Performance Marketing Software – Buyers Guide

performance marketing software

Performance Marketing Software – how to choose the right one and what to look for? As performance-based marketing gets increasingly popular today, we will go over all aspects of performance management software and see how you can use it to run Google ad campaigns, email marketing, promote your affiliate links on social media and more.

Looking for robust performance marketing software with hundreds of API integrations, anti-fraud modules and automated routine tasks? Give Scaleo a try, 14 days FREE, no credit card required.


Marketing performance management is considered to be one of the most challenging aspects of marketing. More than 50% of global marketers do not know how to measure their marketing performance. 

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Starting an affiliate network – don’t miss the entire full guide on affiliate management:

Part 1: Where to Find Affiliates?
Part 2: Where to Find Good Offers
Part 3: Affiliate Network Technical Basics
Part 4: How To Pay Affiliates?
Part 5: Where to Promote Your Affiliate Marketing Program?
Part 6: Where to Get Quality Traffic?
Part 7: Performance Marketing Software – What You Need To Know
Part 8: Why you need a White Label Affiliate Marketing Software

Besides, this is becoming more and more challenging for companies that use tons of marketing and sales channels.

What is Performance Marketing Software?

Performance marketing software is a kind of technology that helps businesses better understand their campaign’s performance and effectiveness. 

Read also: Everything You Need to Know About Affiliate Marketing Software

It enables performance marketers and affiliate networks to easily monitor, evaluate and refine their digital strategies and ensure that expectations are reached or recurring problems – solved. 

The assigned data may be shown in different metrics, e.g., CR, CTR, eCPM, EPC, and just about everything related to performance.

Automation, tracking, and detection of fraud are the main advantages of every performance marketing software. 

Scaleo, for example, uses its own Anti Fraud Logic to detect and eliminate fraud in real-time.

Benefits of performance marketing software

In recent years, performance marketing has become increasingly popular. Using marketing automation software for business campaigns makes them completely trackable, clear, and very low risk. 

Built-in analytics and interactive dashboards offer a straightforward reflection of how all marketing campaigns perform. And, thanks to innovations in monitoring and designation, performance marketing software can measure almost any progress so that you can easily see what’s working and what’s not.

There are several advantages of using performance marketing software for your campaigns:

  • Bring critical campaign data all in one place
  • Access available to the whole team
  • Collection and tracking of real-time data
  • Automatic allocation and monitoring of performance
  • Integration of other platforms and applications
  • Easy payout administration
  • Notifications by email
  • Protection against fraud and invalid clicks or conversions.
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Of course, the features and benefits depend on the particular digital marketing performance platform, as there are dozens of them out there. But by selecting one that streamlines and analyzes your campaign data, you can better optimize your marketing performance to improve ROI and results.

How can performance marketing software improve ROI?

  • Organize all data on marketing performance

Bringing together, organizing, and analyzing all available marketing performance data is the main key factor behind improving ROI. You cannot improve unless you can analyze your data in great detail and identify weak spots. 

You can use Scaleo to connect and process marketing data from a wide range of marketing and advertising media.

  • Analyze your marketing strategies and channels

Performance marketing software allows you to get insightful data on how each of your marketing strategies or channels are performing. Which channel helps to boost brand awareness, attract customers, and increase traffic, which fails? 

  • Improve the performance of marketing campaigns

When all marketing performance data is in your sights, you can effectively plan marketing strategies, allocate budget to high-performing campaigns, and ultimately boost marketing ROI.

Is performance marketing software the right choice for you?

Virtually any company will benefit from performance marketing software. And if you’re running (or thinking about running) a performance marketing campaign, dedicated software is a major advantage.

Over the years, performance marketing has evolved to include various media platforms and payment models.

For instance, affiliate marketing is a type of performance marketing that offers commission on every sale the affiliate produces. Or, a website can publish sponsored content on another site and pay for any user who ends up booking a free trial.

Note: performance marketing connects payments to certain actions, such as leads, sales, or other conversions. Although some marketing can be performance-based, such as SEO or brand strategy, they are not technically “performance marketing” since you don’t pay per result.

Performance marketing software – purpose-built for data-driven teams

So, what can it do for you?

