Research Swipe File: Performance Marketing

Though performance marketing can cover a wide array of marketing practices, optimizing a mix of SEO, PPC, and paid search has become a critical part of many marketers’ evolving digital strategy. But how are marketers adjusting their performance marketing strategies to accommodate industry change in the year ahead?

To help answer this question, Ascend2 and our Research Partners fielded The Outlook on Performance Marketing survey. We thank the 283 marketers who responded to this survey between June 21, 2021 and June 28, 2021.

Research highlights:

  • Currently trending: collaborative marketing. 37% of marketers say that collaborative marketing is a trend they will be investing in the most during the year ahead.
  • Budgets remain a challenge. Allocating enough budget to execute performance strategies is reportedly a top challenge for nearly half of marketers.
  • Marketers will turn to content. Personalizing content and optimizing content delivery both top the list of ways marketers plan to mitigate the deprecation of third-party cookies.

View the research report.

What are marketers’ top challenges associated with executing a performance marketing strategy?

Performance marketing can be a highly effective way for marketers to reach targeted audiences and pay for actual results achieved, but according to nearly half (47%) of marketers, budget allocation is still a top challenge when executing a strategy. Allocating enough resources to execute as well as integrating performance campaigns into the customer journey also top the list for over one-third (34%) of marketers.

How do marketers rate the success of their performance marketing strategy?

How effective are performance-based initiatives at achieving strategic goals? 93% of all marketing professionals surveyed report that their performance marketing strategy has resulted in at least some success. Only 17% of those surveyed, however, would rate their success as “best-in-class” compared to competitors, signaling that there is room for improvement amongst a majority of marketers.

success of performance marketing strategy chart

Which areas of performance marketing at marketers dedicating the most budget to?

Where are marketers planning to allocate most of their performance marketing budget in the year ahead? One-third (33%) of marketing professionals reported that social media spend will be their largest allocation. For just over one-quarter (26%) of those surveyed, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), search, social, and Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns will not be the main focus for budget allocation in the year ahead.

Which channels will marketers be creating the most budget for in the year ahead?

Creating targeted and compelling content is critical to the success of a performance marketing strategy. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of marketers surveyed report that they will be focused on creating content to be used on social media channels first and foremost in the coming year. About one-third (32%) say that video will top their content output channels over the next 12 months.

What will marketers be doing to mitigate the impact of third-party cookies going away?

A major shift in the performance industry is the impending deprecation of third-party cookies, so how do marketers plan to adjust their strategy to accommodate? Personalizing content and optimizing content delivery both top the list of ways marketers plan to mitigate this change according to 48% and 33% of those surveyed, respectively. Intent data will also play an important role for 31% of marketers.

what are the most essential areas to improve to mitigate the impact of the deprecation of third-party cookies

How is conversion rate optimization (CRO) going for marketers?

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) programs bring order to the efforts that aim to increase the number of visitors to a website who complete a pre-determined action. While 45% of marketers report an increase to some extent in the overall effectiveness of their CRO programs, only 8% would describe this increase as significant. 39% said that their CRO program effectiveness has remained unchanged in the past year.

Which emerging trends will get the most attention from marketers in the year ahead?

Marketers across different brands are coming together to create mutually beneficial relationships through collaborative marketing campaigns according to 37% of those surveyed. Another emerging trend that will be more of a focus in the year ahead is user-generated content for one-third of marketers while the use of live video will continue to grow for another 33% of those surveyed.

Where do performance marketing agencies need the most improvement?

Performance marketing agencies are often relied on by organizations that do not have the internal bandwidth to execute the often time-consuming performance-based strategy. From the marketer’s perspective, in which areas can agencies most improve? Price, customer service, and service offerings top this list for 48%, 38%, and 34% of marketing professionals surveyed, respectively.

View the research report.

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