E-commerce Tips & Tricks 13 min read
25 Jan 2023

eCommerce Performance Marketing Guide

eCommerce Performance Marketing Guide

Are you looking to improve the performance of your ecommerce business? Are you tired of investing in marketing strategies that don't deliver results?

If so, you're not alone. Many eCommerce businesses struggle to reach and convert their target audience effectively. And sometimes, it will lead you to frustration and wasted resources.

The good news is that there is a way to improve the sales and conversions of your eCommerce brand. Wondering what is it?

It's by implementing a solid performance marketing strategy! If you're not yet familiar with it, this guide will walk you through...

  • What is performance marketing?
  • Why performance marketing is for you?
  • How can performance marketing help you solve these problems?
  • How to implement a solid eCommerce performance marketing strategy in 6 steps

So, let's start!

What is performance marketing?

Performance marketing drives measurable actions from your target audience and advertising partners. These actions can be making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter.

This marketing technique is focused on generating specific results. And you can measure these results in real-time.

This is different from traditional advertising. Let's say you put up a billboard in Time Square. You wouldn't be able to guess how many people saw your advertisement.

Unlike in digital advertising and performance marketing... You can see how many people you have reached on social media, email marketing, and more.

So, by focusing on tactics designed to generate specific results... You can optimize the effectiveness of your marketing efforts and see a tangible return on investment.

Because the best part? Performance marketing only allows you to pay when you achieve your goals. And conversion comes in different ways depending on your goals. We'll discuss more of it later!

To sum it up, performance marketing aims to improve your brand's overall performance.

But first... How would you know if performance marketing is for you?

Performance marketing is for you if...

1. You are struggling with your conversion rate

You noticed that your conversion rate is low. There are no new email signups and transactions. And because of that, you want to gain more.

And performance marketing can help you with that!


2. You don't know which areas your brand is lacking

If you're not getting signups or sales, performance marketing can help you determine which areas you need to improve.

You can see how your strategies are performing through ecommerce data analytics. This is essential if...


3. You want to minimize the risk

Tired of implementing marketing strategies that don't seem to give you an ROI? Performance marketing will help you minimize the risk!

How? Because performance marketing can help you create targeted, high-converting marketing campaigns that drive actual results for your eCommerce brand.

Again, you can only pay when there's conversion. So these are the things you're probably experiencing as a brand owner. And these aren't good for your brand!

Before we deep dive into performance marketing, let's talk about...

Benefits of performance marketing to your eCommerce brand

Performance marketing is...


1. Cost-effective

Since performance marketing only lets you pay when there's a conversion... This makes the strategy cost-effective because you pay for the results. This strategy is also...


2. Low-risk

We know that businesses need to take risks to succeed. But this strategy has lower risks compared to other marketing strategies.

This means the CPA or Cost per acquisition will be less inexpensive. And your ROI can increase. Another thing that makes this strategy excellent is...


3. Trackable

One of the best things about digital advertising is seeing the actual data. You know how many people saw your posts, transacted with you, etc.

And since it's trackable, you can identify which areas need improvement and which strategies or platforms work.

Now that you know your problems and the benefits of performance marketing... Let's see how it can help you solve them!

Learn how performance marketing works

Learn how performance marketing works

Before launching a campaign, it's essential to understand how it works. This way, you can strategize accordingly.

So, let's talk about the four groups in performance marketing. These groups work together to give you the best results in your strategy. We have the...


1. Retailers/Merchants

Retailers or merchants are the advertisers, like you. You run the campaign to gain sales, increase brand awareness, etc. It depends on whatever your goal is.


2. Affiliates/Publishers

Affiliates and publishers are individuals or companies that will help promote your products or services. For example, publishers have their own digital media space to promote your brand.

And just like publishers, affiliates also have their audience and space online through websites, blogs, social media platforms, coupon sites, etc.

Affiliate marketing is part of performance marketing. You can utilize this by using influencers, websites, and more.

While we're here, you need to note that affiliate marketing differs from performance marketing. Affiliates get paid whenever a product is sold through their websites or links.

But companies who practice performance marketing only pay when the goal is achieved. This makes performance marketing cost-effective because brands can maximize marketing budgets.


3. Affiliate networks and third-party tracking platforms

Affiliate networks and third-party platforms connect you with affiliates and publishers. These are tools that retailers and publishers can use to run performance marketing campaigns.

