How to choose: Performance Marketing vs. Content Marketing

Content marketing and performance marketing are the two most important advertising disciplines in 2021. Learn here what the two marketing directions stand for.

Two types currently dominate online marketing in 2021: content-driven content marketing and performance-driven performance marketing. Performance marketing is based to a large extent on the processing of customer data. It can therefore be usefully supplemented in various places by artificial intelligence. Content marketing is based on the creation of creative and informative advertising content. This is why artificial intelligence can currently only be used to a limited extent in this area.

Content Marketing: Definition and Use

In content marketing, the interest of the customer is aroused by the provision of relevant, informative advertising content. Performance marketing relies on the optimal control of the advertising message with a concrete, measurable goal. Content marketing is used to arouse the interest of customers by providing relevant information. This should create a high level of customer loyalty and create a positive brand image.

The promotional items, which are often edited in an editorial manner, form the core of the marketing campaign and aim to subtly attract the customer’s attention. Content marketing is usually played out via websites, video platforms, social media and increasingly via podcasts. Content marketing campaigns are most frequently published on the social media-platform Facebook. It’s followed by publications on YouTube, Twitter, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger (see Content Marketing Forum, 2018).

If the provided content is relevant to the customer, the company can build up a high organic reach. Therefore, it doesn’t have to pay for each individual customer contact, as is the case in performance marketing. However, if the content isn’t, the high costs of creating the high-quality content won’t convert and content marketing becomes a losing proposition. Content marketing is primarily used for the marketing goals of branding, sales and community building (cf. Cole, 2020, p. 482).

For a long time, content marketing was mainly used in print campaigns. But since 2014, more money was spent on content marketing campaigns in digital than in print channels. In 2020, the largest part of the entire content marketing-budget, at 62%, went into digital channels for the first time (see Content Marketing Forum, 2020).

Content Marketing and Data

So, if you combine content marketing with data-based advertising technology, individual content can be played automatically to the customer. This is currently the most successful and popular form of content marketing. Therefore, for the success of a content marketing campaign, it is particularly important to know the needs of customers so that they can be specifically addressed. This concentration on customer needs is also called customer centricity (cf. von Rüden et al., 2020, pp. 160-161).

Performance Marketing: Definition and Use

Performance marketing has changed many areas of traditional marketing. For example through the increasing measurement and target group accuracy with which the advertising message can be played out in certain environments (cf. Kamps et al., 2018, p. 4). This target group-specific selection of certain advertising environments is basically not a new method and has already been used in traditional marketing. The degree of control over the advertising environment is, however, of a new, growing dimension (cf. Beiermann, 2020, p. 140).

While traditional marketing used to aim to build up a high reach through eye-catching and creative advertising media, the goals in online marketing have become more diverse due to the most diverse possible uses and developments. Through system and structure as well as measurement and analysis, performance marketing has developed into the winner in terms of growth rate and budget size among all forms of marketing (cf. Peter et al., 2020, pp.23-24).

Furthermore, performance marketing via mobile advertising, ie the exclusive display of advertisements via mobile devices, is due to the high mobile user numbers. The long smartphone screen times are increasingly exciting for advertisers. This is shown by the current growth figures in mobile advertising: while the expenditure in performance marketing for desktop campaigns is decreasing every year, the expenditure for mobile marketing is growing continuously and should be as high as the expenditure for desktop-campaigns in Germany in 2025 (cf. Statista Digital Market Outlook, 2020b).

Measuring Performance Marketing success: the AIDA model

The success of a performance marketing campaign can be measured using a variety of indicators, such as the number of clicks on an advertisement or the number of user contacts. A common method of measuring the success of a marketing campaign is the four to five-stage AIDA model.

The AIDA model examines how a customer goes through the customer journey. It also analyses how they should be addressed optimally at the various touchpoints. The customer journey begins with the consumer’s first contact with the product or service. At this point, an advertisement should attract the customer’s attention (A). In the second step, the customer’s interest (I) is to be aroused. Then, in the third step, also his desire (D) is attraced. In the fourth step, the customer should buy the product or service, i.e. he should be encouraged to take an action (A) (see Hassler, 2019, pp. 570-573). This last step in the AIDA model, the purchase, usually takes place on your own website. Therefore, the primary goal of the first three steps of the model is to lure consumers to the website in order to turn them into buyers (cf. von Rüden et al., 2020, p. 152).

Therefore it is important for a company to regularly compare its online marketing-activities with the AIDA model. To do this, companies use various tools, such as Google Analytics. These tools help companies to concentrate on the most important indicators of the analysis. This is in order to be able to derive concrete, precise results and recommendations from the large amount of available data.

Eventually, hen analyzing online marketing activities, a lot of data has to be examined, since a successful campaign often combines different digital channels. A corresponding number different data arises. The analysis gives the company information about how advertising money should be distributed across the various channels in the future (see Kamps et al., 2018, pp.165-166).