ROI Analytics: Attribute campaign & content directly to revenue

Gain full, closed-loop attribution through the entire sales channel—from lead generation to pipeline development and revenue—with seamless incorporation into leading CRM and marketing automation platforms.

Pipeline and ROI Analytics: Opportunities and offers

Tracking Lead Generation:

  • Performance of content
  • Optimize the performance of content and accelerate its monetization
  • Analyze and adjust customer journey

You can measure and refine your plan at any point of the buying journey. Performance marketing software offers insight into the problems, structures, and platforms that interact with the audience to drive the desired actions. This allows you to:

  • Analyze content engagement
  • Track conversion
  • Drill down different tracking channels

Operational analysis: Boost the productivity and effectiveness of your team.

Identify ways to enhance workflows and keep teams accountable for on-time delivery of projects with the opportunity to dig into any aspect of campaign execution, such as planned/produced content and task delays or length. This comes down to:

  • Productivity Analytics
  • SLA reporting
  • Optimization of workflow

Analytics of Campaign: Identify & invest in higher-performance campaigns.

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Ensure teams plan, budget, and conduct higher-performance marketing activities with insight into which campaigns drive deeper interaction across geo-locations, target markets, or other custom metadata. Scaleo offers over 30 data breakdowns, including:

  • Geo location, browser, OS version, IP address, referral, click ID, etc.
  • Cross-campaign perspective
  • Analytics for campaign participation

How is performance marketing software operating?

Let’s briefly explore how most of the platforms operate.

As with all media that media buyers often purchase, every channel has a specific target audience and offers different types of advertising platforms that are used to reach them. For instance:

  • Facebook, the leading social media website, provides a range of ways to expose ads to people visiting Facebook or Instagram sites.
  • Google will show your ads on the search results page (and across the Google Ads network).

Obviously, no channel will show all the ads available, all the time, to everyone. So how are the different platforms going to choose what to show? A combination of the following factors comes into play on the basis of:

  • Target audience and segmentation: Each ad platform offers a way for you to target and segment your audience.
  • Bid: The modern advertising landscape calls on your chosen target audience to have programmatic capabilities that factor in the amount you agree to pay to display your Google ads at a specific location and time. Read our full guide to programmatic advertising.
  • Quality and relevance: Trust is the biggest public issue on the internet. So, the ad performance is factored in. If your ad doesn’t perform well—that is, it gets a low-quality rating, and the network will trim down its exposure.
  • Conversion: The distribution of performance marketing is based on action taken by consumers. If the required action does not take place, the network will not be paid for. So your ad will be displayed more often if it converts well.

Performance Marketing Strategies

If performance marketing is all about incentivized actions, it pays to have a strong grasp of the various strategies most often used and the activities most commonly measured. These include:

  • Cost per impression (CPM): The advertiser’s price is paid to the publisher a thousand times that their advertisement is displayed.
  • Cost Per Click (CPC): The price the advertiser pays only when their advertisement is clicked on.
  • Cost Per Sales (CPS): The advertiser’s payment is paid only when the advertisement directly generates the sale.
  • Cost Per Leads (CPL): The amount that an advertiser pays when they receive a sign-up / registration/quote request form from an interested consumer following their advertisement.
  • Cost Per Acquisition (CPA): The price that the advertiser pays when a specific action, such as a sale, completion of a form, or a click, takes place. This can literally be anything.

It is worth mentioning that each of the above actions is the advertiser’s goal and, therefore, a measure of marketing performance

To evaluate and continue to refine your preferences, you will need to consider your campaign goals, the choice of platforms, costs, and, of course, results.

Top Marketing Performance Channels

If performance marketing requires accountability, it means that performance marketing channels are those that enable you to measure specific actions.

Although you probably already know it, let’s cover the most obvious ones.

1. Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is a well-established method of performance marketing. In this common model, the publisher becomes an affiliate by creating a partnership with the advertiser to generate traffic and sales (or any other action).

Affiliates deliver traffic to advertisers and receive a commission in exchange for the negotiated action (a sale, in most cases). Affiliate publishers effectively perform as an extension of your brand by using their website to market your products and services to their customers.