These platforms are what publishers and retailers can use to conduct payouts, keep track of conversions, and more.

You can consider these platforms as a toolkit or resource to make your performance marketing work.


4. OPMs or Outsourced Program Managers

OPMs are your affiliate managers. They act as the "middle person" between the retailers/merchants and publishers or affiliates.

It depends if you want your OPM to be in-house or if you can hire an agency to do it for you. These OPMs will manage your performance marketing campaigns.

Now that you know the four main drivers of performance marketing and how it works... It's time to...

Brainstorm an offer or campaign

Brainstorm an offer or campaign

Before you kick off, you need to make sure you have an enticing offer and campaign in mind. Why? Because if you don't have a great offer or campaign, affiliates may not go on board with you.

So if you want to work with the best people, you need a great offer. Here are some things to consider:

1. Who is your target audience?

Surely, you already have your brand's target audience. You may have already created an audience persona, which you're using for your entire business strategy.

But when creating a performance marketing campaign, defining the target audience is essential. Why? Because each campaign targets different people.

For example, you want to target a new demographic in your campaign. While the other campaign is focused on retargeting.

Defining your audience helps you have a clear vision of what kind of campaign you'll produce. So, make sure you know the target audience of your campaign.


2. What are your goals?

Another way to give your campaign a clear direction is by setting goals. Doing so will help you come up with a strategic performance marketing campaign.

Here are some questions to ask yourself and your team when brainstorming:

  • What are we trying to achieve for this campaign?
  • How will this campaign help us in the long run?
  • How can we make this campaign different from the previous ones?

You can develop goals for your performance marketing campaign by answering these questions. We'll discuss more goal-setting later!


3. How much is your budget?

You don't want to have grand ideas when you have little budget. You also wouldn't want to offer a big commission when your revenue and profit aren't that huge.

So one thing to consider is your budget. You need to gauge how much you'll spend on this campaign. Forming and expanding your ideas will be easier if you know they will be feasible with the budget.


4. Who will be the people involved?

Another thing to consider when brainstorming is who the people will be involved with.

For example, you might be thinking of hiring an OPM. That's one thing to include in your budget, and doing so will affect other aspects of the campaign.

Or, you might be thinking of working with a bunch of influencers. That will set the whole campaign in a whole new direction because it will be influencer marketing-focused.

It's crucial to consider the people you'll work with to ensure they align with your initial ideas.


5. What do the data and analytics say?

Check your analytics. See if something didn't work before, and don't include it in your next campaign.

Or, you can use your findings to optimize the next one. Let's say your potential customers didn't like your previous offer. You might need to come up with a better one.

So, once you already have some ideas, the next step is to...

Set your goals and KPIs

Set your goals and KPIs

Yay! You already have your campaign ideas. But now, the problem is... How will you know if your campaign will succeed? By setting goals and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).

Your goals must be SMART.

Specific. Measurable. Achievable. Relevant. Time-bound.

You don't need to set "unrealistic" goals that aren't aligned with the state of your brand. Let's say you have 100 followers today. Don't expect you'll gain 100,000 more followers in one month.

So, make sure the goals you are setting are SMART. Wondering how? First, set broad goals that are relevant to your brand, such as:

  • Generate leads
  • Increase sales
  • Boost social media followers

Then make them smart. Like these:

  • Generate 50 leads in 2 months through influencers.
  • Increase sales by 100% in 3 months through affiliates.
  • Boost social media followers by 500 in 2 months.

You see, these goals are specific and time-bound. Making your goals smart will make it easier for you to track their progress.

After setting your goals, don't forget to...

Optimize your website

Optimize your website

Your website should be ready for the performance marketing campaign. Not just your advertising strategies!

It's essential because you'll need to have a well-functioning website to achieve the results you desire. You need to do several things to improve your website and ensure its efficiency.

So, your website should align with your campaign goals. Say you want to generate leads. You have to place the signup form strategically on your eCommerce store.

Here are some things to consider when optimizing your website...


1. Update your CTAs

Since you have set new goals for your performance marketing campaign, your CTAs or calls-to-action should work with them.

For example, your campaign goals are to increase sales. Your CTAs must have a sense of urgency if you want to convert more visitors into customers.

Remember, CTAs prompt the following actions of your customers. If you want them to signup as your lead, tell them. That's one way to achieve your campaign goals.


