you shouldn’t stick to any particular one.

Step 3. Strategy Creation

Now, it’s time for the media plan! Here, we will need to consider the following points of our campaign:

  1. The budget forecast depends on the chosen GEO. How to predict it?  Usually, it’s possible with the help of a marketing channel you are going to use. For example, at PropellerAds, you have a traffic chart that makes actual predictions:

Besides, you need to estimate the approximate cost per desirable action. For example, if you pick the CPC model, the more clicks you get, the more money you spend.

  1. The number of ad channels. A golden rule says investing a good amount of money into a single channel is better than distributing small sums between several.
  1. KPIs and metrics. As a performance marketer, you track every channel and adjust the plan accordingly. So, your plan must include the key metrics you can measure: for example, a conversion rate.
  1. Content plan. What will you need for your campaign –– landing pages, blog articles, social media posts, or videos?
  1. Description of the target audiences within every ad platform.

Here is how the final version of your strategy media plan might look:

Step 4. Tracking & Analytics

Now, you need to prepare everything for the correct tracking. Do this before you launch your campaign; otherwise, a technical mistake might cost you the proper performance estimation. 

Here is what you might need to check:

  • Cookie-consent settings

  • Ad networks scripts

  • UTM-marking

  • Key metrics validation – can we track everything we need?

  • Means of campaign performance reporting

Step 5. Campaign Launch 

Your campaign is live –– and now your patience is your best friend. First, the campaign might require some time for moderation; for example, it may take up to 24 hours at Meta. It’s not always like that, though –– for example, PropellerAds’ top average approval time is 2 minutes.

Then, it’s essential to wait until you know how every channel performs. Sometimes, it takes up to several weeks if the traffic volume is too big. 

Anna Avramova: I also insist on double-checking before a campaign launch. Going live without testing all landing pages, tracking settings, and other tech staff is a bad idea.

Step 6. Optimization

After the first testing period, we check the performance of our campaign. Do we attract the desired audience? How do users interact with our creatives and landing pages? After we have the idea, we can begin optimizing the campaign.

Anna Avramova: Our aim is not just to follow the media plan. If you see a traffic source that doesn’t perform, a specific GEO that doesn’t bring enough conversions, or a channel that is not efficient, you need to find the reason and adjust your strategy.

Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Now, let’s focus a bit on the biggest DON’Ts you should avoid with your performance marketing efforts.

Wrong Budget Distribution

Any ad platform, be it Meta, Google Ads, Linkedin, or whatever, gives more impressions to the campaigns with higher budgets. So, if your budget is too limited, don’t spread it in a thin layer among several GEOs or platforms and keep such a small budget campaign live for too long.

Note: some ad platforms even cut your impressions when you begin running out of budget. While not all of them are like this –– for example, there isn’t such a system at PropellerAds, too small a budget won’t allow you to collect enough data and see any significant results.

Wrong Creatives

What is ‘wrong’ when we speak about creatives? First –– uninteresting, not catchy, not outstanding. You face extremely high competition on every ad platform, so it’s essential to stand out.

Second – the flipside of the same coin –– too complicated, highly-artistic creatives. Users must get your message within a second or even less, so don’t give them too deep of a meaning or subtext! 

For example, would you really guess this is about a finance app?..

Missed Ideas

You had a brilliant idea, then thought it wasn’t that bright and dropped it? No, neglecting tests is not the way to go in performance marketing. 

Anna Avramova: Any idea that is not illegal must be tested. It’s better to spend and even lose $500-1000* on these tests and get a vivid case study than simply skip a potential gem. 

*Overall, the bottom line for test budget differs greatly among verticals.

Short Testing Period

This one usually walks hand in hand with a small budget. If your goal is more complicated than just an impression (and it most likely is), an ad platform will take 2-3 weeks to learn how to work with your campaign. 

For example, you want people to download your Finance app and purchase its paid version. A platform must sort out thousands of users and learn their patterns to understand who will convert in the way you want. It is not the quickest process ever!

So, patience is the key to success here.

What’s Next?

Let’s sum it up: the core meaning of performance marketing is that you pay for a desired action. The overall strategy must consider all the other marketing efforts: your content marketing plan, your SMM, your PR efforts, your SEO –and get along with it all.

Of course, it’s impossible to embrace all the nuts and bolts of performance marketing in a single article. Only media planning and creatives testing deserve a separate series of posts! 

Still, you’ve passed the first step if you read until here –– and you are welcome to one of the most user-friendly and high-quality performance marketing channels.


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