  • Any website owner can be an affiliate. 
  • Any brand running an online e-commerce store can be an advertiser.

According to a new study by Business Insider:

  • Affiliate marketing is rising, accounting for approximately 15% of the sales of the digital media industry.
  • Publishers also take a native approach to affiliate marketing by incorporating product ties into organic content.

Affiliate Marketing Software

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Affiliate marketing software, such as Scaleo, acts as an intermediary for advertisers and marketers. Affiliates and online retailers settle on a particular action(s) that will result in a payment to their affiliates, and the platform guarantees that these transactions are secure, equitable, and are not left to manual labor.

Why is Scaleo the best affiliate marketing software platform?

Scaleo is an innovative affiliate marketing software that can be used as an affiliate program or as a stand-alone platform for creating your own affiliate network.

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It’s a widgetized white-label affiliate marketing solution that offers full UI customization to fit your brand – from logo to color scheme.

If you are looking for an eye-candy design with unbeatable functionality, a powerful backend with dozens of innovative features, including ultra-fast redirects, 10+ targeting options, custom notifications, and smart traffic redirection – you’ll love Scaleo. Easy integration with Google Tag Manager (GTM) for Cookies-based Tracking, Shopify, Woocommerce, Tilda, Wix, Big Commerce, Magento, CS-Cart, OpenCart, Squarespace, and many others.

2. Native advertising

Sad but true, most people in your target market are unaware of digital advertising. They may either have various filters in place, such as ad blockers, or they subconsciously ignore ads.

Native advertising opens the door to the creation of click-through opportunities on websites where your target market consumes content. Native advertising receives 10x more clicks compared to other forms of online advertising.

The advantages of native advertising are as follows:

  • Provide quality content that contributes value.
  • Leveraging smart distribution through the right publishers.

The characteristics of launching successful content discovery campaigns through native advertising can be summarized in five steps:

  • Set a goal: Determine a specific goal and define the key metrics to measure progress.
  • Right-fit content: To build content campaigns with the potential to inspire action.
  • Preparation for the launch: Launch preparation involves selecting content, audience filters, and budget parameters.
  • Optimize: Fine-tune campaign performance by analyzing data, identifying publishers who deliver the best results, and tweaking your budget accordingly.
  • Re-align and revise: Review how campaign performance compares to your original goal and find ways to make it more and more efficient with tiny variables such as daytime, geo-location, and device type. Consider also how the content can support additional efforts across the marketing funnel.

3. Advertising on social media

It is no secret that it has become far more difficult to achieve measurable results with organic reach through social media networks.

As a result, agencies and media hiring professionals are investing in social media advertising that plays a role in their marketing performance plans.

Social networks provide you with clear metrics for measuring KPIs, such as the click-through rate (CTR), the cost per click (CPC), and your overall ROI. 

Read also: Content For Lead Generation: 5 Tips For A Higher ROI.

As with all performance marketing efforts, your starting point is to set your goals.

The most common goals for social advertising include:

  • Traffic
  • Engagement
  • Lead generation
  • Sales

The next practical step is to select the social platforms that you will start with. Consider the following factors:

  • How the demographics of the network are aligned with the brand.
  • You have gained traction from your organic efforts on each network.
  • How your competition approaches the different social channels.
  • Different ad formats can be used on your network.

The list of social media channels that you can advertise on is long, but the biggest players you should consider are, of course, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Snapchat, and Pinterest.

We’re not going to get into specific performance marketing campaign structures for each platform individually, but take into account the following best practices:

  • Create specific target audiences by immersing them in the targeting options each social network provides. You’re going to twist the dials forward as you hone your audience farther.
  • Try creating ads that mix well with the organic content on each network. Blatant promotional efforts tend to backfire.
  • Take your time and understand the pros and cons of each social network.
  • Experiment with your bidding strategy and optimize it over time to increase ROI.
  • Refresh your ads and landing pages often. Read our article on how to create a killer landing page that converts.

4. Marketing performance in search engines

Technically, Search Engine Marketing (SEM) involves efforts to improve awareness and clicks through organic and paid ads. This article will only discuss paid ads in Search Engines, which is another viable marketing measure for performance.