2. Make the checkout process easier

Your checkout page should be convenient for potential customers.

Why? Because more customers will transact with you. They might abandon their shopping carts if your checkout page is complicated to use...

So, how to build a high-converting checkout page? Here are a few ideas:

  • Have a mobile-responsive checkout page
  • Consider having a single checkout page
  • Allow guest checkout options

Having an easy checkout process can boost your online sales and achieve your eCommerce performance marketing goals.


3. Update the web content

Another critical element to consider is updating your website's content. Check if the content is still high-quality, relevant, and engaging.

You must update the images, broken links, blog posts, product descriptions, and more. Ensure your content aligns with your target audience's interests, needs, and brand identity.


4. Make it mobile-friendly

Your website needs to be mobile-friendly. So, this is one of the things you need to check if working correctly.

This is because more people are now using their smartphones for shopping, scrolling through social media apps, and more.

And you want your website to be mobile-friendly if they come across your ads, posts, and other online content.

Additionally, it's crucial to ensure your website loads fast. A slow website is a no-no! This is so your potential customers will have a smooth experience with your website.


5. Optimize for SEO

Search engine optimization is crucial for your website. Because through SEO, you can increase the visibility of your eCommerce site.

You can optimize your website for search engines by using relevant keywords in your niche, editing the meta tags, and building backlinks from credible websites.


6. Display customer reviews strategically

Before they transact with your eCommerce website, customers need to read reviews, so they know what others say about your products. That's how important customer reviews are.

And so, it's crucial to place them strategically on your website. But before anything else, you need to collect reviews efficiently.

That's where Debutify Reviews can help you. It will manage and collect reviews for you on autopilot so that you can strengthen your social proof.

If you generate more reviews, you can display more! And you can gain more customers.

So, ensure your website is ready when implementing your eCommerce performance marketing strategies.

Because if your website doesn't perform well, it might affect the result of your campaign. And now, you can...

Create your performance marketing strategy

Create your performance marketing strategy

This is where you need to create your campaign after brainstorming, setting your budget, and all the pre-campaign tasks.

To start, these are the...

Five Common performance marketing channels

Since there are different digital marketing strategies, you need to consider the goals of your campaign. So, here are some channels and strategies to consider:


1. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is when an affiliate (who can be a social media influencer, UGC creator, email marketer, etc..) gets paid every time someone clicks or buys your products using their links.

Yes, it's similar to performance marketing, unlike performance marketing, which has a bigger goal. But affiliates usually get commissions per action.

Another common channel is...


2. Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is another excellent digital marketing strategy for your performance marketing campaign.

Influencers can be part of this because they have a significant number of followers. But social media marketing is a powerful platform to increase reach, connect with customers, and more.

You can measure link clicks, reach, engagements, and ROI for this channel to see the performance. Another one is...


3. Search Engine Marketing

Search engine marketing and search engine optimization are different. SEM focuses on paid ads, making it easier for you to see and track the performance.

PPC or Pay Per Click is part of SEM. This is another great performance marketing channel because you only pay when a prospect clicks on your ads.

The next thing we have is...


4. Native Advertising

Native advertising refers to ads that look and feel natural. These ads are placed strategically and natively depending on the platform they're on.

For example, Instagram and TikTok filters. Since users love playing with filters, it doesn't feel like these filters are sponsored or made by brands.

To sum up, native ads fit the platforms and content that users are consuming. They don't feel like ads.

And lastly...


5. Sponsored Content

Sponsored content talks about ads that indicate they're sponsored. Like when you enter a query on search engines and see these results:

sponsored content

As you can see, there's an "Ad" written on the first results of the SERPs. They work with the other search results, but there are indications that they're sponsored.

With these performance marketing channels, you can now decide where to launch your campaign. But before that, let's talk about...

Five eCommerce performance marketing strategies and tips to implement

1. Create enticing content for your platforms and affiliates

When your prospects are scrolling through social media or using search engines... You need them to pay attention to your brand.

And with thousands of content from brands every day, it's essential to stand out. Your content should capture your audience's attention.

But it doesn't stop there. Of course, you need to tell them why they need to buy from you. You also want them to engage with you and your affiliates.

That's how you can use content to achieve your performance marketing goals. You must ensure your affiliates or publishers can entice your target customers.


2. Check if you're complying with the rules

This applies to you, your affiliates, publishers, and everyone involved. Following the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) Guidelines and the GDPR Law (General Data Protection) is crucial.

