What is Online Performance Marketing?

Online Performance Marketing is the art and science of driving potential customers (known as Traffic) to either:
- complete a purchase
- perform an action, for example, completing a registration or downloading an application
- complete a purchase or an action through third party advertising on your site
Traffic is measured in real time and steps are taken to increase its effectiveness and return on investment. This process is known as optimisation.
How is Online Marketing different from traditional advertising?
1) It’s measurable
2) It’s quicker to distribute and change campaigns in real time
3) It’s significantly cheaper
4) One is able to target users and potential customers much more effectively
5) More people are spending more time on the internet than traditional forms of media

Given all these advantages it’s no surprise that Online Advertising is the largest sector in advertising spend.

Understanding Traffic

Let’s imagine you own a website. It can be anything that you are interested in but the aim is to drive traffic to the site so that potential customers can either:
- Complete a purchase on your website and make you money at that moment
- Perform an action such as a registration or download an application whereupon you can make money from that user at a later date
- Complete a purchase or an action through third party advertising on your site, thus making you money
Your site is built and all you need now is potential customers to use your service or product. This document is merely an overview of Online Marketing so let’s concentrate on the main types of traffic you can start attracting to your site.

Types of Online Marketing
Traffic sources or channels can be categorised in many different ways but they essentially fall into six broad areas:
1) Search
2) Email
3) Contextual
4) Display
5) Social
6) Incentivised


This is the highest quality traffic as potential customers are actively looking for your product or service through the internet. Google is the largest search engine in the world and they further divide search into two categories.
Organic or natural Search
Organic search is free to construct and relies on your website being built in a way that is Search friendly. It takes time to build up and is a continuous and long term process.
Paid for Search
This is where an Advertiser bids on a keyword to drive traffic to their site. Paid for Search occupies the top and right hand side of results when listed on Google

Advantages of Search
- Extremely targeted as the potential consumer is actively looking for your product or service
- Easy to control. You can control the amount of traffic you receive with caps on spend and the ability to change the campaign instantly
- Potentially high volume of traffic
Disadvantages of Search
- Time consuming and can require a high level of expertise
- Can be expensive to reach customers as competition is fierce
- Can drive the wrong type of traffic to your site unless care is taken with keyword and filters

This is a channel that regularly gets bad press, and is linked with unauthorised sending of emails to users known as spam. However, after Search, Email is the most effective online channel to reach potential consumers and existing customers. Like all channels, the more data you know about a potential consumer or customer, the more effective your marketing message will be.
There are many companies that specialise in Data Rental and List Management whereby a user will have opted in to receive Email communications. The number of users on these companies’ databases can run into the millions and be distributed worldwide.
Advantages of Email
- Relatively targeted as the Advertiser can overlay information in addition to the users email address (gender, age, income)
- Potentially high volume of traffic
- Cost effective
Disadvantages of Email
- Actually getting your emails delivered can be a significant problem
- Users can become tired of receiving your messages unless there is a value for them
- Email is a ‘push’ rather than ‘pull’ method of distribution. It’s a one way message and doesn’t allow dialogue

For simplicity, let’s call contextual advertising the process of linking relevant advertisements to the context of what the user is looking for. A simple example of this would be an online advertisement for wheelbarrows on a gardening site. Behavioural Targeting, whereby users anonymous details are targeted by their behaviour and previous history, rather than the content of the site is slightly different and can feature across all the six traffic types.
Contextual targeting is often featured in the much maligned pop up or pop under. These ads are served dependant on the site context that the user is currently viewing. They can be an effective source of advertising but are not popular with consumers. If your goal is to drive sales rather build a positive brand experience, pop ups and unders are useful tools.
Advantages of Contextual
- More effective than standard untargeted display formats
- Site owners feel that certain types of contextual targeting can ‘add’ content or association with bigger brands within their space. For example B & Q advert appearing on a small garden site
Disadvantages of Contextual
- Can have negative connotations with your brand if served as a pop up or under

Display adverts are featured on the vast majority of sites. They can take the form of a Leaderboard (which is featured at the top of a page), a Skyscraper (featured at the side) and interactive banners such as roll overs which expand when a user clicks on them. Display advertising can be like television showing motion pictures, animated, showing some images and also static.
Advantages of Display
- Buying Display advertising is cheap
- It can get your brand / product in front of a very large audience quickly
- You can retarget users

Disadvantages of Display

Advantages of Social
Disadvantages of Social

Advantages of Incentivised
Disadvantages of Incentivised