SEM has been the most successful performance marketing platform for decades, thanks to the Google AdWords program. For example, Google’s advertisement sales alone amounted to more than US$95 billion in 2017.

SEM advocates will tell you that it allows marketers to place their advertisements in front of consumers who are “ready to make a purchase”.

Keywords are the cornerstone of SEM, and choosing them wisely is a science. 

You will benefit from extensive keyword research as part of your strategy to find keywords that are important to your brand, and which prospective customers are likely to use while searching.

For obvious reasons, keywords with strong commercial intent, including terms such as:

  • buy
  • discount
  • offer
  • coupon
  • free shipping

are more competitive and thus more valuable.

It is important to understand that SEM is based on a real-time “auction system.” That is, every time someone enters a search query, an “auction process” takes place. To enter the auction, advertisers can define keywords that they will be bidding on and decide how much they’re willing to pay per click.

When it comes to SEM, measuring performance is extremely important because your goal is to get the maximum amount of clicks from the highest quality traffic and pay the lowest bid possible. Although you cannot use performance marketing software to run Google ads directly, you can still measure and analyze traffic from these campaigns.

Performance marketing tracking software – why do you need it?

A good performance marketing tracking software enables you to develop and manage your affiliate program by giving you all of the necessary tools and allowing you to precisely monitor your progress.

The following options cover the basic features and functions required to manage a successful affiliate marketing campaign:

  • They are all dependable, well-established, and tried-and-true platforms.
  • These platforms are generally respected and trusted by businesses and marketers, allowing you to give affiliates a program that is already familiar and trustworthy.
  • They all provide the fundamental and necessary tools and services to properly manage your campaign: extensive monitoring of affiliate performance, detailed and analytical reporting, payout automation, and customizable features.
  • Excellent customer service and ongoing user assistance.
  • Partnerships and integrations with other reputable services for payment choices, collaborations, and partnerships.
scaleo affiliate software

Conclusion – how to choose the right digital marketing tool?

Performance marketing software blends strategy and technology to help you get the best out of your campaign. The data becomes beautifully visualized, instantly analyzed, and traceable with every click. Using a performance marketing platform will help you handle all of your current affiliate offers, collaborations, and promotions. Basically, a performance marketing platform will create win-win opportunities for all parties involved.

Is performance marketing software appropriate for your needs?

Almost any company can profit from performance marketing.
If you’re currently running (or considering running) a performance marketing campaign, specialist software can be really beneficial. Performance marketing has evolved over time to include a variety of media channels and reward mechanisms. Affiliate marketing, for example, is a subset of performance marketing that pays a commission on each sale generated by an affiliate. Alternatively, a corporation can publish sponsored material on another site and pay for each visitor who signs up for a free trial. It is important to note that performance marketing relates compensation to measurable activities, such as a lead, sale, or another conversion.
While certain marketing activities, such as SEO and brand planning, maybe performance-based, they aren’t really performance marketing because you don’t pay for results. 

Who needs performance management software?

Performance marketing software is for anyone who manages the performance of their website, app, or another digital asset. Companies will typically use performance management software to track if their marketing efforts are successful and to see how customers’ use of the company’s product changes over time.

Do you need Google Analytics when using performance marketing software?

Both GA and performance marketing software provides an insight into how well your business performs. While GA allows you to analyze users’ goals as well as hundreds of other data points, performance management software typically provides marketing analytics and focuses on business optimization. Google provides a number of free marketing tools to help people track the performance of their online marketing, as well as their Google Ads performance.
Google Analytics (or GA for short) is one of the most popular and has been around since 2005. Google Analytics was one of the first free and simple-to-use website analytics tools.
Google Analytics has quickly become the industry standard for tracking your website’s performance. GA is a website data tool that can help you measure what drives visitors to your site, how well your content performs, where your traffic is coming from, and how well your digital marketing is performing.

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Elizabeth Sramek
Elizabeth is a Senior Content Manager at Scaleo. Currently enjoying the life in Prague and sharing professional affiliate marketing tips. She's been in the online marketing business since 2006 and gladly shares all her insights and ideas on this blog.
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