Your job as an advertiser is to be ethical in advertising your products, including the brands or people you work with.


3. Choose the right performance marketing channels

Decide which channels can help you achieve your goals. You don't have to be everywhere! Choose the channels that will connect you with the right audience.

For example, your goal is to increase your visibility on search engines. You can go for PPC or SEM. So when a user enters a query and clicks on your website, you can increase brand awareness.

Also, it's important to consider your KPIs and the analytics you need to measure. We'll talk more about it later.


4. Conduct an A/B testing

Test different ads on the same publisher or platform and see which one gets better results. Split testing will figure out why Ad A performed better than Ad B.

Or you can have two different landing pages. If you convert more leads from Landing Page A than Landing Page B, you could analyze which differences or elements worked.

That's how you can create the best ads and content for your next performance marketing campaigns.


5. Work with reputable affiliates and publishers

Working with reputable affiliates and publishers will give you high-quality traffic. Not only that, but you need credible people and platforms representing your brand.

So, don't just advertise and work with unreliable publishers or affiliates. That will affect how potential and target customers will perceive your brand.

After executing your campaign, you need to...

Measure and analyze the results

Measure and analyze the results

There are different ways to measure the results of your campaign. And it's also essential to learn the right payment model for your campaign.

When measuring the success of your campaigns, that also includes how you'll pay your affiliates and publishers. Let's discuss this...

Different payment models for your performance marketing campaign

1. Cost per click or CPC

You can pay your advertiser based on how many clicks your ad receives. We can also refer to this as PPC or Pay Per Click.

For example... On Google Ads, you can only pay when someone clicks on your ad or website.

CPC is the right metric to track and the payment model to consider if your goal is to drive more traffic to your website.


2. Cost per impression or CPM

CPM or cost per impression refers to the impressions your ad receives. To calculate your CPM, you need to divide the cost of the campaign by how many impressions you got. Then multiply by 1,000.

You can use this metric if your goal is to boost brand awareness and you want more people to see your campaigns (whether they're already your customers or not).


3. Cost per sale or CPS

CPS or cost per sale means you're paying affiliates or publishers depending on the sales generated from the ads.

To measure, divide the campaign cost by the number of sales. This is the right metric if your campaign goals include boosting sales.


4. Cost per lead or CPL

CPL or cost per lead is perfect if your campaign goal is to generate leads. This is measured by how many leads you gain from an ad or campaign.


5. Cost per acquisition or CPA

CPA or cost per acquisition refers to a user taking action on your website. And this action usually leads to conversion.

But here's one thing you need to remember:

Ensure everything is agreed upon with the publisher or affiliate so you both know the payment terms. This way, you can avoid misunderstandings.

These are the payment models and some ways to measure the results of your performance marketing campaign. Now...

How to analyze the results?

First, you can...


1. Use analytics tools

So, this depends on the platform you're using. Luckily, social media platforms have business and professional tools where you can see the analytics.

Or if you're using Google Ads, Google Analytics has multiple tools and metrics to help you see the results of your campaigns.

Analytics tools will give you in-depth data and help you understand your campaigns' performance.


2. Compare to see what's working and not

What are the things you did in this campaign that made it work? What are the things that didn't work?

You must answer this and analyze each campaign element, like images, copy, platforms, etc. This will help you...


3. Optimize your next campaigns

Use the data you analyzed to improve your eCommerce marketing strategies. See the things that worked and implement them again. For the ones that didn't contribute to its success, optimize them.

After learning some eCommerce marketing tips... What's next?

Maximize your ROI with performance marketing!

If you implement these steps:

Step 1: Learn how performance marketing works

Step 2: Brainstorm the offers

Step 3: Set your goals

Step 4: Optimize your website

Step 5: Create your performance marketing strategy

Step 6: Measure, analyze, and optimize

Then you're setting up your business for success! Because performance marketing can improve not only your eCommerce site but achieve your business goals.

Because performance marketing is an excellent strategy if you want to drive more conversions. You can also focus on important metrics and make data-driven decisions on your business.

That's how you can stay competitive and constantly level up your game. But wait, you also need to learn how to...

Craft an effective digital marketing strategy and campaigns!

Trisha Ballesteros

Trisha Ballesteros

Trisha Ballesteros is a content writer and digital creator who's skilled and passionate about marketing, social media, tech, and user experience.

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